Monday, August 31, 2015

X-Filemania takes the Satellite! (UPDATED)

With X-Filemania reaching a new peak these days, Amid Night Suns maestro Raj Sisodia and I have worked up a major analysis of the sixth and seventh seasons of The X-Files (known in fan circles as The LAX-Files or X-Files Lite) on The Solar Satellite, with historical overviews and detailed capsule reviews of all the episodes from the 1998-2000 era. If you ever wondered what happened in those seasons, why the show seemed to take such a radical turn, you may find some answers here. It's rather huge, so please be advised.

Don't forget my previous entries on the eighth and ninth seasons of the series, which you can read here and here, as well as the three-part series on the X-Files Mythology, which you can check out here.

I'd be remiss if I didn't remind fans there's also an in-depth series on the very deep, dark and very well-researched conspiracy and parapolitical themes explored in the X-Files' sister series, Millennium: check out parts one, part two, part three and part four. Very heavy, very thought-provoking.

And lest we forget, the piece that started it all, "Nebet-Het Gish: An X-Files X-Egesis."

And the definitive analysis of the Lone Gunmen pilot: "Nine Eleven Ten Thirteen." 

UPDATE: Matt Allair explains "Why We Believe."

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What You Bring Forth...

Sometimes it seems hopeless to blog about the things I do, since it feels as if we're all watching a hurricane looming on the horizon. Some people have battered down emotionally and psychically, as every day seems to bring fresh reason for worry, some humanitarian crisis, economic convulsion or local atrocity having to do with guns and some individual who everyone knew needed psychiatric help all along but no one bothered to do anything about it until it was too late.

It certainly doesn't seem like the time to pull up the old rabbit ears and see what you can pull off the Collective Wireless.

But to assume as much is assume that all you'll bring forth from the whereafter is happy-fluffy-bunny vibes. This is based in popular New Age misconceptions as well as popular notions that clenching up is a sign of strength and not weakness.

One of the side benefits of my trance work is that my dreamtime is a generally positive experience and puts me in a stronger physical and emotional state to face whatever challenges face me during the day. I don't record my dreams any more for the simple fact that they're not particularly memorable, just like I don't keep a journal to record my day's events ("Dear Diary, that cup of tea was delicious! Well, back to work. Oh, look; an email from Gordon...").

But sleep is very important for people with my condition (that is, the "rabid dog of chronic pain conditions") and having had a history of sleep disorder in which dreaming played a part, the work I've done with trance has made a major difference in my overall well-being.

I think the same holds true with your basic centeredness. Tension and anxiety aren't just unpleasant, they are brutal on the immune system. This becomes a very, very real hazard as you reach middle age. Not only does meditation and exercise help to reduce the inevitable stresses life sends your way, getting a sense of where you stand in the overall scheme of things does as well.

A lot of people will look at the vastness of the Universe and feel insignificant. I find that contemplating the vast stretches of emptiness has the exact opposite effect on me-- it makes me feel grateful. I'm part of this unique drama. Whoever you are on this planet, you've been let into the cosmic VIP room.

Moreover, it's settled science that people who strive towards a deeper connection with whatever it is you care to call it-- the Infinite, the Ineffable, the Eternal, Doug, Ashley-- are able to deal with crisis and major life challenges more effectively than those who do not. I don't think it's rocket science here. It can be as simple as having a sense of mission, a sense of purpose. Goals are totems in and of themselves.

I think it's the same with magic and myth and all those other endlessly-discussed but poorly-understood phenomena-- they open the mind to realities beyond whatever mundane problems the individual is dealing with and create a sense of communion and community with something outside the self.

So, no, I don't think all of this stuff I blog about is inconsequential in times of crisis. On the contrary, I think it's designed for crisis, it arises from crisis and finds its fullest flowering in times of crisis. It's why the reality I wrote about almost 10 years in Our Gods Wear Spandex holds true today. And for better and most certainly worse, we may be just at the beginning of it.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Call It What It Is

I see patterns in the wind and in the sand

I see the stars, I read the clouds, I understand
"Communion"- Killing Joke

Sometime I think we'd do well to have a Vocabulary Police Force, who could keep important terms from being degraded from mis- or overuse. The New Age in all its permutations are particularly egegrious offenders when it comes to vocabulary abuse, as were the Religious Right before them. 

Politicians of course are career recidivists, though academics might be the Ted Bundys of word murder; their inhouse jargon so tortured and twisted it's a miracle they can communicate with one another. Perhaps they just pretend to understand each other, throwing out an arcane blizzard of inexplicable buzzwords that would leave the most esoteric Kabbalist breathless with envy, hoping no one notices they just said absolutely nothing at all.

The entheogenic community and its fellow travelers aren't exactly innocent in the abduction and torture of the English language either. We hear the word "consciousness" thrown around with such abandon and used to describe so many wildly different psycho-physiological states, that it's no wonder that some rationalists are driven to deny that such a thing even exists. Maybe they do so because consciousness happy-talk can be so damn irritating.

But it occurred to me the other night that those would-be gurus who try to sell consciousness like its a consumer product are in fact selling themselves short.

It was a hazy, sultry night and the Moon loomed overhead rather ominously. I was walking the dog and soaking it all in. For a very brief moment the "c" word crept into my mind, but was chased out by a more potent term, one that I felt more aptly captured the state I was in at the moment: communion.

It occurred to me that I was in communion with spirits, ones I couldn't name or quantify. As soon as that simple yet powerful idea slipped into my mind I went with it and it made sense to me. It felt real and true. 

I realized that such a simple notion was time-tested and amazingly untainted by people who talk a lot but say very little. 

I also began to think about how this communion wasn't necessarily a fully-conscious process, but a kind of wireless download that my unconscious underwent while my workaday brain took in the sights and sounds. I realized that this was nothing new but something that people unlearn through socialization. That it's a process that comes natural to children before school and television programs it out of them. 

Anyone with kids has seen this when they were young and at play, how they seemed to be tuned into channels you were blocked from, hearing music you or I cannot. Maybe restoring those connections is the meaning of it all.

I probably wouldn't have noticed all this had I not prepared myself over the years with my trance work. I've noticed that I've really chipped away at that wall between the conscious and unconscious mind, and probably also between the mundane and spiritual worlds.

I also realized how much more compelling "communion" felt than the usual talk about states of consciousness. It was direct, palpable, numinous. It didn't feel tainted by boring lectures or sales pitches. It was complete, self-contained and immensely satisfying. It was its own explanation.

Try it. Let me know how it works for you. 

UPDATE: Gordon tries it and finds it works quite well indeed.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Shootin' at Satellites, or That Other Star Wars Sequel

I've been writing about the militarization of space since the very earliest days of these blogs, wondering at one point if in fact there wasn't a secret war taking place over our heads already. Back in February, I wrote about the new Star Wars programs that are picking up pace while many other military budgets are being slashed: 
You can tell the Cold War is back for real when the US starts funneling money into exotic space weaponry. Not to mention the fact that Russian warplanes are buzzing Europe and China is openly discussing its plans to drive the US out of Asia, claiming the Pacific Ocean as its Mare Nostrum. What we know about the space budget so far:
Last year, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced a new “offset strategy” to develop breakthrough solutions to secure American technological dominance into the next century. This year, the budget request increases money for research and development by about $500 million, bringing it to $13.5 billion. 
It will be a great year for futuristic technologies that sound like they come from a comic book. But the budget also shows that every new invention has consequences and can raise new problems even as it solves others. 
Obama requested a slight increase in spending for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, which would bring their budget to $3 billion to work on next generation technology related to everything from synthetic biology to space planes. Money for electronic and laser weapon systems jumped to $67 million from a bit over $55 million last year.
Well, the US is not alone. It turns out there's a new space race going on. Only this one isn't about zero gravity guitar plonking and orbital tomatoes, it's about war:
THE most damaging war the world has ever seen could be about to start. And it won’t happen on Earth.  
Three leading superpowers: Russia, China and the US are reportedly developing, testing and deploying sophisticated weapons in outer space in advance of a military attack that could see the first great conflict between sparring superpowers in 70 years. A conflict that Popular Science described as “A New Cold War in the Void of Space.” 
And there’s no rules in this free-for-all space race. Rogue, cosmic cowboys reign supreme. While physical damage on Earth would be minimal in a space war, our entire way of living could be at threat.
With our nascent Borgworld increasingly reliant on satellites, there seems to be a major effort underway to poke out your rival's eyes-in-the-sky, a perilous prospect for the US which has no credible launching system at the moment. But the existing infrastructure is nothing to sneeze at:
At least 1,200 satellites that are orbiting Earth for various uses, including navigation and communication, are also being primed for “planetary surveillance”, Scientific American reports. 
The satellites circle the globe communicating messages from the likes of the US military, 80 per cent of which is done through civilian satellites. 
While the US remains the “undisputed king of the hill” as the “most heavily armed space power”, China and Russia are keen to claim their own territory, working to destroy US satellites and replace them with their own.

Russia (and presumably China as well) seems to believe they hold the upper hand in the long run, even if the US looks like the dominant player now. Whether that's true or not, the Russians' rhetoric isn't even attempting to sound diplomatic: 
The Russian Defense Ministry has developed new technology to counter US battle stations in space, said Igor Nasenkov, the first deputy head of Russia’s Radio-Electronic Technologies Concern (RETC), according to Russian media sources. 
"If the United States starts developing and launching its battle stations into space, Russia will have to respond in kind — namely with the development of high-performance Electronic Warfare (EW) tools on different types of bases; the use of these tools will be a distinct advantage [for Russia]," Nasenkov said, as quoted by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
The US may be "king of the hill" now, but how much longer will that last? We brag about our software industry but what exactly is it really producing? Facebook games? Hedge fund pirateware? Worker-eliminating povertyware?

Now I realize we don't necessarily hear about a lot of specific space technology, and a lot of the space-program falls under the black budget, but I'm not one of these people who ascribes superpowers to those people simply because they work outside of congressional or bureaucratic oversight. I've been around long enough to see too many military miracles never materialize and too many rumored wonder-weapons never enter the theatre of battle.

The thing is that we keep seeing a lot of headlines about this-or-that technological epiphany, but unlike most of your friends on Facebook I actually read those stories past the headlines. And as I've written before the hype rarely- if ever- lives up to the wild promises made by irresponsible copywriters.

And one has to wonder if there is a secret arsenal of wonder-weapons sitting around in S-4 or somewhere, then why Russia and China are becoming so defiant in refusing to be militarily intimidated by NATO:

U.S. Navy on alert: China, Russia to launch largest-ever joint navy exercise

The Chinese and Russian navies are gearing up for their largest-ever joint exercises, slated to begin Thursday in the Pacific with more than 20 ships and featuring anti-submarine operations as well as a joint-beach landing.

The “Joint Sea 2015 II” exercises will run through Aug. 28 in the Sea of Japan and off the coast of Vladivostok.
Aside from the timing, I can't help but notice the symbolism at work in this next story, which I heard about from one of Joseph Farrell's news updates. Taking a shot directly at the heart of Western power, the Russians are instituting their own payment system called "Mir." 

Yes,"Mir" was the original name of Russia's former space station:

Russia is ready for the mass issue of national payment cards next year, as it seeks to detach from the Western-dominated financial system and distance itself from geopolitical risks, said the head of the Central Bank at a meeting with the president. 
Twenty banks have already confirmed their attendance in a pilot issuance planned for December, said Elvira Nabiullina Monday at the meeting with Vladimir Putin to report the results of the Russian banking sector in the first half 2015. 
The Mir payment system, launched in 2014 and branded in 2015, will have to conquer the 230 million-card Russian market.
That this move comes on top of China devaluing their currency can't be seen as a synchronicity. Nor can the fact that Russia and China are moving to expel Globalist NGOs, de facto franchises for the Western powers. 

They're not kidding around anymore.

 What we should remember is that this new star war will be fought on computer screens, almost exclusively by a new generation of soldiers who were trained for the work from a very, very early age by video and computer games. In that light, you may want to take note that gaming giant Sega got its start as a military contractor.

You may also want to remember that games like Space Invaders, Asteroid and Sea Wolf hit the market at the height of the previous Cold War. Or that Sea Wolf was based on Sega's submarine simulator Periscope

Or that this new-model SDI is yet another of the endless parade of Republican programs that the present Administration is signing into place without a single peep from the so-called antiwar movement.

Funny how these things work out.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Circe Rising: Witchcraft Revives, Again

You live long enough and you see the same patterns emerge, over and over again. A generation comes of age, falls under the spell of Rationalism but then leaves school and gravitates towards thought contagions that horrify the professors and teachers they once tried so hard to emulate.

And like so many other things that aren't dead at all, Witchcraft/Wicca/ Whatever is not only not disappearing like it's supposed to, it's finding an entirely new batch of converts. Just two years ago, Chaos magician honcho Peter Grey had this to say about the Craft:

“Witchcraft is already dead as a hag, as barren as the moon, as contaminated as the tar sands. Yet Witchcraft is born again in this sacred despoiled landscape, and will be despised as an abomination by those who cannot navigate by the candlelight of guttering stars. Those who seek to escape the fates and furies will learn that they are inexorable.”~ Peter Grey, Apocalyptic Witchcraft
But as mainstream religions now enter their final lap and conservative and Fundamentalist movements circle the wagons, a new cohort finds itself spiritually adrift. The atheist movement might have shamed some people into leaving religions they didn't believe in anyway but as Jung says you don't replace religion with no religion.

 And as many Evangelicals darkly intone you don't replace Christianity - or any other mainstream religion- with rationalism, you replace it with paganism. It may sound like paranoia, but History is on their side.

Human beings are religious animals. Scientists and sociologists will bore you silly with their theories as to why this is so. Of course, my explanation is that the spiritual world is a reality and it has its effect upon the human organism in the same way that many other ostensibly invisible forces do, such as gravity and radiation.

It's not something I need to argue, it's self-evident to me. Probably to most of you as well.

Seeing how human beings and societies function without spirituality-- which is to say they slowly fall apart-- is all the evidence I really need anyway. It's why even doctrinaire atheists like Sam Harris or philosophers of science like John Horgan are so desperate to find a spirituality beyond theism (you could argue that certain forms of Buddhism fit that bill already)-- they know the stakes.

Either way, Witchcraft/Wicca/Whatever is making a comeback at a time when the pundits had declared such a thing an impossibility. Hey, I would never have dreamed that Tolkienesque fantasy would survive the 70s either, but here we are, six Tolkien mega-blockbusters and x-number of seasons of Game of Thrones into it already.

Of course, the vanguard of this new pagan revival are the traditional early adapters, the groups that latch onto thought contagions long before they trickle down into the shopping mall crowd:

How Witchcraft Is Empowering Queer and Trans Young People

Over the course of the 20th century, the popular idea of the witch underwent a transformation. Gone is the baby-eating, Satan-worshipping hag of medieval Europe, and in its place has emerged the idea of female healers.
Second-wave feminists seeking a strong female subject latched onto the witch as the embodiment of feminine power. Witchcraft entered the feminist consciousness spiritually, though traditions like Wicca, and politically, as groups like WITCH—the Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell—publicly hexed everything from beauty pageants to fees for public transit. Yet while the revival empowered some, it excluded others, and many of the groups that emerged were reserved for women. 
But the idea of the witch has come a long way since then. Witchcraft is seeing a resurgence among queer-identified young people seeking a powerful identity that celebrates the freedom to choose who you are.
What was that mantra from Sex in the City? "First the gays, then the girls?" Well, it seems as if that were a truism, if this next article is any indication.
Meet The Witches Of Instagram 
Between the nascent popularity of tarot, Tumblr horoscopes, candle carving, a brief spike in the popularity of aura photography, and media coverage of witchcraft from Rookie to The Cut, we are in the midst of an occult revival. 
This was first heralded by Newsweek in a 2013 piece published two weeks after the premiere of American Horror Story: Coven, a season centered on a coven of modern-day Salem witches and drawing from such aesthetic interpretation as Pina Bausch’s “Blaubart”, and is going strong two years later with such Buzzfeed roundups as “19 Powerful Tarot Tattoos” and “13 Witchy Instagram Accounts That Will Charm Your Day”. 
Multiple factors are driving this resurgence; for one, tarot and the other tangible aspects of the occult are “particularly suited to the communication age’s current hypervisual incarnation”, according to Maureen O’Connor. “Tarot is, after all, a naturally social enterprise.”
 Then you have your city slickers, keeping an eye on the latest trends. It seems that the urbane sophisticates of New York City are not immune to this latest rebirth of the arcane. As with so many things it's very much the 70s redux, only without the quality pop culture:
How Tarot Became the Trendiest Party Game

In the last year, I’ve seen tarot advertised as a party trick at bottomless brunches. I’ve heard of it offered as parlor games at dinner parties; an opening gambit at gay raves (“Can I read you?”); pun-based entertainment at book events (“a close-read of your future”); and the central activity for girls’ nights in (who needs Netflix?).
Tarot has become a fixture in my Instagram feed, inbox, and girly group-texting threads. My old roommate got a tarot tattoo —  and her best friend got one, too — and both appeared in a BuzzFeed listicle about “powerful tarot tattoos” that the website labeled with a yellow sticker marked CLASSIC. 
Why tarot? Well, first of all, we are in the midst of an occult resurgencethat has turned crystals and smudging into trendy pursuits. But more important: Tarot is a great way for friends — and, it seems, female friends in particular — to talk about themselves.
But perhaps the olde wytchcraft is still very much with us. One ancient and venerable practice ascribed to magicians is dowsing, the art of finding underground streams of water. And just like New York, even tech-fueled California isn't immune to the lure of the old ways. Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, perhaps there are no skeptics in a devastating drought:
Amid epic drought, California farmers turn to water witches 
LINDSAY, Calif. — Vern Tassey doesn’t advertise. He’s never even had a business card. But here in California’s Central Valley, word has gotten around that he’s a man with “the gift,” and Tassey, a plainspoken, 76-year-old grandfather, has never been busier. 
Farmers call him day and night — some from as far away as the outskirts of San Francisco and even across the state line in Nevada. They ask, sometimes even beg, him to come to their land. “Name your price,” one told him. But Tassey has so far declined. What he does has never been about money, he says, and he prefers to work closer to home. 
 Tassey is what is known as a “water witch,” or a dowser — someone who uses little more than intuition and a rod or a stick to locate underground sources of water.   
With nearly 50 percent of the state in “exceptional drought” — the highest intensity on the scale — and no immediate relief in sight, Californians are increasingly turning to spiritual methods and even magic in their desperation to bring an end to the dry spell.

A must-see doc on a previous occult revival 
As with the 1970s, you also have the reaction among religious conservatives. But with their power greatly diminished, it's highly unlikely that will have much of an effect. Still, they're watching all of this and don't much like it at all.
A Revival of the Devil's Witchcraft Is Rising 
In recent weeks alone, we've seen the devil pressing hard to bring witchcraft deeper into our schools, our homes and our entertainment venues. We reported on how a new witchcraft-inspired challenge is luring kids into summoning demons. It's called Charlie Charlie and it's sweeping the nation and the world under the guise of a carefree fortune-telling game. Faith leaders are sounding the alarm.
But maybe this time the reaction won't come from homegrown Christian conservatives. Remember we live in a world in which witch-hunts are still very much a reality and that people are accused and killed for witchcraft all of the time around the world. Remember also that borders are becoming increasingly theoretical to the powers that be...
Five women lynched for practising 'witchcraft' in Jharkhand, 27 arrested 
Police women march at the spot where five women accused of practicing witchcraft were beaten to death in a village of Kanjia of Mander block of Jharkhand on Saturday.  
Deputy Inspector General of Police Arun Kumar said the women between 32 years and 50 years were beaten to death with sticks by residents of Kanjia village midnight last night.
But we should also remember that there are many varieties of witchcraft and some are not as pleasant as Wicca and its offshoots. Witchcraft and magic can get very ugly in some parts of the world.

Or in these parts as well. If you think magical crimes and satanic ritual murder are just paranoid folk legends, try looking up the "Chicago Ripper Crew" sometime. 

Good and evil are locked in a tango everywhere you look. And to deny the reality of magical crime- or even the potential of it-- is to deny the power of witchcraft and magick and the hold they can have over the human imagination. It's equally misguided to assume all practitioners of the magical are good as it is to assume they are all evil. They are human beings like everyone else.

If we do see a serious and sustained revival of the Craft, we will have to look for more stories like this, whether we like it or not:

Wiccan Community Angered by Police Description of 'Ritual Killing' in Triple Homicide 
The Wiccan community is outraged by police characterizations that a triple homicide in Florida is suspected to be a "Wiccan ritual killing," calling it a "haunting" comparison to the now infamous West Memphis Three case. 
In a phone interview with NBC News, Escambia County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Andrew Hobbes called the murders, "Wiccan ritual killings." 
"The injuries to the victims, the positions of the bodies and also the person of interest right now is also a practitioner," were contributing factors to the Sheriff Office's determinations, Hobbes said. 
Some in the online Wiccan and pagan community voiced their anger at the officials' characterization of the killings, taking issue with the timing of the homicide — a few days before the symbolic blue moon. 
"My question is, what 'ritual' done a few days before a blue moon would they be attempting and why?" a user posted in a forum on 
Another user on self-described pagan forum The Cauldron, disapproved of the broad strokes with which local authorities painted the entire community. 
"I think if [the sheriff] is going to say that the crime is a Wiccan ritual, he should be made to point out exactly which ritual it was, and where it says in any authoritative work on Wicca that such rituals are permitted," the posting read.
Unfortunately, all communities are painted with broad strokes by someone else at some point. Never has a person risen up when another person has not risen up to oppose them. It's just a sad, simple fact of human nature. If Wiccans become more visible and numerous, they will have to deal with issues that obscure groups necessarily do not.

The question now becomes how resilient this latest Wicca wave will be? Wicca has never gone away, it oscillates in waves of popularity. Many Wiccans will eventually transition into New Age spirituality, which also seems to cresting again. Many will drop out. Who will stay? 

In the past many who became interested in Wicca eventually found their way back to traditional religions, liberal Christianity in particular. But with the latter slowly but inexorably vanishing, the question becomes if Wiccans will finally begin to create more established places and institutions to call their own. 

The next question becomes how will their religion change when it evolves from an informal collection of covens and circles to a more established proposition with budgets, real estate and press relations to worry about. 

These are no small things.

UPDATE: Gordon takes it to the next level, as per usual.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

NASA on Ceres: Dog Day Space-Cartoon


NAZCA NASA's been having quite a summer.

You've probably been following the controversy over the massive lights on the dwarf planet Ceres (named after the mother goddess of Rome who was identified with Isis and Demeter) and the subsequent shenanigans we've come to expect from everyone's favorite labyrinthine comedy troupe. If you haven't, here's a little snippet that will bring you up to speed:
The largest bright spot in the photographs measures roughly 55 miles from one side to the other. Program managers and other researchers at NASA are perplexed trying to explain the processes that could form the highly-reflective regions. 
"The bright spots in this configuration make Ceres unique from anything we've seen before in the solar system. The science team is working to understand their source. Reflection from ice is the leading candidate in my mind, but the team continues to consider alternate possibilities, such as salt," said Chris Russell, principal investigator for the Dawn mission at the University of California, Los Angeles.
And here's where the boffo yuks and giggles and grins kicked in: Good ol' NASA made like they gave two and a half squats what Joe and Jane Q. Public had to say about the lights, or that they actually wanted a bunch of antsy amateurs nosing around their billion-dollar business:
NASA is asking the public for their opinions on the nature of the strange spots on Ceres. People participating in the survey are asked to choose between volcanoes, geysers, rock, ice, salt or "other." As of June 11, 40 percent of respondents believed the unusual features are caused by something other than the suggested materials in the survey. Of the other choices, ice is the in the lead with three of every 10 votes. Rock is the least popular explanation, selected by just six percent of the poll's participants.
Of course, what NASA really wanted was to get a self-selecting gaggle of neckbeards to offer up the dullest possible explanations, just in case some reporter wandered off-script and started asking interesting questions.*
I doubt the general public at large would look at a 55 mile-wide, non-reflective (meaning self-luminous) light mass and guess it was "rocks."
Things got a bit more dicey when NASA started playing games with the satellite photos, doing the usual tricks with resolution and targeting. We started seeing pictures of everything but what most people were interested in, ie., the light formations.
NASA recently published a new photo of Ceres and its of a large crater in high detail…high for NASA, its still not even close to HD quality. However the crater is not the same crater as the one with the glowing white lights coming from it. Its a crater that is 5-6 craters above and to the right of the lights.  What this shows us is that NASA didn’t want to show the public the lights and instead tried to confuse the public by thinking that this photo released with a close up of the crater is the same as the crater with the lights. We…the people…are not so stupid as NASA believes. 
Then this happened:
NASA found a pyramid in outer space and nobody knows how it got there 
Earlier this year, NASA’s Dawn mission finally entered into Ceres’ orbit. Since then, the dwarf planet has offered nothing but mysteries, the latest of which is a three-mile-high pyramid on Ceres’ surface. 
The mission’s principal investigator, Christopher Russell, told the Los Angeles Times that “we do not know yet what made this peak on Ceres, let alone made it the observed shape.” 
The fact that there is only one observable peak deepens the mystery. And it’s relatively large size doesn’t clear things up, Russel added, explaining, “there are processes on Earth that can grow mounds out of ground water in Arctic terrains on Earth. But these are much smaller structures.”
As befitting a heavenly body named in honor of the Queen of the Mysteries, Ceres seems to be full of them. So what does NASA do to quash all of the "conspiracy theory" speculation? 

What it always does- make a cartoon! 

Never mind that there isn't a pixel of real data in this cartoon- it will be circulated as (non) gospel truth. Never mind that it subtly frames all the things NASA can't explain in such as way that it leaves the impression they were, or soon will be, explained. 

And for the coup de gras, NASA throw the epithet "Weird" into the title in order to leave the impression that weirdness does in fact await. But of course, it doesn't and never will. Rocks aren't weird. Well, unless you mean these rocks.

All of this just gives us further proof that NASA's PR arm exists to pump out tranquilizing tedium for school field trips, not to stimulate the imaginations of nascent maverick scientists. Why aren't young people on fire about space these days? Look no further than your local NASA shill.

For those of us who pay attention to NASA's secret language, it's no accident that "Dawn," or Aurora, was sent to Ceres, aka Isis-Sothis-Demeter. Remember the sacred association of dawn and Sirius (associated with the Mother Goddess) and realize that all of this is being released during the Dog Days of Summer, or the days of the heliacal rising of Sirius.

And again, it is my belief, given the obvious connection to the sacred star via her identification with Isis, that Ceres, or Cer-E-S, is an adaption of the Greek Sirius. Believe me, names have been constructed through far, far, far more tenuous etymological links (and my etymology is a lot more Occam's Razor than the unsettled official interpretations).

Finally, the Ceres video was released 8/6/15. According to the Ancient Egyptian Festival calendar, August 6th was the festival of Nut, mother of the gods.

Now that's pretty weird.

*("The lights? Oh, you fool, haven't you seen the surveys? They prove it's rocks. Plus, ice.")

Saturday, August 08, 2015

"We manipulate his path so that he stumbles over certain books."

When you begin to see the Universe as a living entity and not a barren void, you come to understand the subtle patterns in life. What's more, you begin to move in time with them to a certain extent. 

I think becoming aware of Synchronicity and the like is just a part of this-- I think a vigorous program of meditation or a similar practice is equally important. But eventually the masks of causality and chance fall away and you begin to see the deeper currents moving beneath the sliver of consciousness that most people content themselves with.

I think reading and writing are equally important aspects of all this as well, which is probably there's been such an aggressive effort to render the general population illiterate in the past several years.

Today was a rare day off for me after a very busy and frustrating week (a blackout that also managed to burn out our fiber optic equipment, endless car trouble, etc) and it just happened to coincide with a local book sale. I used to go every year but stopped more recently simply because it felt like I was seeing the same old stuff over and over. And I always seemed to be busy for the past few go-rounds. But I took advantage of the free time today.

At the same time I was also wrestling with a post on Gnosticism and the present dilemma of American religion, particularly that of the Evangelical movement, which is currently seeking to esotericize itself (for lack of a better term) a strategy I don't believe church leaders have really thought through very carefully.

I couldn't get anywhere with that because the fact is it's none of my business. My point, that the Evangelical movement can't take on the trappings of Gnosticism without eventually (if not inadvertently) developing an explicitly Gnostic belief system, didn't seem worth the time of doing a full piece. And I was much more interested in my haul at the book sale anyway.

There was a lot more than the same old same old. One of the books I got- for 50 cents a shot- was The Gnostics by Tobias Churton, a book I'd not yet read. I got two nice companions to it; a copy of The Other Bible, the phonebook-sized compendium of the Apocrypha and Gnostic and Hermetic texts (a book I always glanced through but never actually committed to buying) and Dan Burstein's surprisingly meaty Secrets of the Code, an anthology of essays built around themes in The Da Vinci Code (both of which I had already read). 

For good measure I also got an unabridged audiobook of Inferno. I don't expect much but, hey, I've got a lot of hours to fill.

There were other surprises: Nevill Drury's Magic and Witchcraft and The Illustrated Book of Signs and Symbols by Miranda Bruce-Mitford. Neither book looks like it has much in the way of new information but both are lavishly illustrated and will make nice additions to the reference library. I do have a lot of these books but have found that there'll usually be something to set me down a useful path.

Another surprise was The Druids by Stuart Piggott. This looks like a lovely read, and is also filled with some fascinating imagery as well. So little of any real value is known about ancient Celtic religion and it's been a while since I've read into the subject. I'm looking forward to refreshing myself on it once I get some things off my plate.

There were a lot of DVDs and a few graphic novels but all I got were DVDs of the recent War of the Worlds and- speaking of surprises- a DVD of Doctor Who: Pyramids of Mars. For good measure, there was a British book on Doctor Who from the Tom Baker era that I picked up for nostalgia's sake.

There were a number of other books I was eyeing but given my shrinking shelf space I marked them for library takeouts. I'm in the middle of a few different books right now, so most of these will have to wait. But what was important to me was their symbolic value. I've been attending these sales since the early 90s and never before had I grabbed anything like this haul, esoterically-speaking.

The funny thing is is that just a week or so back I found myself near the used book shop for another reason and decided to drop in. It had been a while since I'd been there (for much the same reason that I'd missed the past few sales- boredom with the stock) and lo and behold what do I find but a first edition hardcover of Flying Saucers and the Three Men, Gray Barker's seminal book that brought the Men-in-Black into the cultural lexicon.

Not only was it there waiting for me, I picked it up for $7.50, about a tenth of what you'd pay for it from an online dealer. This wasn't the first time I'd found a treasure at this spot- I also picked up a first edition Passport to Magonia for a mind-boggling 5 dollars there as well.

This seems to be a pattern. I was in the neighborhood for another reason another time a few years back and found another esoterically-inclined UFO book, one that inspired a bit of impromptu bibliomancy that Mike Clelland ended up blogging about:

Christopher Knowles: So for some strange reason I had to take my son somewhere today. So since I had to go way out of my way I stopped at the used book store. And what's waiting there for me? An unread copy of UFOs and the Psychic Factor by Ida Kannenberg...
Mike Clelland: Get ready, this book is WONDERFUL! That sweet old grandmother has such a delightful take on this subject!
Christopher Knowles: What are the odds?
(a little while later)
Christopher Knowles: OK, so I pick up this book, thinking "what's this all about, what's it got to tell me?" and open the book up at random as I do with new non-fiction books. I open the book up to page 103 and my eyes focus on the second paragraph...
Mike Clelland: Ha-Ha! Seems "they" manipulated your path! I love this kind of stuff. Really and truly, it just slays me.
Now check out the funny part. Here’s the first two sentences on page 103 of that cool book, this is what the the second paragraph says:
"An example of these mysteries may be that we want him to read a certain type of book. We manipulate his path and so that he stumbles over certain books, which he feels “inspired” to read."

Well, I don't know if that's the case but it all certainly feels like much more than random chance. 

But then again I've also been wondering if Synchronicity is not simply misdiagnosed psi, as David Hufford advised me in 2008 (Eric Wargo has been working on that thesis as well). If that is the case it's a form of psi we don't know how to work with yet, since we are only aware of it after the fact. 

But in the end what matters is results. And I'm certainly happy with those. Now all I need is time to read all this wonderful material.

Monday, August 03, 2015

The Exegesis: Never Mind the Mainstream

When I was a kid I was very passionate about music, punk and post-punk bands particularly. It was a very hard passion since these bands almost invariably threw themselves into the music industry Cuisinart at one point or another. Around mid to late 1982 I actually dreaded turning on the radio since that was the time that these acts began selling out in earnest. 

The worst part about it all was reading the music papers and seeing these artists try to justify the betrayal of their own mission statements. Seeing the tortured rhetoric spill out of their mouths as they now sought to relabel the soft rock, disco and pop they had not mere months before announced they would erase from the charts as somehow "progressive" and "revolutionary" was worse than painful, it was an insult. 

Worse still, the fault wasn't theirs for marching to the record industry's dictates, it was the audience's for not recognizing that these bold artists were seeking to raise the unenlightened peons' consciousness by offering up inept counterfeits of the same old AM radio pabulum that created an audience for a new wave in the first place.

Some of these acts scored (usually minor) hits. But many of them bombed badly and not only failed to win a mainstream audience but alienated the considerable fanbases they had already acquired. 

So when I was working on The Secret History of Rock and Roll I came to have a new admiration for heavy metal culture. Not necessarily the music, mind you (I was more a hard rock fan- yes, there's a very big difference between the two), but most definitely for the networks of bands and fans that grew and thrived despite almost universal contempt from the mainstream, certainly from the mainstream media. 

Rock critics went out of their way to pour scorn on metal when it split off from hard rock in the mid 1970s, which is not to say critics were all that big on hard rock either. But the attacks from the critics had absolutely no effect on metal, in fact all it did was delegitimize rock criticism over time. And not only in the eyes of metal fans but in the eyes of all the other new subcultures the entrenched aging Boomer critic class hated and feared, and that includes most of post-punk and its tributaries like synthpop.

A few years back some of the big English glossies put out collections of old clippings from the British music papers on the bigger bands and movements and it's stunning to see how uniformly hostile the critics were to the bands that people still care about today.

I remember reading the papers back then and learning to distrust journalists. I remember going to concerts and seeing the audience explode in cathartic bliss and then reading some sniffy dismissal of the show in The Boston Phoenix. But I also came to realize that the acts the critics cared about were comprehensible only to the critics. 

Heavy Metal alone didn't make rock criticism irrelevant but it certainly helped. And for the fans of metal the only criteria that matters is whether the bands bring the noise, whether they get the job done. Metal culture not only exists outside mainstream acceptance, it exists in defiance of it. 

Reading about the history of the Mystery cults I learned that heavy metal is actually very ancient indeed, and that the Greek philosophers tripped over each other in writing orgasmic paeans in honor of the ancient metal gods like the Korybantes, Dactyls and Kouretes. 

Literally- and I mean this- the only difference between ancient and modern metal is electricity. The Korybantes et al played huge metal stringed instruments and used all sorts of things (including shields) as percussion. Anything to make a fucking racket.

All of this came to mind when I was reading a Fortean site doing what so many Fortean sites do and that is wringing their hands about pleasing the skeptics and appealing to the mainstream. Coincidentally I saw a major alt.researcher recently complain on Facebook about being dismissed as a "conspiracy buff" by some douchebag academic archaeologist, to which I replied that Academia is never going to accept anything outside its tiny orbit and there is no halfway on which to meet them. 

They are no different than the rock critics of the early 80s, attacking every single important band while heaping praise on marginal acts that absolutely no one remembers today.

The Fortean in question also said that people interested in anomalies needed to unite under an umbrella term like "Anomalism" (what's wrong with "Fortean?"), to which I reply that that is a hopeless cause. Anomalies are mere symptoms, what needs to be discussed and sought after are the causes. Like the nature of reality itself.

I've been reading a lot of different things when I have the time and been thinking about Gnosticism and the diminishment thereof by those looking to replace the liberal Protestantism of their youth with a mildly exotic variant. I was listening to a roundtable of "modern Gnostics" recently, and while all the individuals involved had all the right credentials, they made Gnosticism sound like a particularly arid variant of Methodism. I couldn't even make it all the way through. 

It certainly didn't sound like the do-or-die Gnosticism of the Mandaeans or Cathars or Druze or even the early Mormons. It sounded tamed, like one of those radio-ready singles from one of those former Punk rebels of the early 80s. It will make no converts, it won't even keep most in the fold.

Maybe the basic temperaments of your average metalhead and your thoughtful Gnostic are just too different but I think those of us looking to question the assumptions of our reality consensus have a lot to learn from the take-no-prisoners, my-way-or-the-highway attitude of your average metalhead. 

The establishment-- the mainstream-- is not interested in compromising and there's no point in pretending otherwise.

There is a viable and ancient- and endlessly fascinating- alternative to the prevailing consensus, one that offers up lots of evidence for those willing to take the time to look. There's work to be done there and it's all hands on deck time. It's time to stop worrying about what those who have already sold their souls think.

UPDATE: Any opportunity I get to link to this stormer by our friend Gordon, I take. I should add the admixture of Gnosticism and hard music got me thinking of our other friend Raj while writing this piece.