Honor and Magic

The Psychedelic Interstellar Future

by Jason Louv
SOURCE: Boing Boing

In my second year of college, I bought a copy of Robert Anton Wilson’s Cosmic Trigger at a New Age bookstore in downtown Santa Cruz.

It had a naked space goddess on the cover, and threatened to reveal the “Final Secret of the Illuminati.” I read it in one sitting, and when I closed the book, I’d not only learned said group’s final secret, I felt like I was one of the inner circle.

I immediately loaned it out, and watched it circulate among about a dozen people before vanishing into the Santa Cruz synchronicity vortex. Everyone I talked to had about the same experience.

Cosmic Trigger—a record of one man’s journey into inner space—has been doing that, consistently, since its first publication in 1977. It’s the Little Red Book for futurist mutants.

Robert Anton Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson

Here’s how it started: In 1962, 30-year-old Robert Anton Wilson was working as an assistant sales manager in Yellow Springs, Ohio, with a wife and four young children, when he decided to eat some peyote. As a hard-headed rationalist, Wilson was in for a rough ride: The cactus shredded his narrowband understanding of existence and his place in the universe.

Wilson walked straight through the now-opened doors of perception and into a decade and a half of exhaustive experimentation with willed brain change—encapsulating research into LSD, Aleister Crowley’s Magick, Count Alfred Korzybski’s General Semantics, Dr. John Lilly’s sensory deprivation tank, conspiracy theories, Sufism, Buckminster Fuller, UFOs, Gurdjieff, Zen Buddhism and a lot more.

Timothy Leary

Timothy Leary

A collaborative partnership with Timothy Leary and a five-year stint as an associate editor at Playboy provided more fuel for Wilson’s voyage, which culminated in the publication of Cosmic Trigger. The book is his first-person record of fucking with the settings of his own mind—all while maintaining a healthy degree of skepticism and empiricist rigor, as an antidote to the muddled thinking that blights the territory he was scouting.

Wilson’s experiments convinced him that humanity’s limitations are largely self-imposed, that “reality is always plural and mutable,” and that if we were to just take off our conditioned blinkers of superstition and ideology, we could unlock our dormant Promethean intelligence, overcome our tribal conflicts and get our species off the planet. Cosmic Trigger ends far from Wilson’s early rural peyote trips, with a vision of mankind colonizing the stars.

A recent flu afforded me the chance to re-read Cosmic Trigger, thirteen years after I first found it as a student. Those thirteen years had been occupied with my own stress-test of reality, including many of the avenues Wilson had explored, much of which I recorded in the books I published in my 20s. It was also a time in which I’d watched the utopian future promised by Wilson, Leary, Douglas Rushkoff, Ken Wilber and others utterly crash and burn. 9/11 seemed to kill the Star Trek-style future all the smart nerds had been working on, instead spawning a new dark age of religious fundamentalism and illiterate barbarism typified by Bush Jr. and the newly reactionary, compassionless, cocaine-fuelled hipster “counterculture” that sprouted up under his rule—followed by the Great Sleep of the socially progressive but rights-and-privacy-decimating, Facebook-hypnotized Obama years.

It was with the lingering weight of this decade-plus of disappointment that I expected to return to Cosmic Trigger and find that it had all been bongthink—but what I discovered instead was that most of Wilson and Leary’s utopian predictions actually seem well on their way to coming true, if a bit later than the two men expected.

RAW was right.

For the full article, click here.

The Lost, Technologically Advanced Celtic Empire

by Tim Martin
SOURCE: The Telegraph

'Important if true” was the phrase that the 19th-century writer and historian Alexander Kinglake wanted to see engraved above church doors. It rings loud in the ears as one reads the latest book by Graham Robb, a biographer and historian of distinction whose new work, if everything in it proves to be correct, will blow apart two millennia of thinking about Iron Age Britain and Europe and put several scientific discoveries back by centuries.

Rigorously field-tested by its sceptical author, who observes drily that “anyone who writes about Druids and mysteriously coordinated landscapes, or who claims to have located the intersections of the solar paths of Middle Earth in a particular field, street, railway station or cement quarry, must expect to be treated with superstition”, it presents extraordinary conclusions in a deeply persuasive and uncompromising manner. What surfaces from these elegant pages – if true – is nothing less than a wonder of the ancient world: the first solid evidence of Druidic science and its accomplishments and the earliest accurate map of a continent.

Robb begins his journey from a cottage in Oxfordshire, following up a handful of mysteries that had teasingly accrued as he assembled his Ondaatje Prize-winning travelogue The Discovery of France.

They had to do with the Heraklean Way, an ancient route that runs 1,000 miles in a straight line from the tip of the Iberian Peninsula to the Alps, and with several Celtic settlements called Mediolanum arranged at intervals along the route.

After examining satellite imaging (difficult for the private scholar even a decade ago) and making several more research trips, Robb bumped up against two extraordinary discoveries. First, the entire Via Heraklea runs as straight as an arrow along the angle of the rising and setting sun at the solstices. Second, plotting lines through the Celtic Mediolanum settlements results in lines that map on to sections of Roman road, which themselves point not to Roman towns but at Celtic oppida farther along.

For the full article, click here.

Mathematics and Occultism

by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)
dated: July 8, 1928
Published by the Anthroposophical Society


IT is well known that the inscription over the door of Plato's school was intended to exclude anybody who was unacquainted with the science of Mathematics, from participating in the teachings of the Master. Whatever we may think of the historical truth of this tradition, it is based upon the correct understanding of the place that Plato assigned to mathematics within the domain of human knowledge. Plato intended to awaken the perceptions of his disciples by training them to move in the realm of purely spiritual being according to his “Doctrine of Ideas.” His point of view was that Man can know nothing of the “True World” so long as his thought is permeated by what his senses transmit. He demanded that thought should be emancipated from sensation. Man moves in the World of Ideas when he thinks, only after he has purged his thought of all that sensuous perception can present. The paramount question for Plato was, “How does Man emancipate himself from all sense-perception?” He considered this to be an all-important question for the education of the spiritual life.

Of course, it is only with difficulty that Man can emancipate himself from material perceptions, as a simple experiment on one's own self will prove. Even when the man who lives in this every-day world does withdraw into himself and does not allow any material impressions of the senses to work upon him, the residues of sensuous perception still linger, in his mind. As to the man who is as yet undeveloped, when he rejects the impressions which he has received from the physical world of the senses, he simply faces nothingness — the absolute annihilation of consciousness. Hence certain philosophers affirm that there exists no thought free from sense-perception. They say, “Let a man withdraw himself ever so much within the realm of pure thought, he would only be dealing with the shadowy reflections of his sense-perceptions.” This statement holds good, however, only for the undeveloped man. When he acquires for himself the faculty of developing organs which can perceive spiritual truths (just as Nature has built for him organs of sense), then his thought ceases to remain empty when it rids itself of the contents of sense-perception. It was precisely such a mind emancipated from sense-perception and yet spiritually full, which Plato demanded from those who would understand his Doctrine of Ideas. In demanding this, however, he demanded no more than was always required of their disciples, by those who aspired to make them true initiates of the Higher Knowledge. Until Man experiences within himself to its full extent what Plato here implies, he cannot have any conception of what true Wisdom is.

Now Plato looked upon mathematical science as a means of training for life in the World of Ideas emancipated from sense-perception. The mathematical images hover over the border-line between the material and the purely spiritual World. Let us think about the “circle”; we do not think of any special material circle which perhaps has been drawn on paper, but we think of any and every circle which may be represented or met with in Nature. So it is in the case of all mathematical pictures. They relate to the sense-perceptible, but they are not exhaustively contained in it. They hover over innumerable, manifold sense-perceptible forms. When I think mathematically, I do indeed think about something my senses can perceive; but at the same time I do not think in terms of sense-perception. It is not the material circle which teaches me the laws of the circle; it is the ideal circle existing only in my mind and of which the concrete form is a mere representation. I could learn the identical truths from any other sensible image. The essential property of mathematical perception is this: that a single sense-perceptible form leads me beyond itself; it can only be for me a representation of a comprehensive spiritual fact. Here again, however, there is the possibility that in this sphere I may bring through to sense-perception what is spiritual. From the mathematical figure I can learn to know super-sensible facts by way of the sense-world. This was the all-important point for Plato. We must visualise the idea in a purely spiritual manner if we would really know it in its true aspect. We can train ourselves to this if we only avail ourselves of the first steps in mathematical knowledge for this purpose, and understand clearly what it is that we really gain from a mathematical figure. “Learn to emancipate thyself from the senses by mathematics, then mayest thou hope to rise to the comprehension of ideas independently of the senses”: this was what Plato strove to impress upon his disciples.

Many scientists believe that the scientific method of reproducing conditions and measuring results cannot be applied to the esoteric fields of metaphysics and human spirituality. However, as quantum physics has demonstrated, subjective human experience has a measurable impact upon results and therefore must be taken into account in science.

Many scientists believe that the scientific method of reproducing conditions and measuring results cannot be applied to the esoteric fields of metaphysics and human spirituality. However, as quantum physics has demonstrated, subjective human experience has a measurable impact upon results and therefore must be taken into account in science.

The Gnostics desired something similar. They said, “Gnosis is Mathesis.” They did not mean by this that the essence of the world can be based on mathematical ideas, but only that the first stages in the spiritual education of Man are constituted by what is super-sensible in mathematical thought. When a man reaches the stage of being able to think of other properties of the world independently of sense-perception in the same way as he is able to think mathematically of geometrical forms and arithmetical relations of numbers, then he is fairly on the path to spiritual knowledge. They did not strive for Mathesis as such, but rather for super-sensible knowledge after the pattern of Mathesis. They regarded Mathesis as a model or a prototype, because the geometrical proportions of the World are the most elementary and simple, and such as Man can most easily understand. He must learn through the elementary mathematical truths to become emancipated from sense in order that he may reach, later, the point where the higher problems are appropriately to be considered. This will certainly mean, for many, a giddy height of human perceptive faculties. Those, however, who may be considered as true Occultists have in every age demanded from their disciples the courage to make this giddy height their goal: — “Learn to think of the essence of Nature and of Spiritual Being as independently of sense-perception as the mathematician thinks of the circle and its laws, then mayest thou become a student of Occult Science” — this is what everyone who really seeks after Truth should keep before his mind as if written in letters of gold. “Thou wilt never find a Circle in the World, which will not confirm for thee in the realm of sense what thou hast learned about the Circle by super-sensible mathematical perception; no experience will ever contradict thy super-sensible perception. Thus dost thou gain for thyself an imperishable and eternal knowledge when thou learnest to perceive free of the senses.” In this way did Plato, the Gnostics and all Occultists conceive mathematical science as an educational means.

We should consider what eminent persons have said about the relation of mathematics to natural science. Kant and many others like him, for example, have said that there is as much of true science as there is mathematics in our knowledge of Nature. This implies nothing else than that by reducing to mathematical formulae all natural phenomena, a science is obtained transcending sense-perception — a science which, although expressed through sense-perception, is visualised in the spirit. I have visualised the working of a machine only after I have reduced it to mathematical formulae. To express by such formulae the processes presented to the senses is the ideal of mechanics and physics and is increasingly becoming the ideal of chemistry.

But it is only that which exists in space and time and has extension in this sense, which may be thus mathematically expressed. As soon as we rise to the higher worlds where it is not only in this sense that Extension must be understood, the science of Mathematics itself fails to afford any immediate expression. But the method of perception which underlies mathematical science must not be lost. We must attain the faculty to speak of the realms of Life and Soul, etc., quite as independently of the particular objective entity, as we are able to speak of the “circle” independently of the particular circle drawn upon paper.

As it is true that only so much of real knowledge exists in Natural Science as there is Mathematics in It, so it is true that on all the higher planes knowledge can be acquired only when it is fashioned after the pattern of mathematical science.

For the full article, click here.

Thoughtforms, by Annie Besant and CW Leadbeater

SOURCE: The Theosophical Publishing House


The text of this little book is the joint work of Mr Leadbeater and myself; some of it has already appeared as an article in Lucifer (now the Theosophical Review), but the greater part of it is new. The drawing and painting of the Thought-Forms observed by Mr Leadbeater or by myself, or by both of us together, has been done by three friends—Mr John Varley, Mr Prince, and Miss Macfarlane, to each of whom we tender our cordial thanks. To paint in earth's dull colours the forms clothed in the living light of other worlds is a hard and thankless task; so much the more gratitude is due to those who have attempted it. They needed coloured fire, and had only ground earths. We have also to thank Mr F. Bligh Bond for allowing us to use his essay on Vibration Figures, and some of his exquisite drawings. Another friend, who sent us some notes and a few drawings, insists on remaining anonymous, so we can only send our thanks to him with similar anonymity.

It is our earnest hope—as it is our belief—that this little book will serve as a striking moral lesson to every reader, making him realise the nature and power of his thoughts, acting as a stimulus to the noble, a curb on the base. With this belief and hope we send it on its way.




As knowledge increases, the attitude of science towards the things of the invisible world is undergoing considerable modification. Its attention is no longer directed solely to the earth with all its variety of objects, or to the physical worlds around it; but it finds itself compelled to glance further afield, and to construct hypotheses as to the nature of the matter and force which lie in the regions beyond the ken of its instruments. Ether is now comfortably settled in the scientific kingdom, becoming almost more than a hypothesis. Mesmerism, under its new name of hypnotism, is no longer an outcast. Reichenbach's experiments are still looked at askance, but are not wholly condemned. Röntgen's rays have rearranged some of the older ideas of matter, while radium has revolutionised them, and is leading science beyond the borderland of ether into the astral world. The boundaries between animate and inanimate matter are broken down. Magnets are found to be possessed of almost uncanny powers, transferring certain forms of disease in a way not yet satisfactorily explained. Telepathy, clairvoyance, movement without contact, though not yet admitted to the scientific table, are approaching the Cinderella-stage. The fact is that science has pressed its researches so far, has used such rare ingenuity in its questionings of nature, has shown such tireless patience in its investigations, that it is receiving the reward of those who seek, and forces and beings of the next higher plane of nature are beginning to show themselves on the outer edge of the physical field. "Nature makes no leaps," and as the physicist nears the confines of his kingdom he finds himself bewildered by touches and gleams from another realm which interpenetrates his own. He finds himself compelled to speculate on invisible presences, if only to find a rational explanation for undoubted physical phenomena, and insensibly he slips over the boundary, and is, although he does not yet realise it, contacting the astral plane.

One of the most interesting of the highroads from the physical to the astral is that of the study of thought. The Western scientist, commencing in the anatomy and physiology of the brain, endeavours to make these the basis for "a sound psychology." He passes then into the region of dreams, illusions, hallucinations; and as soon as he endeavours to elaborate an experimental science which shall classify and arrange these, he inevitably plunges into the astral plane. Dr Baraduc of Paris has nearly crossed the barrier, and is well on the way towards photographing astro-mental images, to obtaining pictures of what from the materialistic standpoint would be the results of vibrations in the grey matter of the brain.

It has long been known to those who have given attention to the question that impressions were produced by the reflection of the ultra-violet rays from objects not visible by the rays of the ordinary spectrum. Clairvoyants were occasionally justified by the appearance on sensitive photographic plates of figures seen and described by them as present with the sitter, though invisible to physical sight. It is not possible for an unbiassed judgment to reject in toto the evidence of such occurrences proffered by men of integrity on the strength of their own experiments, oftentimes repeated. And now we have investigators who turn their attention to the obtaining of images of subtle forms, inventing methods specially designed with the view of reproducing them. Among these, Dr Baraduc seems to have been the most successful, and he has published a volume dealing with his investigations and containing reproductions of the photographs he has obtained. Dr Baraduc states that he is investigating the subtle forces by which the soul—defined as the intelligence working between the body and the spirit—expresses itself, by seeking to record its movements by means of a needle, its "luminous" but invisible vibrations by impressions on sensitive plates. He shuts out by non-conductors electricity and heat. We can pass over his experiments in Biometry (measurement of life by movements), and glance at those in Iconography—the impressions of invisible waves, regarded by him as of the nature of light, in which the soul draws its own image. A number of these photographs represent etheric and magnetic results of physical phenomena, and these again we may pass over as not bearing on our special subject, interesting as they are in themselves. Dr Baraduc obtained various impressions by strongly thinking of an object, the effect produced by the thought-form appearing on a sensitive plate; thus he tried to project a portrait of a lady (then dead) whom he had known, and produced an impression due to his thought of a drawing he had made of her on her deathbed. He quite rightly says that the creation of an object is the passing out of an image from the mind and its subsequent materialisation, and he seeks the chemical effect caused on silver salts by this thought-created picture. One striking illustration is that of a force raying outwards, the projection of an earnest prayer. Another prayer is seen producing forms like the fronds of a fern, another like rain pouring upwards, if the phrase may be permitted. A rippled oblong mass is projected by three persons thinking of their unity in affection. A young boy sorrowing over and caressing a dead bird is surrounded by a flood of curved interwoven threads of emotional disturbance. A strong vortex is formed by a feeling of deep sadness. Looking at this most interesting and suggestive series, it is clear that in these pictures that which is obtained is not the thought-image, but the effect caused in etheric matter by its vibrations, and it is necessary to clairvoyantly see the thought in order to understand the results produced. In fact, the illustrations are instructive for what they do not show directly, as well as for the images that appear.

It may be useful to put before students, a little more plainly than has hitherto been done, some of the facts in nature which will render more intelligible the results at which Dr Baraduc is arriving. Necessarily imperfect these must be, a physical photographic camera and sensitive plates not being ideal instruments for astral research; but, as will be seen from the above, they are most interesting and valuable as forming a link between clairvoyant and physical scientific investigations.

At the present time observers outside the Theosophical Society are concerning themselves with the fact that emotional changes show their nature by changes of colour in the cloud-like ovoid, or aura, that encompasses all living beings. Articles on the subject are appearing in papers unconnected with the Theosophical Society, and a medical specialist[1] has collected a large number of cases in which the colour of the aura of persons of various types and temperaments is recorded by him. His results resemble closely those arrived at by clairvoyant theosophists and others, and the general unanimity on the subject is sufficient to establish the fact, if the evidence be judged by the usual canons applied to human testimony.

The book Man Visible and Invisible dealt with the general subject of the aura. The present little volume, written by the author of Man Visible and Invisible, and a theosophical colleague, is intended to carry the subject further; and it is believed that this study is useful, as impressing vividly on the mind of the student the power and living nature of thought and desire, and the influence exerted by them on all whom they reach.

For the full text, click here.

It will be seen that we have here a shape roughly representing that of a balloon, having a scalloped outline consisting of a double violet line. Within that there is an arrangement of variously-coloured lines moving almost parallel with this outline; and then another somewhat similar arrangement which seems to cross and interpenetrate the first. Both of these sets of lines evidently start from the organ within the church, and consequently pass upward through its roof in their course, physical matter being clearly no obstacle to their formation. In the hollow centre of the form float a number of small crescents arranged apparently in four vertical lines.

It will be seen that we have here a shape roughly representing that of a balloon, having a scalloped outline consisting of a double violet line. Within that there is an arrangement of variously-coloured lines moving almost parallel with this outline; and then another somewhat similar arrangement which seems to cross and interpenetrate the first. Both of these sets of lines evidently start from the organ within the church, and consequently pass upward through its roof in their course, physical matter being clearly no obstacle to their formation. In the hollow centre of the form float a number of small crescents arranged apparently in four vertical lines.

Edward Snowden Awarded 'Alternative Nobel' for Revealing Vast Surveillance

by Andrea Germanos
SOURCE: Common Dreams


Whistleblower Edward Snowden is among a group of tireless and courageous people being honored with this year's Right Livelihood Award for their efforts "stemming the tide of the most dangerous global trends."

The winners of this year's award, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, were announced Wednesday.

The Right Livelihood Award Foundation, which stated that it will fund legal support for Snowden, said his honorary award recognizes “his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights."

The impact of his revelations, the Foundation states, "have caused a worldwide re-evaluation of the meaning of privacy and the boundaries of rights."

For the full article, click here.

For more on the Right Livelihood Awards, click here.

Emma Watson on Gender Equality

Emma Watson speaks boldly before the United Nations to advocate for bringing men and women together to overcome gender stereotypes, working on finding common ground together, rather than working in opposition.

Gurdjieff and Ouspensky on Persians and Yezidis

[The following is an excerpt from In Search of the Miraculous, by P.D. Ouspensky. - ed.]

A Persian used to come to him to mend carpets. One day I noticed that Gurdjieff was very attentively watching how the Persian was doing his work.
"I want to understand how he does it and I don't understand yet," said Gurdjieff. "Do you see that hook he has? The whole thing is in that. I wanted to buy it from him but he won't sell it."
Next day I came earlier than usual. Gurdjieff was sitting on the floor mending a carpet exactly as the Persian had done. Wools of various colors were strewn around him and in his hand was the same kind of hook I had seen with the Persian. It transpired that he had cut it with an ordinary file from the blade of a cheap penknife and, in the course of the morning, had fathomed all the mysteries of carpet mending.
He told me a great deal about carpets which, as he often said, represented one of the most ancient forms of art. He spoke of the ancient customs connected with carpet making in certain parts of Asia; of a whole village working together at one carpet; of winter evenings when all the villagers, young and old, gather together in one large building and, dividing into groups, sit or stand on the floor in an order previously known and determined by tradition. Each group then begins its own work. Some pick stones and splinters out of the wool. Others beat out the wool with sticks. A third group combs the wool. The fourth spins. The fifth dyes the wool. The sixth or maybe the twenty-sixth weaves the actual carpet. Men, women, and children, old men and old women, all have their own traditional work. And all the work is done to the accompaniment of music and singing. The women spinners with spindles in their hands dance a special dance as they work, and all the movements of all the people engaged in different work are like one movement in one and the same rhythm. Moreover each locality has its own special tune, its own special songs and dances, connected with carpet making from time immemorial.
And as he told me this the thought flashed across my mind that perhaps the design and coloring of the carpets are connected with the music, are its expression in line and color; that perhaps carpets are records of this music, the notes by which the tunes could be reproduced. There was nothing strange in this idea to me as I could often "see" music in the form of a complicated design.


From a few incidental talks with Gurdjieff I obtained some idea of his previous life.
His childhood was passed on the frontier of Asia Minor in strange, very remote, almost biblical circumstances of life. Flocks of innumerable sheep. Wanderings from place to place. Coming into contact with various strange people. His imagination was particularly struck by the Yezidis, the "Devil Worshipers," who, from his earliest youth, had attracted his attention by me, among other things, that when he was a child he had often observed how Yezidi boys were unable to step out of a circle traced round them on the ground.
He had passed his young years in an atmosphere of fairy tales, legends, and traditions. The "miraculous" around him was an actual fact. Predictions of the future which he heard, and which those around him fully believed, were fulfilled and made him believe in many other things.
All these things taken together had created in him at a very early age a leaning towards the mysterious, the incomprehensible, and the magical. He told me that when quite young he made several long journeys in the East. What was true in these stories I could never decide exactly. But, as he said, in the course of these journeys he again came across many phenomena telling him of the existence of a certain knowledge, of certain powers and possibilities exceeding the ordinary possibilities of man, and of people possessing clairvoyance and other miraculous powers. Gradually, he told me, his absences from home and his travels began to follow one definite aim. He went in search of knowledge and the people who possessed this knowledge. And, as he said, after great difficulties, he found the sources of this knowledge in company with several other people who were, like him, also seeking the miraculous.

Remarkable 17th Century Maps Of The Earth's Interior

by Mark Strauss



Born in 1601, Athanasius Kircher has been hailed as the "last Renaissance Man" owing to his scholarly works in fields as diverse as biology, geology, medicine and technology. Among his most remarkable books was Mundus Subterraneus, a study of the Earth's interior that might have inspired Jules Verne.

Kircher wrote his 1664 opus some three decades after he undertook an expedition inside Mt. Vesuvius — around the time it had experienced its first major eruption in centuries. The interior of the volcano, he wrote, was, "all up and down everywhere, cragged and broken, while its chamber was "made hollow directly and straight." The bottom of the crater was"boiling with an everlasting gushing forth, and streamings of smoke and flames, and employed in decocting Sulphur, Bitumen and the melting and burning of other kinds of Minerals."

As The Public Domain Review notes:

It was within this hollow mountain that Kircher really began to develop the theories he set down so many years later in Mundus Subterraneus, to envision what it might be like even deeper within the earth, and how the mountains and fires and rivers and oceans might somehow all be connected.

He sketched two diagrams, depicting how fire (image above) and water (below) were flowed within the Earth and on its surface.



"The whole Earth is not solid but everywhere gaping, and hollowed with empty rooms and spaces, and hidden burrows." he wrote, explaining that, deep below, it holds many great oceans and fires, interacting with one another through passageways that reached all the way to the planet's core. In Kircher's view, volcanoes, though awe-inspiring, were "nothing but the vent-holes, or breath-pipes of Nature," while earthquakes were the "proper effects of sub-terrestrial cumbustions."

Kircher added that "the fire and water sweetly conspire together in mutual service." The lunar tides push "an immense bulk of water" through "hidden and occult passages at the bottom of the Ocean... into the intimate bowels of the Earth." The oceans, which would freeze without the fires, also kept the fires in check to prevent "unlimited eruptions." The "secret make-up of the mountains" is that they are hollow and serve as reservoirs. Hot springs and fountains, he believed, are produced where underground water passageways intersect with the fire channels.

The Eddy Manifestations, by Madame Blavatsky (1874)

The following letter was addressed to a contemporary journal by Mme. Blavatsky, and was submitted for publication in The Daily Graphic, who had been taking the lead in the discussion of the curious subject of Spiritualism.


AWARE in the past of your love of justice and fair play, I most earnestly solicit the use of your columns to reply to an article by Dr. G. M. Beard in relation to the Eddy family in Vermont. He, in denouncing them and their spiritual manifestations in a most sweeping declaration, would aim a blow at the entire spiritual world of to-day. His letter appeared this morning (October 27th). Dr. George M. Beard has for the last few weeks assumed the part of the “roaring lion” seeking for a medium “to devour.” It appears that to-day the learned gentleman is more hungry than ever. No wonder, after the failure he has experienced with Mr. Brown, the “mind-reader,” at New Haven.

    I do not know Dr. Beard personally, nor do I care to know how far he is entitled to wear the laurels of his profession as an M. D., but what I do know is that he may never hope to equal, much less to surpass, such men and savants as Crookes, Wallace, or even Flammarion, the French astronomer, all of whom have devoted years to the investigation of Spiritualism. All of them came to the conclusion that, supposing even the well-known phenomenon of the materialization of spirits did not prove the identity of the persons whom they purported to represent, it was not, at all events, the work of mortal hands; still less was it a fraud.

    Now to the Eddys. Dozens of visitors have remained there for weeks and even for months; not a single séance has taken place without some of them realizing the personal presence of a friend, a relative, a mother, father, or dear departed child. But lo! here comes Dr. Beard, stops less than two days, applies his powerful electrical battery, under which the spirit does not even wink or flinch, closely examines the cabinet (in which he finds nothing), and then turns his back and declares most emphatically “that he wishes it to be perfectly understood that if his scientific name ever appears in connection with the Eddy family, it must be only to expose them as the greatest frauds who cannot do even good trickery.” Consummatum est! Spiritualism is defunct. Requiescat in pace! Dr. Beard has killed it with one word. Scatter ashes over your venerable but silly heads, O Crookes, Wallace and Varley! Henceforth you must be considered as demented, psychologized lunatics, and so must it be with the many thousands of Spiritualists who have seen and talked with their friends and relatives departed, recognizing them at Moravia, at the Eddys’, and elsewhere throughout the length and breadth of this continent. But is there no escape from the horns of this dilemma? Yea verily, Dr. Beard writes thus: “When your correspondent returns to New York I will teach him on any convenient evening how to do all that the Eddys do.” Pray why should a Daily Graphic reporter be the only one selected by G. M. Beard, M. D. for initiation into the knowledge of so clever a “trick”? In such a case why not publicly denounce this universal trickery, and so benefit the whole world? But Dr. Beard seems to be as partial in his selections as he is clever in detecting the said tricks. Didn’t the learned doctor say to Colonel Olcott while at the Eddys’ that three dollars’ worth of second-hand drapery would be enough for him to show how to materialize all the spirits that visit the Eddy homestead?

    To this I reply, backed as I am by the testimony of hundreds of reliable witnesses, that all the wardrobe of Niblo’s Theatre would not suffice to attire the numbers of “spirits” that emerge night after night from an empty little closet.

    Let Dr. Beard rise and explain the following fact if he can: I remained fourteen days at the Eddys’. In that short period of time I saw and recognized fully, out of 119 apparitions, seven “spirits.” I admit that I was the only one to recognize them, the rest of the audience not having been with me in my numerous travels throughout the East, but their various dresses and costumes were plainly seen and closely examined by all.

    The first was a Georgian boy, dressed in the historical Caucasian attire, the picture of whom will shortly appear in The Daily Graphic. I recognized and questioned him in Georgian upon circumstances known only to myself. I was understood and answered. Requested by me in his mother tongue (upon the whispered suggestion of Colonel Olcott) to play the Lezguinka, a Circassian dance, he did so immediately upon the guitar.

    Second – A little old man appears. He is dressed as Persian merchants generally are. His dress is perfect as a national costume. Everything is in its right place, down to the “babouches” that are off his feet, he stepping out in his stockings. He speaks his name in a loud whisper. It is “Hassan Aga,” an old man whom I and my family have known for twenty years at Tiflis. He says, half in Georgian and half in Persian, that he has got a “big secret to tell me,” and comes at three different times, vainly seeking to finish his sentence.

    Third – A man of gigantic stature comes forth, dressed in the picturesque attire of the warriors of Kurdistan. He does not speak, but bows in the oriental fashion, and lifts up his spear ornamented with bright-coloured feathers, shaking it in token of welcome. I recognize him immediately as Jaffar Ali Bek, a young chief of a tribe of Kurds, who used to accompany me in my trips around Ararat in Armenia on horseback, and who on one occasion saved my life. More, he bends to the ground as though picking up a handful of mould, and scattering it around, presses his hand to his bosom, a gesture familiar only to the tribes of the Kurdistan.

    Fourth – A Circassian comes out. I can imagine myself at Tiflis, so perfect is his costume of “nouker” (a man who either runs before or behind one on horseback). This one speaks more, he corrects his name, which I pronounced wrongly on recognizing him, and when I repeat it he bows, smiling, and says in the purest guttural Tartar, which sounds so familiar to my ear, “Tchoch yachtchi” (all right), and goes away.

    Fifth – An old woman appears with Russian headgear. She comes out and addresses me in Russian, calling me by an endearing term that she used in my childhood. I recognize an old servant of my family, a nurse of my sister.

    Sixth – A large powerful negro next appears on the platform. His head is ornamented with a wonderful coiffure something like horns wound about with white and gold. His looks are familiar to me, but I do not at first recollect where I have seen him. Very soon he begins to make some vivacious gestures, and his mimicry helps me to recognize him at a glance. It is a conjurer from Central Africa. He grins and disappears.

    Seventh and last – A large, grey-haired gentleman comes out attired in the conventional suit of black. The Russian decoration of St. Ann hangs suspended by a large red moiré ribbon with two black stripes-a ribbon, as every Russian will know, belonging to the said decoration. This ribbon is worn around his neck. I feel faint, for I think I recognize my father. But the latter was a great deal taller. In my excitement I address him in English, and ask him: “Are you my father?” He shakes his head in the negative, and answers as plainly as any mortal man can speak, and in Russian, “No; I am your uncle.” The word “diadia” was heard and remembered by all the audience. It means “uncle.” But what of that? Dr. Beard knows it to be but a pitiful trick, and we must submit in silence. People that know me know that I am far from being credulous. Though an Occultist of many years’ standing, I am more sceptical in receiving evidence from paid mediums than many unbelievers. But when I receive such evidences as I received at the Eddys’, I feel bound on my honour, and under the penalty of confessing myself a moral coward, to defend the mediums, as well as the thousands of my brother and sister Spiritualists against the conceit and slander of one man who has nothing and no one to back him in his assertions. I now hereby finally and publicly challenge Dr. Beard to the amount of $500 to produce before a public audience and under the same conditions the manifestations herein attested, or failing this, to bear the ignominious consequences of his proposed exposé.

124, East Sixteenth Street, New York City
October 27th, 1874
H. P. Blavatsky

A Woman of the Century: Josephine Cables Aldrich

Josephine Cables Aldrich of the Hermetic Order of Luxor in Rochester, NY

Josephine Cables Aldrich of the Hermetic Order of Luxor in Rochester, NY

Mrs. Josephine Cables Aldrich, an author, editor, and philanthropist prominent in the early Theosophical Movement, led the original lodge of the Hermetic Order of Luxor in Rochester, New York, a city known in esoteric circles for the founding of the Spiritualist movement and mediumship. Mrs. Aldrich was also, at one time, Secretary of the Theosophical Society of the United States. She later transformed the Rochester Theosophical Society into the Rochester Brotherhood and became its President.

The young Josephine Cables was raised by her two, strict Puritan grandmothers, who believed in free use of the rod as necessary to save a child's soul from destruction. These lessons had a sharp impact on Ms. Cables' understanding of humanity and the need for mercy, compassion, and justice.

Leading the Hermetic Order of Luxor from her home, Ms. Cables (later Mrs. Cables Aldrich) taught that the Golden Rule was the best maxim for morality and happiness, and gave instruction for the betterment of humanity by word and deed. In 1882, Ms. Cables began published The Occult World, a paper devoted to advanced thought and reform.

A brief biography of Mrs. Cables Aldrich appears in the 1894 book entitled, A Woman of the Century: fourteen hundred-seventy biographical sketches accompanied by portraits of leading American women in all walks of life, edited by Frances E. Willard and Mary A. Livermore.

Events: Online Workshop - Unlocking your True Will - Sat. 8/23

Time: Saturday, August 23, 1:00 PM Pacific Standard Time
Length: 5 hours
Participation: group video call with Q&Q. Click here to join.


Ultraculture University is presenting an online intensive workshop to help you understand and unlock, discover, refine, and enact your True Will. The workshop will discuss the following (per Ultraculture's website):

- Understanding what the True Will is, through the lens of Western esotericism, Hinduism and Buddhism. What do the world’s great spiritual traditions say about the True Will—and how does it relate to free will, fate, destiny and the great scientific debate of Nature vs. Nurture?

- How to begin the process of mapping the True Will by charting one’s personal history, journalling and active dreaming

- How to use your astrological birth chart to determine external influences on your personality, as well as to clearly understand the karmic lessons you’re meant to learn in this lifetime

- How to separate your True Will from the external wills superimposed on you by parents, schooling, peers, career pressures and even the forces of karma

- Once you’ve begun to isolate and understand the rudiments of your True Will, how to begin projecting it into the world by creating artistic altars, writing it out, enacting it and consistently defining and refining it through trial and error while training the skills and core strengths necessary for carrying it out

- Understanding what the universe does when you’re getting it right: Synchronicity and flow states

- Understanding what to do when you’re not getting it right: Getting stuck in life and the Alchemy of turning bad situations into productive learning experiences to strengthen your will

- Cultivating patience and self-love on the path



Scientific Heretic Rupert Sheldrake on Morphic Fields, Psychic Dogs and Other Mysteries

by John Horgan
SOURCE: Scientific American

For decades, I’ve been only dimly aware of Rupert Sheldrake as a renegade British biologist who argues that telepathy and other paranormal phenomena (sometimes lumped under the term psi) should be taken more seriously by the scientific establishment. Since I’m one of those fuddy-duddy establishment doubters of psi, I never bothered to examine Sheldrake’s work closely. But I was intrigued, and amused, by the vehemence of his critics, notably John Maddox, the long-time editor of Nature, who once called Sheldrake’s views “heresy” that deserved to be “condemned.”

Rupert Sheldrake believes the "materialist worldview," rather than being abandoned, can be expanded to accommodate his work.

Rupert Sheldrake believes the "materialist worldview," rather than being abandoned, can be expanded to accommodate his work.

Sheldrake probably provokes such strong reactions in part because he is a product of the scientific establishment—more specifically, of Cambridge University. He earned his doctorate in biochemistry there in 1967 and became a fellow and director of studies in biochemistry and cell biology. He gradually became dissatisfied with current theories of biology. He presented an alternative framework—involving his theory of morphic resonance (explained below)–in his 1981 book A New Science of Life, which Maddox, in a now-famous Nature editorial, called “the best candidate for burning there has been for many years.”

Sheldrake, undaunted, went on to write more popular books, including Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home (1999), The Sense of Being Stared At (2003), Seven Experiments That Could Change the World (1994) and, most recently, Science Set Free (2013). The latter calls on modern science to shed its restrictive materialism and reductionism, advancing some of the same arguments that philosopher Thomas Nagel does in his recent book Mind and Cosmos (which I reviewed here).

The reason I’m telling you about Sheldrake is that less than two months ago, we were both speakers at a festival in Hay-on-Wye, England, and were put up in the same boarding house. (I participated in several sessions at the festival, including one about Big Data that I reported on here.) I spent lots of time talking to Sheldrake during the festival and after it, when we spent an afternoon tramping around a heath near his home. (I also met Sheldrake in 1997 at a scientific reception in London, but we only spoke briefly.)

Sheldrake is terrific company. He is smart, articulate and funny. He does a hilarious imitation of the late psychedelic scholar Terence McKenna, his friend and co-author, whom I met in 1999 and profiled here. There is an appealing reasonableness and gentleness in Sheldrake’s manner, even when he is complaining about the unfairness of his many critics.

He possesses, moreover, a deep knowledge of science, including its history and philosophy (which he studied at Harvard in the 1960s). This knowledge—along with his ability to cite detailed experimental evidence for his claims–make Sheldrake a formidable defender of his outlook. (For more on Sheldrake’s career and views, see his website, http://www.sheldrake.org.)

At one point Sheldrake, alluding to my 1996 book The End of Science, said that his science begins where mine ends. When I asked him to elaborate he said, “We both agree that science is at present limited by assumptions that restrict enquiry, and we agree that there are major unsolved problems about consciousness, cosmology and other areas of science… I am proposing testable hypotheses that could take us forward and open up new frontiers of scientific enquiry.”

For the full article, click here.

In Search of the Miraculous, by P.D. Ouspensky


Since its original publication in 1949, In Search of the Miraculous has been hailed as the most valuable and reliable documentation of G. I. Gurdjieff's thoughts and universal view. This historic and influential work is considered by many to be a primer of mystical thought as expressed through the Work, a combination of Eastern philosophies that had for centuries been passed on orally from teacher to student. Gurdjieff's goal, to introduce the Work to the West, attracted many students, among them Ouspensky, an established mathematician, journalist, and, with the publication of In Search of the Miraculous, an eloquent and persuasive proselyte.

Ouspensky describes Gurdjieff's teachings in fascinating and accessible detail, providing what has proven to be a stellar introduction to the universal view of both student and teacher. It goes without saying that In Search of the Miraculous has inspired great thinkers and writers of ensuing spiritual movements, including Marianne Williamson, the highly acclaimed author of A Return to Love and Illuminata. In a new and never-before-published foreword, Williamson shares the influence of Ouspensky's book and Gurdjieff's teachings on the New Thought movement and her own life, providing a contemporary look at an already timeless classic.

Wikipedia info:

In Search of the Miraculous

Pyotr Demianovich Ouspensky

David Lynch explains Consciousness, Creativity and benefits of Transcendental Meditation

One of the greatest American filmmakers, television director, visual artist and musician is David Lynch. Lynch is an advocate of the use of Transcendental Meditation (TM) in bringing peace to the world. His passion to help students learn the TM techniques has launched the David Lynch Foundation For Consciousness-Based Education and Peace. In this video, David Lynch answers a couple of questions on his understanding of how TM can affect creativity and overall learning and expansion of the human mind.