The Ancient Art of Memory & the Modern Science of Dreaming


I’m old enough to remember a time before we knew that birds were just a modern form of dinosaurs. Like many children in the 1970s, I thought dinosaurs were the coolest things ever, partly because they were so remote in time, so very extinct. But to later find out what palaeontologists were just then realising, that these ancient monsters were still around us everywhere, always audible outside the window, was mind-blowing and inspiring in a whole new way.

Something similar is true of much ‘ancient wisdom’. Lore that we may assume has been long forgotten often turns out to have just morphed into something different. In some cases, it still survives in places, or in disguises, that we might least suspect. This is true of my favourite piece of ancient knowhow, one that has been centrally important in my life and learning for three decades: the astonishingly effective memorisation method practiced by scholars and orators in pre-literate, pre-Gutenberg times.

Few know about this technique anymore, but I was lucky to read about it when I was in college at the University of Colorado in the 1980s. A lecturer recommended I read a book called The Art of Memory by Frances Yates,1 saying it was literally the most interesting book he’d ever read. That sounded like a pretty good recommendation – so I headed over to the university bookstore and picked up a copy. Reading it that evening at home, I felt like I was being initiated into a whole new way of thinking, not only about the mind and history, but also about film, visual arts, literature, psychology. It felt like an initiation, and was really one of those life-changing reading experiences.

We speak today of the ‘reading experience’, but for people in the ancient world and Middle Ages – the time period of Yates’ study – texts were precious, rare objects, and the aim of reading, if you could read, was not to have a fleeting and diverting experience with a book before moving on to the next one. A travelling scholar studying a rare volume in the library of some wealthy patron may never get another chance to look at that book. Even a monk or priest would have very limited opportunities to read the Bible. But amazingly, learned men in ancient Greece or Rome, or in the Middle Ages, actually knew many books by heart; their minds were well-organised libraries of texts that, in their studies and travels, they had the good fortune to hold and read and study. In debates, they could assemble and arrange evidence, quoting long passages by heart, without a scrap of paper in front of them.

The method was actually easy: If you wanted to remember an idea or fact, you just needed to break the fact down into its parts, substitute each part with some other thing it called to mind for you, and then assemble those things together into an arresting little tableau or scene. To remember a whole speech or sermon, you just ‘placed’ a sequence of those images, in your imagination, along a route through a familiar or well-memorised environment like your home or public plaza. Then, when the time came to deliver your discourse, you took a mental stroll through the same space, visiting each vivid image in sequence, ‘retrieving’ the facts or ideas you had planted there.

Here’s an example: A college student needs to learn a long list of major milestones in European history for an exam. The study handout lists names and dates and facts that might be on the test like “The Normans invaded England in 1066.” On their own, the bare facts, Normans, England, 1066, may mean little or nothing to the student – she doesn’t know what a Norman invader looks like; like most numbers, the date 1066 might as well be a random string of digits; and she has never been to England, although she has a lot of impressions from TV and magazines constantly showing Prince William and his wife and children. If she is lucky, though, our hypothetical student may have been taught the basic tricks of the art of memory by a teacher or adviser at some point: The idea is to use all her random, stupid, personal associations and make a mental picture from them.

So, say our student is a maven of 60s rock trivia and knows the years of every Bob Dylan album like the back of her hand. The year 1066 thus might immediately call to her mind 1966, the year Blonde on Blonde was released. And while she may not know what an actual historical Norman looked like, she does have an uncle named Norman. Instead of repressing such absurd and irrelevant connections as they occur to her while she’s staring at her study handout, a clever, mnemonically-trained student will actually allow her naturally playful mind to make and even embellish those associations on the fly – allowing, perhaps, a mental image of a weirdly blond-haired version of her uncle (who in real life has black hair), wearing a cheap Darth Vader cloak and mask (i.e., ‘in Vader’; the ‘cheap mask’ instead of a full helmet allows us to see his blond hair) slicing Prince William in half with a stroke of his light sabre. For all the other events and dates on the study sheet, she creates a similarly bizarre and, yes, idiotic image, using the same principles, and then mentally plants these little dioramas at intervals along some familiar route, such as the path from her dorm to her history class.

She will, I promise you, ace the test.

When Yates first wrote her book (also in 1966), she took a somewhat sceptical attitude: Although there was clearly something magical about this technique, and while its famous practitioners like the Hermetic freethinker Giordano Bruno boasted amazing feats with it, it didn’t make sense to her. She assumed creating new images to remember facts would actually require more effort at memorisation, not less. But the psychological study of memory over the last half century has revealed why the ancient methods really did work a lot better than cramming stuff into our heads by rote repetition.

Memory works by association – the linking of information not by logic but by how things look or sound alike (for instance puns and rhymes); where they fit in some arbitrary sequence like a list or a song; or even what we were doing, where we were, or how we felt when we learned about them. When searching our mental archive for information, we find what we need by quickly following trains of very personal and idiosyncratic links – like what we were eating for breakfast when we heard a particularly interesting piece of news on the radio. It’s that associative illogic that, counterintuitively, makes our memories strong, because it enables us to quickly access needed information by many alternative paths. Your cortex is a vast multidimensional net of illogical interconnections, spanning the length and breadth of your experience on earth.

When that college student is creating an image of her uncle in a Darth Vader costume killing Prince William, she isn’t really creating anything new she needs to remember along with the historical fact of the Norman invasion; she is taking stuff already in her memory, the first associations that just naturally and effortlessly pop to mind, and hooking them to each other by slightly distorting them, the way you might attach two lengths of wire by bending the ends. It’s like a little playful mental art project. It takes little effort to concoct such images, and it takes zero effort to remember them. Because of their absurdity, they stick in mind automatically.

The biographies of modern geniuses like Einstein show that, even when they don’t know they are doing it, they are essentially using the art of memory, treating information as toys or materials to be creatively transformed, not intimidating data to be crammed into the head by brute force.

The Royal Road

Like I said, it is always exciting to learn about the wisdom of the ancients – I’ve been practicing the art of memory for decades and it has paid off in countless ways, along with the thrill of feeling like I’m privy to an ages-old secret. It is even more exciting, though, to realise this ancient wisdom is still alive in the most unexpected places. What if we are all memory wizards like Giordano Bruno, and don’t even know it? Consider: Uncle Norman attacking Prince William while wearing a Darth Vader costume is just the sort of surreal image we might encounter at night in our dreams. Is there some connection between dreaming and the art of memory?

The strangely sensible bizarreness of dreams has led reasonable people at all times and in all cultures to assume that these nightly visions and visitations have some kind of important role to play in our lives. In 1900, Sigmund Freud famously wed the folk wisdom that dreams are symbolically meaningful with the then-new scientific study of mental process in his masterpiece The Interpretation of Dreams.2 He argued that dreams are symbolic tableaux staging the fulfilment of our repressed wishes. It was the keystone of his big idea that the unconscious mind contains secrets that can make us ill, or at least make us confused and unhappy, until they are brought out into the light of day. Dreams, he said, were the ‘royal road’ to the unconscious.

Freud’s theory is hard to test scientifically, though, and with the assumption that there is some secret desire being expressed, it is easy to twist Freudian dream interpretations to mean whatever the patient, or doctor, wants them to mean. The ‘wish fulfilment’ idea is also a bit of a stretch, which even Freud began to realise later in his life, when studying the dreams of war veterans: Some dreams are thoroughly unpleasant – definitely not showing us our deep desires. For these and other reasons, psychologists and brain scientists in the second half of the 20th century mostly rejected Freud and went in a totally different direction, searching for a biological basis of dreaming. In doing so, they tried hard to discredit the mystical-sounding idea that dreams contained symbolic meanings that you could interpret like a poem, or decode the way a spy might extract the hidden meaning from a cipher.

Over the decades, brain scientists have produced many, usually pretty dull theories about why we dream – for instance, they are just random brain noise, or they somehow prepare us to deal with threats. But circumstantial evidence has accumulated gradually, from lots of different sources, that there may be an inner logic in dreams after all, and that logic has something to do with reinforcing old memories and making new ones.

In laboratory experiments, people who have been exposed to new information remember it better after ‘sleeping on it’ than if they don’t; and studies also show that during sleep, complex material learned during the day is simplified, made easier to understand. Animal species most dependent on their parents at birth, like birds and humans and many other mammals, show much more REM sleep than species born fully able to function, like reptiles. (In other words, the more an animal needs to learn in order to survive in the world, the more its brain is active at night, and the more it dreams.) Rodent studies have shown that brain areas activated during daytime exploration and learning are reactivated during sleep. We additionally know that the hippocampus, long recognised to play a key role in making new memories, is extremely active while we slumber.

There is also growing evidence that important episodes and upheavals in our day are metabolised at night, specifically during the roughly two and a half hours we spend during REM sleep, when we are dreaming most vividly. It thus makes sense that the vividly bizarre images in dreams could directly reflect this nightly process of memory-making. Yet, the fact that dreams are bizarre and usually don’t realistically relate to events in our daily life has been a sticking point in figuring out what their exact connection to memory might be.

A big part of the problem is that scientists are usually too busy (and science-minded) to venture out of the science stacks in their library. It was only in 2013 that a psychologist named Sue Llewellyn at Manchester Business School realised that the ancient art of memory, well known to cultural historians, might be the missing piece of the puzzle of dreams.3 She saw that the bizarre content in dreams seems to bear the same relationship to real-life events in our lives that a scene of Uncle Norman in a Darth Vader costume attacking Prince William bears to the fact of the Norman Invasion in 1066. Dreams, she suggested, are basically just the ancient art of memory operating automatically while we sleep. They don’t literally re-present events that happened in our day; instead they show us our private associations to those events. Those associations are the new connecting material being formed nightly in our brains, linking those recent events to older, deeper priorities and older memories.

Getting Ahead

The new mnemonic theory of dreaming makes brilliant sense of several old commonplaces about dreams, such as why they so often involve sex, why they so often contain clever witticisms and puns, and why they are usually so hard to remember.

Because dreams have so much sex and suggestive genital symbolism in them, Freud thought they must be basically about our repressed sexual desires. But if dreams actually serve a mnemonic function, then we might expect sexual motifs to be so prevalent simply because exciting emotions make things more memorable. This is a well-known fact about memory; in fact, sex was an important part of the ancient art of memory for exactly that reason. Most of the teachers kept quiet on this aspect of it, but one Renaissance memory teacher, Peter of Ravenna, admitted that sexy imagery was one of his trade secrets: “I usually fill my memory-places with the images of beautiful women, which excite my memory,” he said. “If you wish to remember quickly, dispose the images of the most beautiful virgins into memory places; the memory is marvellously excited by images of women…”4

In our more enlightened day, you can of course substitute ‘whatever turns your crank’ for Peter’s “beautiful virgins.” The point is not that women are sex objects, but that whatever for you is a sex object is also an ideal memory hook.

Another common feature in dreams is brilliant wordplay, especially puns. For instance, a friend of mine once told me a disturbing dream in which she attended a dinner party thrown by her older sister, where she was horrified to see her sister’s head resting on an appetiser tray. I knew my friend was annoyed by her sister’s recent accomplishments, such as getting married and purchasing a home (neither of which my friend was close to doing), so there was nothing really mysterious about my friend’s dream image: Her sister was ahead. Her jaw dropped when I pointed this out.

The puns in dreams often link multiple associations and enlist all our senses, not just the sounds of words. There are sight gags, as well as emotional and multisensory puns and situations that ‘rhyme’ with those in real life. Of course, witty wordplay is central to the consciously applied arts of memory too: Using Uncle Norman to stand for the Norman invaders is a kind of pun, as is putting Norman in a Darth Vader costume to make him an invader.

Freud thought that multilayered puns helped dreams say a lot with a little – the same principle in jokes – and here the mnemonic theory is in complete agreement. Freud might have suggested that my friend’s dream image brilliantly stated the case that her sister was ‘ahead’ along with the hope that the sister’s accomplishments were nothing but a trivial prelude (an appetiser) to my friend’s own later achievements – and maybe there was a little sibling ‘death wish’ thrown in as well. The multiple trains of association radiating out from a single dream image represent multiple paths in the brain’s associative network, which keep some idea – in this case, ‘I kind of hate my sister because she’s ahead of me’ – alive and available in the dreamer’s thoughts.

But why, if dreams’ purpose is memory, are they among hardest of our experiences to remember? We dream for about two and a half hours each night but are lucky to recall just one or two brief dreams every morning, if any. Unless you write them down, even those have usually faded by breakfast. It’s not so strange if you think about it: The thing we are supposed to remember is our memories of yesterday. Dreams make yesterday, the same way the stomach digests our meals and transforms it into the stuff of our bodies. Yesterday is more vivid to me today than it was before I slept, because of that activity of dreaming, which created and solidified the pathways in my brain that lead to those memories. Nature may not really mean us to see or remember our dreams per se, any more than it means us to see the contents of our stomach… and when we do, something may be wrong.

I like to think of dreams as the scaffolding and cranes at a construction site: They quickly dismantle themselves – they just vanish – once the building they are constructing is finished. The same is true of the images created in the art of memory: I can rattle off my debit card number over the phone without looking at my card, and I no longer even remember the weird sequence of images I used to remember it a few years ago – something about a sailboat and a big tongue, I believe. I think there were also some naked people. (For a guide to the art of memory, including a simple system to remember strings of numbers, see my online article, “The Art of Memory: Why It Is the Coolest Thing Ever and Why You Should Learn It Today” at

Childhood’s Beginning

Get in touch with your inner dreamer. Write down your dreams in detail as soon as you can in the morning – every person, object, and situation, and every noteworthy or odd detail you notice. Then for every noticed element, take a moment to note the first one or two things or situations that pop into mind that it reminds you of. Be honest and don’t force it. With a moment’s free association, a dream element that may seem bizarre at first glance will usually point surprisingly to a recent situation or current preoccupation in your life, and going through this process for an entire dream will reveal astonishing connections to more distant memories, popular culture, and all kinds of forgotten stuff in your mental attic. You can fill pages and pages of journal on a single dream.

Dream-thought is so wild and brilliant, so beyond our daily button-down intelligence, that people unused to observing their dreams have a hard time accepting that their own ordinary minds could be responsible for creating these Shakespeare-worthy stories. This probably accounts for why dreams have often been felt to have divine origins, and why today many people don’t remember their dreams at all – that kind of playfulness and genius simply doesn’t fit into who we think we are or who we think we should be. But there’s no reason not to own it; it’s our brains doing it, and it is who we are.

And don’t limit your dreamwork to dreaming. Get in the habit of making your own dreams, by practicing the art of memory. It builds flexibility and creativity and can quickly turn you into an amazing storehouse of knowledge. People will wonder how you know so much, and more importantly it coaxes that childlike brilliance of dream thought into your daily life so you can apply it creatively to situations. With just a little practice, anybody can re-learn this playful attitude toward knowledge, becoming a memory wizard in the process.

Childhood didn’t really end, just like the dinosaurs didn’t really go extinct. It just went underground. Through dreamwork and the art of memory you can coax it to the surface very easily.

For more on Consciousness, Quantum Science, Akashic Paradigm and related, check out New Dawn Special Issue Vol 10 No 4, available in print or digital.

If you appreciate this article, please consider a digital subscription to New Dawn.


  1. Frances A. Yates, The Art of Memory, Pimlico, 1996 (1966)
  2. Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, Avon Books, 1965 (1900)
  3. Sue Llewellyn, “Such stuff as dreams are made on? Elaborative encoding, the ancient art of memory, and the hippocampus,” Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Volume 36, Issue 06, December 2013, 589-607
  4. In Paolo Rossi, Logic and the Art of Memory, University of Chicago Press, 2000, 22


ERIC WARGO is a science writer in Washington DC with a PhD in Anthropology. He blogs about futurism, science fiction, and the paranormal at He is a regular contributor to Reality Sandwich and his writing has appeared in EdgeScience and Syntropy Journal; he has been a recent guest on The Paracast and Skeptiko. Eric can be reached at

The above article appeared in New Dawn Special Issue Vol 10 No 4

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The People vs. the Hidden Hand: David Icke Speaks Out (Part 1)



Among those who’ve chosen to question mainstream belief systems, David Icke is an icon, a one-man alarm clock who has probably woken up more people to the global conspiracy than any other individual. He is a natural orator with a compelling and engaging style of both writing and speaking who has managed – in ways unlike any before him – to connect a vast web of seemingly disparate dots into a single, unified picture. It is a picture that, when he explains it to a freshly opened mind, enables that mind to see a single image in a fog of pixels. He has probably been the cause of more “ah-ha!” moments than any other researcher in his field.

David Icke certainly had that effect on this writer, who, after watching his 2009 Melbourne presentation, finally understood how the events of 9/11 fit into a much larger paradigm – how 9/11 was simply a turning point in a complex, yet at the same time, rather straightforward narrative. It is a narrative of increasingly consolidating global power – a power that David Icke has researched and tracked for the past 26 years. But unlike many other researchers who pieced together the history of this global conspiracy, David Icke is not only able to join the dots, he sees where this agenda leads. His books and speeches foretold many aspects of the global conspiracy that have since come true or been exposed – the ‘war on terror’, global financial collapse, elite paedophile rings, emerging police states, the cashless society, implantable microchips, and the West’s brinkmanship against Russia and China with intent to ignite a third world war.

David Icke began speaking truth to power 26 years ago, following a set of mighty synchronicities and epiphanies that prophesied the path to the world stage on which he currently stands. At that time, the world was far from ready to have its cherished beliefs dismantled, and David found himself the target of both ridicule and professional disgrace. But he persevered. He continued to research, to write and to speak. Perhaps if it hadn’t have been for 9/11, he might still have remained a cult hero. Amidst the confusion and dust of the world’s most influential terrorist attack, no one was better positioned and better prepared to make sense of the absolute insanity that followed. And make sense of it he did, exposing in clear and succinct terms the much larger agenda that the 9/11 attack served.

New Dawn has been a longtime supporter of David Icke, and with the release of his newest book, Phantom Self (and how to find the real one), we are eager to welcome him back to Australia on his latest speaking tour. This magazine has been on somewhat of a similar journey in its 25 years of publishing, growing from humble beginnings to be one of the few reliable bastions of truth that dare strike at the heart of the matter – the gathering storm of the global conspiracy. It’s a stance that has won this magazine its share of attacks from the mainstream press. But as David Icke noted before the interview began, “That’s just confirmation you’re on the right track.”

– Marc Star

MARC STAR (MS): For over two decades, you’ve exposed a hidden agenda to enslave humanity via a fascist world government that intends to rule over all via centralised banking, a one world army and a vast surveillance infrastructure. In that time, you’ve been a major voice empowering and waking up people across the entire planet. At this point, the global elites are openly and brazenly devising new ways to protect and increase their power by ‘false flag’ incidents and the legal destruction of hard-won freedoms – and this is all happening as we stand on the verge of the inevitable – mass awakening. We are racing to the finish line: the people vs. the hidden hand. Who’s winning?

DAVID ICKE (DI): If you just looked at the world through the eyes of world events and the mainstream media, then you would likely say that the hidden hand is continuing its vast and long planned agenda of creating a globally centralised fascist/communist dictatorship designed to impose itself on the fine detail of everybody’s life.

I started this journey 26 years ago this month. I think it was the 31st of March 1990. That was the day that I walked into a psychic’s front room and was told I was going to go out onto the world stage, reveal great secrets that would eventually make me world famous, and I would face enormous opposition. But “they” would always be there to protect me.

So that happened 26 years ago this month, and when I started out, well it was a very lonely place. Obviously I faced fantastic – historic in Britain – levels of ridicule and abuse. If you talked to people then – and I did, or tried to – about the kind of information that’s circulating today through what is called the alternative media, then there were very few who wanted to listen, and very few that weren’t instantly, reflex-action, dismissing the whole idea. But over these 26 years I’ve seen an extraordinary change in vast numbers of people. It’s a change that is going on and on – and is expanding all the time.

Through the 90s the expansion was small, comparatively. But after 9/11 and after weapons of mass destruction were not found in Iraq – despite all the devastation that was justified by that lie – people did start, in a more obvious way in terms of numbers, to question the world they’d been told to believe in. What is happening now – in my experience anyway – is we’re moving in this expansion of awareness, this expansion of re-evaluating what people think of the world and how they see the world. It’s going into another level.

Now of course it’s not the majority. It’s nothing like the majority, yet. But compared with 26 years ago, for people like me, it’s dreamland, not just in terms of the numbers of people who are looking at this information, but in terms of the kind of people who are doing it. What I’m seeing now are people that would have dismissed me and all this information with a wave of the hand 26 years ago – 20 years ago, 15 years ago, even 10 years ago – people who are, if you like, of the system, people in the system, people in the structure of the system, people who have up to this point believed in the system and think that anyone who questions or challenges the system must be some kind of anarchist or communist or whatever. These are the kind of people more and more who are looking at the world and saying, “Hold on a minute. Maybe it’s not like I thought it was” – in a number of different ways.

For reasons I explain in the book Phantom Self, and will explain at length at the events in Australia and New Zealand, the middle classes, as they’re called, are being targeted by this hidden hand, because the idea – and it has been the plan along – is to create a global structure in which eventually less than one percent will control everything. And the rest of the population – that which survives – will be in servitude, poverty and deprivation. The idea behind this blatantly gathering global police state is to create the structure that holds in place that status quo of control by the less-than-one percent. I’ve dubbed it the Hunger Games Society, because the structure in that movie series, the structure of that society – never-mind the hunger games themselves – is very much along the lines of what this plan is seeking to impose.

You have to get to the people who currently consider themselves pretty well off, many who would consider themselves even very wealthy, who think that austerity programs and attacks on the poor have nothing to do with them, not their business, doesn’t affect them. What I have been seeking to get across is that it does affect them, because in this hunger games society structure, they are part of the poverty stricken masses as well. Now to do that you have to remove the current wealth, and to a certain extent, the independence of these people.

You are having this targeting of the middle strata of society – and higher. If you’re not in the one percent, they want your money too. They want your wealth. They want your independence too if you’re not in that, well, less-than-one percent, eventually. The United States’ version of the middle class, for instance, has been targeted massively with the outsourcing of jobs overseas. But the key, for me, of parting these people from their money, wealth and independence is what is called the “bail-in.”

We had the outrageous bailouts after the engineered banking crash of 2008. Phenomenal, breathtaking amounts of what is called money were transferred from the people, via governments, to this less-than-one-percent elite – via bailouts of the so-called too-big-to-fail banks. That transfer of wealth was by government funds, or government borrowing, which the people are stuck with paying back. It was a transfer of wealth from the people through governments to the banking elite. And this has created an extraordinary situation in which governments, which are ultimately controlled by the same web, have justified austerity programs upon so many of the population – justified by the lack of money resulting from the banking bailout.

Even with that you have this big strata of people who are still okay – many of them doing very well, certainly by comparison. But the hidden hand wants them too. And so we’ve had this move since the collapse of the banks in Cyprus, in which they’ve moved from a policy of bank bailouts to bail-ins, as they’re called. Instead of governments and institutions of government bailing out banks when they get into trouble, the bail-in goes straight to the bank accounts of those in the banks.

People think that because they’ve got money in the bank it’s safe. But when you put money in a bank, all you are is an unsecured creditor. That’s all you are. And so the idea is to have, at some point – it may be in 2016, it may be in 2017, but at some point in this cycle of imposition and control – they’re planning a massive financial crash, bigger than 2008, which will give them the excuse to have the mass bail-in, which will simply use money that people have in their bank accounts to bailout the bank in question.

If you look at the Cyprus example, which basically kicked this off, there were people – not in the least Russian people – with a lot of money in those Cyprus banks and they lost virtually all of it because the European Union, the European Central Bank, etc., put this so-called deal together – all manipulation – to bailout the banks by taking the people’s money.

Now, more and more people in this middle strata of society – in my experience, anyway – are starting to see that all is not well and that actually they’re not as safe and above it all as they thought they were. Of course it’s not all of them. But now significant numbers of them are starting to look at my information, for instance, because it’s starting to make sense of the world that they see. And that’s the point.

I said many years ago there was going to come a time when what had been hidden would have to break the surface and enter the scene, for a simple reason. If your covert plan is to transform global society via a global centralisation of power and police state imposition, then you can only do it completely covertly up to a point. At some point what you’re doing has to break the surface – in terms of changes to society that people see and experience – because otherwise you’re not going to transform society. You have to bring it into the scene to change the scene in the way that you want.

So we have entered this period now where what is happening in terms of people’s daily experience, what they see on the news, is that a plan, which has been up to this point hidden, is being put in their faces. This is a dangerous and crucial time for the hidden hand because it can’t hide what it’s doing anymore.

I hear people say, “Oh they’re just putting it in your face, now. They don’t care if you know.” There is some truth in that, but only some truth. I think the bigger truth is they don’t have any choice. They have to put it in our faces so that the world that our faces see is transformed into the world they want. Otherwise there’s no point in what they’re doing.

It’s a dangerous time for the global agenda because now people can see more blatantly what’s happening, and they can start to see the patterns. One of the things I focus on, and I certainly will do so during my talks in Australia and New Zealand, is to connect the dots between a vast spectrum of world events so that the pixels become the picture and people see that it’s all connected.

People say, “Oh, you see conspiracies everywhere.” No I don’t. I see one conspiracy, with many endless facets and faces. And that’s what I do in the talks. I connect those dots. And I’ll do it on a scale this time around that I’ve never done before – because as you move on, of course, you know more, things become clearer, and that clarity makes it much simpler to explain. But obviously I’ll also be talking about the nature of reality and the transhumanist agenda.

I’m extremely encouraged by the numbers of people now who are opening their minds to this information, as well as the kind of people – the kind of people who still have influence within the system, who still have influence at those levels of society that can impact upon society in general.

People say, “Oh, it’s not enough, there aren’t enough people awakening to this.” Well for those that can see what’s going on, or at least some of it, it will never be enough, because they know the scale of what’s unfolding and what’s behind it. But because I’ve been doing this for so long – over a quarter of a century – my point of reference is not the numbers that are awakening now, it’s how many were awakened 26 years ago. Because I have this reference point, coming from personal experience, I am extremely encouraged at the difference in numbers between 26 years ago and now. The more people awaken, the more people that talk about it, the more people point things out, the more people hear it, and so the whole thing expands.

The reason that I’m going on this open-ended world tour – which goes into 2017, and will continue for as long as people want me to speak – is because, as I’ve been saying for many years, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are crucial years in deciding which direction human society takes. If we go on as we are, by 2018/2019, when this three–year period is complete, this world will be in serious lockdown in terms of freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and even freedom of movement in many areas. It will be much more difficult then to communicate what’s going on and turn this around than it is now. So I’m giving it everything I can in the next three years to make sure that the awareness of the world as it really is will be put before as many people as possible so this outcome can be headed off.

In the end, of course, we have billions having their lives dictated and manipulated by a ludicrous few, in full knowledge of what they’re doing. And they can only do that while the billions are in ignorance and in apathy.

MS: Your new book is titled Phantom Self. What is the Phantom Self?

DI: I coined the term “phantom self” in the title and the text of my latest book to describe the fake self that people are manipulated into believing is who they are throughout a human life. Phantom self is the self we give a name to, we give a life history to, we give a family history to, we give a race to, and all these labels that people give themselves. Phantom self is a download, basically – a download from the system. We, in our true infinite state, are simply awareness – the state of being aware. Forget the body, forget form. These are all vehicles for this awareness to experience different realities. But the core doesn’t have two legs, two arms, a head and a body. It’s pure awareness. The system, appropriately, systematically has created a structure that we call human life to isolate incarnate awareness from the rest of our infinite awareness. It does this by so focusing attention on the five-sense world of physical illusion that nothing else can get in – i.e., the infinite wisdom, knowledge, and knowing of our true self.

If you look at the system and human life, it’s virtually all focused on the five senses, stimulating the five senses, enticing the five senses, pulling in the five senses. We have this process where we come into this world and immediately we are under the influence of parents, in terms of our sense of reality, our sense of self. And the parents have been through the same system that you are about to go through, and they’ve downloaded the program – not every time, but the vast overwhelming majority of the time. And so you’re immediately influenced in your sense of reality by parents who have downloaded their sense of reality from the system. We accept normals that are completely insane, and we think they’re sane because they’re normal – normal being simply what we experience as what normally happens.

Extraordinarily, within three or four years this incarnate awareness finds itself sitting at a desk with an authority figure representing the system telling the three-, four- or five-year-old when they have to be there, when they can leave, when they can eat, when they can talk, when they can go to the toilet, and so on. It tells them what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s true, what’s not true. And it gives them the system’s version of everything. This goes on year after year after year after year – right into the teenage years as adulthood approaches. At least five days a week, this newly arrived awareness incarnate is downloading the system’s version of everything.

Now they even have this scam when you go from school into college/university education, you actually now have to take out vast loans to pay for your own programming. And so you come out at the end of this long time of downloading the system’s version of life and the world, you come out and you go off into politics, journalism, law, medicine, corporate jobs and positions, and you take with you into all those areas this core programming which everyone goes through. Some reject it because they can see through it. But the vast majority accepts it.

There is a consensus on reality. Some people might call them left wing. Some people might call them right wing. But there is a consensus reality on all the basic things. This is why you get people of the left in politics and people of the right condemning alternative explanations of the world and life, when in every other way they are at loggerheads with each other, because that core programming is there. So a journalist who’s been through that core programming, when there is a health story, they won’t go to someone who has spent, say, 25 years studying other ways of treating people for various ailments. They won’t go to them to get information on the story. They’ll go to a doctor, because the programming says doctors are the only people that know anything about the body. But they’re often the last people that know anything about the body in terms of its real holographic nature. If they want to do a story about reality, they won’t go to someone like me who has spent 26 years studying reality with an open mind. They’ll go to a scientist who’ll give them the sum sheet from the system.

What happens is, once you’ve been through this download, you then become an agent of the system without even realising that’s what you’re doing, because you’re passing on your programming to others. It’s called peer pressure. That’s another level of it. Then you’ve got the mainstream media that’s constantly pouring out the system’s version of everything – which you’ve been told is real through the education system. And so it’s no surprise that people in enormous numbers – billions and billions – go through their entire life believing in a version of self and a version of the world that’s complete crap. But the fact they believe in it means they perceive in a certain way. And thus they behave in a certain way. Thus they oppose things and support things on the basis of their perception of reality.

When you put all of these elements together – the labels people give themselves, the life story, the family history, the racial history and all this programming – what that forms is what I call phantom self. It’s a self identity that believes that what we are is what we see in the mirror, what job we have, what colour we are, what income bracket we are, and so on. But that belief, that sense of self, is a belief in nothing more than a construct, a fake you who has been persuaded that this construct is you. Though there are endless elements of it that I talk about in the books, what overwhelmingly infects the whole perception is a sense of limitation, a sense of “I can’t,” a myopic sense of the possible.

We have a situation then where phantom self, having taken the download, then polices other phantom selves. I use the following analogy in some of my books: We laugh at sheep because they follow the one in front and just run away from the sheep dog. But humans have out-sheeped the sheep, because we don’t need the sheep dog. Humans police each other. It’s like prisoners sitting in a cell, and one prisoner goes to open the door to get out, and the other prisoners run to stop him. That’s how the world of phantom self polices other phantom selves, and keeps them in line.

What we need to do – and again, all this stuff will be talked about in the events in Australia and New Zealand – we need to break out of phantom self by seeing that phantom self is phantom self.

MS: In the book you’ve coined the word transphantomism, as a counterpoint to the transhumanist agenda. What is transphantomism, and what does the world need to know about the transhumanist agenda?

DI: I have a chapter in the book called transphantomism. Transphantomism is a term, obviously, related to transhumanism. The reason I call it transphantomism is because it is the next stage – even beyond phantom self – of isolating awareness in the tiny, tiny, microscopic world of the five senses.

The idea of transhumanism is to get technology, most of it nanotechnology, into the body and connect us in mind/body/perception to what PR men for Frankenstein, like Google’s Ray Kurzweil, call the cloud. He is at the forefront of selling transhumanism as a means of creating the so-called super human. What he is really selling, and Kurzweil will know that, is the sub-human. Kurzweil, for instance, has said he expects that by 2030 most human thinking will not come through the human mind but will come from the cloud, because the human mind/brain will be connected to this cloud just as the computer in front of me now connects to the Internet.

I’ve been writing in the books for a long time about the plan for what I’ve called the technological sub-reality. This is precisely what Kurzweil and his ilk call the cloud. The idea is that we will be technologically attached to, in effect, a version of the Internet and it will do our thinking for us. He is saying that more and more in this process human thinking and perception will come from the cloud, and less and less from what we call human, until there is no human – only the cloud.

Like I say, they are trying to sell this outrageous, blatant, almost ultimate control mechanism as people becoming super human.

I would ask this question: Why would people, representatives of this hidden, global network, that have spent, if you look at it, thousands of years through the generations, who seek to completely control and dictate to humanity, right down to their very thoughts and emotional responses, why on earth does anyone believe they would want to make humans super human. That is the last thing they want.

What we’re seeing is what I call totalitarian tiptoe, where you start at “a” and you know you’re going to “zed,” but you go in steps so the direction you’re actually heading is not obvious to the vast majority of people. But if you track it every day as I do, then you see it. You see the direction it’s going. So the idea first of all was to get people addicted to technology. I say to anyone, “look around you.” Go on a train station, go through an airport, go through any public place where there are a lot people. Look around you. The addiction to technology is extraordinary – usually technology which has “smart” in its name, which is very significant as I explain in the book and explain in the events. So you get people addicted; that’s a step on the totalitarian tiptoe. Then you go to the next stage, which of course is well underway now, and you go to what are termed “wearables.” These are the smart watches, Google Glass, the Bluetooth thing on your ear, burning your brain, etc. There are more and more versions of these so-called wearables.

The next stage after that are what they call “implantables.” And the implantables are getting this technology in the body. The implantables are the level that you can see, but much of this, for reasons I explain at length, is actually being done through nanotechnology and something they call smart dust, which are microscopic robot-type technology that can replicate themselves, that can build systems, that can transform the body into something that is synthetic rather than what we call natural. That is what’s happening. Our world is being turned into a synthetic version of what was before, for reasons I explain.

Once people are technologically attached to this so-called cloud – this technological sub-reality, this fake reality – then the disconnection between incarnate awareness and infinite awareness will be extended, expanded, and made infinitely more extreme than it is even now, through the vehicle of phantom self. This is what we need to alert people to, because if we don’t, then three or four years from now, this transhumanism agenda will be far ahead of where it is now. You’ve only got to look around to see the way technological change is increasingly replacing humans with robots, with machines – straight out of the Matrix that is.

The technology has been known for a long time; they’re just putting it into society in line with their agenda. And this technological “advancement” is getting quicker and quicker. Three years from now, this thing is going to be further along the road. Big time.

In fact, I read an article in Forbes magazine a few months ago when I was writing Phantom Self that talked about implantables being commonplace in three or four years from now. Of course, the rest of the system – like the cashless society, etc. – is moving in the direction of making it harder and harder to function in society without this technology. It’s all part of the plan.

We have a massive job in the next three years or so to expose this transhumanist agenda for what it really is: the assimilation of what we call human into the technological prison cell of artificial intelligence. And what is this artificial intelligence? No one seems to ask that. What is this artificial intelligence that will be dictating to human minds through the cloud? I say that this artificial intelligence is actually the force that’s been and is behind all this – as I explain in Phantom Self and will explain in the events.

„ The second part of this interview appears in New Dawn 157 (July-August 2016).

„ David Icke’s new book Phantom Self (and how to find the real one) is available through


MARC STAR is a researcher, writer, photographer and musician living in Los Angeles, California, where the chemtrail sunsets are regularly a bright, fluorescent shade of pink. Raised by unwitting agents of the global conspiracy, he has since deprogrammed himself and now buys books faster than he can read them. He will soon need to buy a new bookshelf.

The above article appeared in New Dawn 156 (May-June 2016)

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Gnostic Mysteries of Sex: An Interview with Tobias Churton



Tobias Churton is one of today’s most visible and prolific writers on the Western esoteric tradition. He first came to the attention of the public in the UK in 1987, with the release of a four-part television series called “Gnostics.”

Since then he has written nineteen books, including Gnostic Philosophy, The Invisible History of the Rosicrucians, and biographies of William Blake, the seventeenth-century British esotericist Elias Ashmole, and Aleister Crowley. He holds a master’s degree in theology from the University of Oxford and is an honorary fellow of the University of Exeter in the UK. His website is

Churton was featured in a New Dawn interview that I conducted in 2005 (see New Dawn 91). In November 2015, I conducted another e-mail interview with him, this time focusing on his recent book Gnostic Mysteries of Sex: Sophia the Wild One and Erotic Christianity.

RICHARD SMOLEY (RS): Your latest book is called Gnostic Mysteries of Sex. Could you start by briefly sketching out who the Gnostics were?

TOBIAS CHURTON (TC): Not all Gnostics called themselves by the name, but it is a name attached by orthodox Church leaders from the second to the fifth centuries CE to leaders and groups of spiritual deviants from orthodoxy who regarded their experience or “knowledge” (Greek: gnosis) as a superior aspect of salvation to that of other Christians. Since Gnostics prided themselves on originality, personal revelations, and esoteric insights, their views on any number of doctrines vary considerably, but they share some speculative doctrines in common.

The first and most fundamental is that the universe perceptible to the senses derives from a deformation of spiritual being into something unintended by the source of being. This unknowable “Father,” knowledge of whom Jesus brings to the gnostic, is called the “Depth” – as in an unfathomable ocean or abyss. The material universe results from a primal catastrophe: a fall from ideal into relative being. In this deformation drama, sparks of divine seed have become alienated in an unfamiliar realm and experience pain and longing. Insofar as the universe is imperfect, it is the work of a Demiurge or “fashioner,” working with relative, not absolute being. This being knows no higher than himself, like the classic egotist. Sometimes identified with the Elohim (“God” or “gods”) of Genesis, the creator of the world is regarded as the enemy of Man as a spiritually conceived being, opposed implacably to Man’s enlightenment. “Lord of this world,” the maker senses there’s something special about Man. Man has something within him. The master of matter is jealous of this spiritual substance and, while incapable of understanding it, wants it, and failing that, determines to keep fallen Man ignorant of it, lest Man escape from the world’s finite grip and become free.

The hylic or material being (the earthly Adam), belonging to the sensual universe, dies with it, for the material universe is constrained by time, unlike spirit, which is eternal.

The only means of escape is realisation of divine origin and destiny – gnosis. This means to be spiritually awake, able thereby to see beyond the universe and the Demiurge. To effect realisation, Christ descended to earth, appearing as mortal flesh, to summon the awakened spirits and raise the weak by awakening the dormant psyches of the soulful, but lost, children of divine Wisdom (Sophia). Gnostic writers present Jesus as an esoteric philosopher holding the keys to the door to eternity, for which the world rulers conspire to destroy him and those who follow him.

The Gnostics presented sometimes highly intelligent twists on every aspect of established Gospel teaching. From alleged secret sources, they created an esoteric religion of wide-ranging meaning and applicability to Man, seen as being in existential distress. Gnosis has nothing to say to those comfortable with and in the world as it is.

Moral teachings among Gnostics vary widely, for in their view state of mind is of vital significance and superior in essence to actual conduct. There were somewhat contradictory streams of interpretations in Gnostic thought and practice, and their enemies were not scrupulous in delineating greater or lesser factors, since all Gnostics were deemed a mortal threat to orthodox faith. Gnostics were, generally speaking, indifferent to religious authorities, and their radical individualism became intolerable to the growing monarchic episcopacy of the Catholic or Orthodox church.

Brilliant enemies of gnosis, such as Tertullian in the late second to mid-third centuries CE, simply dismissed Gnostics for trying to turn the “saving faith” into philosophy, that is, something conformable to Socratic reasoning. This is not altogether fair, since the Gentile Church had from its beginnings been required to express its doctrines to people who used philosophy to justify religious practices. One thinks of St Paul in the Areopagus (Acts 17:16–34). After all, the Jewish faith never explained why the universe was created in terms philosophically explicable to the existential condition of human life. God willed it and thought it good, whether men could see it, or like it, or not. It is also important to recognise that a dominant stream of gnosis served essentially as a magical religion that sought God in the lowest effects as well as the highest causes. That is to say, the divine spirit or pneuma was not only scattered in Man for some Gnostic schools, but hidden in the recesses of Nature: such insights vitalised alchemy. The divine seed has been sown everywhere, as gnostic alchemists, or “Hermetists,” maintained.

Contemporary Western esotericism and its historical antecedents are impossible to conceive of without the Gnostic phenomenon of late antiquity. Insofar as esotericism still thrives, so does gnosis, though mediated, as ever, in diverse forms, including philosophy of religion.

RS: One of the most fascinating figures in your book is Simon Magus. Could you say a little about him and his views on sex?

TC: He is fascinating, isn’t he? This Samaritan magician gets a nasty walk-on part in Acts, and contradictory accounts of him appear in patristic and sundry apocryphal works. He was obviously a major threat to the apostolic efforts of the primitive Church. Just why is not altogether clear, especially from Acts, where he tries to buy the power of the Holy Spirit. This is telling, in its way, of the style of the magician. He recognised the Holy Spirit experience as a psychic phenomenon that could be induced if you knew the trick: nothing new to a magician for whom what we today call hypnosis was a stock in trade.

Acts does not mention the crucial detail that Simon was accompanied by a whore, Helen (= the “torch”), whom he saved from a Tyrian brothel to be his consort. Groups of Gnostics worshipped them both, at least by the second century, and it became established in that century that he was the first Gnostic heretic and that all the Gnostic streams derived from him. As for his teachings, or rather alleged teachings (we have no first-century evidence for his specific doctrines), we have fascinating accounts in the second-century writings of the orthodox Christian Hippolytus.

I may be the first to have realised that while Hippolytus’s accounts of Simon’s doctrines try to trash them as absurd Greek philosophy, Hippolytus’s accounts nevertheless transmit – probably without Hippolytus even realising it – a fairly complete system of sexual magic, expressed in symbols. What Hippolytus misunderstood as philosophy was, I think, the basis for working magical practice.

Simonian doctrine takes the view that sex has magical potential: it could be “redeemed” as a means to make supermen and superwomen. Looking at Simon anew was one of the most exciting things I discovered when writing the new book, and it became a real mind-opener: shocking perhaps, but definitely revelatory. It is no surprise that Simon had a work attributed to him called The Great Revelation. More intriguingly, he seems to have had some important link to John the Baptist.

RS: A main theme in your book is the connection between sex and enlightenment. How did the Gnostics see this relation?

TC: This is too big a question to be adequately dealt with in a magazine interview; the answer represents the substance of the book. Very briefly, the Gnostic understanding of sex is informed by the Platonist view that in the eternal world, there is a unity of substance. The eternal world, or world of the aeons, provides the eternal “ideas” that are used to fashion a copy or reflection of it and to make it manifest under the finite conditions of time and space. Those eternal characteristics are deformed and dissolved in the process or drama of pure radiant spirit descending into “darkness.” In order to create, we must move from one, unity, to two: reflection and manifestation. All reflection involves a measure of distortion.

Therefore, to manifest the divine mind, as Divine Wisdom (in the form of Lady Sophia) precociously endeavours to do imperfectly in Gnostic systems (creating the Demiurge in the process), is to make distortion inevitable. The idea of harmonious syzygies of divine powers becomes unbalanced through the act of creation. When this principle is linked to the existence of men and women, we note that the perfect Man, like God, is, in Gnostic thought, androgynous, containing masculine and female characteristics in perfect harmony.

In the sphere of manifestation, this harmony is lost, and man and woman appear separate and at odds. But gnosis can initiate the return to harmony. Gnostics made much of the Genesis story that Adam’s rib became the basis for woman, especially since it was extracted when Adam was asleep. Sleep, to a Gnostic, means the cosmic and spiritual unconsciousness or amnesia characteristic of material consciousness. Man and woman become each other’s tempters in the world of nature. This antipathy is reflected in the first human progeny, Cain and Abel, who are immediately opposed – opposition leading to the primal murder.

Following the logic of androgyny as being the original human form in the spiritual sense, it followed that perfected sexual union could become a sacramental and spiritual pre-enactment of the ultimate destined unity of the Gnostic spirit, restored to the Pleroma or “Fullness” of the Godhead. The mutual infusion of male and female enacts and prefigures the apocatastasis, the restoration, or what Gnostics called “the healing of the passions of matter”: the return to the One.

Obviously such sexual communion was a dedicated spiritual act. Interpretations of this essential dynamic of Gnostic sex varied very widely, but one can see echoes in the later theories associated with Hindu and Buddhist Tantric traditions. Enlightenment comes from manifestation and glorification of the divine seed. This seed is identified in many Gnostic traditions as the pneuma or spirit. In some groups, this identification was taken perfectly literally, but it is a feature I found to be of relevance to all Gnostic traditions, whether libertine or ascetic (the twin poles of Gnostic sexual morality).

I think much that I have found will shock and perhaps awe those used to the contemporary “soft” exposition of Gnostic thought and practice. Not least is my discovery of the identity and origin of the Gnostic feminine archangel called Barbelo; it should change minds considerably, given time.

RS: The Gnostics seem to have encompassed a wide range of attitudes toward sensuality, ranging from complete asceticism to a kind of hedonism. What inspired these differing stances?

TC: The body is the locus both of union and disharmony. It is mortal and it contains, even imprisons, the immortal pneuma or spirit, which needs awakening. Since the body is mortal, what flesh does with itself may have no ultimate significance. Its role is strictly that of a vehicle of spirit.

The body is linked to the lower worlds, so the Gnostic can afford to despise it, or, alternatively, use it for the spirit’s purposes. Gnostics, especially the followers of Carpocrates and those within the Sethian tradition, tended to believe that the spirit was so superior to flesh that flesh could not damage it. According to Irenaeus, these Gnostics said that the spirit is like gold: it can be mixed with dung but come up shining. On the other hand, the orthodox teaching was that acts of the body tarnish the spirit, injure it, and so such acts are culpable; moral choices indicate spiritual cleanliness or the lack of it.

Gnostics of radical persuasion gave these kinds of teachings their own twists. Being radical in the face of the world for them meant turning the follies of matter and its creator on their heads: flouting decencies indicated that one had seen through the façade of conformity to the Demiurge’s spiritually destructive way, the false “God of the law.” The Law governed flesh, not spirit, for the governor of spirit is the heavenly Father, and the heavenly Father is not, in Gnostic thinking, the author of the Law. They took – or twisted – this idea from the liberty Paul offered to the redeemed Gentile: free of the Law through grace and, insofar as practicing spiritual love with conscience, a “law unto himself” (Romans 2: 10-15). So, in short, some Gnostics used sex as a weapon against the Demiurge and his order, and regarded such behaviour as heroic.

There also appears to have been a movement that gained force in the third century and flourished in the fourth and fifth centuries called encratism (from the Greek enkrateia, meaning self-restraint). Encratite streams of gnosis advocated strict asceticism, bodily continence, and the maintenance of the seed in purity, as ordinarily understood. Sethian Gnostics, on the other hand, believed that sexual substances were changed in status when they were treated as sacraments, as bread and wine could be changed into body and blood of Christ by elevated intention. The book deals with all these complexities and sorts them out, I think; many are put in context for the first time. The subject remains highly charged, as it is so fundamental, and the basic issues are deeply relevant to us today, as we attempt to find a universal morality with spiritual authority behind it.

RS: Catholic Christianity became increasingly puritanical over the centuries. It finally reached the point where it viewed all sex as bad to one degree or another. What inspired this trend?

TC: We find encratism in the monastic movement with the third-century Egyptian Pachomius and his many followers, who persist to this day. Encratism’s essential fear of sex became critical in the final formation period of Catholic doctrine and is very much still with us, though finding itself greatly opposed by powerful commercialisation of the libido, and radically changed social mores. Originally seen as a heresy (by Clement of Alexandria, for example), encratism eventually triumphed over much of the Catholic and Orthodox churches, creating a two-tier morality: one for clergy, monks, and nuns, and one for the rest who were to aspire to the renunciation characteristic of the classes of the saved.

Sex was the battleground. Curiously, Isaac Newton and others believed that encratism originated among Gnostic groups, on the basis of the ascetic wing of that “movement.” I rather think that encratism was a doctrine that insinuated itself through all the churches, including the Gnostic assemblies, eventually splitting and arguably dissipating the Gnostic ferment.

There appears to have been a mood that hit the Roman Empire in the second century, a waning of the lamp, so to speak, when many considered having been born into this world a liability. In such a mood, it was not difficult to take on the widespread Christian doctrine that sin entered the world through the sin of Adam, transmitted every time a child was born. It was not difficult to conclude that by abstaining from procreation and sex, one was effectively contributing to the saving of souls, since it was deemed that lust conditioned most, if not all, births. Some countered that birth gave the opportunity for Christ and his Church to show God’s saving love. But this was, and is, something of a sop to comfort ordinary nonclerical Church members, while providing continued employment for the “sexless” pastors of the procreating sheep.

RS: One part of your book I found particularly interesting was the discussion of the resurrection of the physical body as seen by different early Christian sects. To all appearances the apostle Paul specifically denied the idea of the physical resurrection, but a couple of centuries later it was a heresy not to believe in such a thing. Could you talk a bit about this process?

TC: Paul inspired many Gnostics with his words that flesh and blood cannot inherit eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:50). It gave them fuel for the thought that only the destiny of the divine pneuma, spirit, mattered. The body had no part in salvation. However, the major heresiologists (Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Clement of Alexandria) considered it one of the Gnostics’ chief heresies that they regarded the body as being of no significance in salvation. So although the orthodox circles might have respected the writings of Paul, there was clearly a stronger tradition that the resurrection of the body, prefigured by Christ, was axiomatic, and supported in Old Testament prophecies such as that of the vivification of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel. It was much more important to them than I think Christians today can possibly comprehend.

As I say in the book, no one who accepts cremation really believes in the resurrection of the body, even though the Christian liturgy still explicitly refers to the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Now we know that cremation has only become acceptable recently in the Church’s history. Many modern Christians seem to share the priorities of the Gnostics nowadays where the body is concerned. That is, they don’t expect their flesh to be resurrected.

Gnostics regarded the orthodox picture of Jesus’s body on the cross as “false vision.” The true body of Christ was spiritual. Rather – referring to the blindness of those without gnosis – it was “their man” who “they” nailed to the cross; it was in fact “their man,” their idea and their awareness of what they thought man was, that was seen being crucified. The enemies of Christ put themselves to death. The “lord of this world” defeated himself, as St Paul taught, for the “lord of this world” did not know the ancient secret of the Demiurge’s ultimate destruction by the secret processes of divine redemption. As Gnostics saw it, the real man, the spiritual, “living Jesus” was in reality above all that, high above the place of the skull (“Golgotha”) or “earth,” and was laughing at “their” folly, not so much laughing at the men who could not see spiritual reality, the crucifiers and blind onlookers, but the Demiurge himself, he who had thought in his jealousy he could frustrate the essential work of Christ by getting the powers-that-be to nail up Jesus of Nazareth to “their cross.” As the Gnostic Gospel of Philip has it: Jesus came “crucifying the world.” You see, there is a great subtlety to Gnostic doctrine here, and missing it makes it very easy for unsubtle orthodox evangelical minds simply to say that Gnostics were wicked because they denied that the Saviour suffered on the cross, and that therefore there is no salvation in gnosis. It’s not that simple.

It is fascinating that today a key Gnostic doctrine has become accepted by most Christians in some way or other, even if they resort to Paul’s other doctrine of a “spiritual body” raised incorruptible. All this says a great deal. There may be more to the relation of “spirit” and “flesh” than we understand properly; certainly such debates used to enliven conferences of 1890s spiritualists in a manner we should definitely find strange today, but perhaps the wheel has turned and we must look again at what is meant by “body.”

RS: There are many discussions of the sexual techniques of the Gnostics, but most of them are rather vague. What were they doing sexually, and what did they think it would accomplish?

TC: One notable thing about my new book is that I have been able to locate actual techniques used by different Gnostic sodalities, and comparisons are made in technical detail between kundalini yoga, various Tantric practices, and the practices of Gnostic groups, especially Sethian, Simonian, and Valentinian groups. Understanding may have been vague before, Richard, but not so now. The Gnostics appear to have transmitted explicit practices of what, since Theodor Reuss’s time in the early twentieth century, esotericists have called “sexual magic” or “magick.” The Gnostic claims of some modern esoteric groups now have a greater basis in fact, I think.

RS: Some Gnostic sects were accused of having a sacrament in which sexual fluids such as semen and menstrual blood were consumed. And in fact many magical traditions attribute considerable power to these substances. Do you think there is any truth to this idea?

TC: Not for me to say. That is the belief of some persons. I describe what some Gnostics believed and practised and leave judgement to the reader’s interest and experience. I would simply offer these questions: Is the occult power of any substance in the substance itself, or in the way it is conceived? Or could it be that power lies in the relation between substance and mind? When pagans saw, or heard of, the Catholic eucharist, they could only conclude that eating the Saviour’s flesh and blood constituted gross cannibalism. The Gnostics of course had their own take on this, and it is revealed in the book.

RS: You discuss William Blake and a tradition of sexual magic that he may have been heir to. Could you talk a little about Blake and how he fits into this theme?

TC: I was very interested in the relation between Blake’s riddle in his epic poem Jerusalem (not the hymn called by that name):

I give you the end of a golden string

Only wind it into a ball

It will lead you in at heaven’s gate

Built in Jerusalem’s wall

And Andrew Marvell’s poem “To his Coy Mistress,” written in the 1650s, a century and half earlier. In both there are clues to a powerful sexual magic, or mysticism if you prefer, consistent with Blake’s belief that the New Age would be characterised by the refinement of sensual knowledge, by which he was undoubtedly informed by the idea of an explosively sexual gnosis, which nonetheless had to be approached in a guarded form lest it be debased by debased minds.

This is the perennial problem with esoteric sexual doctrines. They have been kept secret to try to prevent their perversion. Of course the enemy always thinks such matters are perverted, but that may only indicate the debasement of their own minds. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

RS: To get more personal: what do think the connection is between sex and spirituality? Can sex really be used to move toward enlightenment?

TC: At least in the fields enjoyed by readers of New Dawn, who doesn’t share this interest? We are sexual beings. We are, in essence, spiritual beings, if not actually, then at least in potentia. Sex is the means of creation. From one, two, from two: all. Spirituality raises the created to its highest potential, in theory.

However, since you ask about my personal outlook, I rather accept that morality is not as relative as some antinomian Gnostics averred, and to understand the Ten Commandments seems to me to be a first vital step on the road to understanding divine love. We may approach spiritual things best with purity of mind, though I don’t think that means quite the same thing as puritanism of mind. In a sexual context, the Golden Rule might incur some moral debasement: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Some folk want things done to themselves I think other folk might best avoid, or be protected from!

Put in stark terms as you have – “sex used to move toward enlightenment” – well, I don’t really understand what that means. If I want “enlightenment,” I may go to the source of illumination. “Sexual magic,” as I understand it, is a discipline that is not for the foolhardy, or for anyone in search of a quick rush. In some ways, it may seem a very long way indeed up the hill, and clearly for most people it is far too long, difficult, and treacherous a process. There are abundant risks. But if the alternative to accepting that possibility is the idea that sex is a really bad thing and we’d be holier and safer without it, or that it’s solely for procreation, well, I think that’s pretty mechanical, uninteresting, and joyless.

When we were young, was not sex an intimation of heavenly things? And did we not spoil it all as time went on and innocent romance turned to selfish lust? True marriage gives us a way back to the first intimation, so long as we understand what is really meant and implied by the word union. The Valentinian Gnostics really invented romantic, spiritual love, though as I show in the book, it was surprisingly different to what we might think when we hear those words today.

Man is all potential, and precious little realisation. Gnostics give us a clue to what might be, perhaps even to what ought to be. Can we learn anything from their convictions, as well as their alleged errors? I think we can.

„Tobias Churtons new book is Gnostic Mysteries of Sex.

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RICHARD SMOLEY latest book is How God Became God: What Scholars Are Really Saying about God and the Bible. He is the author of Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition; The Dice Game of Shiva: How Consciousness Creates the Universe; Conscious Love: Insights from Mystical Christianity; The Essential Nostradamus; Forbidden Faith: The Secret History of Gnosticism; Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History; The Deal: A Guide to Radical and Complete Forgiveness; and Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions (with Jay Kinney). A frequent contributor to New Dawn, he is editor of Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America. Visit his blog at

The above article appeared in New Dawn Special Issue Vol 10 No 3

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Oceania Forever: Rise of the Global Police State



Much has been written about the approaching Police State in alternative media. Commentary ranges from various warnings, to shock and outrage, and fear over an impending martial law takeover in North America and Western Europe. It’s hitting us from so many different angles, and yet the mainstream conversation continues to be woefully inadequate in both characterising the situation and offering a remedy.

In order to really understand the modern Police State, we need to explore some very profound and difficult questions. Many people who consider themselves aware think Western society has already reached the tipping point and the deteriorating situation is simply inevitable. If you feel like Winston Smith right about now you aren’t alone.

Prior to the mid 1990s, one might have described the militarisation of public law enforcement something of a creeping paradigm, but one that was still a long way off. Society explored many aspects of the Police State, both the physical and Orwellian psychological scenario, through literature and film. American science fiction writer Philip K. Dick penned some significant works like The Minority Report, and cinematic hits like Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil also explored what this dystopic, future vision of fascist technocracy might look like. As it turned out, and far from fantasy, countless devices, systems and themes depicted in so many of these supposedly ‘fictional’ classics have since made their way into our day to day lives. The dark dream became real.

Unfortunately, as humanity’s freshmen class of the early 21st century, we can no longer afford the intellectual distance enjoyed by previous generations between life today and that blurry, far-off spectre of something that might arrive sometime at some point in the future.

Any modern globalised Police State requires a social engineering framework in order to provide its shape and scope of law enforcement. The latest social engineering blueprint for global technocratic management was unveiled at this year’s 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Their ‘new’ agenda (newer than the old one) entitled, Agenda 2030,1 hopes to “transform our world for the better by 2030.” Author Michael Snyder from the blogEnd of The American Dream’ explains: “The entire planet is going to be committing to work toward 17 sustainable development goals and 169 specific sustainable development targets, and yet there has been almost a total media blackout about this…”2

Within its 17 ‘universal goals’, the actual Police State provision for Agenda 2030 can be found within Goal 11, which states how the new global government will, “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” Translated in technocracy terms, this means more Big Brother tech, smart grid tracking and big data surveillance states.

The age of computerisation and database integration, along with advances in military and crowd control technology perfected overseas, have enabled a sharp advance toward the Police State. Trying to make sense of ‘it’ is a major challenge, to say the least. In its totality, the control system is both multifaceted and multilayered. It may have been possible to describe it, or even define it 20, 30, or 40 years ago, as Philip K. Dick and so many others did. Today, as society has already eclipsed the possible, we face a situation whereby the very thing we are trying to describe is woven through nearly every fabric of modern social, professional, family, religious and political life.

If you happen to live in one of the technocratic nations, you can’t opt out, nor can you fully repeal the advances already made by the control system. What other options are available?

Firstly, we have to try and understand, from an economic, cultural and political perspective at least, how this control system came to be.

What are its strongest areas? Can we reform those areas? Where is it still emerging? Cannot those areas be slowed down? What was the political climate that enabled it?

How to Build a Police State

When you observe a modern Police State, the first things you might notice will not necessarily be the batons, shield, helmets or MRAPs. Think Switzerland or Singapore. A modern Police State will be neat, clean and efficient. Retail zones will be shiny and feature all the top designer brands. Many of the people you see in public will be well-groomed, well-healed and beautiful, but often with only one political party and a strict public code.

Just like admirers of the modern Chinese State, Singapore’s proponents refer to the single party State as “a great argument for Authoritarianism.” Order and civility rule the day, so long as you don’t fall foul of the narrow perimeters set by the State.

What has been accomplished in Southeast Asia since 1965, and what is possible in previously ‘free’ countries like the US, UK and Australia, are two very different social and political evolutions. Still, the modern Police State is advancing globally and it’s being driven primarily by three factors: technology, for-profit industry, and an age-old obsession by the ruling class to manage the masses.

The first and easiest area to challenge is the physical realm of the control system. The most obvious of these are the gadgets and toys. They are easy to see. Look at your local police department and notice the difference between what officers looked like and what they wore in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and now in the 21st century. Notice the firearms and tasers, the ‘Bat-Belts’, and now the body cameras. Your average officer today looks like a cross between a soldier and an android. Dress them like robots and don’t be surprised when they act like machines (and it won’t be long until many of them are replaced by machines).

If you’ve ever attended a street protest or witnessed some civil unrest, then you’ll have noticed the high-tech body armour, the riot and ‘crowd suppression’ equipment.

My first intense experience where I felt the full force of the modern Police State was in 2009, at the G20 Protests in the City of London, England. It was early in the evening and approximately 4,000 demonstrators suddenly found themselves trapped at Bishopsgate. Several hundred police officers on foot and horseback had blocked all the entrances and egresses in and out of the main road. Even alleyways were manned by riot police. Then police began charging the crowds, and beating protesters with clubs. They alternated their ‘surge’ efforts, from different ends of the street, north to south, one brutal flurry after another. The worst part about it was there was no escape route away from the police. Many were beaten and trampled on that evening. It was as if police planners were playing a video game.

Finally, at around 9pm, after being forced to stand, surrounded by police in a ‘Kettle’ for nearly three hours, along with 500 other demonstrators and press, who spent most of that time pressed up against police shields and not knowing what would happen next – I realised this is an impersonal, disinterested and totally uncompromising machine. It does not care who you are, what your views and opinions are, or whether you were innocent or guilty. The lesson was simple: “next time, stay home.” The only detail this machine is concerned with is that you comply with orders, and if no orders are given, then the machine demands you stay where you are until the machine decides what to do with you. If you complain too much, or become emotional, or heaven forbid act out in any way, then the machine will move in to subdue and detain you. That is all there is to it.

Big Brother Reality

It’s well-known that Great Britain is home of the world’s largest and most sophisticated physical Police State, including tens of millions of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, covering every conceivable inch of habitable space, both indoors and outdoors. The CCTV phenomenon in Britain was fuelled by an obsession with cameras that became increasingly popular with both government and corporate technocrats in the 1980s and 1990s. The psychology behind the exponential proliferation in cameras was mainly a fairly crude bit of criminology which held that the cameras would somehow act as a deterrent to criminal behaviour, and thus subdue the feral population into a more docile state. Industry used this line too, as sales persons were deployed en masse with endless flip charts and statistical models that claimed CCTV cameras would prevent the UK’s spiralling social malaise.

The only problem is that more cameras don’t equal less crime. Canadian writer Cory Doctorow observed this reality back in 2011, explaining: “After all, that’s how we were sold on CCTV – not mere forensics after the fact, but deterrence. And although study after study has concluded that CCTVs don’t deter most crime (a famous San Francisco study showed that, at best, street crime shifted a few metres down the pavement when the CCTV went up), we’ve been told for years that we must all submit to being photographed all the time because it would keep the people around us from beating us, robbing us, burning our buildings and burglarising our homes.”3

The CCTV is only one single aspect of Big Brother. It turns out that the real value of the CCTV camera grid is not so much the monitoring of crime per se, as it is in mass applied behavioural psychology.

The Panopticon

The physical Police State could not exist without some philosophical underpinning. Before Orwell, there was Bentham…

In the mid 19th century Britain developed a new style of prison architecture known as the ‘Panopticon’ under the aegis of utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham.4 The unique feature of this Panopticon concept was the transparent nature of each prisoner cell, visible to a central surveillance guard tower that could eye inmates at all times. The result of this psychological experiment, according to the pragmatic Benthamite philosophy, was to produce a regime of “self-policing” amongst the inmates, a kind of early behavioural conditioning. For technocrats and emerging utilitarian social managers of that era, this was seen as the most economic and efficient solution. Ultimately, this Benthamite concept is what underpinned phase one of the mass CCTV deployment throughout the UK. Sitting well above the security minions and the industry profiteers, elite scholars knew full well that CCTV cameras do not stop crime.

The real power of the Panopticon is in convincing the general population they are under constant surveillance. After that point, through a long-term process of nudging, diversions and scare tactics, the State gradually moulds the behaviour and thoughts of its subjects.

In order to keep citizens locked into this new conscious state of fear and trepidation, the State needs an enemy…

The Long War & ‘The Extremist’

One of the chief campaigns to nudge society towards a fully-functional Orwellian State is the War on Terror. Ever since September 11, 2001, the concept of an endless war against the ‘terrorists’ – a seemingly ubiquitous and constantly shape-shifting enemy – has been used to justify nearly every large new security expenditure and policy. Back in 2006, US President George W. Bush’s chief architect of the ‘long war’, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, laid out the tea leaves for the next 100 years, stating: “It does not have to do with deployment of US military forces, necessarily. It has to do with the struggle that’s taking place within that faith between violent extremists – a small number of them, relatively – who are capable of going out and killing a great many people, as they’re doing, and the overwhelming majority of that religion that does not believe in violent extremism or terrorism.”5

In George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, Winston Smith also grappled with the State’s endless war. “Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia.”

In Oceania, people eventually forgot what started the long war. The news was just one terrorist attack after another. They enemy was everywhere, but nowhere too. The population learned to acquiesce to the idea that war was the permanent state of affairs, and that questioning the provenance of this idea was futile.

“Winston could not definitely remember a time when his country had not been at war, but it was evident that there had been a fairly long interval of peace during his childhood, because one of his early memories was of an air raid, which appeared to take everyone by surprise. Perhaps it was the time when the atomic bomb had fallen on Colchester. He did not remember the raid itself.”

And so it was, in the early moments of the 21st century, Orwell’s dream suddenly became a waking reality. Social engineers are firm believers that if the Panopticon (married with the threat of an invisible enemy) can remain in place for a generation, then the State could fundamentally change a once free-thinking society into something noticeably different – a much more fearful and compliant populace.

The Social Media Panopticon

As terror scares and attacks become somewhat of a daily event in the West, identifying and quarantining the ‘extremist’ becomes a primary fetish of the Police State and its media arms. This is very much evident in how terrorists and ‘active shooters’ (dead or alive) are now profiled after the event. The mainstream media has integrated this into its work practice by crafting the post hoc guilty verdict of the accused, prior to a trial, with circumstantial or non sequitur accusations based on an individual’s “web history” that may have “radicalised” the suspect. In effect, the mainstream media’s function as an establishment propaganda arm results in trial by media – the bypassing of any trial by jury as the accused have already been implicitly or explicitly declared guilty by association or something as nebulous as “web history.”

Such incidents, as they are portrayed in the media for psychological conditioning purposes, are intended to cause the public mind to dismiss outdated notions of fair and due process and rule of law in favour of fiat corporate news and government “official” pronouncements. The net effect of this trend is that social media users, ie. the majority of the population, are adopting self-policing habits in their communications online. According to the principals of applied behavioural psychology, if you change the language people use, then eventually you change the way they think and act.

Like Bentham’s Panopticon, this new social media monitoring system works by utilising the digital web, which is arguably the most economic and efficient solution. The acceptance of self-policing and vague terms such as “radicalised” that are subject to the increasingly elastic definitions of the social engineering establishment.

This leads to one of the most profound questions one might ask in the wake of Edward Snowden’s NSA spying revelations: Knowing what we know now, are people more outspoken or are they more self-policing because of the Snowden leaks?

‘The Daily Shooter’

By extension, once the technocrat has regained some modicum of physical control, then the next domain to be conquered is the mind. In 1984, the technocracy was viewed through the eyes of the protagonist Winston Smith, who while remaining a physical prisoner of the Police State, could still retreat into his own mental state.

In our day, the expansion of the surveillance State and vast spying by the likes of the NSA and GCHQ are precisely intended to achieve this same effect, with the justification for such intrusions being an endless series of terror spectacles and lone wolf public shooting events. In the US, these mass shootings and terror scares are happening on an almost daily basis, hence, ‘The Daily Shooter’. Media coverage is both chaotic and relentless. As a result, the pubic are left stupefied and completely unable to challenge whatever narrative the government-media complex is selling at that time. The Police State marches forward.

A similar psychodrama also played out for 1984’s protagonist Winston Smith. As time progressed, however, maintaining some level of autonomy in one’s own thoughts became increasingly difficult for Winston. The final objective of the Police State, it seemed, was not only to fundamentally transform the way citizens act, but how they think too. The all-seeing and all-controlling “Big Brother” State was also the de facto social authority figure. The State’s law enforcement police force also became the “thought police.”

We see this same exact narrative playing out today as the State’s political figureheads continue in their mission to widen their definition of “extremism” along with other State-issued euphemisms used to describe citizens who should be regarded with suspicion.

Fall out of line and you might even be segregated or sent away to a special camp. Following the recent mass shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, retired US General and NATO Commander Wesley Clark proposed that any “disloyal Americans” should be sent to internment camps for the “duration of the conflict.” Notice the language: “for the duration of the conflict.” Indeed, it seems that Oceania is at war. He went even further, calling for the US government to identify people most likely to be “radicalised” so we can “cut this off at the beginning.”

“At the beginning?” Here, it seems Clark might be alluding to pre-crime, which will be powered by A.I…

Artificial Intelligence

Post-September 11, UK society was still hooked on their CCTV matrix, and with millions of cameras already in place and crime continuing to rise, security ‘experts’ and politicians simply doubled down on their previous wager, insisting that what the country really needed was more cameras. They believed that once a certain CCTV saturation was reached, by default they would somehow reached their twisted utopia.

It turned out that’s not humanly possible for security workers, most of whom are on a mere £7-10 (aud$14-20) per hour, to keep track, let alone analyse, a seemingly endless stream of footage. For the technocrat, the operative word here is ‘humanly’. Enter A.I…

Once again, advanced technology enters the narrative and supplies the solution to this previous insurmountable problem. The age of Artificial Intelligence, or A.I., is nearly upon us, and this next step in technological development is certain to radically change the entire concept of the Police State.

Laying down the framework an A.I. grid is not easy because the grid must be designed to cope with the application of A.I. As A.I.’s potential and practical applications have not yet been fully realised, designing the grid upon which it will be unleashed has been problematic up to this point. Sadly, society on the whole appears disinterested in questioning the social and unethical imperative currently driving the adoption of these new technologies.

At present, the big money is on the Smart Grid. Technocrats and their corporate partners are hoping to usher in their new surveillance grid under the auspices of ‘smart’ technologies. With A.I. in play, technocrats will be able to utilise the smart grid – which includes your mobile phone – to detect and track multiple targets over a wide area.6 Add facial recognition and data profiling to the mix and it’s a recipe for a full-on A.I. Smart Grid future. The ultimate hands-free, ‘surveillance selfie’ – compliments of Big Brother.

Just imagine, one day you’re simply walking down the street and pointing to something in the air. All of it is being captured on a 1.8 billion pixel video stream from the sky. They already know your identity and location with the phone in your pocket, and they already have your face logged and tracked.7

At this point we introduce Philip K. Dick’s concept of “pre-crime” whereby an A.I. system can predict an action you are likely to take.8 The system will then close the ‘Big Data’ loop by storing the video footage alongside your profile into a massive data ‘mash-up’. It will then compare with other potentially ‘suspicious’ activity in the area. Great Britain’s national police force, the Metropolitan Police, are already using a type of pre-crime software that British technocrats believe will somehow ‘revolutionalise’ modern policing in the 21st century.9

UK consumer advocate Pippa King explains how CCTV is already being phased out: “CCTV, closed circuit television, is not quite what is operating on our streets today. What we have now is IPTV, an internet protocol television network that can relay images to analytical software that uses algorithms to determine pre-crime area in real time.”

“Currently this AI looks at areas that may be targeted for crimes such as burglaries or joyriding,10 with the predicted hotspot information being sent direct to law enforcement smart phones in the field. This analytical software is being used in Glasgow, hailed as Britain’s first ‘smart city’,11 where the Israeli security firm NICE Systems are running the CCTV/IPTV network, analysing data from the 442 fixed HD surveillance cameras and 30 mobile units under a project called ‘Community Safety Glasgow’,12 whose primary objectives are described as ‘delivering Glasgow a more efficient traffic management system, identifying crime in the city and tracking individuals’.”13
This all can happen thanks to the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) latest creation – the ARGUS camera, Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance.14 According to its designers ARGUS, “melds together video from each of its 368 chips to create a 1.8 billion pixel video stream” all in real-time and archived. It’s just one of the many new toys used by the State to realise its Orwellian ambitions.

Who’s Paying For It All?

Aside from its ability to trample over the rights of law abiding citizens, the Police State has one other chief characteristic which may also be its Achilles heal: it’s bankrupting the State. Here’s how it works:

The gravy chain is endless, but only with the help of taxpayers’ money, along with a series of bribes and favours between politicians and corporates. If you have ‘friends’ in government administration, then you are more likely to cash in on any number of lucrative ‘domestic defense’ contracts.

Where you have constant crisis you also have constant business opportunity. In this dark paradigm, timing is everything. As US President Barack Obama’s sociopathic15 former chief of staff, now Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel, once said: “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

With that mantra in mind, in the wake of any shooting, terror scare, or crisis, industrial lobbyists and their elected political gophers will waste no time pushing for new federally-funded add-ons like training courses, workplace psychologists, regulators, specialist contractors, police cameras and other big-ticket items16 – anything to help “solve the crisis.” One such program in the US is known simply as the ‘1033’.

Joseph Lemieux writes: “The 1033 program has flooded our local police forces with military equipment, and has turned them from Peace Officers, to a domestic army.”

“Officers stopped looking like officers, and more like soldiers all kitted out with fully automatic weapons, armoured vehicles, body armour, grenades launchers, night vision, and even bayonets! Besides the cost of liberty, how much has this domestic army cost you the tax payer?”17

In the US, no single entity embodies the Police State gravy train more than the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where federal grants are used to bribe local law enforcement and absorb them into a larger framework of institutional dependency.

At over $200 billion per year, the DHS is now America’s most expensive federal agency. As any sane local law enforcement chief will tell you, once you smoke from the federal crack pipe, you’re hooked for life. Remember that each federal Police State agenda item has a lucrative contract attached to it. With each move central government makes, a large amount of money is also made (by someone).

By cutting off public money that is driving the runaway federal Police State in Western countries, the people have a chance to mitigate and potentially reform the current agenda.

If we hope to preserve what is left of our hard fought democracy, then now is the time to put it to the test. The alternative is unthinkable.

Patrick Henningsen is a regular contributor to New Dawn magazine. Check out his article “Technetronic Enslavement: Life Inside the Matrix of Control” in New Dawn 156 (May-June).

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  1. ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’,
  2. ‘The 2030 Agenda: This Month The UN Launches A Blueprint For A New World Order With The Help Of The Pope’ by Michael Snyder, 2 Sept 2015,
  3. ‘Why CCTV has failed to deter criminals’ by Cory Doctorow, The Guardian, 17 August 2011
  6. ‘Bilderberg 2015: Implementation of the A.I. Grid’ by Jay Dyer, 21st Century Wire (, 14 June 2015
  7. ‘Britain Launches “Big Brother” System, Uploads One Third of Population to Facial Recognition Database’, 21st Century Wire, 3 Feb 2015
  8. ‘Already Underway: Smart A.I. Running Our Police and Cities’ by Pippa King, 21st Century Wire, 13 Mar 2015
  9. ‘British Police Roll Out New “Precrime” Software to Catch Would-Be Criminals’, 21st Century Wire, 13 Mar 2015
  10. ‘Pre-crime software recruited to track gang of thieves’ by Chris Baraniuk, New Scientist, 11 Mar 2015
  11. ‘Glasgow wins “smart city” government cash’, BBC News,
  13. ‘Already Underway: Smart A.I. Running Our Police and Cities’, op.cit.
  15. ‘The Two Sides of Rahm Emanuel: Sociopathic Political Hitman and Puppy Lover’ by Foster Kamer, 16 Aug 2009,
  16. ‘Mayor de Blasio Announces Retraining of New York Police’ by Marc Santoradec, The New York Times, 4 Dec 2014
  17. ‘How Much Money Have American Taxpayers Spent on Building a Domestic Police State?’ by Joseph Lemieux, 1 Dec 2014,


PATRICK HENNINGSEN is the founder and editor of the news and analysis website 21st Century Wire, and is an independent foreign and political affairs analyst for RT International. He is also the host of the SUNDAY WIRE radio program which airs live every Sunday on the Alternate Current Radio Network. Learn more about this author at:

The above article appeared in New Dawn 153 (Nov-Dec 2015)

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Epoch & Aeon: Understanding Cosmic Cycles (Part 1)



We may have entered a new epoch, or so some scientists are telling us. The Anthropocene is a geological epoch characterised by the noticeable impact of humanity on the surface of the Earth. The previous epoch was the interglacial Holocene, which began after the fourth ice age. The Anthropocene is said to have begun with the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth century. Others argue that substantial human influence on the lithosphere began up to 15,000 BP (BP=Before Present, the scale used for large periods of time) when human activity left its first traces on the rock record. Others specify 1945 as a clear date, due to the sudden arrival of radioactive material in the rock strata from the explosion of atomic bombs.

As a term, Anthropocene reminds me of esoteric concepts of humanity’s ages and cycles, aeons and epochs. A belief in cosmic cycles has been specified as one of the typical characteristics of esotericism. This categorising of history and prehistory is one of several examples where religious and esoteric ideas exist in a symbiosis with scientific and secular ideas. Scientific concepts such as the ages of stone, bronze and iron owe their existence to myth; modern esoteric ideas of human development, of cosmic ages and cycles, draw on the scientific knowledge of the period.

The Anthropocene is partly a tool for highlighting the extent that humanity is currently influencing the global environment. Yet it is typical of materialist science that only mankind’s physical impact on the world is being assessed. Mankind appears in the geological picture mostly due to the damage we have done. In contrast to this, esoteric theories of aeons, epochs and cycles typically see in mankind a development towards an ever more spiritual form of consciousness, or a descent from a golden age into barbarism, or the repetition of cycles of a variety of divine or cosmic influences.

The difference between scientific systems of ages and esoteric-religious systems is this: scientific systems are based on measurement, esoteric systems on value. The best esotericism incorporates scientific and practical knowledge into a worldview that has a cosmic significance and acknowledges human psychological and spiritual development. The technologies of esotericism are those of personal transformation and sacred science. Esotericism is concerned with the inner meaning of whatever phenomena it touches upon, whether those of religion, myth or science.

It Was a Golden Age

Probably the most familiar Western system of ages is that of the classical world. We are so used to the gold, silver and bronze medals of the modern Olympics that the combination and order of these medals barely seems strange to us. It was Hesiod in the eighth century BCE who first wrote of the ages of development associated with metals, and he was surely drawing on existing tradition. Hesiod’s account follows on from the story of Prometheus bringing fire to mankind and Zeus punishing humanity by fashioning Pandora with the aid of the other gods, whose infamous box unleashed evils and sufferings on the world, with Hope as the only positive quality. Hesiod describes five ages – gold, silver, bronze, the heroes, and finally iron, the age in which he lived and we still live.

In the golden age, ruled by the titan Kronos, humanity was free from labour and ill-health, people lived long happy lives and died peacefully in their sleep. After death people lived on as good spirits of the earth who protect and bring wealth. The silver race was fashioned by and ruled by the Olympian gods. They were also long-lived as children but once they grew to adulthood they fought and were killed, forsaking the gods. These live on as spirits of the underworld.

People of the bronze age were strong and powerful but hard-hearted, dying in wars. Our age is that of iron, to which Hesiod apportions a series of woes mixed in with only a little good meted out by the gods. Hesiod tells us he would rather that he had not been born than live in our age of iron. Between the ages of bronze and iron was the heroic age. Its anomalous status, not being associated with a metal, suggests it was added to the scheme later. The heroic age was the age of the heroes and demi-gods of Greek myth, from the Seven at Thebes to participants of the Trojan War. They live on in the blessed isles.

Myths can encode social imperatives, taboos, justifications for ritual, and spiritual and psychological truths. They can also preserve ancient folk memories. Archaeological ages of materials technology, of course, show that bronze was used before iron was smelted. The modern scientific threefold scheme of stone, bronze and iron ages derives from Michele Mercati in the sixteenth century, with numerous subdivisions and refinements made as evidence accumulated and the scheme developed. The scientific understanding of archaeological ages of materials technology owes its inspiration to the Greek myth of the ages of metal.

In Book V of The Nature of the Universe, Lucretius, the first century BCE Roman writer, describes a progress in the human use of stone then copper (and hence its amalgam, bronze) and then to iron. Lucretius was an Epicurean and in many ways a precursor of modern rationalism. His method was not based on experimentation and measurement but on assigning natural materialistic explanations to phenomena. Hence, Lucretius ascribes mankind’s knowledge of the use of fire not to Prometheus but from seeing forest fires caused by lightning. He surmises that humanity learned to smelt metals from seeing the results of a forest fire on ore. Lucretius sees mankind as developing in phases from primitive technologies to the advanced civilisations of his time, from using stone to copper or bronze, and latterly to iron. It is the myth of progress.

Hesiod and Lucretius offer examples of the two opposing models of human development: a descent and an ascent, on the one hand a fall from grace and away from the perfection of the golden age and on the other a development from barbarism to civilisation.

The Great Age & Yugas

In the Western mind the four (or five) Greek ages, or at least the concept of a golden age, are part of the common culture. Astrological ages and the Indian Yugas (Hindu, though there are Buddhist and Jain adaptations too) are probably the next well known, the latter chiefly among those with spiritual, New Age or esoteric leanings.

The Yugas, which are of course still current in Hindu culture, are the most ancient and massive cycles. The total length of a Great Age (Mahayuga) is 4,320,000 years. The four Yugas have durations of 4:3:2:1 proportions, running from the golden age Krita or Satya Yuga (Fortunate Age) at 4,000 divine years, amounting to 1,440,000 human years, on through Treta Yuga (Third Age, or of three parts, 3,000 divine years/1,080,000 human years), Dwapara Yuga (Second Age, or of two parts, 2,000/720,000) and our very own Kali Yuga (Age of Conflict, 1,000/360,000 years). There are additional periods that precede and follow each Yuga, each 1/10 of the length of the Yuga.

Joscelyn Godwin cites midnight February 17 or 18, 3102 BCE as the beginning of the current Kali Yuga, according to Indian astronomers, and calculates its end in 427,000 CE.1 The Kali Yuga thus covers the period from more or less the dawn of civilisation to the extremely remote future. These vast periods are difficult to find meaningful.

The vast time scale has prompted some more recent commentators to accommodate the lengths to a more human scale. René Guénon, the Traditionalist, suggested knocking off three zeros and multiplying by 15. The resulting periods mesh successfully with human affairs, with the current Kali Yuga conveniently ending in 1999. Despite Guénon’s erudition, this surely amounts to convenient adaptation of a difficult idea; on the other hand it is the duty of esotericism to concern itself with the meaningful. The best known resizing of the Yugas, possibly better known than the original periods, is that of Sri Yukteswar Giri, the guru of Paramahansa Yogananda, known widely for his Autobiography of a Yogi. In Yukteswar’s system of Yugas the Kali Yuga has already ended and we are now in an ascending era in which the Great Year runs in reverse. Thus the myths of descent and ascent are combined.

Consonant with their vast lengths, the Yugas are associated with very broad characteristics of human life. As with the golden age of the Greeks, in the Krita Yuga humans have long lives (4,000 years), have no diseases and don’t need to work. Kali Yuga is characterised by the greed of mankind, by irresponsible rulers, wide use of drugs and drink, and continual migration of peoples. A distinctive Hindu characteristic of the ages is that they each have different numbers of avatars of the Lord Vishnu, with the Kali Yuga having only one, Kalki, who will return on a white horse to fight against the demon Kali (not to be confused with the goddess Kali) who is the ruler of the age.

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius

The astrological ages are widely known. In the official history of science it was Hipparchus in the 2nd century BCE who, on the island of Rhodes, computed the precession of the equinoxes (see graphic on page 62 in magazine). In the 2nd century CE Ptolemy, the great astronomer/astrologer, worked out that precession was due to a wobble of the starry sphere. Heliocentric science eventually determined that the wobble was in Earth’s orbit.

The great year of astrological ages is computed at 25,770 years. This is usually rounded to 26,000 years although the figure has sometimes been lower and until the cycle was properly measured it was assumed that it matched Plato’s Great Year of 36,000 years. This number divided by 12 gives 2,147.5 years for an astrological age if the signs of the zodiac are equally spaced.

The sign in which the Sun rises on the vernal (spring) equinox is believed to influence humanity as a whole in a similar way to the effect of the 12 signs on a human being. The ages of Leo, Cancer and Gemini show mankind emerging from prehistory, with Gemini, ruled by Mercury, associated with the development of writing, Leo emphasising the importance of the Sun, and Cancer that of the mother goddess. The age of Taurus began around 4000-4500 BCE, depending on the method of computation, and is associated with bull god cults such as those found in Egypt, Assyria and Crete. Around 2000 BCE, give or take a couple of centuries, the spring equinox Sun moved into fiery and warlike Aries. This was a time of empire building and heroic ages, of martial conquest and the use of iron for weapons. It also included the development of monotheism.

From around 100 CE to the turn of the Christian era – about which, more in a moment – is the dawning of the age of Pisces. The fish associations of Christianity, the symbol of the vesica piscis, the fisherman disciples who become fishers of men, and several parables and miracles that include fish, are all consonant with Pisces. Pisces is also notable for its dreamy quality, hence the characterisation of the age of Pisces as a time of deception.

We look with hope to the age of Aquarius but there are many views as to when it will come. We may have already gone over the cusp. Those who calculate the astrological ages according to the constellation boundaries rather than the equally spaced 30 degree zodiacal constellations, compute that it may take another 600 or 700 years before we enter Aquarius.

Many fascinating investigations into archaeology and astronomy suggest that knowledge of the precession of the equinoxes is encoded in myths from a wide variety of sources and in the alignments of ancient sites all around the world. This would make the astrological ages the arbiters of epoch par excellence. In these ages the position of the zodiac at the spring equinox aligns with chronology, mathematics and a zeitgeist that lasts for two millennia. That zeitgeist manifests through large scale human endeavour such as empire, war and civilisation, through symbolism and religious forms.

For us, who now stand two millennia away from the beginning of our Christian calendar, the astrological ages are extensive enough to carry a significance beyond the length of a single civilisation, yet not so long that they are incomprehensible on human terms. Although there is plenty of argument over the specific beginning and ends of ages (though their length is not so controversial), the scheme is admirable. It is like a tool of the right size and weight that fits comfortably in the hand.

It also has a predictive value lacking in the Yugas and the metallic ages. The Greek system offers no development after the iron age. The Yugas offer an eventual return to the beginning of the cycle and a new golden age, which is a source of optimism. But the massive time scales and our place within the Kali Yuga can only allow us to sigh at the misery of mankind and its fall from grace. The astrological ages cycle through varying qualities but are not characterised by ascent or descent. When an age becomes tired and decadent, complementary qualities may be at hand in the influence of the forthcoming age.

From Adam to Christ

Astrology comes from Babylon and was formulated in its Western version in the pagan classical world. Although both Christianity and Judaism have at times had their own strong astrological traditions, astrology was vulnerable to criticism as a pagan science whose symbolism and terms of reference didn’t extol Yahweh or Christ as the foundation stones of the universe. According to the astrological ages, the bull and the fish are merely passing fads, albeit fads of 2,000 years duration. Thus it fell to Christians to come up with their own aeons and epochs that drew on their own mythologies and understanding of the world. From a Christian and Western standpoint, the Yugas and astrological ages are merely turning around in circles.

The Christian view of time follows a line not a circle. It runs from creation to destruction, from Genesis to Revelation, from Fall to Apocalypse. Yet the line can still be divided into sections, marked out by the character of the times, by the stage in the process of the redemption of humankind. The Christian schemes take us out of the ancient world and into the Middle Ages.

Our standard Western method of counting years is in fact a simple system of two epochs, BC, Before Christ, and AD, Anno Domini, the year of our Lord. The BC/AD system did not take root for several centuries after its invention in the 6th century. It reflected the basic Old Testament/New Testament divide of the Christian Bible but has no category for the Second Coming. It has no predictive quality built into it.

It was that giant of influence, St Augustine, who formulated the most influential Christian scheme of ages. Augustine’s scheme utilised the seven days of creation. Inspired by Psalm 90:4 (quoted in II Peter 3:8), in which “one day with the Lord is as a thousand years,” each day was literally a millennium. The seventh age corresponded to the seventh day, the Sabbath, on which day God rested from his labours, and was outside of history.

Each age of 1,000 years could approximately be matched with chronologies produced from the genealogies of the Bible. The six ages were:


  1. From Adam to Noah and the flood.
  2. From post-flood Noah to Abraham
  3. From Abraham to David
  4. From David to the captivity in Babylon
  5. From the return from Babylon to the birth of Jesus.
  6. From Jesus to the second coming.


Thus we are living in the sixth age, which will continue until the Apocalypse. The sixth age is clearly and uniquely Christian; all of the preceding ages are defined by Jewish figures yet are claimed for Christianity. There is no accommodation of, for instance, the Greek philosophers who would have lived in the fifth age, or for Homer in the fourth age, no room to allow for the Greek heroes or the Gods of Egypt, Greece, Rome and other Mediterranean countries.

What can this system of ages say about mankind and the world in general? The great civilisations of antiquity, the gods and goddesses and daemons, are all swept away in favour of the purloined traditions of a people (the Jews) who weren’t even included in the new religious dispensation unless they acknowledged Christ. There was little room for each age to have its own spiritual or psychological colouring or even for a straightforward cycle of progress or corruption.

Those six ages did allow for a coming transformation into the seventh age, but Augustine placed the Christian Apocalypse conveniently far enough in the future to be of no concern for a few centuries.

Augustine took over an existing Jewish scheme but may have been influenced by Gnostic ideas. In the Gnostic Second Treatise of the Great Seth, the history of the world is effectively divided into three stages. Barbelo, the divine feminine figure, visits Adam, then gives the seed to Seth, then later to the resurrected Christ. In the further reaches of Gnosticism we find similar demarcations of history based around important characters in the Bible. Bardaisan came up with a scheme that involved 6,000 year periods that made up a Great Year. The Manichaean religion is unusual in acknowledging both biblical figures from Adam and Seth down to Jesus and non-Abraham prophets including Zoroaster and Buddha.

Father, Son & the Holy Spirit

After the first Christian millennium ended, Augustine’s six ages still had some validity because the beginning of the sixth age and the literalness of the thousand year period could be disputed.

Joachim of Fiore (c.1132-1202) first proposed that history was ascending through three stages ruled by each separate member of the Trinity. Hence, the period from Adam to the birth of Jesus was the Age of the Father, characterised by the Law; from Christ onwards was the Age of the Son, which was the age of the gospel; at some date in the near future would be the advent of the Age of the Spirit or Holy Ghost. Abbott Joachim, who was a devout Catholic, believed the third age would bring the kingdom of God on Earth. This third age would no longer require the Church (which was just an artefact of the second age) but would consist of celibate monks in direct communion with the Holy Spirit. Joachim believed the third age would dawn in 1200-1260 and so must have died believing it was imminent. Joachim’s influence on the development of Christianity would be indirect but considerable. His concept of the replacement of the Church by saintly individuals would be picked up by various Protestant movements and lend itself to use by later antinomian Christian sects. There was no compulsion to accept Joachim’s own estimate of the dawning of the Age of the Spirit, therefore interest in his three ages would re-emerge in aspects of twentieth century esotericism.

Islam could take the same approach by delineating ages according to the six prophets mentioned in the Qur’an (Qur 19,21-22), while in Ismaili Islam a series of emanations from Allah determine the different characteristics of the ages. Minority Middle Eastern religions such as the Zoroastrians and the Yezidis also had their own schemes. That of the Druze is notable for a scheme of aeons that each last for an astonishing 343 million years. Other aspects of their little-known scheme include a series of 159 masters through history, in addition to the six prophets of Islam, with history deteriorating gradually until a final liberation takes place. These 159 masters are pre-existent but are somehow controlled by Christ and the four evangelists as cosmic figures. Outside of the scope of this article are the wide rage of mythic ages found around the world like the five Suns of the Aztec ages, or the Mayan calendar.

The True Religion of Noah

Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was the founder of modern science, but also a Christian, astrologer, alchemist and esotericist. He has sometimes been characterised as the last magician rather than the first modern scientist. Newton believed that the true religion was that of Noah. He also believed that the Sabaeans, Confucius, the Brahmins and Pythagoras all inherited this post-diluvian wisdom. As each of these figures and movements arose, the light of “true religion” renewed, only to decline steadily until the next renewal. Egypt, however, according to Newton, was responsible for much of the corruption and decline of this true religion, including the concept of the Christian Trinity, which Newton abhorred.

All this resembles the familiar Abrahamic scheme of a succession of prophets periodically bringing law or religion or gnosis to humanity. But Newton has integrated figures like Pythagoras (and Hyram of Tyre, of Masonic fame) into the scheme. Newton believed that Pythagoras gave mathematics to the Greeks with one hand and the “true religion” with the other.

It will become characteristic of esotericism to incorporate figures from many religions and cultures, not just Jewish and Christian ones, into the patterns of development. Esotericism is interested in the inner meaning and inner significance of traditions, usually sees religions and cultures as sharing fundamental principles (or often regarding as debased those that don’t fit in) and hence can accommodate almost any criteria. Given his scientific nature Newton saw these prophet figures as bringing sciences such as mathematics and astronomy with them. The purest and most ancient civilisation was that of Israel, from whom, with a hefty amount of chronological juggling, all others copied.

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The second part of this article, published in New Dawn 153 (Nov-Dec 2015), looks at how the concept of race was related to esoteric history, as well as the cycle cosmology of Theosophy, the “gyres” of W.B. Yeats, Thelema aeons, spin offs from G.I. Gurdjieff including Rodney Collin & J.G. Bennett, and the work of Jean Gebser and Peter Carroll, plus more.


  1. ‘When Does the Kali Yuga End?’ by Joscelyn Godwin, New Dawn 138 (May-June 2013)


ANDREW PHILLIP SMITH writes on Gnosticism and esotericism and is editor of The Gnostic: A Journal of Gnosticism, Western Esotericism and Spirituality. His new books are Lost Teachings of the Cathars and Secret History of the Gnostics, with a new book on John the Baptist and the Last Gnostics coming out in 2016

The above article appeared in New Dawn 152 (Sept-Oct 2015)

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Harvard Study Finally Admits Drug Prices are High Because Govt Grants Big Pharma a Monopoly

In what can only be described as paradigm-shattering research on drug prices, the Journal of the American Medical Association has officially recognized why drug prices skyrocket in America. Big pharma is granted a monopoly by the state which effectively eliminates their competition and allows them to charge any price they want — so they do.

The new paper, published on August 23, The High Cost of Prescription Drugs in the United States: Origins and Prospects for Reform, set out to “review the origins and effects of high drug prices in the US market and to consider policy options that could contain the cost of prescription drugs.”

What the paper’s authors, Harvard Medical School doctors Aaron Kesselheim and Jerry Avorn, and jurist Ameet Sarpatwari, found and subsequently admitted, shatters the very assertion that government regulation in the market is needed to keep medical care costs low. In fact, their findings were quite to the contrary.

According to the paper:
The most important factor that allows manufacturers to set high drug prices is market exclusivity, protected by monopoly rights awarded upon Food and Drug Administration approval and by patents.

Imagine that.

By Matt Agorist..


—Steven Jones, Robert Korol, Anthony Szamboti and Ted Walter

See PDF page 21

Mae Brussell – Dialogue Conspiracy (3-21-77)

America In the New World Order

America In the New World Order

Tom Hughes examines America’s future in light of the ancient Hebrew prophets. With a gift for making complex ideas clear, he takes a Biblical view of the intrigues behind the headlines. America in the New World Order explains what you need to know for your family’s well-being.

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LBJ: Beautiful Texas/My Fellow Americans (American Experience) 1991