Has Consciousness Evolved?

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By RICHARD SMOLEY

The idea that consciousness is evolving is one of the most important doctrines of the New Age. But is it true?

Over the long term, the answer seems obvious. Even the stupidest of humans is far more intelligent and sophisticated than a trilobite. Although materialists have skirted the conclusion that evolution has a direction – and that this direction is toward greater complexity – they have not managed to shoot it down.

The New Age idea of evolving consciousness is a little different. Many advocates of the new paradigm insist that human consciousness has gotten more sophisticated within historical times, and that it is destined to make another grand leap. It’s a harder case to argue.

It was H.P. Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, who first introduced the idea of evolving consciousness in the late nineteenth century. The basic theory of evolution as propounded by Darwin was already well known, but it had not been connected with consciousness in any important way.

In her magnum opus, The Secret Doctrine, Blavatsky made this connection. Indeed she went further. She held that not only humans and all organic life, but everything in the cosmos, down to the smallest atom, was perpetually evolving over the course of boundless eons toward a goal of unimaginable perfection.

Blavatsky was a bit more cautious about the evolution of human consciousness. While she propounded the allegedly ancient and secret doctrine of the Root Races, whereby humans would eventually develop supernatural capacities, she did not see this as coming any time soon. According to Blavatsky, the present, Fifth Root Race – encompassing practically all of humankind currently on earth – was going to be around for a while.

Nevertheless, Blavatsky set the stage, and it is interesting, though difficult, to try to figure out how much she influenced twentieth-century advocates of creative evolution such as Henri Bergson and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

The man who may be most responsible for the idea that human consciousness has evolved within historical times, and is making a transition to a new stage, is the Swiss philosopher Jean Gebser. In his masterwork, The Ever-Present Origin, published in 1949, Gebser outlined a development of civilisation in five stages: the archaic; the magic; the mythical; the mental; and the integral. Gebser’s argument is hard to summarise, but he essentially said that the shifts between these phases meant a change in human consciousness, even in how we view spatial dimensions. The “mythical” stage, the age of classical antiquity, was conceptually “spaceless.” The new “integral” consciousness is, by contrast, “space-free” and “time-free.”

Gebser’s arguments do not always hold up well. For example, he said that the dawn of the mental stage of development – which included the discovery of perspective in art – started in medieval times. A crucial moment was the Italian poet Petrarch’s ascent of Mount Ventoux in southern France in 1336. This, Gebser claimed, was the first time that anyone ever climbed a mountain solely to see the view. As such, it was “the discovery of landscape.” Unfortunately for Gebser’s theory, Petrarch himself said he had been inspired by the ascent of a mountain in Greece by King Philip of Macedon in the fourth century BCE. (Gebser tries, unconvincingly, to explain why Petrarch’s climb was so revolutionary and Philip’s was not.) Besides, perspective painting had been practiced in Greco-Roman antiquity.

Gebser is not well-known in the English-speaking world, but he has been very influential, largely through the works of the American philosopher Ken Wilber, whose “integral philosophy” was inspired by Gebser and by such figures as Arthur Koestler, Sri Aurobindo, and the American guru Adi Da (Franklin Jones).

If we want to decide whether consciousness is evolving and has evolved within living memory, it might be good to consider what consciousness is. For Gebser, it was “wakeful presence.” In my work, especially The Dice Game of Shiva, I have defined consciousness as the relation of self to other. To take a simple example, you are in your bedroom. You are awake. You see the furniture, the walls, the pictures. They are other, and you are you. Then you fall into a deep sleep. There is no longer a sense of self and other; you are no longer aware of your surroundings. You are unconscious.

What, then, is higher consciousness? What makes one kind of consciousness higher, or more evolved, than another?

In his book When Beliefs Fail: Toward a Psychology of Hope, Jim Stempel sets out a clear and engaging argument for the evolutionary perspective. He says: “The goal of spiritual growth is actually quite simple. It is complete awareness, the capacity to understand all of reality as well as ourselves…. Thus we enlarge our worldview until it incorporates everything.” To use the language of my theory, consciousness evolves as our view of the other, that is the world, expands.

Thus it would seem that consciousness has evolved. For a medieval peasant, the world was his village. The people in the village five or ten miles away were remote and menacing; they may as well have been extraterrestrials. Today we log into a computer and learn about places on the other side of the world in almost no time. Presto! Our worldview is enlarged. That means our consciousness is higher, more evolved.

But it is not so simple. In the first place, not everybody believes in these great strides in cognitive evolution. The twentieth-century French philosopher René Guénon, for example, argued that, far from evolving, we have devolved from an ancient state of pristine integrity. We are now living, Guénon said, in the “reign of quantity,” the last and most pathetic stage of the Hindu Kali Yuga, the Age of Darkness. Technological advancement, and the materialistic mentality that goes with it, is a symptom of this degeneracy.

Is Guénon wrong? Is it right to equate higher consciousness with technical sophistication and the expanded view of the world that results from it? As desperately as Western civilisation wants to believe this, it is not obvious, and it may not be true.

One counterexample is Tibet. The material culture of Tibet has always been primitive, even barbarous. It has no technological sophistication and has had no interest in developing it. Nevertheless, Tibet developed an extremely sophisticated and profound understanding of the nature of consciousness that the West is only now beginning to grasp. Can we say our consciousness is higher, more evolved, than the consciousness of Tibetans?

The twentieth-century spiritual teacher G.I. Gurdjieff also ridiculed the idea that the consciousness of modern humanity has evolved. His masterwork, All and Everything: Beelzebub’s Tale to His Grandson, one of the strangest and greatest books of the twentieth century, has as its stated objective “to destroy, mercilessly, without any compromises whatsoever, in the mentation and feelings of the reader, the beliefs and views, by centuries rooted in him, about everything existing in the world.” And one of the most important of these ideas to be rooted out is the delusory belief in progress. The 1,200 pages of Beelzebub argue that modern humans are not superior, but inferior, to those of ancient times, and material progress has hastened their deterioration.

Gurdjieff taught that modern man is in a state of waking sleep, a low-grade hypnosis. Part of this sleep involves dissociation: the body walks through its daily routines while the mind ponders grievances of the past, and fantasises about the future. We are like Mr. Duffy in one of James Joyce’s stories, who “lived a short distance from his body.”

Practically everything about present-day life helps increase this dissociation. You are well-informed about the latest world crisis, but are you aware of what is going on in your own being? Very likely your body and your emotions do not care in the slightest for all of the momentous events that make your mind so agitated. Probably, in fact, these other parts of you are bored by your fixation on a computer screen and would just as soon be out for a walk, or doing nothing at all.

So the grandiose claims of “evolution,” “integral consciousness,” and so on, do not stand up very well. Of course there are people today who have attained high states of consciousness, just like the mystics of old. But do we have any reason to believe they are any more common today than they ever were?

On the other hand, I myself have as much difficulty with the proclamations of degeneracy as I have with the proclamations of evolution. It is not so simple. It is never so simple. In many ways, humanity has advanced; in other ways it has regressed. While I think it is foolish to praise indigenous peoples as the repository of all wisdom, they often seem to have preserved inner powers and abilities that have been lost to trendy smartphone addicts.

As always, there are currents and countercurrents, and there is no good reason to single out one of these and proclaim it the inevitable wave of the future. We have already had too many inevitable waves of the future, and they have usually been dead ends. It is probably wrong to claim that humanity is retrogressing, but when someone launches into optimistic jabbering about “evolution” and the “new paradigm,” it may be well to think about these lines from the Tao Te Ching: “The ancient masters were subtle, mysterious, profound, responsive. The depth of their knowledge is unfathomable.” It is hard to say that about humans today.

Sources
Jean Gebser, The Ever-Present Origin, translated by Noel Barstad & Algis Mickunas, Ohio University Press, 1985
G.I. Gurdjieff, All and Everything: Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, Dutton, 1964
Jim Stempel, When Beliefs Fail: A Psychology of Hope, Chrysalis, 2001

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RICHARD SMOLEY has over thirty-five years of experience of studying and practicing esoteric spirituality. 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, and Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions (with Jay Kinney). Smoley is also the former editor of Gnosis: A Journal of the Western Inner Traditions. Currently he is editor of Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America and of Quest Books.

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 147 (Nov-Dec 2014)

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The Rebirth of Gnosticism: An Interview with Dr. Stephan A. Hoeller

Dr. Stephan A. Hoeller, Presiding Bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostica in Los Angeles

Dr. Stephan A. Hoeller, Presiding Bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostica in Los Angeles

By RICHARD SMOLEY

One of the most compelling themes of current times is Gnosis – the idea of a transcendental knowledge that, like enlightenment, liberates the individual from bondage to the world of suffering. While Gnosis and Gnosticism were long relegated to the archives of memory as heretical and obsolete aspects of early Christianity, over the last few generations their ideas have resurfaced, displaying an unforeseen power and resonance.

Stephan A. Hoeller is among the leading proponents of this revitalised Gnosticism. Born a Hungarian nobleman in 1931, he was exiled from his native country after World War II. He came to the United States in the early 1950s and in the decades since has attracted a small but influential nucleus of students of esotericism. He has delivered scores of lectures to organisations such as the Theosophical Society and the Philosophical Research Society in a number of nations, including Australia and New Zealand.

Hoeller is the author of several books, including Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing (2002); The Fool’s Pilgrimage: Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot (2004); Jung and the Lost Gospels: Insights into the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library (1989); and The Gnostic Jung and the Seven Sermons to the Dead (1982). Among other accomplishments, Hoeller’s work ties the Gnostic stream to the ideas of the Swiss psychologist C.G. Jung.

Hoeller is also a major figure in the independent sacramental movement. This loose collection of churches and societies is based on the apostolic tradition as carried on by bishops, many of whom have left the Catholic Church or other Christian bodies and who have consecrated bishops and ordain priests on their own. Hoeller was ordained to the priesthood of the American Catholic Church by Bishop Lowell P. Wadle in 1958, and to the Gnostic episcopate by Richard, Duc de Palatine (born Ronald Powell) in 1967. Today Hoeller is presiding bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostica in Los Angeles. For more information on his work, including his lectures, visit his website www.gnosis.org.

This interview, conducted by e-mail in November 2013, focuses on Gnosticism and Hoeller’s connection to the Australian born ‘wandering bishop’ Richard, Duc de Palatine.

Richard Smoley (RS): You have been an eloquent spokesman for a revitalised Gnosticism in our time. Could you say briefly what the features of this Gnosticism are?

Stephan Hoeller (SH): Gnosticism is not a belief system in the accustomed sense, and therefore it is not easy to describe its features as you ask. The Gnostic tradition has no single prophet or founding revelator; rather it is based in the mystical experiences of a number of visionary individuals. These mystical experiences were generally characterised by these seers as “Gnosis,” a concept denoting salvific knowledge arrived at by superintellectual means. Since those partaking of Gnosis were diverse in their individual backgrounds, it has occurred to some scholars that it might not be accurate to subsume them under the appellation of Gnostics. Still, as the late foremost scholar of this field, Professor Marvin Meyer, has proven, there were some mystic seers in the early centuries A.D. who called themselves by the name “Gnostic,” and this name became a description for the teachings they left behind.

In reality, the teachings of the various Gnostic teachers have a great deal in common. It is therefore quite possible to perceive a body of recognitions that is generally present in all the Gnostic schools of past and present. In my book Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing (2002) I presented a fourteen-point summary of such Gnostic tenets, which I shall repeat here in an abbreviated form:

  1. There is an original and transcendental spiritual unity from which emanated a vast manifestation of pluralities.
  2. The original spiritual unity (the Fullness) did not create anything; rather the creation of the manifest universe was accomplished by spiritual beings of limited power and moral stature. These entities have a vested interest in the separation of humans from the unity (God).
  3. The universe of matter and mind, while it emanated originally from the unity, has become alienated from its source and now largely serves the lower creators, or rulers (archons). The human being, in contrast to other creations, possesses a divine spark, which is capable of being awakened and liberated by Gnosis.
  4. The ultimate unity has not abandoned the sparks of its own essence but periodically sends forth messengers whose function it is to awaken the slumbering units of divine consciousness by stimulating the experience of Gnosis in humans. Among these messengers we find the Divine Sophia; Jesus Christ, the Logos of God; the holy prophet Mani; and others. The ultimate objective of these messengers is the arising of salvific knowledge (Gnosis) in human beings, who thus come to freedom from embodied existence and return to the ultimate unity.

RS: The Gnostic worldview has often been criticised as pessimistic and world-denying. How would you respond to this claim?

Dr. Stephan Hoeller delivers a lecture at Ecclesia Gnostica, 3363 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90039, United States

Dr. Stephan Hoeller delivers a lecture at Ecclesia Gnostica, 3363 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90039, United States

SH: The accusation that Gnostics are world-hating pessimists was first voiced by the heresy-hunting church fathers of the early centuries A.D. It was false then, and it is false now. Most religious systems recognise that the world is imperfect, as indeed do Gnostics. The difference between the Gnostic position and others concerns the origins of this imperfect state of the world. Judeo-Christian orthodoxy places the blame on human beings: their original sin came to corrupt not only humans themselves, but all of creation. Gnostics, on the other hand, have always held that the world did not fall but was created in a grossly imperfect way to begin with.

Professor Gilles Quispel, the late, great scholar, was wont to tell the tale that when observing the destruction of a British fighter plane over Holland in World War II, he had the sudden insight: “Valentinus the Gnostic was right: earthly life is tragic.” Gnostics, like Buddhists, recognise that earthly life is filled with suffering, cruelty, and impermanence. I have noted on occasions that we live in a gigantic slaughterhouse cum cafeteria – all forms of life kill and consume other forms to nourish themselves. Some creatures exhibit behaviour that is not related to stilling their hunger. Cats play cruelly with their prey. Some insects kill and eat their mates while copulating; indeed cannibalism is rampant among many species. Natural disasters bring much suffering and death in their wake. On the other hand, Gnostics have always felt that humans can attain to freedom from this suffering world by attaining to Gnosis, that is, a higher kind of consciousness, which allows the liberated Gnostic to soar above this tragic world.

I must admit that many humans have a strong need to perceive life as in some sense benign and potentially happy. It is also evident that this need cannot be met if we do not experience a salvific change in consciousness, which allows us to perceive a greater, happier reality beyond the world of matter and sense. A secular person without access to such a liberating state of consciousness has one of two choices. The first involves looking the dark face of the world in the eye, while the second is what has been called “living in denial.” The Gnostic has a third possibility: being liberated by Gnosis.

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RS: In your book Gnosticism you cay that the Gnostic cosmology has meaning from both a psychological and a cosmic point of view. Could you explore this issue a little?

SH: The cosmo-conception of the Gnostic tradition truly can be applied both externally and internally, and none of these interpretations need to cancel each other out. The Gnostic myth of the emanation of the divine essence, followed by the creation of physical and psychic reality by the lower creating entities, is to me a plausible explanation of the origin of the world. All such explanations – even the so-called scientific ones – are in reality mythical, and this myth is as meaningful as many others, and more meaningful than some.

The modern depth psychologist C.G. Jung has come to the conclusion that the Gnostic cosmology may also be seen as a psychocosmology. The various regions of being such as the original unity (Fullness), the various aeonial regions, and ultimately the physical world with its malign archons can be seen as the collective and personal unconscious, the consciousness of the ego, and the functions of consciousness respectively, while the mighty messengers of light can be seen as archetypes proceeding from the collective unconscious. Once again, we may need to keep in mind that the external and internal applications of the Gnostic myth need not exclude each other.

As noted, this understanding of the Gnostic myth comes to us chiefly from Jung, whom I see as the greatest Gnostic of our time, and about whose teachings I wrote my book The Gnostic Jung and the Seven Sermons to the Dead, which is regarded by many as a pioneering study of the relationship of Jung and Gnosticism.

RS: From an esoteric point of view, what would you say is happening with humanity today?

SH: Speaking of Jung, it is no doubt known to many that his mysterious and long-awaited book Liber Novus (The Red Book) has been published at last. One of the principal disclosures to be found in this work is Jung’s belief that the Age of Aquarius is upon us, that significant changes in the consciousness of humanity are taking place, and that more of the same may be expected in the future. The “Aeon of Aquarius,” as Jung calls it, will eventually bring great psychological changes in its wake, amounting to a new religious consciousness which will differ greatly from the religious consciousness of the Piscean Age. It will manifest primarily in a new God-image that was very important to the ancient Gnostics and that in various ways has made its appearance throughout history in the esoteric tradition.

Two thousand and some years ago a new religion constellated itself in the Mediterranean region. With that religion came a new myth of redemption, centred in the image of Jesus, the Saviour God. Now Jung is telling us in The Red Book that the Aeon of Aquarius is upon us, and with it comes the new God-image of the God within. This image is of course none other than the God to whom St. Paul referred as “the Christ in you, our hope of glory.” It is also the indwelling Christ affirmed and venerated in the Gnostic tradition.

There is no doubt that Jung saw in the new Gnostic Renaissance, which began with the discovery in 1945 of the Nag Hammadi library, a manifestation of his own prophecy in the then still secret Red Book. The connection of Jung’s prophecy with the tradition of Gnosis is unmistakable.

In his Red Book, Jung stated clearly that the task of the present and near future was “to give birth to the ancient in a new time,” and he clearly meant the Gnostic tradition is in fact that ancient thing to which he and others were giving birth.

I have spent a very large portion of my adult life studying and commenting upon the work of Jung and the Gnostic sacred writings. I should say, then, that humanity today is experiencing the rebirth of Gnosticism, and its principal God-image is being born in a new time. The esoteric as well as the exoteric implications of this process are momentous.

RS: Unlike many figures in the world of alternative spirituality, you have been critical of the environmental movement. Could you discuss why?

SH: The environmental movement, as I have come to observe it, is indeed a hybrid thing with many facets, some of which are not pleasing to me. If this movement would concentrate its attention on practical measures in improving the environment, I would look upon it with favour. I have resided for sixty years in one of the largest, and consequently greatly polluted, cities of the US, namely Los Angeles, California. In the early years of my residence here, the atmosphere was filled with an unwholesome mixture of smoke and fog, called “smog.” With the aid of various measures, the cooperative efforts of public agencies and private industry have improved the air in my city to a very great extent. Similarly, many helpful measures have been undertaken in the area of trash collection, recycling, and the like. These actions were performed as practical tasks to benefit humans in the city.

We need to keep in mind that “environment” means “that which surrounds.” The next question is “Whom does it surround?” To which the answer is “Humans!” Here, I feel, is the crux of the issue. According to my understanding of the philosophy of Gnosticism, the human is a very important being on this earth because it is in the human that the divine spark resides, and it is this spark that is to experience Gnosis. Therefore it is important that we should have a fair environment for the human. On the other hand, the environment is not an all-important thing in and of itself. The material creation within which we live is a creation of the archons. When we begin to worship the environment, we worship a flawed creation. We need to cultivate our consciousness and with it make intelligent decisions about ourselves and about the environment. Large portions of the environmental movement have become pantheistic nature worshippers, often viewing humanity as a curse upon the world – a title I would like to reserve for crocodiles, bedbugs, and the AIDS virus, to mention but a few.

There is much reverential talk in some esoteric circles about “the one life.” I would rather concentrate on “conscious life” and keep in mind that much life in this world is sordid, malign, unsavoury, and even evil.

RS: Your spiritual lineage, I gather, comes from the “independent sacramental” line, sometimes called the line of “wandering bishops.” Could you tell us a little about this tradition and how it relates to your own work?

SH: The lineage you refer to is that of the apostolic succession. As far as we can ascertain, most of the Gnostic schools in ancient times participated in the apostolic succession. They wrote, in the words of the Gospel of Philip, “The Lord anointed the Apostles and the Apostles anointed us.” Gnostic revival movements such as the French Gnostic Church, revived in the nineteenth century by Bishop Jules Doinel, all availed themselves of apostolic successions, mainly of Roman Catholic and Syrian Orthodox origin.

I was a student and seminarian of the Cistercian order in Hungary. After I left my native land, I seriously considered further training for the Roman Catholic priesthood. What got in my way was Gnosticism, a secret tradition to which I became ever more attached.

RS: I understand that you were consecrated as a bishop by a figure known as Richard, Duc de Palatine. Could you say a little bit about him, his teachings, and his own lineage?

SH: Upon my arrival in the US in the early 1950s, I discovered there were a number of small denominations that were known as “independent Catholic churches.” A somewhat pejorative name that was sometimes applied to the bishops of these churches was “wandering bishops.” After a few years I became a cleric, and eventually a priest, in one of these churches, the American Catholic Church, which possessed a lovely church in Laguna Beach, California. The bishop was a very fine man, Dr. Lowell Paul Wadle.

A number of years later, I met a British bishop, Richard, Duc de Palatine, who was on a lecture tour in the US. Unlike the bishop who ordained me a priest, who was an esotericist but not an outright Gnostic, Bishop de Palatine was a Gnostic and was in contact with the Gnostic churches in Europe. Thus I moved from one bishop to another, which proved prophetic, since my earlier bishop suddenly died a fairly short time thereafter. Thus my career as an openly Gnostic priest began.

Richard, Duc de Palatine, described by Dr. Stephan Hoeller as a learned and charismatic man, is regarded as restoring the Gnostic tradition in the English speaking world.

Richard, Duc de Palatine, described by Dr. Stephan Hoeller as a learned and charismatic man, is regarded as restoring the Gnostic tradition in the English speaking world.

This gentleman was an Australian by birth and upbringing. He studied at the University of Melbourne and during World War II served in the Australian armed forces. After the war he moved to London, where he became involved in various esoteric and ecclesiastical activities. Somewhat like me, he developed a great interest in Gnosticism quite early in his life. He joined the Theosophical Society in Australia, and I believe he belonged to the Melbourne Lodge, where, many years later, in the 1980s, I was a visiting lecturer myself. While some reference books claim that he had been a priest of the Liberal Catholic Church in Australia, he always denied this.

Richard, Duc de Palatine’s clerical career began in London, shortly after he transferred his residence there. He became friendly with an English independent Catholic bishop, whose secular name was Hugh George de Willmott-Newman, and who was known as Mar Georgius I, bishop of Glastonbury. It was Mar Georgius who instigated that Richard should receive the title Duc (“duke”) de Palatine. There seems to have been a vogue among English independent bishops to receive titles of nobility at that time. Since these titles did not come from a reigning monarch of any country, they were considered somewhat spurious by some. Since I come from Austro-Hungarian nobility myself, with a title that dates back to the eighteenth century, I did not view this peculiar title-mongering with a great deal of favour, but I had more important concerns.

Bishop de Palatine had a small organisation, headquartered in London, which possessed a certain membership in the US. He asked me to take charge of these members, and thus I became his personal representative for the US and the leader of the Los Angeles group of his members. This involved also starting up a Gnostic parish, which I did, and thus since 1959 I have headed a small Gnostic church in Los Angeles. I may say that this turn in my career was really a dream come true, for my great interest in Gnosticism now enabled me to serve this tradition in both a teaching and a priestly capacity.

Thus Richard, Duc de Palatine became my teacher and superior formally in the early 1950s. He was an unusual person; charismatic, learned in certain areas, and – I am a bit reluctant to confess – I found him to be a person with unmistakable occult powers. He was what anciently was called a thaumaturge. I imagine there was a certain similarity between his powers and those of people like H.P. Blavatsky and G.I. Gurdjieff. Since these matters are somewhat private, no more shall be said of them. I served his church as a priest for ten years, after which he consecrated me a bishop.

RS: There is a widespread teaching that speaks of a secret brotherhood that is constantly at work on behalf of human advancement and evolution. Do you personally believe in this concept, and if so, could you explain why?

SH: The notion of such a brotherhood was chiefly publicised by H.P. Blavatsky and her followers, although some ideas of this nature existed in earlier esoteric traditions. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw much literature that exalted and exaggerated this concept. Names such as “Great White Brotherhood of Adepts” and even “the Hierarchy” came to be applied to it.

As a student of esoteric history, I am aware of the presence of mysterious spiritual beings in the early Theosophical Society. Blavatsky often referred to her gurus, as did some of her successors.

As to my own views on these matters, I freely accept the belief that esoteric teachers frequently have both embodied and also spiritual gurus. (For instance, Jung had a “ghostly guru” called Philemon.) But I draw the line at the idea that these gurus are organised in some sort of formal council that guides and advances the progress of humanity. In my view, this is a distortion of the data. One could also say that in view of the many frightful wars, holocausts, and gulags of recent history, the alleged beneficent efforts of such a brotherhood appear to have been singularly ineffective.

RS: There seem also to be many forces that are working against human evolution and advancement. Could you comment a little on these? Do they have any relation to, say, the Gnostic concepts of the Demiurge and the archons?

SH: The presence of forces that oppose human spiritual freedom was widely recognised by Gnostic teachers. Such forces are frequently personified as the archons, headed by the Demiurge of this world. Mythically, these beings are represented as entities who have been alienated from the ultimate divine source of the All, and who regard themselves as the proper overlords of creation and of humanity. A descriptive mythologem would be to see them as slave masters who wish to keep human souls in bondage, and who therefore try to prevent the liberation of human souls by Gnosis.

It may be useful to mention that this view is not in the nature of a Gnostic demonology. The archons and the Demiurge are not so much evil as they are of limited consciousness; they do not recognise a reality superior to their own. (Gnostics stated that it was the Demiurge who exclaimed: “I am the only God and there are no other Gods beside me!”) These beings have fabricated a flawed creation and are determined to keep human souls confined therein.

Fortunately, the domain of these beings is not universal. Mingled with the dark features of demiurgic creation, we find elements coming from the original Godhead, elements which have remained relatively free from corruption. Therefore, the manifest creation contains both light and dark. We walk on the checkerboard of the cosmos, which has been called the “tasselated pavement” in certain initiatory orders.

As for myself, I believe neither in a great white brotherhood of benevolent adepts nor in a menacing assembly of evil black magicians, but rather in forces of unconsciousness opposed by forces of liberating consciousness. All of these may be personified or not. Among these forces we laboriously wind our way to the summit of salvific Gnosis.

„You can learn more about Gnosticism and the work of Bishop Dr. Stephan A. Hoeller at the website of the Ecclesia Gnostica, www.gnosis.org/eghome.htm. Dr. Hoeller’s extensive library of lectures – on Gnosticism, Jung, Alchemy, Consciousness, Religion, & much more – are available for download from www.bcrecordings.net.

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

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RICHARD SMOLEY has over thirty-five years of experience of studying and practicing esoteric spirituality. 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; and Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions (with Jay Kinney). Smoley is also the former editor of Gnosis: A Journal of the Western Inner Traditions. Currently he is editor of Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America and of Quest Books.

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 143 (Mar-Apr 2014)

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Is Your God a Devil?

warinheaven

By RICHARD SMOLEY

It is one of the most familiar and reassuring lines in scripture: “The Lord is my shepherd.” But when you think about it, the metaphor is a disturbing one.

It’s true that a shepherd looks after his sheep. But he also shears them and kills them and eats them. Does the God we adore act totally with our best interests at heart, or are we a species of livestock that he uses for his own ends?

Voices have occasionally uttered doubt, not about the existence of the gods, but about their beneficence. The ancient Gnostics said that the real god of this world was the Demiurge, a second-order being who mistook himself for the true God. The spiritual teacher G.I. Gurdjieff told a parable about a lazy shepherd who got tired of having his sheep run off, so he hypnotised them into thinking they were men or lions. Then they no longer ran off but stayed around so that he could shear or kill them as he liked. (Again we encounter a shepherd, this one more explicitly malevolent.)

Gurdjieff does not say who this shepherd is. His main point is that man, in his state of waking sleep, is at the mercy of forces that may well not have his best interests at heart – forces that will extract energy from him regardless of his wishes.

This parable is from an early period of Gurdjieff’s teaching; in his later period, epitomised in his magnum opus All and Everything: Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, he portrayed the universe in a more beneficent light. But there are plenty of others who have cast doubts on the motives of the spiritual powers that control our lives.

One of the weirdest is found in a book called War in Heaven by Kyle Griffith. Originally it appeared in 1988. It has never been published in a conventional sense; I first read it years ago when I was editor of the esoteric journal Gnosis and there was a spiral-bound copy lying around the office. Today it can be downloaded for free at www.bibliotecapleyades.net/vida_alien/warinheaven/warheaven-III.htm.

Comparatively little is known about Griffith himself. From my sources, I gather that he lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980s, the time when he put his book together. He has been featured in an Internet interview (www.openseti.org/ForumFiles/GossensGriffithQA.html), and there is a discussion group devoted to his ideas at http://revolutionaryspiritualism.yuku.com.

From a certain point of view, War in Heaven may look mad; from another, it is strangely compelling. I have read it three times over the years. While I’m not prepared to take its claims at face value, I find them both haunting and disturbing.

Griffith’s vision allegedly derives from his telepathic communication with some spirits who say they are associated with the Invisible College. This was the name of a seventeenth century English coterie that was devoted to esotericism, philosophy, and the nascent discipline of science; it is usually seen as a precursor to the Royal Society. Unlike the scientifically minded gentlemen of Britain, the Invisible College of Griffith’s vision consists of disembodied spirits who claim to have inspired the Rosicrucian and Freemasonic movements of the early modern era; more recently, they were behind the civil-rights movement in America and the psychedelic revolution of the same period.

All of these movements were designed with one end in mind: to break the hold of the Theocrats.

The Theocrats, in the cosmology of War in Heaven, are parasitic astral entities who devour the souls of the recently deceased. The normal course of the soul’s evolution involves repeated reincarnations on earth. But these incarnations, as we well know, can be extremely unpleasant at times. The Theocrats have avoided this disagreeable option by maintaining a semiperpetual existence on the astral plane, fed by the souls they eat. Their strategy is simple. When a naïve soul has died, they greet it on the other side by proffering illusory welcomes into a fake heaven, populated with familiar religious figures and loved ones. When the soul has strayed into their trap, it is devoured.

To make this vision even more disturbing, Griffith (or his guides from the Invisible College) contends that practically all of what we think of as religion is nothing more than a Theocratic ruse.

The stages of this religious development, as portrayed in War in Heaven, bear some examination. The first stage was essentially shamanism. This is a crude and primitive form of religion – from the Theocrats’ point of view, that is, not from ours.

Shamanism, we are told, fosters individual psychic development, and as such, it is of limited value to the predatory Theocrats, who benefit much more from the collective trance that conventional religious worship produces. As a result, the Theocrats had to refine and update their methods of mind control.

Second-stage religion was a dead end. It involved large-scale human sacrifice. And history shows that civilisations that had such practices came to a bad end soon. Ancient Carthage, the great rival of Rome for domination of the Mediterranean, was one example. When the Romans decisively defeated Carthage, they razed the city and sowed the ground with salt. Salt is traditionally a substance used for purification, and some have said the Romans did this to cleanse the land from all the human sacrifice that had taken place there. Aztec civilisation, which in many ways was superior to its European contemporary, was another example: for all its might, it was destroyed by a few hundred Spanish adventurers on horseback.

“The third stage of Theocratic religion,” Griffith writes, “involves mass animal sacrifices. Although they prefer human souls, Theocratic spirits can nourish themselves off the astral souls of lower animals to some extent.”

If this were true, it would cast a weird but revealing light on what I have characterised in the accompanying article as the religions of the Age of Aries. They were so obsessed with animal sacrifice – which otherwise seems to be rather a pointless activity – because the Theocrats wanted it.

“However,” Griffith adds, “the astral tissues of animal souls aren’t very compatible with the astral souls of the Theocrats, so they are not a good food source.” To solve this problem, the Theocrats invented fourth-stage religion – the religions that most of the world knows today. Here “Theocrats use religious mind control to delude souls into deliberately putting themselves under Theocratic control after death, thinking they are entering ‘eternal bliss in Heaven’ or ‘union with the Godhead’.” These religions are essentially those of what in the accompanying article I have called the Age of Pisces.

By this view, the gods people worship – whether they are called Christ or Allah or Krishna – are nothing more than parasites on the astral plane who keep themselves nourished by souls of the innocents they prey on. Originally the Buddha was different; he experienced a genuine awakening and thus showed little respect for the traditional Vedic gods of his culture. But his later followers, who distorted his teaching into a religion based on faith in Buddha, became subservient to the Theocrats.

Oh, and by the way: “The Theocrats want religious believers to feel guilty every time they feel sexual desire or enjoy any ‘pleasures of the flesh’. The guilt literally addicts them to attending church services that subject them to religious mind control.”

There have been few more disturbing portraits of the religious history of humanity than this.

To deliver the hapless beings of the human race from this dire situation, certain advanced souls from other planets came to the astral atmosphere of Earth a few centuries ago. They, along with some enlightened human souls who have managed to avoid the Theocrats, constitute the Invisible College. While the Theocrats have been sending telepathic suggestions to their unsuspecting followers on this plane, saying that all you have to do is believe in the Theocratic gods and trust them, the Invisible College has been transmitting the opposite message: to avoid worship and above all to think for yourself. They inspired the Rosicrucian and Masonic movements of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as well as the accompanying impulses toward democracy, freedom of thought, and even atheism. After all, it is better to believe in no God at all than to open yourself up to a parasitic astral deity.

According to Griffith, much of the 1960s counterculture was stimulated by the Invisible College. LSD, rock concerts, and similar gatherings were designed to create a different kind of trance – one that would telepathically open people to the idea they should think for themselves.

But the story does not stop there. This effort has led to a reaction by the adversary – “fifth-stage Theocracy,” which “employs electronic mind control instead of religious mind control, and… can enslave people who subscribe to belief systems other than those of organised religion.” Some groups originally inspired by the Invisible College are co-opted by the adversary. Griffith writes, “Every new rock group starts out with a few normal protest or love songs. Then they get swallowed by a group mind controlled by fifth-stage Theocrats, and from that point on all their songs sound as if they were written by the same person.”

It’s not possible here to go further into Griffith’s bizarre but fascinating vision. But there are some things that keep me from dismissing it entirely. The first is the collective madness of the human race – its pathological desire to rage and destroy, its hatred of its benefactors and its insane worship of its most vicious victimisers. There is a point beyond which we cannot explain this by mere mammalian aggression – which, as a matter of fact, does not have such destructive properties in other mammals. Psychology and sociology have no explanations for this mass insanity and show little interest in finding them. If there were such entities on the astral plane trying to control and manipulate us as Griffith says they are, this behaviour would at least be comprehensible.

Another is the powerful collective urge toward what Gurdjieff called the “waking sleep” of man. It is true that, in the West at any rate, mass hypnosis by low-grade religion is losing its hold. But no sooner has this happened than we see a whole new series of mechanisms for putting people back to sleep – the “electronic mind control” that Griffith mentions. It is very hard to go into a public place and see people bewitched by their laptops and smartphones without wondering if something like this is going on.

I don’t think War in Heaven offers a total explanation for the human condition, but I suspect that it has a measure of truth. There do seem to be invisible forces that, for reasons that are difficult to determine, benefit from the collective waking trance of humanity.

Griffith concludes his work with a quasi-apocalyptic vision of the End Times. It is close enough to the End Times as portrayed by Christianity that I have trouble taking it at face value. And while I suspect there are low-grade spiritual entities that very much resemble the Theocrats described here, I am not so convinced that they explain everything about human religious aspiration.

In any case, Griffith and his invisible mentors have some advice for keeping out of Theocratic control. In the first place, make a conscious effort to develop your own psychic powers during this life. In the second place, “read accounts of point-of-death experiences and learn to recognise the common tricks that the Theocrats use to enslave the unwary after death.” In other words, those accounts of near-death experiences are true – but they’re not to be taken at face value. That’s probably a sound rule of thumb for all spiritual experiences – no matter how good or bad they seem.

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RICHARD SMOLEY has over thirty-five years of experience of studying and practicing esoteric spirituality. 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; and Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions (with Jay Kinney). Smoley is also the former editor of Gnosis: A Journal of the Western Inner Traditions. Currently he is editor of Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America and of Quest Books.

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 142 (Jan-Feb 2014)

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Pope Francis & the Prophecies of St Malachy

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By ROBERT HOWELLS

We think of prophecy as a revealing of information that can include warnings or spiritual insights. In the Old Testament, prophets were revered and the wisdom they imparted considered of the highest authority. They acted as a conduit to divine revelation as the will of God was revealed to them through communication with the Holy Spirit.

Christianity was built upon a Messianic figure whose coming was prophesied in the Old Testament books of Daniel and Isaiah. Yet in recent times, prophecy has fallen out of favour within the Church. Respect is still given to the biblical prophets such as Isaiah and St John of Patmos, to who is attributed the Book of Revelation, but the Catholic Church has refused to condone any post-biblical prophetic utterance as being true regardless of the source.

In spite of this, seers continued to add to the great body of prophetic work throughout history. Hildegard von Bingen, Nostradamus, numerous saints and even some of the popes were compelled to share their visions of the future. The accuracy of some of their prophecies cannot be denied.

An example was Mother Shipton, a 16th century English prophetess who appeared to have a clear vision of the 20th century and the Second World War. Her writings include: “Carriages without horses shall go. Around the world thoughts shall fly, in the twinkling of an eye. Underwater men shall walk, women will dress like men and trousers wear, and cut off all their locks of hair. When pictures look alive with movements free. When ships, like fishes, swim beneath the sea. When men, outstripping birds, can soar the sky, then half the world, deep-drenched in blood, shall die.”

Shipton’s writings have an apocalyptic feel and like many prophecies, biblical or otherwise, share a common theme in describing the End Times. This is known to Christians as eschatology.

Another widely accepted example of prophecy concerns the Great Fire of London. Three famous seers, Nostradamus, Mother Shipton and the astrologer William Lilly, all predicted a fire would engulf London in 1666. Astrologer Lilly was so accurate in his divination that he was able to name the actual day the fire would start, and as a result he was arrested and dragged before Parliament accused of having caused it himself. He managed to prove otherwise and was set free.

The above examples were not a matter of coincidence or luck, nor were the seers attempting to gain fame or credibility. They were simply communicating these foresights as inevitable facts of what had been revealed to them through divination or vision.

Members of the Catholic Church also continued to produce prophecies by those blessed with visions and among these stood St Malachy of Armagh, a devout Catholic bishop who helped to reform Ireland during the dark days of the 12th century.

St Malachy

According to the historian Cucherat, Malachy received a vision during a visit to Rome wherein he had witnessed every pope from that day to the Last Judgement. Known as the ‘Prophecies of the Popes’, these were recorded as 112 brief Latin descriptions, which were clues to the identities of the popes from medieval times to present day. The prophecies conclude with the last pope whom Malachy predicted would oversee the end of the papacy and the fall of the Roman Catholic Church.

It is said that Malachy bestowed these prophecies upon the then current pope after which they were deposited in the Vatican and remained hidden for nearly 400 years.

The Release

The prophecies were rediscovered in the Vatican archive in 1590, and published in 1595 by Arnold Wion in his publication Lignum Vitae. Wion claimed these were the authentic prophecies as had been penned in the 12th century by St Malachy.

The sudden ‘rediscovery’ of the prophecies in the 16th century allowed them to be used as propaganda in the campaign to promote Pope Gregory XIV to the throne. Since that time, debate has raged over whether the prophecies were a fabrication purely invented for this purpose. However, when studying the accuracy of the prophecies from both before and after publication, it seems unlikely they are complete fakes.

Accuracy

When the prophecies were published in 1595, the corresponding pope for each prophecy up to that date was known and could easily be identified. In the centuries since then, many have poured over these sayings seeking evidence of a connection in the lives of subsequent popes. The brevity of the text in the Latin phrases allows for some room for interpretation, but many are very specific and in no way as vague as one might expect. For a document that is at least 400 years old, there has always been a certain degree of accuracy.

A possible explanation for this would have been if the papal elections were somehow influenced by the prophecies, but there are many examples that refute this.

The prophecy for Pope Pius VII could not have been contrived. His reign coincided with the rise of Napoleon whose fame and power overshadowed the pope considerably. The prophecy for the time of Pius was “rapacious eagle,” and the eagle was the symbol by which Napoleon was identified.

Another important example of the accuracy of the prophecies is the reign of Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922) in which he witnessed the Bolshevik Revolution outlaw Catholicism in Russia, the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic that ravaged Europe and the outbreak of the First World War which killed a further 20 million people. His correlating prophecy was “religion depopulated.” It must be noted these world events could not have been averted so it would not have mattered which pope reigned during this time. The prophecy is linked to the timing of historic events and not to the man, but it is clear the link to the pope could not have been contrived in any way.

Other prophecies were also based upon external factors such as the location of the conclave, historic events or feast days that coincide with the election. Clement IX (1667-1669) was prophesied as the “Swan constellation.” He was elected in the ‘Chamber of Swans’ within the Vatican, but any cardinal could have been elected in that place and would have fitted the prophecy. This does not invalidate the prediction, but it changes the focus from the identity of the individual to the environment.

Further evidence for the sustained accuracy of the prophecies can be seen in Pope Clement XIII (1758-1769), whose prophecy was “Rose of Umbria.” Clement was a former governor in Umbria which has a rose for its state emblem. Pope John XXIII (1958-1963), whose prophecy described him as “priest and mariner,” was previously the Cardinal of Venice, and Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) is described in the prophecies as “Light in the heavens.” His coat of arms shows a shooting star. This example and numerous others are accurate 700 years after the time of being inscribed, and 400 years following publication.

Pope Innocent XII (1691-1700), whose prophecy translates as “Rake in the door” had the surname Rastrello, Italian for rake, and originally had a rake on his family coat of arms. This has to be the most accurate and one of the hardest to contrive. Innocent’s election came at the end of a very difficult five-month-long conclave, so it is unlikely his selection was a simple attempt to fulfil prophecy.

The Final Pope

The ‘Prophecies of the Popes’ join that long tradition of apocalyptic prophecy by concluding with a final pope, “Peter the Roman” who is destined to witness the destruction of Rome and the Last Judgement.

In the final persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge His people. The End.

According the ‘Prophecies of the Popes’, the time of the last pope is finally upon us.

On 13 March 2013 Jorge Mario Bergoglio, hailing from Argentina, became the first non-European pope for 1,300 years. As Pope Francis, he is proving popular, as his displays of humility and focus on poverty are fast becoming the stuff of legend.

The identification of Pope Francis as Peter the Roman requires no great leap of deduction. Members of the Curia are automatically referred to as being Roman, having held a position in the Vatican administration. Bergoglio previously held five such positions in the Roman Curia. The links to the ‘Peter’ aspect of the prophecy were less clear until Bergoglio chose his papal name from Saint Francis of Assisi, whose full name was Francesco di Pietro di Bernardone – Pietro meaning Peter.

There is a precedent for this with Pope Paul IV who was elected in 1555. The prophecy described him as “from the faith of Peter.” Paul’s middle name was Peter.

Challenging Times

The timing of the ‘many tribulations’ of the prophecy may also seem apposite as there are many challenges on the horizon that threaten to unseat the new pope and bring to an end one of the oldest institutions in the world. For nearly 2,000 years the Catholic Church has been besieged by persecution and threats of invasion, but in recent years those armies have receded and been replaced by the judgments of the press and public opinion.

The three main challenges facing the Catholic Church today are the exodus of members from both the priesthood and congregation, corruption within the Vatican bank and the scandal of child abuse.

In terms of addressing the loss of the faithful, Pope Francis can speak directly to the wider audience of disillusioned priests and parishioners. His Argentinian birth and Jesuit background is well suited to stemming the exodus from Catholicism sweeping through South America where over 75 million Christians have converted to Pentecostalism.

Poverty is a huge issue between the clergy of South America and the Vatican as there is so much wealth in Rome, and yet, so many Catholics worldwide are mired in destitution. Pope Francis is devoted to alleviating the suffering caused by poverty, and as Archbishop of Argentina, he refused to live in the palace assigned to that role and would travel on public transport to visit the poorest people in slums and prisons.

He may have good intentions for mitigating poverty, but first he will need to put the Vatican finances in order in the wake of the banking scandals that dogged his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. There is also a possibility that in terms of financial fluidity, Pope Francis may find the Vatican coffers are already empty, and he cannot easily sell off the family silver.

The issue of child abuse speaks to a deeper problem. The vow of celibacy, which was inspired by the passage in Matthew 19:12 where Jesus actually refers to eunuchs, is an attractive factor to paedophiles who have shame around their sexuality and wish to suppress it. Consciously, they choose celibacy while unconsciously they are putting themselves in a position of power over minors. Pope Francis needs to realise the shackles of celibacy deter new priests from joining, and it is an attractive factor for paedophiles entering the Church. He might also reconsider the Vatican’s stance on marriage and open the doors to female priests to help transform the Church.

Conclusion

Pope Francis is well suited to address the challenges facing the Catholic Church, but in the shadow of a 700-year-old prophecy, he may find that fate has other plans for him. Christianity is an apocalyptic religion and it might be within reach of its conclusion: the Rapture clothed in death and destruction.

We can only wonder if the Roman Curia will truly embrace that of prophecy, or if they are hoping to maintain the status quo.

In the end, they might not have a choice.

Rob Howells is the author of The Last Pope: Francis and the Fall of the Vatican (Watkins, 2013), available from all good bookstores and online retailers. He sheds new light on the prophecies of St. Malachy to reveal that Francis will be the final pope of the Catholic Church.

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ROBERT HOWELLS has spent the last 20 years investigating historical mysteries. He is the author of Inside the Priory of Sion (Watkins Publishing 2011) and The Last Pope: Francis and the Fall of the Vatican (Watkins Publishing 2013).

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 142 (Jan-Feb 2014)

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New Dawn 150 (May-June 2015)

Cover150

INSIDE THIS MAGAZINE:

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The Mystery of Flight MH370: Looking for Clues in All the Wrong Places

Paul V. Young investigates the biggest aviation mystery of modern times. Was the aircraft the victim of a scientific experiment gone horribly wrong?

Global Trade Deals & the Struggle for World Control

What You Need to Know About the TTIP & TPP. Paul Carline exposes the immense corporate power grabs you’re not supposed to know about.

In the Trenches: The War for the Internet

There’s a high stakes war on for control of the Internet, warns Patrick Henningsen. Whoever wins, controls reality.

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Poisoned Mind: Social Media in the 21st Century

David Thrussell explains how social media has devolved into a massive electronic trap designed to collect data and manipulate the masses.

Biophotonics: The Science Behind Energy Healing – Part 2

Katrin Geist continues her examination of the Biophotonics revolution, a major paradigm shift in redefining health and well-being.

Edgar Cayce: Ordinary Man, Extraordinary Messenger

Mitch Horowitz introduces the ‘sleeping prophet’ Edgar Cayce, regarded as the ‘father of holistic medicine’ and the founding voice of alternative spirituality.

The Enneagram & the Demise of American Exceptionalism

Darren J. Carville applies the ‘enneagram’ to the history of the USA, showing the nation today pivots on a cusp pointing either towards renewal or failure.

Freedom Isn’t As Scary As We’re Told

Gregory Sams reveals a history of civilisation without rulers, questioning why so many human affairs need to be directed by the firm hand of the state.

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MIND BODY SPIRIT SUPPLEMENT

Are You Sleeping in a Safe Place? The Hidden Danger of Geopathic Stress
By Sandy Brightman

The School of the Heart
By Tiamara

Real Thinking
By Dennis Lewis

Picking Ideas from the Air
By Frederick Dodson

Health Briefs

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PLUS MUCH MORE INCLUDING WORLD WATCH & BOOK REVIEWS….

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Gallipoli: The Untold Story – ‘The first casualty of war is truth’

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By GERRY DOCHERTY & JIM MACGREGOR

The truth about Gallipoli has, unlike its victims, been buried deep. Historians like Peter Hart who describe it as “an idiocy generated by muddled thinking”1 are justified in their anger, but not their conclusions. The campaign was conceived in London as a grotesque, Machiavellian strategy to fool the Russians into believing that Britain was attempting to capture Constantinople for them. The paradox of its failure lay in its success. Gallipoli was purposefully designed to fail.

A secret cabal of immensely rich and powerful men – the Secret Elite – was formed in England in 1891 with the explicit aim of expanding the British Empire across the entire globe. They planned a European war to destroy Germany as an economic, industrial and imperial competitor and, to that end, drew France then Russia into an alliance termed the Entente Cordiale. Their massive land armies were needed to crush Germany. France would be rewarded with Alsace and Lorraine, while Russia was conned into believing she would get Constantinople.2 Thereafter, seizing the Ottoman capital became a “widespread obsession, bordering on panic” in St Petersburg.3

Had Britain encouraged the friendship of Turkey in 1914, the disaster of Gallipoli would never have happened.4 The Turks generally disliked the Germans and their growing influence,5 and made three separate attempts to ally with Britain. They were rebuffed on each occasion.6 They also pleaded in vain with the French to accept them as an ally,7 and protect them against their old enemy, Russia.8 Poor fools. The French and British alliance with Russia was at the expense of the Turks, not an alliance with the Turks to save them from Russia. Britain and France planned to carve up the oil rich Ottoman Empire. To that end, the Turks had to be pushed into the German camp and defeated.

In July 1914 the majority of the Turkish cabinet was still well disposed towards Britain,9 but their faith was shattered by the seizure of two battleships being built for them in England. As an essay in provocation it was breathtaking.10 “If Britain wanted deliberately to incense the Turks and drive them into the Kaiser’s arms she could not have chosen more effective means.”11 Winston Churchill (a loyal servant of the Secret Elite) seized the dreadnoughts because they were “vital to Britain’s naval predominance.”12 The truth ran much deeper.

Back in February, Russia laid plans for her Black Sea fleet to take Constantinople by landing 127,500 troops and heavy artillery from Odessa. Arrival of the dreadnoughts from England would destroy this plan.13 Russia’s Foreign Minister Sazonov issued a thinly veiled warning to London on 30 July: “It is a matter of the highest degree of importance that… these ships must be retained in England.”14 Fearful that Russia would renege on her commitment to war should the ships be released, the Secret Elite withheld them. It kept Russia on board and helped drive Turkey into the German camp (they signed a treaty on 2 August), but it created a major problem. How to prevent the Russian Black Sea fleet from seizing Constantinople? Two German warships provided the answer. On 4 August, while off the coast of Algeria, the battle cruiser Goeben and attendant light cruiser Breslau received orders to head for Constantinople.

Vastly outnumbered (73 to 2) by French and British warships, the escape of the German cruisers to Constantinople, 1,200 miles away, is described as a “fiasco of tragic errors” by “fumbling” British Admirals.15 The British Admiralty supposedly had no idea where they were heading, but the reality was very different. On 3 August, Kaiser Wilhelm telegraphed King Constantine to say that both warships would be proceeding to Constantinople. This information was transmitted to London,16 and to the British naval mission in Athens.17 Naval Intelligence in London had intercepted and decrypted the actual encoded message from Berlin to Goeben: “Alliance concluded with Turkey. Goeben and Breslau proceed to Constantinople.” The Admiralty knew,18 but relayed information to the Mediterranean fleet that “was either useless or inaccurate.”19 Goeben and Breslau were allowed to escape in order to neutralise the Russian Black Sea fleet. Foreign Secretary Sazonov was outraged that the Royal Navy had failed to prevent it.20

The Ottoman Ambassador in Berlin summed it up perfectly: “Considering the displeasure and complications which a Russian attack on Constantinople would produce in England, the British navy having enabled the German ships to take cover in the Sea of Marmora, has, with the Machiavellianism characteristic of the Foreign Office, foiled any possibility of action by the Russian Black Sea Fleet.”21 Safe arrival of the Goeben rendered a Russian amphibious operation well-nigh impossible,22 and the British Ambassador at Constantinople admitted that their presence served British interests, since “they protected the straits against Russia.”23

On 9 September Admiral Arthur Limpus, head of the British naval mission in Turkey, was recalled. Turkey, although still neutral, closed and mined the Dardanelles. In late October Goeben and Breslau bombarded Sevastopol and other Black Sea ports. Infuriated, Tsar Nicholas insisted on war with Turkey and the seizure of Constantinople for Russia. British and French fears that he would make peace with Germany if Constantinople was denied him gave the Tsar overwhelming diplomatic leverage, and it was agreed that Turkey must now be brought into the war.24

War Declared & the Secret Elites Initiate Gallipoli Campaign

On 2 November Russia declared war on Turkey. Britain and France followed suit three days later. “November 1914 brought a kind of holy war fever to the Russian Foreign Ministry.”25 With over one million Russian casualties for no gain, anti-war protests and revolution stalked the streets of Petrograd. In London, fear of Russia signing a peace treaty with Germany loomed large. How was Russia to be kept in the war with the promise of Constantinople, without actually allowing it? The solution, an attack on Gallipoli, was fraught with pitfalls. The Tsar had to be tricked into believing Britain was generously responding in his hour of need by mounting an all-out effort to take Constantinople for Russia.

The Gallipoli campaign supposedly arose from an urgent call for help from the Russian commander-in-chief Grand Duke Nikolay Nikolaevich on 31 December. Would Britain create a diversion to relieve pressure on Russian troops fighting in the Caucasus?26 This widely held view is wrong. The suggestion came not from Nikolaevich, but from the British military attaché at Petrograd, Sir John Hanbury-Williams. Intimately linked to the Secret Elite and their leader Lord Alfred Milner,27 Hanbury-Williams was frequently in close contact with Nikolaevich. He expressed anxiety about Russia’s domestic morale, but never even mentioned the Dardanelles. It was Hanbury-Williams who planted the idea of a British demonstration against the Ottoman Empire.28 Next day this was presented to the British War Council and magically transformed into a desperate plea for help from Russia.

Having already decided their strategy to keep the Russians out of Constantinople, the Secret Elite now cleverly made it appear that the idea came from Russia. It was all pre-planned, “long before any kind of military imperative in the Ottoman theatre was apparent.”29 The Secretary of the Committee for Imperial Defence, Maurice Hankey, proposed a solution that met all requirements, and it is no coincidence that Hankey was himself a member of the Secret Elite.30 The Gallipoli campaign would be mounted as a sop to the Russians, but set up to fail.

Days later the military dynamic changed. The Turkish 3rd Army was decimated in the Caucasus and, irrespective of whose suggestion it had been, there was no need whatsoever for any British intervention to help Russia. Nonetheless, on 20 January Britain informed Russia that she would undertake not just a demonstration, but a complete operation to penetrate the Dardanelles and Gallipoli. The Russians desperately wanted to take part, but were told to concentrate all efforts against Germany on the Eastern Front. The Secret Elite moved into top gear. An objective that required long months of careful preparation was rushed ahead at breakneck speed with disregard for the basic prerequisites for success.

Churchill assumed command and chose men for their ineptitude rather than ability. He turned to Vice-Admiral Sackville Carden, recently appointed commander of the Mediterranean Squadron after years in a desk-bound job, as superintendent of the Malta dockyards. Slow and ineffective,31 Carden was tasked with drawing up a plan for a naval attack on the Dardanelles, and relaying it to Churchill within days for presentation to a War Council meeting.32 On 15 January Carden was informed that his plan had been accepted33 and that he would be in command. What had happened? The ‘plan’, rapidly cobbled together on the back of an envelope by a second rate officer, was to be used as the blueprint for the Gallipoli campaign. The reluctant Carden was given no option other than to get on with it,34 and was effectively set up to take the blame when it failed. For fail it must.

Rear-Admiral Arthur Limpus, an eminently more experienced and knowledgeable man who had spent years in Turkey advising on all naval matters, including the defence of the Dardanelles, was overlooked.35 Here was the man “who knew the Turks and the Dardanelles intimately,”36 yet Churchill shunned him because “the Turks might be offended” and it would be “unfair and unduly provocative” to place in command a man with an inside knowledge of the Turkish fleet.37 Limpus “knew all their secrets,”38 and more about the Dardanelles and the Turkish navy than any other naval officer, yet we are asked to believe that he wasn’t given command because it was considered ungentlemanly – “not quite cricket.”39 Limpus had been sent to the Malta dockyards to sit at Carden’s old desk. Outrageous stupidity or cold calculation?

Limpus was opposed to Churchill’s plan,40 stressing that the first stage must be an amphibious landing, not a naval attack.41 He was not alone in his opposition. In 1906, naval chiefs considered a naval assault too risky.42 Any attack on Gallipoli would “have to be undertaken by a joint naval and military expedition,”43 and Churchill himself stated in 1911 that it was “no longer possible to force the Dardanelles.”44 Rear-Admiral Carden was ignorant of the fact that any chance of success at Gallipoli was absolutely dependent on a combined naval and military operation. Without long, detailed joint planning, and a sufficient number of troops, it was impossible. Lord Kitchener, the British Secretary of State for War, refused to make troops available and Carden was ordered to proceed with a naval attack.

The Russians were turning the screw. Pressure for immediate action influenced the War Council’s decision.45 On 14 February, Sazonov stated that the time for moderation had passed. Tsar Nicholas agreed, informing the French ambassador that his people were making terrible sacrifices in the war without reward. Constantinople must be incorporated into his empire.46 Sazonov implied to the British ambassador that he would resign, and be replaced by Sergei Witte, a pro-German sympathiser who would immediately seal a treaty with Germany.47 All warnings against a purely naval attack were ignored. The navy’s objective was to “bombard and take the Gallipoli peninsula with Constantinople as the objective.”48 After the disastrous failure the Dardanelles Commission asked, “How can a fleet take a peninsula? And how could it have Constantinople as its objective? If this meant… that the Fleet should capture and occupy the city, then it was absurd.”49 It was all absurd.

Naval bombardment of the outer forts of the Dardanelles began on 19 February and ran for six days. It caused some damage but destroyed all hope of surprise and merely led the Turks to strengthen their defences.50 The main naval attack took place on 18 March. On the previous day Vice-Admiral De Robek had to take charge when Carden suffered a nervous breakdown. It was no surprise. He was never fitted for the task and felt completely undermined by the Admiralty’s refusal to provide custom-built minesweepers. They were utterly essential but he was given only North Sea trawlers that could barely make headway against the strong 5-6 knot current. Eight powerful destroyers, which could have been fitted with sweeps, remained idle that fateful day while the officers sat playing cards,51 and only two out of a total of 387 mines were cleared.52 A fleet of 16 British and French battleships bombarded the coast, but were unable to penetrate the minefield and six battleships were sunk or disabled by mines. The Bouvet sank within two minutes with over 600 men trapped inside. It was the disaster predicted as far back as 1906.

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A Campaign That Could Never Succeed

Orchestrated chaos shrouded a campaign that could never succeed. Kitchener meantime had changed his mind and agreed to make troops available for a combined attack, but the naval assault had gone ahead before their arrival. Maurice Hankey, acting more as strategic adviser to the War Council than its Secretary,53 stated, “combined operations require more careful preparation than any other class of military enterprise. All through our history such attacks have failed when the preparations have been inadequate.”54 He listed ten points to be met if a joint attack was to succeed. Was he saying, “it will fail as long as we do not take the following measures”? According to the War Council minutes, Hankey’s plan was not even discussed.55 In the event, every point he made was studiously ignored.

Military leadership, like naval, was barely functional. General Sir Ian Hamilton, a man in the twilight of his career who “knew little of the Dardanelles, the Turkish army or of modern warfare,” was chosen to command.56 Scared of Kitchener, and hamstrung by his long-subservience,57 he noted in his diary, “It is like going up to a tiger and asking for a small slice of venison.” During the Boer War he had witnessed Kitchener respond to an officer’s appeal for reinforcements by taking half his troops away.58 The genial Hamilton, like poor Carden, was a scapegoat made to order.

Summoned by Kitchener on 12 March, Hamilton was brusquely informed, “We are sending a military force to support the fleet now at the Dardanelles and you are to have command.” Hamilton was stunned, later admitting, “My knowledge of the Dardanelles was nil, of the Turk nil, of the strength of my own forces next to nil.” When asked if a squadron of modern aircraft with experienced pilots and observers could be made available, Kitchener testily replied, “Not one.” 150,000 men was the minimum required strength for the task, but Kitchener insisted that “half that number” would do handsomely.59 No attempt was made to co-ordinate intelligence about the defences at Gallipoli, not even at strategic level.60 Hamilton was given a cursory briefing, two small tourist guidebooks and old, inaccurate maps.61 Detailed reports from Admiral Limpus and Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Cunnliffe-Owen, another officer with considerable knowledge of Gallipoli, were kept from him.62 Hamilton set off within 48 hours, together with some inexperienced members of staff who did not even know “how to put on their uniforms.”63 So much for detailed preparation.

The chaos continued. There was no discussion, no plan, no naval/military coordination. Indeed, it was a worse situation than preceded the naval operation.64 Gallipoli was to be invaded with a mixed force of 80,000 men from Britain, France and the Empire. Raw Anzac troops and unseasoned French recruits were to be thrown into battle for the first time. Marshall Joffre, the French commander-in-chief, was profoundly opposed to the whole operation and initially refused to provide troops. Political expediency forced his hand.65 A French army Colonel who had spent years in Constantinople also opposed the attack, but like everyone else with intimate knowledge of the area, its topography and defences, he was dismissed.66 Lieutenant-Colonel Cunnliffe-Owen, the British military attaché at Constantinople in 1914, who had personally conducted a detailed survey of Gallipoli, was likewise deliberately overlooked. In London when staff were being scratched together for Hamilton’s team, Cunnliffe-Owen was passed over. His detailed reports on the peninsula were never shown to General Hamilton.67

Kitchener agreed to the deployment of 18,000 men from the British army’s 29th Division. Its commander, Shaw, had served with distinction at Mons and was considered a highly competent and “impressively professional soldier.” Two days before leaving for Gallipoli, when continuity was all-important, Shaw was inexplicably replaced by Major-General Hunter-Weston. He immediately rejected his allocated ship because it lacked first class accommodation, and was transferred to the luxury liner Andania.68 Major-General Shaw suffered the same fate as Admiral Limpus. A competent, knowledgeable man was rejected in favour of Hunter-Weston, a laughing-stock in the British Army,69 spectacularly incompetent, and “one of the most brutal commanders of the First World War.”70 Ask yourself, what was going on?

Hamilton arrived to find his army scattered in confusion over much of the Mediterranean. Some battalion commanders couldn’t trace their companies. Ships came from Britain with such poorly written orders that captains did not know their destination.71 On their arrival at Mudros, the ships were found to be loaded in a shambolic fashion, and had to be taken 700 miles to Egypt to be unloaded and repacked.72 Such was the lack of preparation that even the simplest questions could not be answered. “Was there drinking water on Gallipoli? What roads existed? Were troops to fight in trenches or the open? What sort of weapons were required? What was the depth of water off the beaches? What sort of boats were needed to get the men, the guns and stores ashore? What casualties were to be expected? How were they to be got off to the hospital ships? It was simply a case of taking whatever came to hand and hoping for the best.”73

An “Amateurish, Do-It-Yourself Cock-Up”

You couldn’t make it up. There was a shortage of guns, ammunition, aircraft and, above all, troops. Hamilton’s requests for additional supplies and reinforcements were either ignored or refused.74 Gallipoli veteran Charles Watkins described the campaign as an “amateurish, do-it-yourself cock-up.”75 It was designed to be exactly that. The quality of preparation and leadership guaranteed it. General Ian Hamilton was the Secret Elite’s Patsy-in-Chief, unwittingly abetted by the incompetent Admiral Carden. These were the men chosen to fail.

The Gallipoli landings went ahead on 25 April 1915 with the terrible slaughter and wounding of many incredibly brave young men, dispensable pawns on Imperial Britain’s chessboard. Despite the fleet now having some thirty powerful destroyers equipped to sweep the mines, and many officers totally confident that the fleet could now get through, no further attempt was made to force the Dardanelles. The navy would play no further part other than ferrying the men ashore, taking off the wounded, and providing a safe haven off-shore for the likes of Hunter-Weston. Successful mine sweeping had always been the key to a successful naval assault, and with the new minesweepers and a clear run through to the Straits, the fleet could have greatly assisted the army with controlled bombardments of Turk positions from within the channel. It would, of course, also have been able to cripple Goeben and Breslau. For the above stated reasons, that would not be allowed to happen.

For years knowledgeable men had insisted that a well planned and resourced combined naval and military attack was the only type of operation that might succeed, but never at any point in the entire Gallipoli campaign was a joint assault carried out. The elites in London ordered the shambolic attack by the navy when they knew it was bound to fail, and now ordered an equally shambolic attack by the army in the full knowledge that it too could never succeed.

Gallipoli was a lie within the lie that was the First World War. The campaign ended in military defeat, but geo-strategic victory for the British Empire. By late 1915, with Russian forces pushed back on the eastern front and any likelihood of their intervention in Constantinople gone, the British government began planning withdrawal from the corpse strewn peninsula. The last Allied troops were taken off on 9 January 1916, leaving behind 62,266 of their comrades. The majority of the dead on both sides have no known graves. Many of the 11,410 Australians and New Zealanders who died76 suffered unspeakable deaths, deliberately sacrificed on the altar of British imperialism.

A Myth Obscures the terrible Truth

Over the last century, in both Britain and Australia, Gallipoli has been turned into a heroic-romantic myth,77 a myth promoted by court historians and pliant journalists in order to hide the stark truth. It was a ruse, a sop to the Russians to keep them in the war in the belief that allied forces would capture Constantinople on their behalf. Put into the hands of incompetent generals and admirals, starved of troops, determined leadership, ill-equipped, ill-advised and certain to fail, the attack on Gallipoli as an integral part of the imperial strategy was a stunning success.

We are aware of at least one renowned Gallipoli historian and writer in Australia who agrees with our thesis. Like us, he proposes that “it was the intention of the British and French governments of 1915 to ensure that the Dardanelles and the Gallipoli campaign would not succeed” and was “conceived as a ruse to keep the Russians in the war…” He believes that while the proposition has circumstantial evidence to support it, there is “little or no documentary evidence.”78 He is very unlikely to find it. As revealed in our book Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War, masses of crucial documents relating to the First World War were shredded or burned, or have been kept hidden away to this very day in a high security establishment at Hanslope Park in England. The individuals responsible for the war, responsible for Gallipoli, were many things, but they weren’t so stupid as to leave incriminating evidence lying around. Historians in Australia and New Zealand must stop protecting their comfortable careers and start acknowledging the terrible truth about Gallipoli. Peddling mythology as truth is an insult to the memory of those brave young men.

Just as in Britain, the Government of Australia seeks to be the guardian of public memory, choreographing commemoration into celebration,79 ritually condemning war while the rhetoric gestures in the opposite direction.80 The War Memorial in Sydney’s Hyde Park proudly exhorts, “Let Silent Contemplation Be Your Offering,” yet the deafening prattle of political expediency mocks the valiant dead with empty words and lies. Don’t be fooled. Those young men died for the imperial dreams of wealthy manipulators, not for ‘freedom’ or ‘civilisation’. They died deceived, expendable, and in the eyes of the power-brokers, the detritus of strategic necessity. Remember that.

To read exclusive extracts from their book Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War, including their latest research on Gallipoli, please visit the authors’ blog at firstworldwarhiddenhistory.wordpress.com. Hidden History is available from all good bookstores and online retailers.

The authors contributed the article “The Secret Origins of the First World War” to New Dawn Special Issue Vol 9 No 1.

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Footnotes

  1. Peter Hart, Gallipoli, vii
  2. David Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace, The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East, 138; Niall Ferguson, The Pity Of War, 61
  3. Sean McMeekin, The Russian Origins of the First World War, p.28.
  4. J Laffin, The Agony of Gallipoli, 3
  5. Robert Rhodes James, Gallipoli, 8
  6. Hew Strachan, The First World War, 102
  7. Friedrich Stieve, Isvolsky and the World War, 177
  8. W W Gottlieb, Studies in Secret Diplomacy, 34
  9. Dan Van Der Vat, The Dardanelles Disaster, 28
  10. L A Carlyon, Gallipoli, 42
  11. Gottlieb, Studies, 42
  12. W.S. Churchill, The World Crisis, 221-2
  13. Sean McMeekin, The Russian Origins of the First World War, 30-34
  14. Ibid., 102
  15. Ulrich Trumpener, ‘The Escape of the Goeben and Breslau’, Canadian Journal of History, September 1971, 171
  16. Ibid., 178-9
  17. Geoffrey Miller, The Straits, ch. 16
  18. Alberto Santini, ‘The First Ultra Secret: The British Cryptanalysis in the Naval Operations of the First World War’, Revue Internationale d’Histoire Militaire, Vol. 63, 1985, 101
  19. Ulrich Trumpener, ‘The Escape of the Goeben and Breslau’, Canadian Journal of History, September 1971, 181-7
  20. Gottlieb, Studies, 45
  21. Ibid., 46
  22. McMeekin, The Russian Origins, 105-106
  23. Strachan, The First World War, Vol. 1, 674
  24. McMeekin, The Russian Origins, 96-97
  25. Ibid., 115
  26. Ronald P Bobroff, Roads to Glory, Late Imperial Russia and the Turkish Straits, 125
  27. Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, 56
  28. McMeekin, The Russian Origins, 129-30
  29. Ibid., 121
  30. Quigley, Anglo-American Establishment, 313
  31. Tim Travers, Gallipoli, 20-21
  32. Laffin, The Agony, 21-22
  33. Robin Prior, Gallipoli, The End of A Myth, 22
  34. Ibid., 52
  35. Rhodes James, Gallipoli, 63
  36. B. H. Liddell Hart, History of the First World War, 213
  37. Laffin, The Agony, 9
  38. Alan Moorehead, Gallipoli, 60
  39. Michael Hickey, Gallipoli, 27
  40. Harvey Broadbent, Gallipoli, The Fatal Shore, 21
  41. Laffin, The Agony, 9
  42. Memorandum by the General Staff, 19 December 1906, National Archives, PRO. CAB/4/2/92
  43. Hickey, Gallipoli, 28
  44. James, Gallipoli, 3-4
  45. Broadbent, Gallipoli, The Fatal Shore, 28
  46. Ronald P Bobroff, Roads to Glory, Late Imperial Russia and the Straits, 126-131
  47. McMeekin, The Russian Origins, 130-131
  48. Laffin, The Agony, 15-22
  49. Moorehead, Gallipoli 40
  50. Laffin, The Agony, 31
  51. Travers, Gallipoli, 29
  52. Prior, Gallipoli, 53
  53. Stephen Roskill, Hankey, Vol. 1, 156
  54. Ibid., 163
  55. War Council Minutes, 19 March, 1915, CAB 42/2
  56. Prior, Gallipoli, 67
  57. Peter Hart, Gallipoli, 63
  58. Laffin, The Agony, 39
  59. Ibid., 30
  60. Ibid., 19
  61. Ibid., 31
  62. Hickey, Gallipoli, 67
  63. Laffin, The Agony, 31
  64. Prior, Gallipoli, 70
  65. Laffin, The Agony, 35
  66. Edmond Delage, The Tragedy of the Dardanelles, 109
  67. Laffin, The Agony, 12-13
  68. Hickey, Gallipoli, 57-58
  69. Denis Winter, Haigs Command, 140
  70. Prior, Gallipoli, 80
  71. Laffin, The Agony, 31
  72. Moorehead, Gallipoli, 90
  73. Prior, Gallipoli, 242
  74. Moorehead, Gallipoli, 117
  75. Laffin, The Agony, 217
  76. Prior, Gallipoli, 242
  77. Jenny Macleod, Reconsidering Gallipoli, 7-14
  78. ‘Gallipoli: one great deception?’ by Harvey Broadbent, ABC, 29 Sep 2010, www.abc.net.au/news/2009-04-24/30630
  79. James Brown, Anzacs Long Shadow, 19-22
  80. Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds, What’s Wrong With Anzac? The Militarisation of Australian History, 8

.

GERRY DOCHERTY was born in 1948. He graduated from Edinburgh University in 1971 and was a secondary school teacher by profession. He taught economics and modern studies, developed a keen interest in the theatre and has written a number of plays with historical themes. One of these plays was the powerful story of two cousins from his home town of Tillicoultry who were both awarded the Victoria Cross at the Battle of Loos in 1915. Energised by the research he had undertaken to write this play, he was intrigued by Jim Macgregor’s work on the First World War, and their mutual interest developed into a passion to discover the truth amongst the lies and deceptions that the official records contained.

JIM MACGREGOR was born in Glasgow in 1947 and raised in a cottage in the grounds of Erskine Hospital for war disabled. There he witnessed the aftermath of war on a daily basis and, profoundly affected by what he saw, developed a life-long interest in war and the origins of global conflict. Jim graduated as a medical doctor in 1978, and left the practice in 2001 to devote his energies full-time to researching the political failures in averting war. His numerous articles have been published on subjects such as miscarriages of justice, the Iraq War, global poverty, and the rise of fascism in the United States. His powerful anti-war novel The Iboga Visions was published to critical acclaim in 2009.

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 149 (Mar-Apr 2015)

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Will Thinking Make It So? An Interview With Mitch Horowitz

Mitch Grand Central B&W 5X7

By RICHARD SMOLEY

Much of today’s writing about spirituality is loaded with nonsense. Often it consists of little more than wild speculation, shoddy reasoning, and the repetition of a few stale truisms.

A very small number of writers and editors have climbed above this morass to combine spiritual depth with intellectual acumen and literary polish. Mitch Horowitz is one of them. A writer and publisher of many years’ experience with a lifelong interest in man’s search for meaning, he is vice-president and editor-in-chief at Tarcher/Penguin in New York and the author of the acclaimed book Occult America: White House Séances, Ouija Circles, Masons, and the Secret Mystic History of Our Nation. His website is mitchhorowitz.com.

Horowitz’s latest work, published in January 2014, is One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life. It is a wide-reaching and insightful history of the mind power movement and how it has changed contemporary society. In November 2013, I conducted an interview with him by e-mail about this book.

 __________________

Richard Smoley (RS): Your book is entitled One Simple Idea. Could you tell us what this one idea is?

Mitch Horowitz (MH): The idea is the very American concept that thoughts are causative – which later came to be called “the power of positive thinking.” This notion has appeared, with varying degrees of orthodoxy and literalism, at different times throughout human history. New Englanders in the 1830s and 1840s used this idea to launch a vibrant culture in “mental healing,” in which trances, prayer, and affirmations were seen as a means to heal the body.

During much of the nineteenth century allopathic or mainstream medicine in America was in an abysmal state. The traditional medicine of the day often relied on painful and dangerous regimens of bloodletting, weeping wounds, draining of bodily fluids, and ingestion of toxins and harmful narcotics. Mental healing was seen as a gentler alternative.

By the late nineteenth century, experimenters in mental healing began asking what other powers the mind might possess. The mental healing culture came to believe that our thoughts could influence or shape our personal experiences, extending to matters of wellbeing, success, and, finally, money. This principle of mind power has traversed the cultural landscape, reshaping much of our religion, therapy, and ideas of self-help.

RS: The story of positive thinking, as you describe it, begins in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Do you see any precedents for this approach in earlier forms of philosophy or occultism?

MH: You can find threads of the mind-power thesis within Egyptian-Greek Hermeticism, within certain strands of Neoplatonism, within elements of Idealism, Transcendentalism, and Swedenborgianism – and, significantly, within some of the experiments launched by students of the eighteenth century Viennese occult healer Franz Anton Mesmer. Mesmer believed that all of life was suffused with an invisible energy called “animal magnetism.” He theorised that if you placed a subject into a trance state – in a practice later called hypnotism – the patient’s “animal magnetism” could be manipulated to produce bodily cures. Mesmer’s students in Paris refined the master’s ideas: They edged away from Mesmer’s theory of an ethereal bodily fluid and believed that it was the mind itself that was bringing about the cures. Mesmer’s best students formed our earliest conceptions of the subconscious mind, which they believed not only could produce healing but, under certain conditions, could bring on displays of clairvoyance, telepathy, and even astral travel. The tumult of the French Revolution cut short many of these experiments – but the ideas of mesmerism began travelling to the United States. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, Americans – who love remaking ideas and finding new and broader ways of using them – took the mind-power thesis even further. American experimenters came to see the mind as a tool of metaphysical power that could be used for attracting and influencing circumstances.

RS: One of the central figures in your story is Phineas P. Quimby. Could you tell us about who he was and why he was so important?

MH: Quimby was one of the earliest and most impactful founders of New England’s mental cure scene. He was a nineteenth century clockmaker who spent most of his adult life in Maine. In the early 1830s Quimby suffered from tuberculosis, which was worsened by the side effects from harmful treatments, such as mercury ingestion. One day Quimby took a raucous horse-and-buggy ride in the Maine countryside and unexpectedly found that the excitement of the ride lifted the symptoms of his tuberculosis. Quimby marvelled at the effects of his mood on his body. He believed that this private insight revealed a mind-body connection – and searched for a theoretical model to confirm it. That confirmation arrived for him in 1836 when lecturers began visiting Maine extolling the ideas of mesmerism. Quimby believed that mesmerism revealed the connection between mind and body. He worked the rest of his life as a mental healer, refining and applying various methods, especially arousing the confidence of a patient in his ability to recover. Quimby was extremely influential on the New England scene until his death in 1866.

RS: One of Quimby’s disciples, Warren Felt Evans, introduced the concept of the New Age in a book of his called The New Age and Its Messenger, published in 1864. Could you talk a little bit about how the positive-thinking movement shaped the New Age?

MH: Evans was among a circle of Americans who were dedicated to the ideas of the eighteenth century Swedish mystic and scientist Emanuel Swedenborg. Swedenborg believed that earthly events mirrored and were controlled by laws and events in the spirit world. In Swedenborg’s view, the material and spirit worlds formed a continuum. When figures such as Quimby and Evans began experimenting with mental healing, they believed they were, in effect, channelling and applying cosmic laws. The early mental healers did not possess a psychological vocabulary – they often spoke and thought in religious terms. Hence the ideas of Swedenborg – who described a universe of spiritual laws and influences – made innate sense to mental healers. Evans believed that humanity stood on the brink of a New Age of therapeutic spirituality – of whom the “messenger” was Swedenborg. The founding idea of New Age spirituality, as articulated by Evans and his contemporaries, was the philosophy of mind power. This later came to be called positive thinking and New Thought.

RS: In the early generations, the positive-thinking movement centred on healing. Around the turn of the twentieth century, it shifted toward “prosperity thinking” and the attainment of material success. Why did this change come about?

MH: The early twentieth century French hypnotherapist Émile Coué observed that the, “French mind prefers first to discuss and argue on the fundamentals of a principle before inquiring into its practical adaptability to every-day life. The American mind, on the contrary, immediately sees the possibilities of it, and seeks… to carry the idea further even than the author of it may have conceived.” This was the pattern for most of America’s spiritual experiments, and it highlights the transformation of mental healing into the prosperity gospel. American enthusiasts came to believe that the mind could improve health – and they began seeking ever-greater ways of applying the mind’s power.

The person who first hit upon the idea of using mind-power methods to attract money was actually an English writer and political activist, Frances Lord. She visited America in the late 1880s to take part in the suffragist movement. But Lord also grew interested in mental healing – and she proposed expanding its boundaries to prosperity. Lord wasn’t a “think and grow rich” exponent; rather she believed that if labourers and working people could alter their thought patterns they could balance out economic inequality.

Critics rarely see that the prosperity gospel had its earliest roots in the ideals of the Progressive Era. Lord and her American contemporaries – who included Wallace D. Wattles, a socialist activist and the author of The Science of Getting Rich, and suffragist Elizabeth Towne – believed that the mind could serve as a force for social equity. As the twentieth century opened, the industrial economy produced a mass wave of consumer goods; and at the same time the state of American medicine greatly improved. Hence, money, rather than health, moved to the front of the American mind – and became the focus of the positive-thinking movement.

RS: The positive-thinking movement sometimes seems indifferent to social issues: poor people are poor and sick people are sick because of their own wrong attitudes. Has there been any response to this problem from within the movement itself?

MH: In the positive-thinking movement’s early days, from the late nineteenth to the turn of the twentieth century, it showed deep concern for social issues. Surprising figures adopted the positive-thinking gospel, including black nationalist Marcus Garvey, suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and many figures that identified themselves as socialists or radicals, such as Ralph Waldo Trine and Wallace D. Wattles. These people believed that the patterns of the mind were one element – and certainly not the only one – in alleviating social oppression; they believed that working people, women, and minorities needed to claim a dramatic new sense of self-worth. That tendency faded as the movement became more geared toward a philosophy of individual advancement. Within today’s New Thought churches you continue to find large numbers of very liberal people. Attendees at New Thought churches include actors, artists, experimenters, gay and lesbian congregants, and many people who work to create social openings. So the core movement has remained liberal in its makeup. However, the popular mainstream literature to emerge from the positive-thinking movement, by authors such as Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale (pictured above), and Dale Carnegie, evinces almost none of its earliest reformist aims.

RS: The positive-thinking movement is also sometimes criticised for its callousness: since you create your reality with your thoughts, it must be your fault if bad things happen to you. Is this a valid criticism? If so, is there any valid response to it?

MH: It is a valid criticism – and it is one of the problems that I try to deal with in the book, especially in the final chapter, “Does It Work?”, where I explore the failings and efficacy of the movement. In short, I believe that the positive-thinking movement’s embrace of what is called the Law of Attraction was both a theological and ethical mistake, and it overshadowed the movement’s greater promise. I believe that no one should endeavour to frame life as the product of one overarching mental super law. That simply doesn’t square with the personal experience of most sensitive people. We all encounter a mixture of joys and tragedies in life, and these experiences are attributable to myriad and sometimes inscrutable factors – not solely to tendencies or accidents of thought. We live under many laws, influences, and events. However, if the positive-thinking movement can move away from this “mind is all” concept, then we can newly appreciate the movement’s very powerful insights. As has been borne out in many reaches of the sciences, the mind provides a little-understood but persistent and traceable impact across various aspects of existence, from health to relationships to addiction recovery. The impact of the mind can also be seen – most controversially – in the findings of quantum physics. This last point is very contentious, and I try to explore it in an accurate and non-sensationalistic manner in the book.

RS: One little-known figure that you highlight toward the end of your book is Vernon Howard. Could you tell us about him and why you find him interesting?

MH: Vernon Howard was a late-twentieth century spiritual philosopher who I see as probably the most remarkable and unclassifiable figure to emerge from America’s recent metaphysical culture. Howard was loosely a part of the positive-thinking movement insofar as his books of the 1950s and early 1960s were in the mould of typical New Thought literature in which you were counselled to use your mind to attain influence, prosperity, and power. But in the mid-1960s, Howard underwent a remarkable spiritual maturation. From that point until his death in 1992 he produced an extraordinary output of writings and talks that distilled the core principles of the world’s ethical and religious philosophies. Howard taught that we live from a false, conditioned nature, which prods us to seek conventional modes of success, which, in turn, prop up our ego and self-image. This puts us on a constant cycle of seeking recognition from a world filled with people who are themselves frightened and desperately seeking approval, and who often lash out in hostility to cover their fears.

If we can see through this painful predicament, Howard wrote, we can experience a sense of our true nature, which emanates from what we call God. We experience this true self when we reach the limits of our conditioned responses to life. No other figure that I have encountered possessed a voice as practical and vivid – or an intellect as piercing of human foibles – as Howard’s.

RS: In your book, you posit Ronald Reagan as a kind of culmination of the positive-thinking movement, in both good and bad ways. Could you talk a little about how Reagan fits in with this movement, how it shaped his politics, and how the movement has shaped American politics today?

MH: Reagan is a continual mystery to journalists and biographers because he seems to them to possess no internal barometer or motivating influence. Many observers have wondered about his inner nature, about what made him tick psychologically. My contention in the book is that Reagan, to be fully understood, must be seen as a product of the positive-thinking culture. The core assumptions and phraseology of positive thinking are at the back of much of his personal philosophy. Reagan also reflects many of the movement’s strengths and weakness: He was capable of continually reconceiving of himself at different times in life to meet the challenges that he faced, and it gave him a surprising resilience and adaptability when climbing out of near-poverty as a young man and when confronting the new realities of US-Soviet relations during the Gorbachev era, during which Reagan dramatically shifted from flinty cold warrior to global peacemaker. Yet it could also contribute to an unnerving blindness in matters of policy, when Reagan would emotionally fixate on a single fact, story, or anecdote and use it to buttress sweeping political convictions, such as the belief in widespread welfare fraud or in the efficacy of the Star Wars missile defence system.

In the political realm, Reagan ushered in an age where presidents had to sing praises to the limitless potential of the American public. In President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address he declared, “This is a country where anything is possible.” That was a direct echo of Reagan, who routinely described America as a nation where “nothing is impossible.”

RS: Even if you grant that the mind has the power to shape reality, it’s also true the mind has many facets that are not accessible to the conscious ego. What level of mind is actually shaping reality, and how can we have access to it?

MH: That’s a very intriguing question. We have a strange habit of putting a name on concepts – such as “ego” or “unconscious mind” – and then thinking we have identified a clearly definable thing and can proceed to talk about it as though we all agree upon it, as if it were an apple tree. Yet we know very little about the mind and its agencies. We can’t even agree on what produces the so-called placebo effect and how it works, though for more than a century medical researchers have tracked the persistence of some kind of physical relief related to mental expectancy. One of the things I argue in the book is that we do seem to be able to enter an exquisitely sensitive and suggestible state where mental properties are heightened. This is sometimes called the hypnagogic state, experienced in the period just before drifting off to sleep or awakening, or in times of deep relaxation or comfortable sensory deprivation. Émile Coué, and others who worked with affirmations to recondition the mind, believed this hypnogogic state possessed unique potential for autosuggestion or self-hypnosis. I won’t go into the data here, but serious psychical researchers have also detected what appear to be heightened instances of clairvoyant perception and telepathic conveyance in subjects during this state.

One Simple Idea coverIt’s difficult to place precise labels on what is occurring at such times but there does seem to be a state of relaxation from which the mind is unusually receptive – and which may point to the mental-emotive condition from which we can produce or revise self-conceptions, and maybe do something more.

RS: All things considered, how much truth do you see in the “one simple idea” of positive thinking?

MH: As I’ve suggested above, and as I explore in the book, I am convinced that the mind harbours some shade of influence, not only in matters of self-worth but also in circumstances of outer life, as well. I believe that our repeated thoughts – when held with determination and emotional conviction – can evince a shade of influence on external events. This is a very delicate claim, which presents more questions than answers. But I believe that if we look historically across broad disciplines – from psychology to medicine to the physical sciences – and if we consider, with care and discretion, the empiricism of personal experience, we find ourselves facing an ever-broadening conception of the mind’s influence.

Historically, the modern assessment of the mind’s reach continually broadens and never recedes. The mind is, of course, one factor among many under which we live. We are affected by environment, chance, physiology, economy, and accident. But grappling with this idea – that the mind, like other factors, produces a shade of practical impact on our experience – can help deepen and expand our sense of ourselves, and our questions about what it means to be human.

„For further discussion of New Thought and its history, see New Dawn 142

One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life by Mitch Horowitz (Crown 2014) is available from all good bookstores and online retailers in hardback and on Kindle.

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

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RICHARD SMOLEY has over thirty-five years of experience studying and practicing esoteric spirituality. His latest book is Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History. He is also the author of Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition; Conscious Love: Insights from Mystical Christianity; The Dice Game of Shiva: How Consciousness Creates the Universe; The Essential Nostradamus; Forbidden Faith: The Secret History of Gnosticism; and Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions (with Jay Kinney). Smoley is the former editor of Gnosis: A Journal of the Western Inner Traditions. Currently he is editor of Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America and of Quest Books.

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 142 (Jan-Feb 2014)

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Eternal Atlantis

atlantis-waves

By FRANK JOSEPH

For more than one hundred years, mostly independent researchers who argued that Atlantis had in fact been destroyed by a great flood were ridiculed by mainstream scientists. Conventional scholars were convinced that Earth changes were incremental, requiring thousands and millions of years.

They belittled Plato’s statement that Atlantis was engulfed by the sea “in a day and a night” as imaginative fantasy, and scoffed at any suggestion civilisations have ever succumbed to natural forces. These professional debunkers were in for a rude shock during late December, last year, however, when a relatively small-scale re-enactment of the Atlantis catastrophe was played out in the Indian Ocean.

A single earthquake sent super-waves traveling at speeds of five hundred miles per hour across the sea to claim more than three hundred thousand lives in a dozen countries. The infra-structure of Sri Lanka, much of Indonesia and large parts of southern India were shattered beyond repair, without massive outside aid from the rest of the world. Multiply that disaster by a factor of ten and some appreciation may be had for the cataclysm that struck Atlantis. Had the Indian Ocean catastrophe been followed by just one more similarly destructive tsunami, the region would have been beyond reconstruction. Photographs and videos of the killer waves that came ashore resembled the last moments of Atlantis, before the geologically unstable island on which she perched so precariously was similarly overwhelmed.

Exactly ten years before the Indian Ocean tsunami, two worlds changed forever. One of them was Earth. When Jupiter was struck by a barrage of meteors in the summer of 1994, their impact on the scientists of our planet was hardly less dramatic. Until then, most of them believed with the Larousse Encyclopedia of Astronomy that “the perfect timing and positioning required make the possibility of collision extremely slight.” Nonetheless, a comet six miles in diameter disintegrated in the Jovian gravitational field. Its pieces broke free and began a final pass, in tandem, around the Sun. During mid-July, stony remnants of the dead comet returned. A line of twenty one fragments, each about one-and-a-half miles across, hit the planet at more than thirty seven miles per second.

Disbelieving observers watched, as columns of flame shot several thousand miles high into the atmosphere. Ejected fireballs larger than Earth itself exploded in full view of the Hubble Space Telescope. Impact of the cometary debris generated energy ten thousand times more powerful than mankind’s entire nuclear arsenal. For more than a year following these collisions, Jupiter was still pock-marked by their resultant super-heated gas-bubbles, one of which was large enough to have swallowed our planet whole. Centuries of calm assurance that Earth possessed some special immunity from outer space threats had been dramatically replaced by a more sober appreciation for our precarious position in the solar system.

These two event-horizons of our time – one in outer space, the other from inner space – combined to provide some inkling of what happened to Atlantis, while underscoring the fragility of human civilisation, then and now. That is the great value in examining the Atlantean catastrophe: It is very up-to-date, because it is an eternal story. Numerous cultures around the world remembered four major floods followed by mass-migrations. This tradition was shared by such diverse peoples as the Incas of Peru, the Celtic Irish, Classical Greeks, the Aztecs of Mexico, and many others beside.

The close fit results when we compare their folk memories with what science now recognises as a quartet of natural catastrophes that ravaged the Earth beginning more than five thousand years ago. But when physical archaeology was added to myth, astronomy and geology, a new light on the ancient past suddenly winked on. Its brightness uncovered the hitherto unseen causes that brought history into existence. And clearly exposed was a common theme that over and over again threaded together and made sense of all the diverse twists and turns in a vast human drama – Atlantis. The name was as inescapable as it was powerfully revealing.

Applying that sunken realm to the four separate global calamities we now know occurred explains the beginning and development of civilisation, while simultaneously defining Atlantis within the credible parameters of real history, not speculative fantasy. It suffered not one but several different catastrophes, each one separated by many centuries, until a fourth destruction finally obliterated the kingdom.

The Age of Atlantis

My book, Survivors of Atlantis, describes these event-horizons for the first time, and elucidates them via traditions from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Morocco, the Canary Islands, Ireland, Wales, Scandinavia, pre-Columbian North America, Mesoamerica and pre-Conquest South America. Survivors of Atlantis relates another story yet to be told. This is the war Plato said the Atlanteans launched in a bold bid to conquer the world. Their hitherto neglected military adventure was intimately connected with and actually determined by the natural calamities which eventually overwhelmed them. The chaos men brought about on Earth was mirrored in the angry heavens.

When the Atlantean Age suddenly ended around 1200 BCE, Pre-Classical Civilisation everywhere collapsed or went into irreversible decline, from Pharaonic Egypt and Homeric Greece to the Hittite Empire and China’s Shang Dynasty. Atlantis was one more victim of the worldwide catastrophe. And, like the others, it was an identifiably Bronze Age city, according to Plato’s description. Survivors of Atlantis describes each of the four global cataclysms, as uncovered by science and graphically related in the folk memories of peoples whose shores were washed by the Atlantic Ocean. In so doing, the lost empire comes into clearer focus than ever before. The legacy of its enduring influence on our current civilisation stands out for the first time in bold relief. And we come to realise that the story of Atlantis is the story of the world.

In terms of power-politics, it was not much different from our own, tragically. By 1198 BCE, the day Atlantean militarists waited for so long finally arrived. The powerful Egyptian king, Merenptah, had died of old age. He was followed by no less than five rulers in quick succession, including the club-footed Siptah and Tewosret, a short-reigned queen. These prolonged political crises destabilised the XIXth Dynasty, and Atlantean strategists prepared to take advantage of the situation. Now the Egyptians were preoccupied with the accession of a new pharaoh and all the powerful implications, good and evil, a change of divine leadership inevitably brought. This time they had special cause for worry. A frightening omen appeared following the death of King Sethnahkt, who had just founded a new dynasty, the XXth. An immense, dark cloud began to cover the sky at unnatural speed from the west. The Sun turned blood red, then disappeared. Broad daylight was reduced to twilight, accompanied by a rain of black dust that fell for weeks over the entire land. “Men walk about like ravens,” the Egyptian scribe recorded. “No one can keep their garments clean anymore.”

These ominous conditions boded ill for the Atlanteans, too. In the midst of organising an invasion of the Nile Delta, such signs and wonders in the heavens presaged disaster for someone. Having been born and raised on a geologically active island, they recognised the “black dust” as ash-fall blown in on the prevailing westerlies from some major volcanic event outside the Mediterranean. Naturally and anxiously, their thoughts turned to the ever-smoking mountain of their far-off homeland, Mt. Atlas.

Their worst fears were confirmed when waves of human migration deluged through the Pillars of Heracles. Panicked refugees streamed by the hundreds of thousands along North African shores or in ragged flotillas of boats and ships overcrowded with dispossessed families traumatised by disaster. Most of them were fellow Atlanteans, and they had a report to make. “You can’t go home again,” they said, “because home is no longer there.” With hardly more than one day’s warning, the island of Atlantis had been torn by earthquake and sky-fire before the angry sea swallowed it whole. The accompanying devastation was so pronounced and widespread, that the entire region, including all foreign coastal areas raked by a series of ruinous tsunami waves, had been rendered uninhabitable. The occupied areas of Italy, Tripoli and the Mediterranean islands swelled with new populations of survivors, compromising living conditions everywhere.

But the exiles brought with them more than tales of woe. Important sections of the home fleet escaped the catastrophe, carrying warriors and supplies, as well as crowds of displaced persons. The Sea People armada at Cyprus and Rhodes was appreciably reinforced by these new arrivals of warships and marines. More than before, the conquest of Egypt was needed to resettle the streams of refugees, their growing numbers making increasing demands on the limited resources of the occupied territories. Bolstered with fresh battle-cruisers, munitions and soldiers, the Atlantean commanders resolved to strike at once, while the Egyptians were still distracted by their royal interregnum and celestial portents. Nearly two thousand years before, the Atlanteans conquered Egypt for the first time as fugitives from a natural calamity. They would do so again. Let the fall of “black dust” be a sign of doom for the new pharaoh!

The Fall of Atlantis

Like other aggressors before and since, however, the Atlanteans would go down in defeat against a surprisingly capable leader, Rameses III. But the story of their military debacle and simultaneous destruction of their capital spread far beyond Egypt. In Ireland, there were tales of a “Sea People” known as the Tuatha de Danann. Their leader was Ogma, from Tir-nan-Og, the Irish Atlantis.

According to a classic authority on early Ireland, Henry O’Brien, the Tuatha de Danann arrived at the south coast of Ireland in 1202 BCE. This date compares remarkably well with the final Atlantean catastrophe that occurred around the turn of the 12th century BCE. O’Brien, who wrote in 1834, knew nothing, of course, about the untranslated wall-texts at Egypt’s Medinet Habu or late 20th century oceanography and astrophysics confirming the ultimate destruction of Atlantis precisely in the same period he determined entirely from Irish folk tradition. His conclusions were supported in the next century by a fellow countryman, Michael Bailey, a leading dendrochronologist, whose investigation of Irish peat bogs revealed that a major climate change with disastrous ecological consequences took place around 1200 BCE. Bailey’s research contributed importantly to scientific understanding of the worldwide cataclysm that brought the curtain down on Bronze Age civilisation. O’Brien believed that the strange, obelisk-like towers still found in Ireland were erected by the Tuatha de Danann, citing the 10th century Book of Leccan, which tells of “the Tuathan tower”. Ruins of several such towers are found, appropriately enough, in County Roscommon, at Moy-tura, where the Tuatha de Danann decisively defeated their immediate enemies. Known more correctly as Moye-tureadh, the battle-area is translated as “the Field of Towers”.

Hostilities among the various Atlantean groups in the midst of their disasters might in part be explained by their different origins, however related. The Tuatha de Danann told of four, great cities – Findias, Gorias, Murias and Falas – all simultaneously overtaken by a natural catastrophe and dragged to the bottom of the sea. They appear to have been located on separate islands in the Atlantean Empire, from which various groups contested each other for control of Ireland. Gorias, for example, was probably in the Gorgon Isles associated with the Canary Islands.

The 16th century scholar William O’Flaherty recorded that the Milesians, the last of the pre-Celtic invaders, arrived before 1000 BCE. His general time-parameter, too, coincides with a Late Bronze Age Atlantis. Their leader was Eremon, a name synonymous for all Ireland. It appears to be a linguistic inflection on Euaemon, the fourth king of Atlantis in Plato’s dialogue, the Kritias. “The Book of Invasions” tells how Eremon established Tara as the capital of his new kingdom. Originally known as Tea-mhair, he named it after his wife, Tea. Together with her sister, Tephi, Queen Tea made Tara the spiritual centre of ancient Ireland. The women are described as daughters of the royal house in the Blessed Isles lost beneath the sea.

The Milesians chief deity, Macannan Mac Lir, was a worldwide wanderer from Annwn famed throughout Celtic myth as “Land under Wave”, from the Brythonic an (“abyss”) and dwfn (“world”). Also known as the “Revolving Castle” (Caer Sidi), it was a fortified island of great natural beauty with fresh water streams and a circular-shaped city surrounded by concentric walls lavishly decorated with gleaming sheets of precious metal. The central palace was called Emahin Ablach, “Emhain of the Apple Trees”. His home-away-from-home, however, was at the Isle of Man, where Reel Castle allegedly covers his grave site.

Although a god and supposedly immortal, he preferred death to eternity when Ireland went Christian. Before then, he traveled in a chariot as “the rider of the crested sea”, and was the divine patron of sailors. He founded Llyr-cestre, modern Leichester, and was head of the “three Chief Holy Families of the Isle of Britain”, known equally in Wales as “the Children of Llyr”. Today, he is better remembered as the figure of tragic disillusionment in Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Resemblances between Macannan Mac Lir and Poseidon, the Atlantean sea-god, are unmistakable. Both crossed the waves in a chariot, were patrons of sailors, and progenitors of royal families. Their islands were identically configured into concentric walls sheeted in decorative metal, while “Emhain of the Apple Trees” echoes Atlas’ Garden of the Hesperides with its golden apple trees. The medieval Fate of the Children of Tursun likewise describes an island called “the Plain of Happiness”, where trees bearing golden apples grew in the “Garden of Hisberna”. In the lost “Druidic Books of Pheryllt” and “Writings of Pridian”, Ynys Avallach, or Avallenau were “more ancient than the Flood, when all the rest of mankind had been overwhelmed.”

Avallenau was also the name of a Celtic goddess of orchards, reaffirming the Hesperides’ connection with Atlantis. Avalon was additionally referred to as Ynys-vitrius, the “Island of Glass Towers”, an isle of the dead, formerly the site of a great kingdom in the Atlantic Ocean, the same story embraced by Portuguese Gauls as their foundation-myth. Another Irish memory of Atlantis preserved in The Voyage of Maeldune, presented below, mentions the “Island of Apples”. Britain’s Geoffrey of Monmonth characterised an identically named place he additionally called “Fortunate” in his 12th century Vita Merlin. Atlantis was often referred to by Classical writers other than Plato (Strabo, Pliny, Aelian, etc.) as “the Fortunate Isle”.

It was remembered in several other Irish epics, such as The Voyage of Bran. It told of “a distant isle, the plain on which the hosts hold games. Pillars of white bronze shine through eons of beauty. It is a lovely land through all the ages of the world, a silvery land on which dragon stone and crystal rain. Sweet music strikes the ear. The host races along Magh Mon, a beautiful sport. Coracle races against chariot.” Bran’s kingdom describes no other island than Atlantis, from its vast plain to horse races, similarly described by Plato.

“Pillars of white bronze” suggest orichalcum, the high-grade, gold-alloy copper he reported was the extraordinary product of Atlantean metallurgy. It is mentioned again in other Irish accounts of Atlantis, such as the 9th century “Travels of O’Corra”, which told of a bright metal unlike any other, findrine, found at Formigas. The island “had a wall of copper all around it. In the centre stood a palace from which came a beautiful maiden wearing sandals of findrine on her feet, a gold-coloured jacket covered with bright, tinted metal, fastened at the neck with a broach of pure gold. In one hand she held a pitcher of copper, and in the other a silver goblet.” Here, again, is encountered the central palace surrounded by walls adorned by precious metals, together with typical mineral opulence, especially copper, described in the Kritias.

The unique metal occurs again in “The Voyage of Maeldune”, where it is referred to as bath. The seafaring Maeldune lands at “a large, high island with terraces all around it, rising one behind one another; a shield-shaped island.” As he explored the island, he found “a broad, green race course”. But there were several other islands in the vicinity. The next one he visited was the “Island of the Apples” mentioned above. A third featured a city surrounded by a high wall, while a fourth was divided in two across its centre by a massive wall of gleaming brass. The last island had no less than four concentric walls arranged in rings encircling each other. The outer wall was decorated with gold, the second with silver, the third with copper and the innermost wall with crystal.

It is clear that the four places Maeldune visits are not separate locations, but alternating rings of land and water on one, large island – a self-evident representation of Atlantis remarkably presented in an Old Irish account. But it was not the only one. Others recalled Rath-cruachain, a circular, stone fortification with walls thirteen feet thick at the base and surrounded by five concentric ramparts. Its bronze, golden and silver palace was the centre of the fortress-like city, which one day vanished under the sea. Even the Atlantean sacred numeral occurs in Rath-cruachain‘s five walls.

Stonehenge’s Connection to Atlantis

If Eremon-Euaemon was the Atlantean-Milesian monarch of Ireland, Late Bronze Age Britain was ruled by the eighth refugee king mentioned in Plato’s account of Atlantis. Mestor, whose name meant, “the Counselor”, may have been associated with Europe’s most famous megalithic site, which gave counsel, as it were, regarding the movements of the heavens. According to archeo-astronomers, Stonehenge was a kind of astronomical computer primarily oriented to the positions and phases of the moon. Indeed, it resembles the concentric city-plan of Atlantis itself, even to the inclusion of Atlantean sacred numerals, Five and Six, repeated throughout its design.

Archaeologists believe the structure was first laid out by 3000 BCE, began to reach the apex of its construction 1,400 years later, and was suddenly discontinued around 1200 BCE. Its development, use and abandonment parallel Atlantean immigration at the close of the 4th millennium BCE, the zenith of Atlantis as the foremost Bronze Age civilisation, and final destruction in 1198 BCE. Not coincidentally, Atlas was depicted in Greek myth as the founder of astronomy; hence, his representation as a titan supporting the sphere of the heavens on his shoulders. He therefore signified the birth and florescence of astronomy at the city named after him – Atlantis.

Its impact on Britain was no less dramatic than in Ireland, as suggested by native folk memories of foreigners arriving from an oceanic catastrophe in the deep past. Comparisons between Irish versions and their Welsh counterparts are often very close, suggesting a common event that was experienced independently by two different peoples. For example, the story of Murias, the Tuatha de Danann’s sunken homeland, was almost identically known in Wales as Morvo. But British renditions of Atlantis throw a new light on the fate of its survivors.

Llyon Llion was the Lake of Waves, which overflowed its banks to inundate the entire Earth. Before this former kingdom was drowned, the great shipwright, Nefyed Nav Nevion, completed a vessel just in time to ride out the cataclysm. He was joined in it by twin brothers, Dwyvan and Dwyvach, who, landing safely on the coast of Wales, became the first Welsh kings. This myth is less the slight degeneration of an obviously earlier tradition than it is an example of the Celtic inclination toward whimsical exaggeration, making a mere lake responsible for the world flood. In all other respects, it conforms to other Atlantean deluge accounts, wherein surviving twins, like those listed in Plato’s Atlantis story, become the founding fathers of a new civilisation.

Hu-Gadarn is mentioned in the Hanes Taliesan, the “Tale of Taliesan,” where he is known as Little Gwion. If this affectionate diminutive seems derivative of the Trojan capital, Ilios, (Wilion in Hittite and perhaps the Trojan language, as well), the impression is deepened when Hu-Gadarn says, “I am now come here to the remnant of Troia.” Troy was allied with Atlantis through common blood-ties. Hu-Gadarn is regarded as the first ancestor of the Cymry, the Welsh people.

His Atlantean identity is no less apparent: “I have been fostered in the Ark,” he confesses. The Hanes Taliesan reports, “He had been fostered between the knees of Dylan and the Deluge,” arriving in Wales after a worldwide flood whipped up by a monstrous serpent.

Llys Helig is a stony patch on the floor of Conway Bay, sometimes visible from the shore during moments of water clarity, and still locally regarded as the site of a kingdom formerly ruled by Helig ap Glannawg. He perished with Llys Helig when it abruptly sank to the bottom of the sea. The stones taken for the ruins of his drowned palace are part of a suggestive natural formation that recalls one of several Welsh versions of the Atlantis disaster. Others speak similarly of Llyn Llynclys. A large, dark pool of fathomless water in the town of Radnorshire is supposed to have swallowed an ancient castle known as Lyngwyn.

In the Preiddu Annwn, “the Spoils of Annwn”, King Arthur and his men escape from Caer Wydyr, the “Fortress of Glass”, which sank beneath the waves soon after. A “Tower of Glass” appears in the Historium Britanum by medieval chronicler Nennius. Standing majestically in the midst of the sea, Turris Vitrea echoes only the voices of outsiders, and seems utterly abandoned – a Celtic device symbolising death. Similar Welsh tales told of Caer Feddwid, the “Court of Carousal”, and Caer Siddi, opulent island-kingdoms featuring fountains and curative fresh water springs, as similarly described in Plato’s Atlantis dialogue.

The “Tale of the Lowland Hundred” tells of Cantref y Gwaelod, an island forty miles long and twenty miles across. It was filled with fruit trees, natural hot springs, forests and ringed by a great range of mountains. A system of sluices created alternating rings of land embankments and moats with canals bridged over by connecting walk-ways. The island had a capital, Caer Gwyddno, which extended political control over sixteen neighbouring islands and cities. But a disaster overtook the city, and it sank beneath the ocean, drowning most of its inhabitants. King Gwyddno Garanhir, along with a party of survivors, landed on the Welsh coast, and eventually became the first royal family of Wales. A rocky ridge running some seven or eight miles out to sea before its disappearance under water was said to mark the direction in which Caer Gwyddno lay at the bottom of the Atlantic.

Remembered in some parts of Wales as Llyn Syfaddon, Llyn Savathan was the extensive kingdom of Helig Voel ap Glannog, whose great possessions, extending far into the sea from Priestholm, had been suddenly overwhelmed by the sea. His name is remarkable, because it contains the “og” derivative of Atlantean deluge-heroes in other parts of the world. Another Welsh flood tradition, Llys Elisap Clynog, not only repeats the “og” theme, but seems to include Plato’s second king of Atlantis, Elasippos.

So many similar accounts deeply rooted in the folkish consciousness of both Ireland and Wales were never regarded by their peoples as mere fables, but revered instead as sacred traditions of ancestral beginnings. Myths such as these may not yield their truths to the archaeologist’s spade, but can disclose themselves to any honest mind, as they were intended.

Folk memory of Atlantis is deeply rooted in the mythic traditions of numerous peoples impacted by the military adventures of its massive armed forces, the nuclear-like destruction of its homeland, and the migration of its survivors to numerous lands which formerly comprised their world empire.

Frank Joseph will speak at the Metaphysical Ancient Discoveries Symposium from May 16-17, 2015 in Grabill, Indiana, USA. For further info on this event and tickets, go to www.ancientmysteriesinternational.net.

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

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FRANK JOSEPH has published more books about the lost civilisation of Atlantis than any other writer in history. These and his other titles dealing with archaeology, military history and metaphysics have been released in thirty-seven foreign editions around the world. He was the editor-in-chief of Ancient American, a popular science magazine, from its inception in 1993 until his retirement fourteen years later. He lives today with his wife, Laura, in the Upper Mississippi Valley of the United States.

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 89 (Mar-Apr 2005)

© New Dawn Magazine and the respective author.
For our reproduction notice, click here.

The Changing Face of Russian Psi Research

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By LOUIS PROUD

Were the Soviets really experts in paranormal research? Were they, as some researchers claimed during the Cold War, light years ahead of the rest of the world in the field of parapsychology? If so, what kind of work are the Russians up to today?

The mysterious case of Robert Toth may shed some light on the matter.

The Toth Incident

Robert C. Toth, a Los Angeles Times correspondent, was arrested and detained in Moscow on June 11, 1977. He had been given papers by a Soviet scientist named Valery G. Petukhov, who claimed to be Chief of the Laboratory of Bio-Physics at the State Control Institute of Medical and Biological Research. The papers supposedly disclosed ‘state secrets’ and Toth, of course, had obtained them illegally. He was arrested before he had a chance to examine them properly.

The papers were supposed to offer proof of Petukhov’s grounding breaking scientific research in the field of parapsychology. When living cell undergo division, Toth had been told, they emit certain particles that can be “detected and measured.” These particles can “carry information,” and their function could “explain the basis for telepathy” and other phenomena of this nature.

Toth claimed that seconds after he had been given the papers, a small car pulled up beside him, from out of which emerged five men, dressed as civilians. They threw him inside the vehicle, which then sped off. “Our car drove through red lights and down one-way streets the wrong way to a militia [police] station,” writes Toth. “My captors were firm and polite, offering me cigarettes… I was ushered into a room with an inspector who declined my requests to phone the US Embassy but said a Soviet Foreign Ministry official would be called.”

Toth was detained for a period of several days. He was interrogated by police officers and KGB officials. A senior researcher of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Professor I.M. Mikhailov, was asked to provide expert testimony on the information Toth had been given by Petukhov. “This material is secret and shows the kind of work done in some scientific institutes of our state,” he declared.

Suddenly told he was free to go, Toth caught the next flight back to America. The Toth incident hit newspapers all over the world, including The Washington Post and The New York Times. The story was quickly forgotten, however – at least by the public. “But,” writes the late Martin Ebon, “intelligence analysts understood that Toth had gotten into his hand, if only for a few moments, one of the tips of the enormous iceberg of top secret Soviet research into psychic powers of the human mind.”

The Psi Warfare Gap

Another possibility is that the Toth incident was a Soviet orchestrated conspiracy – a set up, in other words. Between 1969 and 1971, during the height of the Cold War, American intelligence sources discovered the Soviets had a deep interest in parapsychology, were researching the subject extensively, and that this research was being well-funded by the Soviet military and the KGB.

In 1967, it was learned, the Soviets were spending an estimated US$500 million a year on parapsychological related research. The money was being used to fund fourteen separate research institutes. This naturally worried the Americans, who deduced a hostile intent behind the Soviet’s actions.

As to why the Soviets were spending so much money on psi research, a brief explanation needs to be given. In the aftermath of World War II, Soviet authorities feared the prospect of becoming involved in yet another war – this time with the West – much in the same way that the US authorities were greatly concerned about a possible ‘communist takeover’ and nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

Acting as an important catalyst for the Soviet ‘psychic boom’ was a story that appeared in the French periodical Constellation, entitled ‘Thought Transmission – Weapon of War’. The article, published in 1959, told of supposed telepathy experiments that were being conducted by the US military. The article claimed that the ‘receivers’ in the experiment, located onboard the submerged nuclear submarine Nautilus, had successfully managed to pick up telepathic transmissions from the ‘senders’ back on land.

When the US Navy denied the story, the Soviets assumed they were lying, deciding to take it seriously. Not wanting to be left behind in the field of psi research, the Soviets took immediate action. The father of Soviet parapsychology, the physiologist Leonid L. Vasiliev, who, in 1923, had been ordered by Joseph Stalin to investigate telepathy, made the following remark in April 1960, while addressing a group of top Soviet scientists: “Today the American Navy is testing telepathy on their atomic submarines. Soviet scientists conducted a great many successful telepathy tests over a quarter of a century ago. It’s urgent that we throw off our prejudices. We must again plunge into the exploration of this vital field.”

One theory is that the Nautilus story was a clever piece of American disinformation, aimed to lead the Soviets astray, so that they would start to invest money and energy into a decided waste of time. “Whether telepathic communication experiments were ever carried out aboard the USS Nautilus is a topic that generates much doubt and dispute among paranormal enthusiasts,” explains W. Adam Mandelbaum in his book The Psychic Battlefield.

Regarding the Toth incident, the parapsychologist Elmar R. Gruber has some interesting comments to offer: “The feeling remains that the Soviets were attempting to impart deliberate disinformation in their power game with the Americans… Did they intend to create the impression that they were far more advanced in this field than the Americans?”

Intentional or not, the impression was certainly there, as proven by a now declassified 1972 Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) report, entitled ‘Controlled Offensive Techniques’. The report begins by stating that parapsychology in the Soviet Union is very different to that in West, the former being a “multi-disciplinary field consisting of the sciences of bionics, biophysics, psychophysics, psychology, physiology and neuropsychology.” The Soviets had named this field ‘psychotronics’. The nearest English equivalent to the word is mind (psycho) energy applications (-tronics).

The report mentions that Soviet scientists had explored “detrimental effects of subliminal perception techniques,” which, using “telepathic means,” might be “targeted against the US or allied personnel in nuclear missile silos.” The report continues: “The potential applications of focusing mental influences on an enemy through hypnotic telepathy have surely occurred to the Soviets… Control and manipulation of the human consciousness must be considered a primary goal. Soviet knowledge in this field is superior to that of the United States.”

Psychic Discoveries Behind The Iron Curtain

The year 1970 marked the publication of a now classic book on Soviet psychic research. Called Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain, it was written by two Western journalists, Sheila Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder. During their stay in what was then the Soviet Union, Ostrander and Schroeder travelled far and wide, interviewing numerous scientists who were conducting groundbreaking research in the field of parapsychology.

When Psychic Discoveries was first released, it caused quite a stir, sparking both public and government interest in ‘psychic warfare’. Had it never been written, the US government’s fear of ‘Soviet psychic mind control’ would probably not have reached the extreme that it did.

Kirlian photography, dowsing, telepathy, eyeless sight, telekinesis, hypnosis – these are just some of the subjects that Ostrander and Schroeder investigated and wrote about. Their book showed that Soviet scientists had already managed to gain a practical understanding of how these types of phenomena were possible, while the rest of the world was lagging far behind.

So what had the Soviets discovered about the unknown powers of the human mind? And how did they approach the study of this enigmatic subject?

Experiments In Distance Influence

Existing in the Soviet Union were two different types of parapsychology – one official, the other secret. The former was allowed to exist in public, while the latter was taking place at well-funded, top secret state-controlled research institutes, and was largely military-based. Parapsychologists who wanted to do research in non-military areas often had difficulty obtaining funding.

To divert attention away from the real research they were doing, the Soviets had established, in Moscow, a military-based parapsychology centre called the Institute of Problems of Information Transmission. To help it look authentic, the Soviets made sure it was well-guarded at all times. As for the real research, that was being conducted in a remote region of western Siberia, near the pioneer town of Novosibirsk, in a massive research facility named Akademgorodok, ‘Science City’.

Built after World War II, Science City was composed of around 40 scientific centres, and housed tens of thousands of scientists and their families. It was developed, says Martin Ebon, “with such single-mindedness that even the names of the streets and city squares reflect its nature. For example, one could take a bus down Thermophysics Street, get off at the corner of Calculators Street, and walk across the Institute of Hydrodynamics Square.”

One of its scientific centres was called the Institute for Automation and Electrometry. Located here was the mysterious Special Department 8, where entry was not permitted unless one had access to a special code. Security was such that the code was changed on a weekly basis. For the sixty or so scientists employed at No. 8, their job was to investigate telepathy and distant influence, otherwise called ‘biocommunication’.

For psi to be possible, thought Soviet scientists, there had to be an exchange of energy taking place. At No. 8, writes Ebon, “physicists sought to discover the nature of ‘psi particles’, the elusive elements that some Soviet scientists regarded as essential to the function of such psychic techniques as biocommunication and bioenergetics.”

In one series of experiments, telepathic communication was tested among people. Experiments in telekinesis were also conducted. Some of the subjects used were Tibetan monks and Siberian shamans, who had been carefully selected by the KGB for their remarkable psychic abilities. The American journalist Jim Marrs says the KGB “laboriously screened more than a million people in an effort to locate ‘super naturals’, persons with the greatest amount of psychic power.”

In another series of experiments – which were conducted at No. 8 before it was closed down in 1969 – August Stern, one of the scientists who worked there, and his colleagues tested the properties of biophotons, to see if they could account “for some inexplicable forms of communication.” Photons, by the way, are the smallest physical units of light, the quanta of electromagnetic radiation. Biophotons are a type of photon that radiate from living cells. In this experiment, bacteria was placed on two sides of a glass plate, “to see whether a fatal disease could be transmitted through the glass” with the help of biophotons. “There were also experiments with photon waves, in which frogs’ eyes were used as a more sensitive measuring instrument than a machine,” recalls Stern, who migrated to France in 1977.

Due to the shutting down of No. 8, the photon communication experiments conducted by Stern and his colleagues were not fully realised. Several years later, however, three Soviet scientists attempted the same problem, achieving impressive results. Their names were Vlail Kanachevy, Simon Shchurin and Ludmilla Mikhailova. In their experiments, two groups of cells were used, one of which was contaminated with a virus, the other of which was not. They were placed adjacent to each other, but remained physically separate. When the two groups were isolated by quartz glass, which ultra-violet waves are able to penetrate, the non-contaminated cells suddenly became contaminated; they ‘caught the disease’, in other words. When regular glass was used, which ultra-violet waves cannot penetrate, this did not occur; the non-contaminated cells remained healthy.

These results confirmed what many Soviet scientists in the field of bioenergetics had previously theorised – that living cells can ‘communicate’ with each other over distances, and in a non-chemical way. When the affected cells were attacked by the virus, says Shchurin, they “virtually cried out loud about the danger” and “their cry freely penetrated the barrier of quartz glass… Something highly improbable happened. These waves were not only perceived by the neighbouring cells, they also conveyed the sickness to the neighbouring cells.”

The KGB Takes Control

No later than 1970, the KGB had taken control of the country’s research in parapsychology. It should be mentioned, however, that the KGB was an integral part of everyday life in the Soviet Union, permeating society on all levels, so their influence on psi research was not exactly sinister.

During the 1970s, more and more KGB-controlled parapsychology research institutes were established. Because the nature of Soviet psi research was becoming increasingly secret, many Western parapsychologists lost contact with their colleagues ‘behind the iron curtain’. In addition, rumours began to circulate about sinister ‘mind control’ experiments being conducted in clandestine Soviet labs, as well as the development of dangerous ‘psi weapons’ to be used against the West. As mentioned in Psychic Discoveries, a Czech engineer named Robert Pavlita claimed to have invented a ‘psychotronic generator’, which could apparently store, enhance and radiate ‘psychotronic’ energy.

Also known as ‘bioplasmic’ energy, Soviet scientists claimed that this energy was behind all manner of psychic phenomena, that it filled and animated all living things, and could also be harnessed for healing purposes. Using a process called Kirlian photography, the ‘bioplasmic body’ – or aura – could allegedly be photographed. The Austrian-American scientist Dr. Wilhelm Reich called this energy ‘orgone’. He invented a device called an ‘orgone energy accumulator’, consisting of a box lined with alternating layers of organic and inorganic materials, which was apparently able to trap this energy.

“A psychotronic generator can influence an individual or a whole crowd of people. It can affect a person’s psyche mentally and emotionally. It can affect memory and attention span. A psychotronic device can cause physical fatigue, disorientation, and alter a person’s behaviour,” asserts the Soviet biologist Edward Naumov. According to Ostrander and Schroeder, “certain generators can arouse fear, anxiety, anger, insomnia, depressions and suicidal thoughts and even lead to cerebral thrombosis.” The KGB, says Naumov, spent more than half a billion roubles on developing psychotronic technology.

When it comes to alleged Soviet mind control technology, nothing can compare to the immensity of project ‘Woodpecker’. Apparently, using an array of giant transmitters, the Soviets began to beam extremely low frequency (ELF) modulated signals all over Western Europe, Australia, North America and the Middle East. These transmissions, claims Tim Rifat, were designed to “permanently rewire the neural networks in the brains of the entire Western population, thereby destroying their social cohesiveness…” The KGB, it is said, had copied the brain frequencies of pathological criminals, mental patients, clinically depressed people and socio-psychopaths, whose brain wave maps they had studied. It is these negative frequencies that were beamed down on the West – from the early 1980s until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Assuming it was real, project Woodpecker appears to have been a tremendous success!

Apparently, the Soviets were not the only ones who managed to create advanced ‘psi weapons’ and large scale ‘mind control’ devices; so had countries in the West – most notably the US. This technology was allegedly used against the Soviet Union, in an attempt to bring about its destruction.

Soviet journalist Emil Bachurin claimed in Young Guard magazine that Yuri Andropov, the head of the KGB, spoke of several “psi weapons centres” in Canada, adding that “Canadian research must be surpassed.” The information was given to Bachurin by a KGB general. Other members of the Soviet intelligence community have mentioned the existence of advanced ‘psi weapons’ created by the West, even claiming that such devices have been used many times against civilian populations in the Soviet Union.

Comments made by the late Aleksander Lebed, a distinguished General and popular politician, seem to support such charges. As mentioned in New Dawn No. 43, Lebed insisted that Western secret services had carried out a series of psychological operations (or PSYOPS) against the Soviet Union, involving “tech­nologies of psycho-semantic pro­gramming,” brainwashing and hypnosis. One such psychological operation, claimed Lebed, was the collapse of the Soviet Union itself, which had been artificially organised by the West.

Modern Psi Research

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, some interesting psi experiments have been conducted in Russia, many of which involved animals and other living things. The Russians have long tried to develop biological ‘psi detectors’ – and so far they’ve been partially successful. Their theory is that psi is primarily a biological process, and that living systems react far more strongly to mental influence than do material systems. Researchers in the US have also attempted to develop psi detectors, or ‘thought switches’ – electronic devices that respond to mental intention.

The eminent American parapsychologist Dean Radin has already managed to construct a prototype of such a device, which, he says, “incorporated a new type of physical detector, involving a matrix of random-number generators, and some advanced statistical and signal-processing techniques to detect the predicted psi-influence.” As Radin explains in his book The Conscious Universe, countless laboratory experiments have shown that random number generators – devices that produce a stream of random digits – can be influenced by a focused mind. These ‘electronic coin flippers’ are designed to operate in a truly random fashion, producing an equal number of ‘heads’ and ‘tails’. Due to the influence of consciousness, however, these devices begin to function in a more ordered way, producing statistically less probable results, such as more heads than tails, for instance.

Georgi Gurtovoy, head of the Laboratory on Applying Isotopes in Ophthalmology in Moscow, and Alexander Parkhamov, a physicist, have done some interesting research on the distant influence of living systems that produce random fluctuations. Some of their instruments have been able to register micro-PK effects. They have also carried out anomalous distant influence experiments involving a species of fish called Gnathonemus petersii. These fish are known for their ability to emit pulsed electric signals, which they use to assist navigation in the darkness. Psychics were asked to slow down the rate of the fishes’ pulses – allegedly with much success.

Also compelling are the experiments of Sergei Speransky, a toxicologist at the Institute of Hygiene in Novosibirsk. His findings seem to confirm the existence of ‘morphogenetic fields’, as proposed by the controversial British biologist Dr. Rupert Sheldrake. In one experiment, a population of mice that had grown up together in the same cage were split into two groups. The mice in one group were fed as usual, while the mice in the other group were made to starve. Almost instantly, noticed Speransky, the non-starving mice began to consume much more food than before, as though trying to compensate for their ‘friends’. There appeared to be a telepathic link between the two groups. Had the non-starving mice picked up a signal from the starving mice, warning them that food was scarce and that they needed to increase food consumption and storage within their bodies?

Out of the thirty experiments conducted, twenty-seven had a positive outcome. Speransky then carried out an additional series of experiments, so as to refine his methodology, varying weight, sex and other variables. Once again, the results were nothing less than astonishing. Speransky concluded that the “biological significance of the rapid increase in weight in mice which received signals about starvation from their ‘friends’ is clear: a danger of starvation has to give them an additional stimulus to be sated.”

It’s interesting to note that the famous British biologist Sir Alister Hardy had formulated a similar theory to Speransky’s, stating that telepathic communication between animals might play a role in evolution and adaptation. Animal habits, he suggested, might be spread by “telepathic-like means.” He further suggested that a “psychic pool of existence” might operate among members of a species.

This brings us back to the work of Sheldrake. He believes morphogenetic fields contain the information that is required to shape the form of living things, much in the same way that certain frequencies of sound ‘contain the information’ to create complex geometric patterns in sand. We are reminded here of the bioplasmic body, which, as mentioned in Psychic Discoveries, was thought by Soviet scientists to be “some kind of matrix, some kind of invisible organising pattern inherent in living things.” Morphogenetic fields also serve a social function, shaping behaviour on both an individual and group level.

Furthermore, due to a process called ‘morphic resonance’, remarkable forms of ‘communication’ – not limited by space or time – are able to occur within a species. “The fields organising the activity of the nervous system are likewise inherited through morphic resonance, conveying a collective, instinctive memory,” writes Sheldrake. “Each individual both draws upon and contributes to the collective memory of the species. This means that new patterns of behaviour can spread more rapidly than would otherwise be possible.”

A Revolutionary New Approach

When, in the 1920s, parapsychology was beginning to establish itself as a legitimate scientific field in the Soviet Union, Leonid Vasiliev greatly influenced the course of its development – more so, by far, than anyone else. In his highly influential books, articles and presentations, he continued to assert that the study of psi phenomena should be approached in a purely physiological manner, as he feared it would be exploited by proponents of “religious superstition.”

Nowadays, parapsychology in Russia is undergoing a gradual yet fundamental transformation, thanks partly to a growing interest in transpersonal psychology. New approaches to psi research are being sought out, with an emphasis on Asian religious concepts. Scientists, moreover, are no longer so averse to ‘spiritual’ ideas. Ever since the end of the totalitarian communist regime, explains Gruber, “spirituality and religion, the pre-eminent features of the Russian soul, which were forced underground for so many decades, are again raising their claims to be the guiding principles in the understanding of man and his position in the world.”

Russia’s leading expert on parapsychology, Alexander Dubrov, who is regarded as the spokesman for the modern approach to psi research, believes there is more to psychic phenomena than biology and neurophysiology. Psi phenomena, he says, is a quantum-mechanical process, and man is a ‘quantum subject’. Be that as it may, says Dubrov, the physical side of psi and the psychophysics of altered states of consciousness should also be taken into account, so as to gain a complete understanding of the matter.

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References

Lucid Viewing – The Way Forward in Remote Viewing, How it all Started – In Russia, www.bibliotecapleyades.net/vision_remota/esp_visionremota_9a.htm

Compare Martin Ebon, Amplified Mind Power Research in the Former Soviet Union, 1996-7, www.biomindsuperpowers.com/Pages/Ebon1.html

Deep Black Magic: Government Research into ESP and Mind Control, Ingo Swann on CIA/ESP Connection, 1995, www.mindspring.com/~txporter/iswann.htm

Rupert Sheldrake, Biologist and Author, Morphic Fields and Morphic Resonance – an Introduction, 2005, www.sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/morphic/morphic_intro.html

Elmar R. Gruber, Psychic Wars: Parapsychology in Espionage – and Beyond (Blandford, UK, 1999)

Jim Marrs, Psi Spies (AlienZoo Publishing, US, 2000)

Sheila Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder, Psychic Discoveries (Marlowe & Company, USA, 1970

Adam Mandelbaum, The Psychic Battlefield: A History of the Military-Occult Complex (St. Martin’s Press, USA, 2000)

Dean Radin, The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena (HarperCollins, USA, 1997)

Tim Rifat, Remote Viewing – What is it, Who uses it and How to do it (Vision Paperbacks, UK, 2001)

Holly DeNio Stephens, The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture (Cornell University Press, 1997)

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LOUIS PROUD is a writer and researcher specialising in anomalous, or Fortean, phenomena. His articles have appeared in New Dawn, Paranormal, FATE, and Nexus magazines, and he has been interviewed on such programs as “VERITAS Radio,” “Paranormal Realms,” and Whitley Strieber’s “Dreamland.” He is the author of Dark Intrusions and The Secret Influence of the Moon, and his latest book is Strange Electromagnetic Dimensions: The Science of the Unexplainable. Louis lives in Burnie, Tasmania, Australia. Visit his blog http://louisproud.net and check out his YouTube Channel.

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 104 (Sept-Oct 2007)

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Separating Myth From Truth in Today’s Dietary Debate: An Interview With Sally Fallon Morell

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By HUW GRIFFITHS

Sally Fallon Morell, the best-selling co-author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition And The Diet Dictocrats, says people should eat more saturated fat, such as full-fat dairy products and fatty cuts of meat and offal, to lose weight and improve their health.

Sally has a growing grassroots following in Australia and regularly tours the world to publicise nutrition pioneer Weston A. Price’s philosophy of Traditional Foods. During her talks she emphasises that governments and the agricultural industry had conspired to demonise animal foods to make people buy processed products filled with refined carbohydrates, sugars, soya products and vegetable oils.

Naturopath and regular New Dawn contributor Huw Griffiths caught up with Sally during her Australian tour and she kindly obliged to an interview to discuss the US foundation she heads as well as important messages on nutrition and disease.

HUW GRIFFITHS (HG): Good Day Sally. It’s great to meet you and a warm welcome to Australia. I think my first question must be what many of our readers must be wondering. Just who are you, what is the Weston Price Foundation, and what have you come to Australia to talk about?

SALLY FALLON MORELL (SF): Well, there are three things that I’d like to put on my tombstone. I am the author of Nourishing Traditions which is a nutritional cookbook, I am the founding president of the Weston Price Foundation, and I’m the founder of the campaign for real milk, but in addition to that I’ve kind of become the lightening rod or the spokesperson for a return to traditional diets and a sloughing off of the whole cholesterol theory and the theories of heart disease which has totally screwed up the way we eat and the way that we practice medicine.

The Weston A. Price Foundation was established to provide accurate information about nutrition, to counteract the misinformation being put out by our governments and the health industry, to present the work of Weston Price to the public, and to demonstrate the scientific validation of traditional foodways.

I basically do a seminar on traditional diets and try to answer the question as to what are the characteristics of healthy diets and then to show people the practical steps that they can take towards adopting a healthy diet for themselves.

HG: Much of what you have to tell us about our dietary habits seems to fly in the face of “conventional wisdom.” Even on the TV the other day I saw Dr. Manny Noakes (the leader of the CSIRO team that published the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet) suggesting that the sort of advise you were giving the public was ‘irresponsible’ and ‘not based on any good science’. How do you respond to this sort of criticism?

SF: What they are saying is not based on any science at all. It is a religion, it is an act of faith and when in fact you start to look at the genuine science of it all it’s actually very different from what they are saying. The people promoting the low fat very high carbohydrate food, especially those who are influencing the diets of growing children, they’re the ones who are being irresponsible. They’re being irresponsible because children cannot grow up healthy and strong on that kind of diet and they are consequently creating tremendous health problems with it all.

Just as an example, they’ve taken whole milk out of the schools because they say that it makes children fat, but there was a recent scientific study done in Sweden where they put children on a low-fat diet and compared them to children on a normal diet. The children on the low-fat diet ended up getting fatter; they ate more sugar and had more insulin resistance. We’re just setting our children up for obesity and diabetes with these low-fat diets.

They know the body has to have fat. There is fat around every cell membrane of your body and that fat has to be mostly saturated fat and if you don’t give the body that fat it will make it out of carbohydrates and it will crave carbohydrates to get that fat. The big problem is that those carbohydrates don’t have the vitamins in them that the fats carry, such as vitamins A, E, D and K. You’re just giving the body a very poor substitute, when these vitamins are so vital; they’re needed for cell signalling, immunity, hormone production, and growth. So we’re seeing a growing number of the signs of deficiency in the many diseases and conditions that we see so much of these days.

For these people to be out there saying that “We don’t need or eat saturated fats any more” is a bit like trying to say that the human body has been genetically and dramatically changed in the last ten years, or something like that! We absolutely need saturated fat in our diet. Every cell in our body is surrounded by it.

Your lungs can’t work without saturated fat, nor can your kidneys and the organ with the highest amount of saturated fat in it is the brain. These people who vilify saturated fat are demonstrating that they don’t know anything at all about bio-chemistry. People these days have been educated to believe that diets that have saturated fat in them are the diets of the devil and that they have to keep themselves pure by not eating saturated fat. People look at you incredulous when you tell them these days that they have to eat saturated fat.

I call it ‘food puritanism’, in a way it’s just like when Galileo and Copernicus were first saying that the sun was the centre of the solar system and were persecuted on the basis that to say this was against all common sense.

HG: It’s difficult to know where to start with the questions, but perhaps one of the cornerstone campaigns for which you are best known and recognised is the Real Milk Movement. Just what exactly is it and why is it so important?

SF: The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the Weston Price Foundation. Real milk has all the fat in it, it comes from cows on pasture and is unpasteurised. Milk is a magic food. It has everything in it that a child needs in order for it to grow normally. You can live on raw milk and nothing else. It’s a curative food; it contains numerous components that assist the body to absorb all of the nutrients properly. It helps put dietary calcium in the right place, it helps get rid of bad bacteria and it supports the immune system and when you pasteurise milk all those attributes are destroyed.

We know all this from the science. A recent study for example has found that the one factor in preventing asthma in children was their access to and ability to consume raw milk. Asthma can be a life-threatening disease and it afflicts around thirty percent of our children. So we really think that raw milk is a key to the nutrition of our children because we historically have gotten calcium and related nutrition from milk.

I’m not however saying that milk is necessary. There are cultures that don’t drink milk, but they tend to have very different types of diets that Western children tend not to eat.

The other reason that our campaign is important is because it restores the connection of consumers to the farm and is a way of restoring small pasture based farms, because the people who are looking for real milk are also looking for milk from cows that are reared on genuine pasture. It also gives farmers a tremendous income, at least this is what has happened in the States where the real milk movement is absolutely huge. In fact its growing at about forty percent a year and we have literally saved hundreds of farms.

HG: Dietary fats are a confusing issue and always have been, but from what I understand you are saying most of the animal, and therefore saturated, fats that have been demonised over the last few decades are, in fact, not only nourishing, but good for us, whereas many of the ‘new’ (for want of a better word) fats such as margarine and canola oil are in fact bad for our health. So how can, for example, the CSIRO, be so far adrift from you on the matter of whether the former type of fats do or do not in fact drive up cholesterol levels which they say inevitably lead to conditions such as atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease?

SF: The demonisation of saturated fats has been a deliberate campaign of the vegetable oil industry and in order to do so have set up this cholesterol and heart disease myth (and it is a complete myth). The levels of cholesterol in your blood have really no bearing on your predisposition to heart disease. I’m not saying that we aren’t prone to heart disease, we obviously are, but cholesterol levels are not the thing that we should be looking at.

Secondly, the amount of saturated fat that we are eating in real life, not in institutions, where people are fed under very strange conditions, bear no relationship to the amount of cholesterol in your blood. This was borne out by the International Atherosclerosis Project, where they looked at fifteen thousand autopsies in thirteen countries and they didn’t find any relationship at all between the diet of the person, the level of cholesterol in their blood and the degree of blockage in their arteries. There was just no correlation!

We’re simply looking in the wrong place for answers. There are so many other avenues for possible research as far as heart disease is concerned and the really sad thing is that this cholesterol theory has been used to demonise the very types of foods that were so prized by traditional cultures and that were both necessary and sacred to the rearing of healthy children and healthy people.

Cholesterol is in fact the body’s repair substance and if a person has either weak arteries or a tendency towards inflammation then the body, which is a lot wiser than any of us, produces more cholesterol and that is used for repair. So blaming cholesterol for heart disease is a bit like blaming the outbreak of a fire on firemen because they always seem to be around when a fire breaks out.

Our biggest concern right now though are these cholesterol lowering drugs which are not saving lives, but are causing a tremendous amount of suffering with the side-effects.

What has shocked me, however, both over in New Zealand and in Australia, is the type of coercion that is put on people. Now, in the United States a lot of pressure is put on people, but from what I hear here you have to take these drugs or, for example, you can’t get your pilot’s licence, or you can’t get your insurance. We had one women in New Zealand tell us that her doctor told her that if she didn’t take her cholesterol-lowering drug or if she had any kind of heart problem, that she would not be insured.

It seems to me that if you can’t say “No!” to taking a drug, then there is a real problem and the implications are staggering. So the next thing that you’re going to have are mandatory drugs for children and in essence a giving way to a dictatorship of the doctors. So what we’re simply trying to do is to give people the facts and to reinforce the fact that the only way that we’re going to change this is for individuals to say “No”!

In fact, a lot of people have woken up to these issues in the States to the extent that the medical industry is not getting the same levels of compliance and have taken to hawking their drugs all over the rest of the world as a result. It’s almost as if doctors have become the new god, or in fact the ‘new devil’.

HG: Setting aside the morality of killing animals for meat (which I guess is a matter of personal choice)… Is meat eating a preferred thing to do as far as health is concerned, or can we acquire all the nutrition that we need from a vegetarian diet?

SF: You don’t absolutely have to eat meat to be healthy, but you do absolutely need some animal food in your diet. That would be dairy products, raw dairy products, eggs and fish. But there’s nothing wrong with eating meat as long as you eat it with sufficient fat and not eat lean meat.

Meat is a wonderful source of complete protein, zinc, iron, B12. It’s a healthy food and there is nothing wrong with eating it, but I just want to go back to the question of personal morality because they may not admit it, but most vegans and vegetarians believe that they have the moral high ground and that they’re better people than the people who eat meat.

What I’d like to point out though is that the products produced from slaughtered cows are used in many ways that are hidden from the public. They are used in modern building materials, in plastics, in cosmetics, the hydraulic break fluid in aeroplanes, there is even a membrane in your telephone that is made from cattle products, so there is no way that anybody in modern society can say that they don’t use the products of slaughtered animals.

With our ancestors it was even more so. They absolutely had to kill animals, not only for meat, but for tools, hides and furs in order to be warm and stay healthy. So we have always had to slaughter animals for our survival and well-being. What bothers me is the hypocrisy of saying “Oh, I don’t eat meat,” to look better, when the reality is that you wouldn’t be here if it had not been for your ancestors having to slaughter animals.

We’re also really concerned about the industrial system that has trivialised animals in the way that they have been made into units of production with a very cruel and heartless system. So we’ve put our money where our mouth is. We, through our local chapters, help people find animal products that are raised humanely.

HG: Whoever is right on whatever disputed dietary issue, it would seem that children are always the most vulnerable of the lot. We not only play dice with their lives and health by lacking certainty as to how we should nourish them, but by getting things wrong in our own diet, we kind of muck it up for future generations via the genes as well. Do you have any absolutely certain guidelines for diets for children and if so, where can they be accessed?

SF: Yes, we really set up the Weston Price Foundation because of our concern for children’s diets. All traditional cultures that were healthy put an awful lot of emphasis on nutrient dense foods for pregnant women, nursing women and growing children because you can’t go back, later in life and build a healthy kidney or a healthy inner ear. You have to build health during these crucial periods. The vegetarian, the vegan, low-fat and US government guidelines and other diets that are being heavily promoted today are seriously lacking in important nutrients.

We show the science in this and we do have diets for pregnant women and for growing children. We have a whole section on our website on children’s health and this is where our most important emphasis is. This is why so many people come to us, often out of desperation over their heartbreaking condition with their children’s health. They ask us what can they do about this or that problem, where nothing has helped these children. I can’t say that we have helped one hundred percent of the children, but we have helped a large proportion with our diet, it really does work. 

HG: One matter that sticks out like a sore thumb over the years is the issue of whether margarine is (or is not) a safer alternative to butter as far as health in general (but cardiovascular disease in particular) is concerned. And now the National Heart Foundation is issuing press releases headlined “Australia leads the way with virtually transfat free margarine.” This kind of publicity would suggest that even margarines weren’t as good for us as they were hyped up to being, but that they’re OK now. Or should we be circumspect about this type of publicity?

SF: Definitely be circumspect. First of all, butter absolutely does not cause heart disease and we know that it doesn’t do that because while butter consumption plummeted throughout the twentieth century, heart disease went up. Indeed, one study demonstrated that margarine eaters had twice the rate of heart diseases as butter eaters.

Getting the transfats out of the margarine is a good publicity stunt, but you’re still using all of these suspect oils. Look for ‘mono’ and ‘triglycerides’ on the label which don’t have to be labelled as fats yet they’re always partially hydrogenated transfats. You just should not use any type of margarine or spreads, you should just use the traditional fats that have kept people healthy for thousands of years.

The first recorded heart attack in the US was in 1921, it was a new disease and it grew to epidemic proportions especially after the Second World War when Americans started abandoning animal fats in significant amounts.

HG: What about coconut oil? I’ve been an avid fan of it (for cooking) for years, yet it is still accused of being bad for us (courtesy of being a saturated fat) by most of the public and private sector dietary experts. There is now so much overwhelming evidence to support its credentials as a superior health food (such as that it prevents heart disease, lowers cholesterol, is an anti-microbial and even that it acts as an antidote to some poisons). So which or who is right and how can we be so sure?

SF: Well, we have a lot of science backing us up on the healthfulness of coconut oil, but let me just say that the parts of the world that use a lot of coconut oil have amongst the lowest rates of heart disease and cancer. Once again, coconut oil is a competitor to the vegetable oils and it’s been demonised. Mary Enig, a colleague of mine, and I have actually written a book on coconut oil called Eat Fat, Lose Fat in which we present a lot of the evidence. So the evidence is there whether people want to believe it or not.

HG: A lot of what the Weston Price Foundation is about is the benefits of traditional diets among various peoples from around the world. Just very briefly, how can you explain what all this was about and how should we go about finding out what these diets are all about and how we can apply the relevant learning from them to our own diets?

SF: The work of Weston Price and all the diets are very different in their particulars, but what we look at is the underlying characteristics and I’ll just give you the first three; there were no processed or devitalised foods, all of them contained animal foods, but the most important one was the very high levels of nutrients in these foods. They had very high levels of vitamins and minerals, but the really significant thing was the very high levels of vitamins A, D and K which are found in organ meat, animal meat and some types of seafood, and you absolutely have to have some of these foods in your diet to be healthy, and the moment that you start to industrialise your agriculture and put your animals inside they go away.

The one that we’re most excited about right now is vitamin K which Dr. Price called the X Factor. He studied it, but didn’t quite know what it was, but it dovetails perfectly with what we now know about vitamin K. Vitamin K is in the fat, butter fat and organ meats of grass fed animals and what it does among many other things is prevent heart disease by preventing the calcification of the arteries. It’s also critical for the myelinisation of the nerves and it supports learning capacity.

Now we have developed a system where we have heartlessly and thoughtlessly put our animals inside and taken them off green grass. Mother Nature though always gets her revenge and her revenge for what we have done to her animals is that she has given us an epidemic of heart disease and a generation of children who can’t think and there is no way to solve this except to get these foods back in the diet, especially women and especially when they are either pregnant or nursing.

Doing seminars is the only way that I know how to break through this wall of ignorance and start to make some changes. The alternative is what I call the natural selection of the wise, that is the people who don’t eventually return to these traditional diets are actually going to die out. Their children won’t reach maturity or the parents will be infertile. This of course is something that we’re already seeing.

What we are seeing now, however, is the sort of thing that we came across in New Zealand, where the libraries are only stocking books that recommend pregnant women adopt low fat diets with lots of whole grains, which of course are very hard to digest. I’m sure the picture is the same here in Australia too.

HG: Sally, you clearly have a busy agenda and a lot of touring to do before your advice hits a critical level of awareness amongst the consumer mainstream and can be widely embraced. So, apart from your tours, your book Nourishing Traditions and the behind the scenes work done by the Weston Price Foundation, what else do you suggest might be done to advance your new (or maybe the better description should be ‘traditional’) dietary paradigm?

SF: Weston Price’s dying words were, “You teach, you teach, you teach.” You see we’ve lost that primitive instinct that primitive people had and the only way that we can reach people now is by teaching and showing them the science. So we’ve prepared a lot of educational materials and flyers. We urge people to become members and to recommend them read our magazine so that they are up to date on things. We’re just trying to enlist everyone who becomes a member to help us teach. Even if you only teach two other people by providing them with our literature, you’ve started them with this process and it’s a geometrical process whereby more and more people can learn about it.

HG: Sally, it’s been very kind of you to spare the time to talk to us and share your goodwill and knowledge. We really appreciate it.

Find out more about the Weston Price Foundation by visiting www.westonaprice.org

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HUW GRIFFITHS is a British-born naturopath who came to Australia in the early ‘90’s with his wife and two sons. His interest and passion for natural and traditional health therapies was developed and nurtured alongside an international career in marketing and communications.

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 104 (Sept-Oct 2007)

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