“My own attempts at this are admittedly very limited, but it is obvious that the phenomenon is controlled by hidden laws and cycles. Psychic and occult events seem to follow the same cycles as the UFO phenomenon. The Wednesday-Saturday phenomenon exists in all the frames of reference. For some reason, the twenty-fourth days of April, June, September, November, and December seem to produce exceptional activity year after year. It is probable that manifestations are dependent upon unknown conditions which have an electromagnetic basis. When specific individuals (people with latent or active psychic abilities) are in specific places (window areas) at specific times (flap periods when the undefined electromagnetic conditions exist), the phenomenon is able to manifest itself in one of its many forms.
These events are staged year after year, century after century, in the same exact areas and often on the same calendar days. Only witnesses and the frames of reference used are different. (304).” – UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse by John A. Keel (1970)
The relationship between classical experiences with the invisible beings that populate mythology, occultism, and those of modern researchers (and accidental tourists) into the paranormal and UFOs is well documented. Yet, despite the documentation of this for half a century, it is still a little addressed topic among the areas of study involved. Even with significant advances in mass media more and easier access to information has not appeared to solve the problem of communication, only worsened it as psychic researchers, UFOologists, and occultists nearly all work within their narrow echo chambers rarely communicating to each other in a formal and organized manner. This in itself needs to be kept in mind as we proceed with this paper, as the principal of disorganization, and even chaos, is never far behind when we enter into the study of these liminal subjects and their possible relationship to our individual and collective futures. Everything is hidden in plain sight, and yet so few see it for what it is.
Cosmic Cycles and the Mind
The cyclic nature of psychic phenomena is well established. The bias towards particular people and places in connection with time is seen in the preparation requirements well established in classical magic. For what else is an esoteric ritual other than the organized attempt to create and sustain a specific individual in a chosen and prepared place and time with a particular psychic opportunity?
According to tradition, Mercury rules Wednesday and all forms and areas of communication; Saturn rules Saturday, and is deep secrets, and occult power, with both days having particular value in magical operations. However, each of the others days and its planetary ruler has value as well, suggesting that IF there is a meaning to the day in which the encounter is had, planetary associations MAY have some value in understanding it. However, this does not take into consideration the difference between traditional planetary days (sunrise to sunrise) and terrestrial marking of days (Midnight to Midnight).
From a classical perspective, that of classical Qabalah, it is important to note that both Saturday and Wednesday are ruled by planets under the influence of spheres or levels that are on the Pillar of Severity on the Tree of Life. That is, they are concerned primarily with restriction and forms. Saturn is given to the axis point of ‘unity-duality’ and with it ‘Being and Non-Being’ or ‘life and death’, whereas Mercury is all aspects of the mind, communication, and movement of ideas and their limitation and precision for expression.
Both of these have a great deal to do with time-space, and time-space management.
The realization of these different spheres, or levels, and the energies they express through the various planets is a central part of classical initiation as well as Medieval, Renaissance, and modern magical training and practice. However, each planet has its own ‘year’ or length of terrestrial time it takes to complete an orbit around the sun. Our earth takes 365 ¼ days, whereas Mercury completes its orbit in 88 days, yet Saturn takes up to 29½ years.
“Physicists following Einstein’s concepts assert that nothing can exceed the speed of light [Binah] without becoming infinite mass and be reduced to energy. However, if we want to blow our minds altogether, we can speculate that an energy particle might hit such a high frequency and move so fast that it doesn’t move at all [Hockmah]. Energies beyond the cosmic rays on our spectrum scale would have such a very high frequency that they would appear to be motionless [Kether]. … These super-high frequencies would be far outside our time field, yet they could coexist all around us, and we have no way of detecting or defining them. …
Throughout this book I have tried to explain that UFOs seem to be transmogrifications; seemingly material apparitions which might actually be composed of energies from the high reaches of the electromagnetic spectrum. If this is so, then one additional factor is necessary: order or intelligence.” (191)
As Jean Dubuis has stated repeatedly (as well as Aleister Crowley), the time-space experiences of the spheres, or levels on the Tree of Life, make its use as a means of prediction or prophecy nearly useless. Without understanding what ‘sphere’ (particular psychic perception) we are perceiving the ‘future’ from, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to place the prediction in an accurate time frame. For example, if one has an experience in Tiphareth, the perception of time may easily be one-thousand years into the past or future, whereas here in Malkooth [physical world] one’s perceptions of future events is limited to the immediate. This is why psychics can so easily be confused, not only do they not have an anchor point within esoteric traditions to use as a baseline for interpreting their experiences, but as a result, tend to place everything in the realm of the physical, the immediate or near-future.
This is compounded by having psychic experiences wherein the planetary energies awakened within them are misunderstood as objective experiences on another physical planet, rather than their own inner astral (“stars”) energies coming into awareness.
“Now in retrospect, I can see what was actually taking place. The phenomenon was slowly introducing me to aspects I had never considered before. I was being led step by step from skepticism to belief to – incredibly – disbelief. When my thinking went awry and my concepts were wrong, the phenomenon actually led me back onto the right path. It was all an education process, and my teachers were very, very patient. Other people who have become involved in this situation have not been so lucky. They settled upon and accepted a single frame of reference and were quickly engulfed in disaster.”
Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!
In his essay, “Initiation and Balance” Jean Dubuis concisely described the problem of having too much, or too little ‘awakening’ in a ‘sepherothic center’. The issues of Hod/Mercury and Binah/Saturn can be summarized respectively as emphasis on the material aspects of magic, and an asocial tendency that can lead to suicidal ideation in a desire to be freed from the ‘weight’ of this world. This last symptom was particularly emphasized for those undertaking the practice known as “Portae Lucis”, which is aimed at giving its participant an ‘experience of eternity’ based on astrological cycles. This method of cyclic talismanic magic aimed at experiencing inner initiation is detailed in Jean Dubuis’ book, The Experience of Eternity (2008). Dubuis also warns against an exaggerated generosity and altruism that can develop, wherein one exhibits what Tibetan lamas often call a ‘foolish compassion’. Each of the interior levels, for lack of a better term, brings with it a profound awakening that can both expand and rebalance our energies, or imbalance them as a result. In our work, Pathology of the Sublime: Problems and Solutions on the Spiritual Journey (IHS Study Guide Series, Vol. 7) – the various problems that arise for those engaged in psycho-spiritual practices have been examined in detail along with solutions. We cannot stress enough the importance of this work and its role in each person’s path.
“I have in my files hundreds of cases, some of which have now been investigated by qualified psychiatrists, in which young men and women obsessed with the UFO phenomenon have suffered frightening visits from these apparitions, have been followed by mysterious black Cadillacs which appeared and disappeared suddenly, and have been terrified into giving up their pursuit of UFOs. Many contactees report similar experiences.
The phenomenon is reflective: the more frightened the victim becomes, the more the manifestations are escalated.
Dabbling with UFOs can be as dangerous as dabbling with black magic. The phenomenon preys upon the neurotic, the gullible, and the immature. Paranoid-schizophrenia, demonomania, and even suicide can result – and has resulted in a number of cases. A mild curiosity about UFOs can turn into a destructive obsession.” (220)
As sensational as this last paragraph may seem it is true. In the desire to push what was once on the margins of society into the town square we risk unleashing a certain degree of instability and even chaos in the lives of individuals, and society as a whole. Now, this should not be exaggerated to apocalyptic proportions as is the tendency when statements like this are made. But rather, to acknowledge that in the past the liminal was always kept within specific limits for a reason. Be it the shaman, priest, yogi (who was often in the wilderness!), Taoist priest, or kabbalist with his golem, definite requirements were in place for one to enter into that domain. The door was known to everyone, all could knock, but not all could enter. As the Gospel tells us, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” The reason is simple: it takes training, dedication, sacrifice, and there are risks involved – just as there are in any meaningful area of study and practice. In various tantric writings we often come across the statement that entering into the path is like a snake entering a bamboo pole. There is only one way out and it is better to have not begun than to try and retreat.
Contemporary ‘spirituality’ treats the methods of parting the veil between the visible and invisible with either an unrealistic fear as is seen in many religions, or with a flippant disregard for all warnings and preparatory requirements. Fortunately most abandon their activities before any damage can be realized; but also, before any wisdom and insight can be gained either, and with it, the opportunity for genuine insight into the meaning and energies of life.
However, not all do. Modern magical or occult practices, and too many of their attendant orders, do not place sufficient emphasis on psychological preparation or in the ever present reality that the energies we are dealing with work in and through us – that means, in and through our mind, body, immediate environment, and broader social and professional life. While practitioners expect to experience improvements in their personal and professional lives, hence their reasons for their undertaking ‘The Path’ to begin, what must be born in mind is that all phenomena belongs to the domain of ‘duality’ and has both active and passive expression. We interpret these as good and evil depending on our relationship to the phenomena, as well as metabolic and catabolic, or the process of building up and breaking down.
Once again, according to tradition, Mercury rules over nervous and mental disorders, lack of ability to communicate or study, aloofness, amoral behavior, over intellectualization, any difficulty in thought or communication. Saturn rules over pain of the bones, muscles, ligaments, joints; timidity, anxiety, nightmares, poverty, shame, delays, instability, inhibitions, loneliness and isolation, depression, mental or physical rigidity, stinginess, disappointments, resignation to fate, melancholy, suspicion, doubt, and lack of trust in self or others. Because of the vast areas governed by the planets, it is easy to see a connection to UFO encounters – too easy – making specific points nearly impossible to prove, and the most basic associations nearly useless because of their broad generalizations.
“I am now inclined to accept the conclusion that the phenomenon is mainly concerned with undefined (and undefinable) cosmic patterns and that mankind plays only a small role in those patterns. That “other world” seems to be a part of something larger and more infinite. The human race is also a part of that something, particularly those people who seem to possess psychic abilities and who seem to be tuned into some signal far beyond normal perception. … We need to know much more about the human mind and how it is linked up to the greater source. We must study the process of confabulation (falsification of memory) which produces the majority of our UFO landing and contactee stories and demonological events. These victims genuinely believe that they have met splendid space beings, but as Goddard stated, they have really encountered “denizens” who ‘are eager to exemplify principalities and powers.’ (302)
The elementals or ultraterrestrials are somehow able to manipulate the electrical circuits of [the] human mind. They can make us see whatever they want us to see and remember only what they want us to remember. Human minds which have been tuned into those super-high-frequency radiations, described earlier in this book [Trojan Horse], are most vulnerable to these manipulations. Discovering and understanding this process should be given top priority.
The symptoms of the contactee syndrome usually appear in early childhood, even though overt contact may not be established until many years later. Many contactees … have a long sequence of experiences with the paraphysical entities before their real UFO encounters formally begin. … I do not mean to imply that these people are insane. Far from it. But many are driven insane when their minds are unable to translate the signal properly. They fall prey to the negative aspects, and their mental confusion attracts induced hallucinations, visits from Oriental gentlemen in dark suits and black Cadillacs, and they can eventually suffer total deterioration of personality. I had to discover this the hard way, only to discover later that Dr. Meade Layne had worked it all out in the early 1950’s, but nobody would listen to him.
Dr. Layne tried to express his ideas in occult terminology. He called the ultraterrestsrials the Etherians and thought in terms of “ultrasonics” as well as electromagnetic frequencies. In 1955 he published a concise (and time has proven it valid) appraisal of the situation in which he stated: “It is possible that some persons may be less affected by supersonic frequencies than others; …Not all ultraterrestrial contacts are evil and disastrous, of course. But there are many people throughout the world who are deeply involved in all this without realizing it. They have entangled themselves through other frames of reference and, in many cases, have been savagely exploited by the ultraterrestrials in the games being played. These games have been thoroughly documented and defined in the literature of the various frames of reference. The psychology of the elementals or ultraterrestrials is well known and fully described in the fairy lore of northern Europe and the ancient legends of Greece, Roman, and India. In fact, we know almost everything there is to know about the entities and their games.” (303)
From My Introduction to Israel Regarie and the Philosopher’s Stone by Lisiewski
“I bring up [Dr. Frederick LaMotte] Santee because he ran in many of the same circles as Regardie, Crowley, and Frater Albertus and was a contemporary of theirs and is said that he met the first two men when in London. Yet like Albertus, at the end of his days, when the lodge he had built and put so much energy into was going to meet its ultimate test of being able to survive without its founder, he uttered similar thoughts that we find Regardie stating here – if he had to do it all over again, Santee said he would forget magic and focus only on making money. As a physician Santee had a comfortable life, but it is also clear, that for all his skill and talent, the time and resources spent in the occult did not in the end justify the energy put into them.
Magic as we shall see, truly is ephemeral. It is an illusion. It can be an illusion that serves us, instructs us, or destroys us – but be clear, it is an illusion. A veritable Sirens call causing many a life to crash on the rocks of despair and disappointment, even madness. The lives of many gifted and intelligent men and women have been wasted in an obsession with the supernatural in place of a pursuit of self-realization, and with it, self-actualization: the crowning of Illumination.”
As I write this, the great Tibetan Dzogchen Master Namkhai Norbu lays dying, his mind presumably at ease as he enters into the next phase of life, the next ‘bardo’ of death and from there who knows? He may experience perfect enlightenment, or dissolve his body into light, leaving only finger nails and hair behind, or a shrunken corpse about two feet long as some are said to have done. He may reincarnate in this world, or spend some time on an astral vacation in a god realm.
Lisiewski did not believe in reincarnation, and put little stock in any theories of an afterlife. He felt it was his mission to destroy the ‘New Age Movement’ and what he perceived as its false teachings, empty promises, and a manipulation of people’s hopes and fears. As we have pointed out, he saw it his mission in life to destroy it. Santee’s gravestone openly speaks of his ‘return’ so presumably he believed in some form of rebirth. Presumably to fulfill his aspirations – this time free of occultism if we are to believe his statements regarding magic. He is just going after the cash. Regardie never abandoned magic but there were long periods of time when he did not practice, and it is believed that at the end of his life his main focus was his red convertible sports car (and women), and not speculation on what the future held. His death was sudden and unexpected at a restaurant while having dinner with friends. The death of Manly P. Hall is clouded in controversy and scandal; that of Harvey Spencer Lewis in some fascinating gossip. The official story is that he suffered a heart attack, was speaking and died at the Rosicrucian Sanitarium in San Jose, California. The unofficial story is that he suffered some kind of peculiar mental mishap and was chasing the nurses around before he passed. Crowley is too well known to be worth repeating, except that is was in poverty in a retirement home of sorts. In a previous essay, “When Masters Walk Away” (June 21, 2017) I pointed out:
“Just as we hear W. B. Yeats saying “the second order [of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn] is not a reform school,” neither is it a job for those who fail at everything else or an excuse to ignore our family and professional obligations. We hear a great deal about ‘asset stripping,’ when the valuable resources of one industry or region are removed in total and relocated elsewhere. While many in the modern counter-culture spiritual movements decry such activities in the ‘mundane world,’ they fully support and engage in them in the ‘esoteric worlds’ – with their very lives as the thing being stripped.”
I do not like to compare teachers to each other, as each offers something different in what they are teaching both intentionally and through their presence. However path we can more easily compare. The path of Dzogchen is different from what is being taught in most Western magical schools these days. It does have a striking similarity some aspects of Pietist thought and practice, but the appeal of Christian mysticism in any form, let alone such a pure and direct form as seen in the few Pietist groups left is weak at best if we compare it to the more popular and well-funded schools of Dzogchen, Zen, or even the watered down teachings that are being passed off as ‘Mindfulness Training’.
The Sign of the Cross
Just as the Sign of the Cross is used in blessings, benedictions, and as a defensive sign of protection against evil, we can use it as a reminder of what we are after in life – balance. The ‘Christian Cross’ or cross in extension, is just that, an extension of the energies of the Equal Armed Cross resembling a ‘plus sign’ or ‘+’. Because it is in equilibrium, it is the affirmation and restoration of balance and harmonious interaction of our energies, and their attendant wisdom qualities and all things associated with them. For this reason, its repeated use is an affirmation of our awareness of the qualities of our inner energies and their expression in and through us on a moment by moment basis. In essence, the Sign of the Cross is the symbolic and magical expression (gesture or form in action) of the indestructible nature of our being and its continuous manifestation in all that we think, say, and do. It is our ultimate ‘refuge’ or ‘shelter of the Most High’.
According to Robert Beer, in his work The Symbols of Tibetan Buddhism, the Double Vajra, a symbol similar to the equal armed cross, symbolizes the foundational principal of absolute and unshakable stability. This stability of course exists within our own self-concept and self-awareness and is radiated outward from there into all areas of our life. Because of this last aspect, it is also the symbol of “all accomplishing wisdom” of the lord of the “Karma Family” of activity, meaning that all of our activities or actions (karma = action and result) are brought to fruition with wisdom. For us, this wisdom may be a full realization of the relationship of action and effect, or it may be an ‘act of faith’ of confidence in our ‘Inner Self’ as the supreme guide of our life.
Thus, all we need to do is look at the cross and realize we stand at the center of it, like the center of the circle of our microcosm, our life, and around us are four qualities: self, others, inner, and outer. We need to establish a healthy relationship with each of these expressions, being neither to selfish nor selfless to the point of stupidity and destruction; we need to develop our inner qualities, and find their expression in the physical world. Everything we do as an individual or part of a group, in our esoteric life or mundane activities will partake of these qualities. In the end, we see, there is no real difference between inner and outer, between spiritual and mundane, except as we perceive it.
This is important to realize so that we are not distracted by illusions of esoteric or magical grandeur, and like those who are consumed by the enticement of being a ‘cosmic insider’ and are swallowed by pursuit of UFOs and paranormal phenomena, we find ourselves empty at the end of our days.
This is not only important, but critical and central to The Work. The paths of occultism, primarily ceremonial magic, alchemy, astrology, and all of those specifically concerned with phenomena are for the purpose of establishing our conscious realization of harmony. The path on the Tree of Life which is attributed to these disciplines in general is the ‘path’ from Hod to Tiphareth, and said to be ruled by Capricorn and symbolized by the tarot card, The Devil.
As a side note, it should come as no surprise that when I checked, it just happened to be a “coincidence” that I am writing this essay when the Moon is in the Sign of Capricorn, and the Sun in Virgo using the tropical zodiac – both Signs ruled by Saturn and Mercury. Capricorn addressing achievements and Virgo the details thereof, with both being “Earth Signs,” meaning they deal with concrete reality. If we are take the message of this essay seriously, we must also recognize that there is no such thing as “chance” or “coincidence” – only the realization of energy, intelligence, and form.
Much has been written about this card and this path, but for our purposes all we need to remember is the following: this is not the only Path to Tiphareth, but we MUST experience it if we are to be healthy and whole. It is a path of extreme testing, for that is what Saturn does – it tests us in the same way the weights in a gymnasium ‘test’ who ever uses them. If you wish to be healthy and strong, you must always remember that ‘iron never lies’ and tells us what we need to do. Those who have abandoned the magical path, often late in life, such as Regardie, Lisiewski, and others I know, often entered into activities that were an unconscious expression of the other paths needed to balance their lives. This tendency was in general towards an attempt to establish a more harmonious social and family life, or the influences of Netzach/Venus.
It is critical to note this so that we may have a grasp of what esoteric practices are about: they are about life, and not an end in themselves. When one stays chained to the Pillar of Severity, like the people portrayed in the tarot card The Devil, not only does one become stuck in place, but with this static view and understanding, inertia, illness, hallucinations (be they real or imagined psychic visions), and paranoia begin to be exhibited. This is the same as those who immersed themselves in the UFO and paranormal phenomena. I have seen too much of this over the years, paranoia in particular manifesting itself, and destroying people, relationships, and even lodges along the way. To free ourselves and accomplish the realization this path suggests requires that we unchain ourselves from certainty and take the “leap of faith” into the unknown – which is in fact our own Inner Self – which this Path in particular requires. We must experience our ‘self’ as we are and learn to live with and love (Netzach) others as they are, and not as we would want them to be.
If we are to construct a tower that reaches from earth to the heavens, then we must have a deep and strong foundation. Otherwise, we risk our towers being blasted to a pile of rubble from which we must start over again. For us, this foundation is a firm commitment to our spiritual practice and using our practice to create observable and concretely a meaningful life for ourselves and others.
Just as esoteric organizations are not reform schools, neither is it our mission, job, or responsibility to reform others, start a new religion, or be anything other than a traveler on the Path of Return who enjoys the realization that there is no difference between spiritual and mundane, Time and Eternity, that they are in fact expressions of the same Nothingness from and in which everything exists. We aid others to the best that we can and that is all. For to enter into the realm of the prophets of the New Age is to unwittingly transform ourselves into a Pied Piper of Perdition.
So where does this leave us? On one hand we are told to pick our associates carefully, particularly those who we will be participating in esoteric work with, or looking to for guidance, and to avoid any unnecessary egregores. On the other hand, we are told that we need to have solid and firm guidance for our work on the Path so as to avoid the pitfalls that exist along the way.
It is important that you realize that we are not discouraging individuals from spiritual work – on the contrary – we want each person to be fully informed about what they are entering into. For this reason we cannot stress enough the importance of Study Guides and monographs produced by the Institute for Hermetic Studies, the following in particular:
Words of My Teachers
Unfolding the Rose – Illumination and Western Esotericism
Sanctus – Spirituality in Daily Life
The Four Aims – Jupiter in Daily Living
Of course, we cannot stress enough the importance of the simple and effective methods of purification and forming a positive spiritual link with your teachers and tradition as given in Kabbalah for Health and Wellness; psychic health and strength as detailed in Child of the Sun- Psychic and Physical Rejuvenation in Alchemy and Qabala; and prayer as the foundation of spiritual practice in The Inner Way – The Power of Prayer and Belief in Spiritual Practice. This may seem like a great deal to read, practice, and digest, however given what is at stake – your health and well-being – and the goal of the work, your self-realization and with it, self-actualization – it is really a nominal foundation for such lofty aspirations.
[Note: Some of what Layne discusses regarding ‘materialization, dematerialization, and form creation should be read in connection with the formation of ‘The Cloud’ as detailed in the Ninth Degree teachings of the Rosicrucian Order (AMORC) and briefly reviewed in The Mind of Hermes – Visionary Experiences in Western Esotericism IHS Study Guide Series, Vo. 6.]