Today is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, a Catholic festival marking the day -decided two millennia after events that never happened- that the mother of Christ was tractor-beamed physically up into the sky.
Precisely what happened to Mary has been a bit of a game of Carmen San Diego for the last one and a half thousand years. Pius XII ("Hitler's Pope") finally locked it down in 1950 with an ex cathedra pronouncement. Up she shot into space, physically, never to return. 1950 is just before things like this started happening.
I mention this because Chris has a post about the end of ufology... again. If you ask the right people, ufology has been on life support since it began. If you ask the head of the Rockefeller dynasty or possibly Elon Musk, you might get a different answer. Things look very different at the pointy end of the plane. Consider this frankly terrifying anecdote from Jacques Vallée:
Vallee: Well, let me tell you a little story. About fifteen years ago there was a group that suddenly appeared in San Francisco. They had a big party downtown. And they invited everybody who was anybody in parapsychology. And they made a little speech saying, "We have all this money from somebody who wants to do good and help research, we know that there isn't much money in parapsychology; we will entertain proposals for research, give us your best ideas; we will send it to a panel who will review it and we will fund the best research." After the party, a lot of people rushed home to their computers and typed in all their best ideas, sent it on--but the organization never existed, was never heard from again. Somebody was fishing.
Whatever is going on in the world of psi and unexplained aerial phenomena, it is extremely interesting to people well and truly above our pay grades. There is and always has been something about space. If you consciously entangle with it, things happen. (One wonders what happened to this extensive list of astronomers going back centuries who reported unexplained aerial phenomena.)
My mind turns to the stories of cosmonauts and astronauts and what actually happens to them when they leave our gravity well. Edgar Mitchell had a spiritual experience so profound that he came back to earth and founded IONS. Recall that being in very low gravity environments quickly does terrible things to bone and muscle density. What do you suppose it does to the brain? If we can -and I do- accept the hypothesis that DMT can jet you off to the land of the machine elves, then what happens when you permanently de-grativise the brain? Some of the soviet cosmnonauts, for instance, reported full-on hallucinations of religious phenomena (the archangel Michael, for instance), and also visits from dead relatives. Does that sound familiar?
Solaris was originally a Soviet film (based on a Polish novel). I have zero evidence for this but you have to wonder if these stories were fed back into the production, somehow. They need not have been, as Chris points out, texts such as this tend to write themselves.
Which is sort of the point.
The film's plot is very simple- George Clooney plays Chris Kelvin, a widowed psychiatrist sent to the space station Prometheus, which is orbiting a strange planet called Solaris. Most of the crew on board are dead, as are the people sent to rescue them. The planet is driving everyone insane by producing replicants of people from the crews memories. And when Chris comes onboard (he travels to the Prometheus via the space shuttle Athena), Solaris presents him with a copy of his wife, Rheya (the wife in the Russian original was named Hari).
Besides the spacecraft names, Rheya's name comes from the Greek rendering of Cybele, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize we might be watching a ritual drama unfold. Chris' name is self-explanatory, but it's worth noting that his name was spelled 'Kris Kelvin' in the novel.
Just like abysses, when you stare up at the stars, they stare down into you. This goes triple if you are in some way creative. Despite mentioning him twice, I'm going to shoot for a trifecta as Chris wrote a fantastic post on the antecedents of Lovecraft's ancient aliens theory, pointing -compellingly- at Alice Bailey among others. It is mandatory reading. Some of the responses out there in the background internet were dismaying to say the least. One guy even expected his opinion to be listened to despite saying Alice Bailey was 'obscure' and a 'minor influence' on nineteenth century occultism. I just don't even know where to begin with that.
And it was on the same day as reading that that I heard a wonderful phrase: "teaching algebra to dogs."
Alex, the host of my absolute favourite psi podcast, skeptiko, said it in reference to our inability to interpret near death experiences... something is teaching us algebra and we are all arguing amongst ourselves about what the words "atta boy, here boy!" actually, definitively mean.
Alex Tsakiris: I have to say, even that, sometimes, I feel like starts taking us down the wrong path a little bit, in that what assumptions are we making about what this afterlife experience should be, and I think part of those assumptions have to do with this idea of our position in the universe, or our position in this consciousness field, if you will. In a sense, I keep getting back more and more as I get into this is that we’re just not that big of a deal. So the grander thing can project anything we need. So, you know, if you need to see China, that’s cool. But we’re just teaching dogs algebra, here, you know?
Patricia Pearson: Yes.
Alex Tsakiris: It doesn’t really work. And the dogs are all getting together, as one of my friends in the Skeptiko forum posts, and I loved, it’s like a bunch of dogs getting together and saying, you know, what do you think that “atta boy” thing really means? What do you think it means? Well, I think when they say atta boy, they mean this. And the other one goes, well, I think they mean this. I mean, sometimes I wonder if that’s what we’re doing. Oh, no, the near death experience, cross culturally means this and that. No, it just means that it’s a lot, lot bigger than we ever imagined, and we’ve just got to be super humble about our little role in it and our ability to figure it out.
It must be great to sprout a beard on your neck and finally know everything about everything, because the Cthulhu mythos is just downright weird. As Peter Levenda mentions in the Dark Lord, the same day Lovecraft set his racist Voodoo ceremony in Louisiana -designed to wake the sleeping priest of the star gods- was the exact same day Aleister Crowley was receiving his space gospel and being told he was the prophet of a star goddess. (Levenda probably has his own slightly murky reasons for pushing the whole 'Lovecraft invented AAT angle' because he patently didn't, but dates don't lie.)
We seem to have entered an era of psi feedback loops, too. Edward Bulwer-Lytton's possibly quite prescient stories about contact with literally extra-terrestrial intelligences (Mathers believed he had read the Abramelim) may have influenced Annie Besant and the Theosophists, who in turn influenced both the occultists and German scientists who would have such a big impact on Nazi and US space technology, which would in turn influence our interpretation of the UFO phenomenon during the Cold War... which would then be unravelled using nineteenth century occultism as a yard stick. The founder of the Stargate Programme, my beloved Dr Russell Targ, said flat out that he trawled Crowley and the Theosophists for tech:
Later when I sat with Targ and Kruth after the event I asked him about these more obscure influences on his work. He was very open about how the SRI project utilized whatever material was at hand, and some of this came from previous experiments in practical psychism, such as those conducted by members of the Theosophical Society, and figures such as Aleister Crowley, which normally are considered to fall under the category of the ‘occult.’
This dreary literalism is just not up to the task of reality-map-making... it can't even manage the theoretically simple job of literary criticism of unsuccessful pulp horror that is now a century old. For us it should be daimonic or bust... Daimonic phenomena are part physical, part psychic and part mythic. Viewed together, these three topic areas build out an ontology we can actually use. Separate them and each indvidual piece becomes pointless and non-existent. Solve et coagula, eh?
Our magical ancestors didn't struggle with such unhelpful literalism. Check this out. Jesus was the actual star that the Magi followed.
Jesus brings us back to space and what the Vatican says is up there and who gets to go there. When Pope Frank announced he'd baptise aliens pretty much everyone had a good laugh. Well, if you laughed then you're deeply unsophisticated. The Catholic church is the oldest, continuously operating imperial control mechanism that has ever existed anywhere and anywhen. You learn a trick or two in one and a half thousand years. Words don't just drop from their lips. Less talented statesmen will say things like "we tortured some folks", or they will 'dance the night away' while America's police state starts a race war. Just because our most visible world leaders are so unremittingly, embarrassingly shit at statecraft doesn't mean it no longer exists.
The Vatican hasn't even managed to get the role and rights of women right because of its self-accreted, labyrinthine rules and laws about how the world is. Let's be clear. Women cannot be bishops but aliens can be Catholic. Some data have enabled them to fit this new piece into their creaking, baroque kabbalah of a worldview. You may or may not recall that the second-most recent statement from a Vatican official pertaining to aliens was from their chief astronomer in 2008. On a doctrinal basis, what most people missed was that he also said that aliens may not need to be baptised because they may not have Fallen... the Fall being an incident that happened here on earth. They may literally be closer to God than us.
Say what you like about Dr Farrell's postwar Nazi International hypotheses, the man got his doctorate in Patristics at Oxford. He is the very definition of a world expert in the machinations of the Catholic machine. He contends, quite reasonably, that Pope Frank's offer of baptising aliens needs to be seen in the light of these extremely precise, measured utterances. So where does that leave us?
Either the Fall was a cosmological event and thus the universe according to Frank took a public, sharp left into full-blown astrognosticism or these aliens he is prepared to baptise are a lot closer to human than angel. If they're human, they have original sin and need baptising. He would not even be the hundredth person to intimate that they actually 'are' human. Being able to Holy See the ledger book for the First Paedo Bank of Rome going back to its inception -which is unquestionably the bank of record for the shadow state- would give you an insight, correct or incorrect, into these phenomena that you and I will never be privy to.
Either way, he clearly thinks he's memorised enough quadratic equations to start a math class in the kennel. And he thinks there's more things up there than Mary.
These phenomena have shaped culture and religion for the whole time we've had both. Let's try and be a bit more daimonic with our analyses.