Religion

Who Would the Space Brothers Vote For?

By | Contactees, Religion | 3 Comments

Today, I want to talk about exopolitics.  Literally.  Who would the Space Brothers–the beautiful denizens of Venus and beyond–have voted for in the US presidential election?

I suppose the answer to the question of who the Space Brothers would vote for, were they eligible to vote (which they wouldn’t be, unless they chose to become naturalized citizens) really depends on which of the Contactees you were to ask.  And unless Valiant Thor or one of his crew comes forward to endorse a particular person, we have to go on what the Contactees said.

Though the Space Brothers are often depicted monolithically, always in perfect agreement with each other, the stories of them as told by the Contactees tend to lack smaller details of the individuals.  We don’t know if Orthon liked his coffee black while Firkon preferred a little cream and sugar, and that sort of thing.  They are depicted in these stories as angelic–often literally–and as such, they are shown to be kind and enlightened beings with no flaws to speak of.  If we knew who they’d vote for, then you can assume that person would be the only correct choice.

However, depending on who’s telling the story, the details of those Space Brotherian societies differ wildly, and therefore, their presumed voting preferences.  A good place to start to determine this would be to examine the issues that are important to them.

First, the Space Brothers typically advocate fervently for nuclear disarmament, and seek to minimize conflict and strife on this planet, eliminating war and disease.  They want to help us toward a glorious future in which we bond with our planet and take steps toward what today we would call green energy and environmentalism.  All of these things would indicate that the Space Brothers would lean to the Democratic/Green Party/Socialist side of things.

On the other hand, many of the Space Brothers extolled the virtues of a traditional life, and a return to simpler times as the way forward.  This included religion, generally Christianity, as well as dispensing with laws (to be fair, they were only able to do this because they were enlightened as individuals, and therefore needed no laws.)  Both of these things tend to lean more Republican/Libertarian.

But that’s where the waters get more muddy.  While some of the Space Brothers spoke a traditional Christian message, not all of them seemed to agree completely.  Take Valiant Thor, as recounted by Reverend Frank Stranges in “Stranger at the Pentagon.”

“He told me that his purpose in coming was to help mankind return to the Lord.  He spoke in positive terms…always with a smile on his face. He said that man was further away from God than ever before, but there was still a good chance if man looks in the right place…he told me that Jesus Christ would not force men to be saved from their mistakes, even though He had already made a way for mankind to be redeemed through His shed blood.”

Compare that very Christian message to the more Eastern religion-flavored tone of George King:

“A time of change is now upon us. The Age of Aquarius, which will start to dawn in the new millennium, will be an Age of Science, but a science tempered by love. The barriers between different religions will gradually be broken down and there will be a return to oneness which is the very essence of Spiritual expression.”

from Contact with the Gods from Space by George King, D.D., Th.D.

This more inclusive philosophy sounds similar to the philosophy of another famous George, Adamski, who recorded the following meeting with a being called “The Master” in “Inside the Space Ships.”

“And no man lives who has never once dreamed of what you call Utopia, or the nearly perfect world.  There is nothing which man has ever imagined which is not, somewhere, a reality. And, therefore, nothing that is not possible of achievement.  For you too, on Earth, that is possible.  For us on the other planets of our galaxy, it is so now.”

But Adamski opposed organized religion, saying it only caused division amongst humanity.  “The Master” goes on:

“There is nothing wrong with your Earth, nor with its people, except that in their lack of understanding they are young children in the universal life of the One Supreme Being.  You have been told that in our worlds we live the creator’s laws, while as yet on Earth you only talk of them.”

So what are these “creator’s laws”?  According to Adamski, they provide for everyone, they care for the entire planet, they are concerned for the environment, and so on.  In fact, Adamski is reported once to have said that communism was the way of the future.  You can’t go much left-er than that.  To the Aetherius Society, the planet is itself a living being, and so the safety of the environment is of utmost importance to them, another left-leaning concern.  Then again, Woody Derenberger’s Lanulosians seemed to feel that “separate but equal” wasn’t the worst thing in the world.  And to Stranges and many others, it was our straying from traditional values that was causing all the problems in the world.

Whether this variation in opinions comes from the Space Brothers or the Contactees talking to them, I leave you to be the judge.  While it’s fairly certain the Space Brothers would have little tolerance for border walls, they would have also had problems with a willingness to use military force.  And while they perhaps would agree with much of socialist philosophy, they would recoil at the idea of passing laws and regulations forcing people to comply.

Who would the Space Brothers vote for?  Do Angels vote for God?  How would they vote when the idea of government is unnecessary?  This also doesn’t take into account the idea of country–why would beings who see the world from a global scale concern themselves with the petty meanderings of country politics?

So I’m at a loss.  What do you think?

 

Carl Sagan and Contact

By | Contactees, Filmmaking, Movies, Religion, Reviews, Video | 5 Comments

Over the course of making They Rode the Flying Saucers, one movie has kept coming to mind: Contact.  I mean, duh.  It’s right there in the title.

The original novel on which the movie is based was written by one of the purest scientistic minds ever: Carl Sagan.  A brilliant astronomer, he was fascinated by the idea of alien life and alien civilizations.  He was a staunch advocate for SETI (The Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence), a scientific effort to find alien civilizations elsewhere in the universe, and fought against its cancellation by Congress in the ’80s.  Despite this, he was highly skeptical of the UFO reports, on the basis that they did not have sufficient verifiable evidence to support them.  “Extraordinary claims”, he said, “require extraordinary evidence.”

In 1980, PBS aired Sagan’s series Cosmos.  In one episode, he directly addressed the idea of UFOs, and one gets the sense that he did it just to get it out of the way, because if he didn’t address it, people would ask annoying questions.  In this segment, he used what was at the time considered the case with the greatest verifiable evidence for its truth, the Betty and Barney Hill encounter.

As a scientist, he felt the only way to discuss the validity of this case was to look at the only evidence that could be verified, as opposed to the anecdotal reports and psychological tests.  This amounted to a star map drawn by Betty Hill, which she claimed she saw aboard the alien craft onto which she was taken.  This map included stars that were as yet undiscovered in the 1960s.  Sagan, in the clip above, describes exactly why this evidence is useless for verifying the Hill case–namely, the dots she drew could easily be a random pattern of dots that one could find in many areas of the sky if you looked long enough.  While he disregards many of the other compelling aspects of the Hill case, I give him credit for remaining open to the idea that her story is true:

For all I know, we might be visited by a different extraterrestrial civilization every second Tuesday.  But there is no support for this appealing idea.

But what of the classic Contactees? To many die-hard UFO believers, the Contactees were outcasts; to skeptics, they were absolute lunatics.  To them, Contactee stories were absurd, simplistic, and worst of all, absolutely devoid of supporting evidence.  Even Sagan seemed downright annoyed by them, as you can see by his tongue firmly planted in his cheek when he speaks of them in this clip:

 

 

So it appears that Sagan was open to the idea of aliens, and even to the idea of alien visitation.  In a book co-written with I.S. Shklovskii called Intelligent Life in the Universe, Sagan even addressed the possibility that aliens may have visited us in the ancient past–that’s right, Carl Sagan was an Ancient Astronaut Theorist.  Unlike the likes of Tsoukalos and Von Däniken, however, Sagan pointed out that this was entirely speculative, but not impossible.  But I think it’s notable that he did not automatically dismiss the idea.   Compare that to many of the (to paraphrase Greg Bishop) “evangelical skeptics” today, who have apparently re-defined skepticism to mean “if it can’t be proven true, it’s necessarily false.”

And this is what makes the film Contact so interesting.  I would say “spoiler alert,” but if you haven’t seen this movie by now, you need to get on the ball.  The story was presented in a dryly scientific way…the first hour of the film establishes Jodie Foster’s character Ellie Arroway, a brilliant astronomer fascinated by the idea of alien civilizations.  (Sound familiar?)  It establishes her conflict with her peers, personified in the character of David Drumlin (Tom Skerrit), who thinks she’s throwing away her talents on a hopeless quest like SETI.  But when Ellie actually discovers an alien transmission, Drumlin the skeptic becomes Drumlin the I-Knew-It-All-Along.

The alien transmission is written in mathematics, the only truly universal language, and includes instructions for creating a wormhole-generating device that will allow a single passenger to travel to the alien world and make face-to-face contact.  To not go into too much detail on the plot, suffice it to say that Ellie eventually does this and meets an alien being.  This being scans her mind and takes the form of Ellie’s deceased father, as a way of making it easier for Ellie to understand the being.  After a brief conversation, Ellie returns to Earth, where only a fraction of a second has passed, though eighteen hours has passed for her.

With no evidence other than her word, no one believes her.  But she has had an a-theistic religious experience, and will never be the same–not unlike a typical Contactee experience.  Perhaps Sagan was inspired by them, at least in part.  The Contactees were men and women who offered no evidence but told wild tales.  The beings they met were almost always human in appearance, and could read minds, and were kind and relatable–much like Ellie’s experience in the film.  The only thing missing in Sagan’s tale is a tour of the spaceship and a warning against nuclear weapons.  And yet that message is implicit in the story, from a scene earlier in the film in which Ellie says that the one question she would ask an alien being, if she was given the chance, was how they made it through their technological adolescence without destroying themselves.  (Ironically, she does not ask this question when given the chance.)

I think it’s surprising and yet somehow fitting that a towering figure of scientific rationality like Carl Sagan was willing to admit that not everything is scientifically verifiable.  That even though a story of alien contact may sound unbelievable, it is not necessarily untrue.  While this is a work of fiction, I would say that it has a scientifically sound grounding in reality and to some degree spoke of Carl Sagan’s beliefs.

Perhaps the Contactees were not so simplistic after all.  Perhaps their experiences were projections of a sort, much like in the movie.  Perhaps the beings they met took forms that would be easy for humans to relate to.  And the fact that they had no evidence does not mean that their experiences were necessarily false, no matter what the skeptics say.  Their experiences changed their lives in deep and profound ways, transcending concrete scientific fact to address human spirituality and potential.  In other words, the Contactees stories had an inner reality that science cannot discover or probe, yet is perhaps no less true.

 

The Aetherius Society and Operation Starlight

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Charging Mt. Baldy with spiritual energy

Charging Mt. Baldy with spiritual energy

Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to be invited along on a pilgrimage to Mt. Baldy with the Aetherius Society.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, the Aetherius Society is a group founded in 1957 by Dr. George King. Among their beliefs is that there exist on the Earth numerous holy mountains charged with spiritual energy, and Dr. King, through Operation Starlight, was able to make the energy of 19 of those mountains accessible through human effort.  (The others operate on a spiritual level that is beyond us).  Mt. Baldy, near Los Angeles, is one such mountain.  From the Aetherius Society’s website:

Spiritual energy is no less real than electricity and operates according to natural laws. It can help to heal, inspire, guide, bless and protect whoever it is directed to.

We can all learn to invoke and transmit this light energy – this love energy – to help ourselves, individuals in need, and most importantly, the world as a whole.

What is spiritual energy, exactly?  It’s too involved of an answer to go into here, but according to the Aetherius Society, it can be directed, like electricity, toward certain specific targets in order to generate healing.

In times of crisis, the Society directs this energy toward the affected areas.  For example, during this particular pilgrimage, the healing energy was directed primarily toward the victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal.

The height of the Contactee era was, not coincidentally, the height of the Cold War, and as such, the entire planet was in something of a constant crisis; nuclear war loomed like the Sword of Damocles, and Dr. King founded the Aetherius Society, in part, to deal with this.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the Aetherius Society believes that there was a fifth planet in the solar system named Maldek.  This planet was destroyed in a nuclear explosion, and is now the asteroid belt.  

They believe that prior to the destruction, Maldek was a highly advanced culture, but “the disease” came–a lust for power.  The advanced beings of Maldek turned their knowledge and power to developing ever more powerful weapons, until they managed to destroy their planet entirely.  But some beings from Maldek traveled to Earth and established a colony there, named Lemuria, or Mu.

This society flourished for centuries, but they fell victim to the same lust for power, and destroyed their society a second time.  The survivors established a new paradise, this one called Atlantis.  But the same fate awaited them.

And now in our modern era, we’ve achieved heights of technical prowess unmatched for millenia, and once again, we have the power to destroy ourselves with nuclear weapons. Fortunately, the space brothers are watching this time, and as such, issued “The Command” to Dr. King, telling him that he was to become the voice of Interplanetary Parliament on Earth.

He founded the Aetherius Society, which in turn serves as a front lines of defense against this “disease” from taking over and destroying humanity once and for all.  For those in the Aetherius Society, it is essential to send this healing energy out into the world, in order to prevent such a thing from happening.

And I, for one, feel comforted knowing they are doing just that.

 

An Alien Perspective

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When Edgar Mitchell, astronaut on Apollo 14 and current record holder for longest stroll on the moon, was returning to Earth in 1971, he saw the planet from space and had something of a religious experience.  Seeing our planet from so high up, beyond all our petty conflicts, he realized that our home was a complete, interconnected, living system, of which we are an integral part.  As a result, he abandoned outer space for the inner kind, and founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences.  Mitchell’s experience was so intense, in fact, that he remains transformed even now, 44 years later.

Contactees report similar transformative experiences, sometimes as a result of seeing their planet from above, from seeing technology so far beyond ours as to be magical, or simply from meeting beings from above.  Recently, I spoke with a Contactee about his experience, and he described it as “like meeting Jesus.”  He said that his life was forever changed in the space of a few moments, and he will never see anything the same way again.  That shift was not easy and almost destroyed his marriage and reputation.  But he persisted in the face of such opposition and stuck to what had happened and became outspoken about it.

This is key to the Contact experience.  Whatever happens to Contactees, whether it’s a hallucinatory break or an actual meeting with beings from another world, their lives are transformed.  Orfeo Angelucci comes to mind.

On May 23, 1952, Angelucci started feeling ill at work.  While driving home, he claims he encountered beings who appeared to him in holographic form and gave him an elixir to drink that immediately cured his ailment.  He describes his reaction to these beings in The Secret of the Saucers:

As I listened to that kind, gentle voice I began to feel a warm, glowing wave of love enfold me; so powerful that it seemed as a tangible soft, golden light.  For a wonderful moment I felt infinitely greater, finer and stronger than I knew myself to be.  It was as though momentarily I had transcended mortality and was somehow related to these superior beings.

Phrases like “I had transcended mortality” give Angelucci’s story a religious flair, and that is one of the common criticisms of the Contactees: that they are religious fanatics grasping at the flying saucers as their new source of prophecy.  And the conversation ends there.  But why?

I’ve said before that belief in the Contactees is irrelevant to the study of their claims; it’s that moment of “religion” that comes over them and transforms their lives that makes them worthy of attention.

It’s no different than the shift in perspective that might come from someone being born again at a revival on a riverbank; from seeing the sun rise over Haleakala in Maui; from looking at the Earth from a vantage point of millions of miles away; or from meditating under a bodhi tree.

The source doesn’t matter nearly as much as the shift in perspective that comes with it.  The Contactees claimed the Space Brothers could tell us how to run our planet because they were literally coming from a higher perspective.  They were emissaries of that higher perspective, trying to explain to us the beauty and interconnectedness of us all.

This idea of interconnectedness is often applied to spiritual and New Age topics, but I’m more interested in how they are directly applicable in perfectly practical ways.  Our ecosystems are interconnected.  So are our economies, our lives, our shopping habits, our hygiene, but most importantly, our belief systems.  What we believe about our world and our universe affects everything else.  For example, if we believe that humans have no role in runaway climate change, then we strip ourselves of the power to change it, potentially affecting our ecosystem irreparably, which in turn would affect our economies, and so on.

We all know this.  But I think we forget it, and that’s why we need people like the Contactees.

There’s nothing new in what the Contactees said, only in the way they said it.  Like Moses before the burning bush, the Contactees struggled to express that sense of awe.  Their burning bushes were shiny metal discs, and their angels wore blue jumpsuits.  But the message was the same.  They were unable to explain their sense of awe at what had just happened to them, whether it was real or imagined.  But that sense of awe, of having one’s perspective shifted even momentarily to a higher level, can be life-changing.  And if someone is willing to throw away their reputations, their marriages, their careers to attempt to express this, then I think it’s at least worth a listen.

The Trickster Spirit

By | Contactees, Mythology, Ramblings, Religion | No Comments

In classical mythology, the figure known as the Trickster takes many guises.  In Judeo-Christian beliefs, it is known as Lucifer or Satan.  In Native American folklore, it’s called Coyote.  The Norse knew it as Loki. Even modern parables such as comics have their own version in the form of the Joker. Widely spaced belief systems, both geographically and temporally, all came up with the same basic notion: a being so clever and devious that it could win our trust, grant our wishes, and make all our dreams come true.  But at a price: everything.

Just ask Faust.

The Trickster can be seen as evil, as the figure of Satan is in many religions today.  Some, such as Coyote, are more playful and mischievous.  But from a wider perspective, the Trickster is a force of nature that protects humanity from its own tendency toward excess. In granting us our deepest wishes, it forces us to face our true selves, the selves we keep hidden from the world and even our own waking minds.  If we give into the temptation, we become corrupted.  Some, like Jesus, were able to resist these temptations and remain true to themselves.  In fact, that is essentially the most fundamental role of many religions: to keep the Trickster at bay.

I can’t be certain that there are actual Tricksters out there, toying with our hearts and minds, but I do know that corruption is real, and it is born out of our successes.  The old phrase “absolute power corrupts absolutely” is a commentary on this phenomenon.

(I should point out that not all corruption is of the “good turning evil” variety.  Corruption could be seen as emotional rust, or a layer of dust, or increasing carelessness in our lives or the failure of remaining vigilant in our quest for self-actualization.)

I’ve seen this tendency toward corruption many times in the general field of UFOlogy and paranormal research.  Many honest researchers seem to become enamored of their own tales and the daring truths they uncover, and they are rewarded with fame, or fortune, or renown.  Some win awards, some sell millions of books, some have movies made about them.  But sooner or later, many (if not most) of them become laughingstocks not only to society at large, but to their own following.  They become so blinded by their apparent success at discovering the secrets of the universe that they lose perspective and cease to question things; that is, they stop doing the very things that brought them their success in the first place.

This, of course, can be said of any industry, not just the study of the paranormal.  But I think when discussing paranormal studies, UFOlogy, and Contactees in particular, it strays closer to the classical mythological context than it does in, say, modern politics or the tech industry.

The Contactees, beginning with George Adamski, rose to great prominence on the strength of their stories. As in any population, the Contactees had their fair share of deceivers and folks in it for a quick buck, but many of them were absolutely sincere.  They had real experiences, or at the very least, thought they had.  They rode this wave of success for a decade or so before cracks began to appear.

Where great crowds once gathered to hear them speak, they eventually found themselves relegated to living rooms where the few remaining true believers could easily fit.  Sometimes, their stories that seemed relatively plausible–i.e. that they had met a being from another planet who was just here to help–had transformed into more and more surreal galaxy-spanning stories of derring-do.  They left the masses behind–those who’d not been fortunate enough to have these experiences could no longer relate to these stories.  Or maybe it was that society moved on to different interests, leaving the Contactees behind, who desperately tried to reclaim their relevance.

Either way, their great success eventually collapsed under its own weight.  Was it the doing of some outside force?  Were the Space Brothers actually manifestations of Loki or Coyote, tricking these people into thinking they were from Venus or Mars or Saturn, and then pulling out the rug from under them for their own amusement?  I’m not here to say.  The idea of a Trickster is at once a terrifying and weirdly comforting thought for me; on the one hand, it suggests that any one of us could fall victim to this effect without any warning.  On the other, it suggests that society as a whole will always be kept away from the brink by this supernatural system of checks and balances.

Loki, from a medieval illuminated manuscript.  You were expecting Tom Hiddleston?

Some have suggested that many of the Contactees did indeed have valid initial experiences; they actually met beautiful blonde flying saucer pilots in the Mojave who told them of peace and love.  But then they were abandoned by the flying saucers altogether (a classic Trickster technique), and turned to fabricating ever more elaborate tales to outdo one another and maintain their position of fame or prominence.

I’ve seen this effect happening before my eyes in other fields, and if nothing else, it is a fascinating window into the mind of humanity.  We flail about until something strikes a chord, then we beat it mercilessly until it gives up every drop of whatever it has to give.  Whether the tales of the Contactees are true or not, they stand, like every great religious parable or myth, as reminders of our own nature.

Channeling the Spacepeople, or just the Subconscious?

By | Contactees, Ramblings, Religion | 2 Comments
Richard Miller

In my previous post entitled “How to Talk to Spacepeople”, I discussed the phrase “Adonai vasu baragas,” which, according to Contactee Richard Miller, translates literally as “Farewell, good brothers.”

Miller was known for several radio programs including “Space Tapes”, “Galaxy” and “Solar Cross.”  In these programs, he would channel beings via Tensor Beam, who educated the listeners on ancient history, space brother technology, and what it was like to live on Mars.

Each of these channeling sessions ended with the entity on the other end of the line saying  “Adonai” or “Adonai vasu baragas.”  This phrase took on life beyond Mr. Miller, and soon other contactees were using it as well.  Although I am not certain that he was the first contactee to use this phrase, he is the first that I am aware of.

On first listen, this phrase sounds like meaningless, made up syllables inspired by The Day the Earth Stood Still’s famous line “Klaatu barada nikto”.

However, these words are not meaningless.

Let’s start with “adonai.”  It is the plural form of the Hebrew word “Adon,” which is used to describe, angels, men, or the one true G-d of Israel.  Literally, it translates as “My Lord”, and is derived from the Akkadian word for “Mighty.”  You can read the full etymology here.

“Vasu” is not, as near as I can tell, a Hebraic word.  Rather, it is Hindi. The vasu are the attendant lesser deities to Indra and Vishnu.  The best approximation I can think of in a western culture would be that the vasu are elementals, each individual relating to a particular aspect of nature, such as fire and wind.

Both of these words make sense, in a strange way, as being words from the intergalactic tongue of the Space Brothers.  Perhaps those words came to our languages via the intercession of the Space Brothers in ancient times.

Or, perhaps, they are the result of intense study in spiritual and religious subjects, something that many contactees were well-versed in.  I cannot speak to Miller’s knowledge of such things specifically, as information on him is remarkably sparse.

But what about the last word, “baragas”?  It is very similar to barada, from The Day the Earth Stood Still.  It is also similar to baraka, the Hebrew and Arabic word for blessing, which would fit in with the Hebraic “adonai.”  But there is one more far less exotic possibility for the origin:

That is a map of Baraga, Michigan.  Richard Miller was from Detroit, and would conceivably have been aware of this place.

It’s quite possible that the literal translation of “adonai vasu baragas” is “My Lord, servant of the villages of Baraga township.”

Obviously, I cannot say definitively that this phrase sprang from Miller’s head entirely.  For all I know, he was actually receiving transmissions from another world.  But one thing I’ve come across again and again in my research is that this subject and related subjects (ouija boards, mediumship, spiritualism, etc.) reveal a lot of things about our inner lives in a way that direct examination cannot reveal.

The Contactees were, like most people of the time, afraid of atomic war, uneasy about the changing role of the United States on the world stage, and wary of cultural changes in society.  It stands to reason that, unlike others who just ignored these feelings or sought to calm their nerves with television and movies, they sought to ease their concerns by turning to paranormal means, such as channeling.  And instead of discovering truths outside the planet, the truths originated inside their subconscious minds.