New Dawn 149 (March-April 2015)




Man & Superman

The Secret Programs to Create Real Life ’X-Men’. Len Kasten investigates US government experiments designed to transform men into Supersoldiers.

DARPA: The Pentagon’s Blue-Sky Think-Tank

David Thrussell explores some of the latest hi-tech projects of the mad scientists at America’s controversial top secret military research agency.

New Silk Roads & the Eurasian Century

For more than 1,500 years, across thousands of kilometres, the Silk Road connected East and West. Reg Little looks at China’s plan to revive this ancient route.

Gallipoli: The Untold Story

Gerry Doherty & Jim Macgregor explain why the 1915 Gallipoli campaign, that cost thousands of young lives, was purposefully designed to fail.

Biophotonics: The Science Behind Energy Healing

Do light frequencies hold the key to well being? Katrin Geist examines the research breakthroughs on biophotonic emissions.

Entangled Minds

Telepathically Entering Another Person’s Lucid Dreams. Rev. Gary Duncan reports on a series of groundbreaking experiments to control the dream world.

Reprogramming Your Robots

Frank DeMarco outlines a simple technique for identifying hidden problems in a person’s life, and how to rectify them.

The Enneagram: An Ancient Theory of Everything

Imagine if there was a secret to always successfully completing a cycle of activity? Darren J. Carville reveals the formula and shows how you can apply it.

J.G. Bennett: A Quest for the Masters of Wisdom

Andrew Phillip Smith on the life of one of the greatest British spiritual explorers of the twentieth century.



Hypnotic Handshakes & Jedi Mind Tricks
By Neil Kramer

Going Beyond the Physical: Your Inner Senses
By Chris Thomson

How WiFi & Other EMFs Cause Biological Harm
By Kevin Samson

The ‘Gift’ of Disease
By Ross Bishop

Health Briefs




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The Magical Universe of William S. Burroughs



When the American writer William S. Burroughs passed away at the ripe old age of 83 back in August 1997, the media coverage was definitely more in keeping with his status as a counter-cultural icon than it was for his literary fame – or infamy – alone. All the usual well-rehearsed lines were trotted out, about how he was the Harvard-educated product of the WASP elite and scion of the family that founded the Burroughs Corporation, who had turned his back on it all to become a junkie queer, trawling the steaming jungles of South America, sleazy ‘Interzone’ of Tangiers, and shady back-streets of Paris and London for drugs and boys. That somewhere along the line he became an unlikely mentor to Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and the Beats, who had opened the way for the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s.

William Burroughs had originally exploded onto the literary scene back in 1959 with his breakthrough novel, Naked Lunch, causing hip critics everywhere to claim they had seen the future – even if nobody was really sure that they understood it. With his three-piece suit, glasses, hat and raincoat, Burroughs seemed like the ultimate undercover hipster, and that voice certainly didn’t hurt: pitched somewhere between T.S. Eliot and W.C. Fields, mixing camp twang and knowing drawl with the educated tones of an old-fashioned Southern gentleman. From the moment he received that ultimate 1960s imprimatur of cool, being included by The Beatles on the cover of Sgt. Pepper (he’s in there between Marilyn Monroe and Fred Astaire), William Burroughs was the rock rebel’s choice of Literary Outlaw: from David Bowie and Jimmy Page to Patti Smith and Tom Waits, experimental bands like Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, and Coil, even Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain – generations of alternative rock stars have collaborated and paid homage.

Norman Mailer once famously said that William S. Burroughs was, “The only American novelist living and working today who may conceivably be possessed of genius,” and as often as this was repeated down the years, Burroughs himself was at pains to point out that it was not saying he had genius or was a genius, but that he may at times had been lucky enough to be possessed by genius. When I interviewed him at the October Gallery in London in 1988, he had this to say on the subject:

To me ‘genius’ is the nagual: the uncontrollable – unknown and so unpredictable – spontaneous and alive. You could say the magical.

The fact that his answer uses a term, nagual, derived from the world of the Yaqui Indian sorcerer, as described by Carlos Castaneda in The Teachings of Don Juan and subsequent books, is telling indeed…

There is also another kind of ‘possession’ that was very much a concern for William Burroughs, Man and Writer. From an early age, as much as he felt a definite sense of being ‘Other’ and not really belonging or fitting in anywhere, as much as he knew he was homosexual, he also believed in the idea of the Magical Universe. He was aware that an integral part of that universe was that there were inimical – even hostile – forces that threaten us, that may need to be bargained with and from time-to-time appeased, and that one of the dangers posed is that of possession:

My concept of possession is closer to the medieval model than to modern psychological explanations, with their dogmatic insistence that such manifestations must come from within and never, never, never from without (as if there were some clear-cut difference between inner and outer). I mean a definite possessing entity.

Later, in the foreword for the autobiographical Queer (written in the 1950s but unpublished until 1985), Burroughs talks about the appalling circumstances of the so-called ‘William Tell’ shooting accident that caused the death of his common-law wife, Joan Vollmer:

I live with the constant threat of possession, and a constant need to escape from possession, from Control. So the death of Joan brought me in contact with the invader, the Ugly Spirit, and manoeuvred me into a lifelong struggle, in which I have had no choice except to write my way out.

The simple truth is that William Burroughs had always been a scribbler: in numerous articles and interviews he describes at length his literary efforts from childhood on, and the somewhat precocious sense that the bookish, physically awkward, shy young Billy had of himself as an aspirant writer – an image that was as hopelessly Romantic as it was coloured by a flouting of moral convention:

As a young child I wanted to be a writer because writers were rich and famous. They lounged around Singapore and Rangoon smoking opium in a yellow pongee silk suit. They sniffed cocaine in Mayfair and they penetrated forbidden swamps with a faithful native boy and lived in the native quarter of Tangier smoking hashish and languidly caressing a pet gazelle.

The Cut-Up Technique

As well as the monstrous masterpiece that is Naked Lunch, William Burroughs is perhaps also best remembered for championing the experimental technique of the ‘cut-ups’ – what appears to be at first glance the almost ludicrously simple idea of introducing collage techniques into writing. Collage, in all its various forms, may very well be the pre-eminent creative breakthrough of the 20th century: for better or worse, such techniques probably more accurately mirror the way the world is experienced by most people in an increasingly accelerated, fragmentary, and seemingly random datascape. Sampling, montage, collage: these methods really do come closer to representing or expressing what the facts of perception are for most of us in this post-technological, post-modernist, information overload. As William Burroughs put it again and again throughout his career:

As soon as you walk down the street… or look out the window, turn a page, turn on the TV – your awareness is being cut: that sign in the shop window, that car passing by, the sound of the radio… Life IS a cut-up.

Almost from the beginning, there was another aspect to the cut-ups acknowledged just as emphatically: they had the potential to be oracular. To William Burroughs, who would undoubtedly become the greatest champion of the technique, they introduced an element of randomness and also of Time: as he would later put it, whereas the basis of fiction was “once upon a time” – with the cut-ups it was “once in future time.”

Among Burroughs’ earliest cut-ups were phrases that meant nothing at the time, but in hindsight took on an eerie prescience. This was like the seemingly arbitrary content of dreams, which lead Burroughs to speculate:

Perhaps events are pre-written and pre-recorded and when you cut word lines the future leaks out.

In Here to Go: Planet R101, Brion Gysin described how Burroughs would work with the material – and I think his choice of words is instructive:

On the wall hangs a nest of three wire-trays for correspondence which I gave him to sort out his cut-up pages. Later, this proliferated into a maze of filing cases filling a room with manuscripts cross-referenced in a way only Burroughs could work his way through, more by magic dowsing than by any logical system. How could there be any? This was a magic practice he was up to, surprising the very springs of creative imagination at their source.

The cut-ups would get a more public airing when UK publisher John Calder arranged for Burroughs to appear at the Edinburgh Conference in August 1962. After Burroughs stole the show with his presentation of an attempted “new mythology for the Space Age” – and an explanation of the innovative techniques that had made it possible, the cut-ups and their further extension in the newly-developed fold-in – a curious comparison was made by Stephen Spender, who queried the analogy between science and writing:

It sounds to me like a rather medieval form of magic rather than modern science.

It is in fact informative to compare this with a statement Burroughs made himself, in which his comparison of cut-ups with mediumship is explicit:

Cut ups often come through as code messages with special meaning for the cutter. Table tapping? Perhaps.

Experiments in Magic – Subverting Control

It is to be remembered that the atmosphere around Burroughs and Gysin in those early days at the Beat Hotel at 9 Rue Gît-le-Cœur in the Latin Quarter of Paris was steeped in the occult, with daily experiments in mirror-gazing, scrying, trance and telepathy, all fuelled by a variety of mind-altering drugs. It is not surprising to think they may have considered these new developments in such terms.

Burroughs, for all his Harvard education and intellect, also possessed a worldview that was informed – you might even say overshadowed – by a fear and fascination with the supernatural that had been shaped in childhood, and stayed with him ever since. His first biographer, Ted Morgan, states in Literary Outlaw that the single most important thing about Burroughs was his belief in what he referred to as “the Magical Universe.” Gysin himself was naturally inclined to intrigue and mystery, and come back from Morocco full of tales of black magic, curses and possession. Burroughs was an all-too-eager audience for the spellbinding storyteller. He felt his own travels in exotic parts had opened his eyes to a Bigger Picture:

Now anyone who has lived for any time in countries like Morocco where magic is widely practiced has probably seen a curse work. I have.

When Gysin, allegedly in trance, told Burroughs, “The Ugly Spirit shot Joan because…,” he thought he had the answer that no amount of psychoanalysis or self-examination had been able to provide: the unforgiveable slip that caused the death of his common-law wife, Joan Vollmer, come about because he was literally possessed by an evil spirit. This was indeed a War Universe, and Brion had identified The Enemy. If the Word was indeed the basic mechanism or unit of Control – the ‘virus’ by which Control or the Ugly Spirit exerted its malevolent influence – then surely a real understanding of the Word, what words are and what can be done with them – was essential.

All these explorations and obsessions were not merely diversions, experiments for artistic or literary amusement, or the creation of novelty, but part of a deadly struggle with unseen, invisible – perhaps even evil – psycho-spiritual enemies. The only hope for deprogramming and self-liberation was to subvert the methods of Control and its various agencies, understand the tools used so that they could become weapons to turn back on the Control Machine itself.

Gradually, as the 1960s progressed, it was clear the cut-ups were an idea whose time had come. Helped by Burroughs and Gysin’s gradually emerging status as counter-culture gurus, their ideas and influence began to spread. By the 1970s William Burroughs was the epitome of hip as far as drug savvy musos with literary pretensions were concerned: a coked-out David Bowie explained how he used “the Burroughs cut-up method” in Alan Yentob’s 1974 BBC profile, Cracked Actor, and then demonstrated it (badly). His friend Brian Eno would name a track ‘Dead Finks Don’t Talk’ as a nod to Burroughs’ Dead Fingers Talk, but would also look for ways to introduce chance with his Obliques Strategies, a set of cryptic aphorisms intended to encourage creative solutions by lateral thinking. Jimmy Page would be interviewed by Burroughs for Crawdaddy magazine, and as the clarion call of Punk was heard in New York, Patti Smith was the first to cheer the return of the Beat Godfather to his native land.

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Genesis P-Orridge

Around the same time that Punk was emerging in the UK, another home-grown genre drawing inspiration from Burroughs, Gysin and the cut-ups was the ‘Industrial’ music of Throbbing Gristle (TG) and related bands like Cabaret Voltaire and later, 23 Skidoo. TG prime-mover Genesis P-Orridge had actually met Burroughs while he was living on Duke Street in London in the early 1970s, and he and band-mate Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson were directly inspired by the Outsider stance of the ‘Literary Outlaw’ as much as they were influenced by his theories. Along with Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti, P-Orridge and Christopherson would help to invent a new genre of music they dubbed ‘Industrial’ – stripping back music even further than the back-to-basics of Punk to create a kind of Garage musique concrète, in which the processing and manipulation of found sound was a key part of the semi-improvised mayhem that was as often sonic assault as it was about the alchemy of sound.

When P-Orridge first visited Burroughs on Duke Street in 1973, he asked him, “Tell me about magick?” and whether or not he still used cut-ups in writing. Burroughs replied, “No, I don’t really have to anymore, because my brain has been rewired so it does them automatically.” He cracked open a bottle of Jack Daniels, poured them both a stiff drink, then put on the TV to watch The Man From U.N.C.L.E., explaining, “Reality is not really all it’s cracked up to be, you know…” He then began hopping through the channels on the TV with the remote – at the same time mixing in pre-recorded cut-ups from the Sony tape-recorder – until P-Orridge was experiencing a demonstration of cut-ups and playback in real-time – right there where he was sitting:

I was already being taught. What Bill explained to me then was pivotal to the unfolding of my life and art: Everything is recorded. If it is recorded, it can be edited. If it can be edited then the order, sense, meaning and direction are as arbitrary and personal as the agenda and/or person editing. This is magick.

As part of his explanation, Burroughs showed P-Orridge one of his journal scrapbooks in which he had posted two photos: a simple black and white street scene, with the relevant building clearly visible, and then another beneath it from which he had carefully sliced out the ‘target’ with a razor blade, gluing the two halves of the photo back together so as to create an image of the street with the offending institution removed. The same principle could clearly be applied to photos of people that you wanted to ‘excise’ from your life, he said. These principles would have a profound effect on P-Orridge and Christopherson, as well as many of the ‘anti-musicians’ and sound-artists that they would collaborate with or inspire in their turn. It wasn’t just the sonic application of the cut-ups with tape-recorders, but rather the whole approach to challenging conventional wisdom, deprogramming the self from the imposed beliefs and values of mainstream society.

After TG had split, P-Orridge and Christopherson went on to form ‘Psychic Television Limited’ – with its attendant Conceptual Art gag masquerading as fan club pretending to be a cult, ‘Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth’, or TOPY as it was known. For a while there was an inner circle that revolved around a strange hybrid of the ideas of occultists Aleister Crowley and Austin Osman Spare regarding consciousness alteration, dream control, and sex-magic. The life and work of Burroughs and Gysin, with their cut-ups, Dreamachine, playback, and Third Mind equally offered a kind of toolkit for similar ends. It looked like if the Revolution was going to be televised after all, then Psychic TV were going to be first in line to put in their bid for the franchise…

But all too soon cracks began to show, and P-Orridge and Christopherson parted company: Sleazy with partner John Balance to create a whole new world of magick and music as Coil, Genesis to develop PTV increasingly in the direction of Rave music. Each would continue finding ways to apply the cut-up methods of sampling, cut-and-paste and appropriation to the development of new music. TOPY became increasingly an umbrella for New Age Merry Prankster-style utopian tribalism, and Gen’s role as figurehead for these disparate anti-movements, and the cultural memes he was engineering – from cut-ups and sex-magick, to tattooing, piercing, and body modification – inevitably lead to conflict with the authorities, and P-Orridge had to flee England for a life of exile in the United States. Eventually he would come to perhaps the most radical application of his interpretation of the ideas of Burroughs and Gysin of all: Pandrogeny, in which P-Orridge and his spouse Lady Jaye would literally try and cut-up gender.

Engaging the Magical Universe

When I first met William S. Burroughs in London at the time of The Final Academy series of events in 1982, I asked him about magic, and whether he would care to recommend any books on the subject. Without hesitation, he mentioned Dion Fortune’s Psychic Self-Defense, even though he qualified it as “a bit old-fashioned.” As he began to talk of black magic and curses in North Africa, travelling with medicine men up the Amazon, and describing his experiments with tape-recordings and playback on the streets of London’s West End and in the midst of the 1968 Chicago Democrat’s Convention and ensuing riots, I realised that for Burroughs this was utterly real. He told me about a dream he had as a young man, working as an exterminator in Chicago: watching from a helpless out-of-body point of view floating above the bed as his body got up and went out with some unknown and sinister purpose that he was powerless to influence… with a shudder, he told me that possession was “still the basic fear.”

Even towards the end of his life, William S. Burroughs’ engagement with the Magical Universe (and struggle against the Ugly Spirit) did not wane. The magical, psychic, spiritual and occult appear in his later fiction like never before, from depictions of astral travel and “sex in the Second State” to descriptions of actual rituals, referencing everything from Crowley and the Golden Dawn to the myths of ancient Egypt and even the Necronomicon… all interwoven with increasingly ‘neo-pagan’ concerns for the environment, the impact on Man and Nature of the Industrial Revolution with its emphasis on ‘quantity, not quality’ and standardisation – as well as perceived turning points in history. His adoption of the ancient Egyptian model of the Seven Souls, continuing development of a very personalised myth of Hasan-i Sabbah and the Assassins of Alamut, made him of increasing interest and relevance to the new occultists who were emerging from successive generations of counter-culture that Burroughs had helped to shape through the example of his Life and Work.

There was also still the loss, the pain, and – perhaps more than ever – the Ugly Spirit. After settling in Lawrence, Kansas – a small university town, far from the distractions and temptation of New York, and very much a reminder of his mid-Western background in St. Louis, Burroughs became friends with William Lyon, a Professor of Anthropology who had been apprenticed to Sioux medicine man Black Elk. A full sweat-lodge purification ceremony was arranged in an attempt to evict the Ugly Spirit, which was described by the shaman as:

A spirit with a white skull face, but no eyes, and sort of… wings.

Burroughs was impressed by the “strength and heart” of the medicine man, and felt that just to clearly identify the enemy in such terms was in itself something of a victory:

If you see it, you gain control of it. It’s just a matter of, well, if you see it outside, it’s no longer inside.

In the early 1990s, the elderly Burroughs was initiated into the Illuminates of Thanateros, the leading Chaos Magic group. Perhaps this was not such a surprising development. Chaos Magic clearly felt a debt to Burroughs and his peers, sharing many of the same concerns as Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth: demystifying magic, yet at the same time distilling the best from Aleister Crowley and Austin Osman Spare, while taking advantage of the latest ideas emerging in computers, maths, physics and psychology.

With the experiments started at the Beat Hotel that he then took out onto the streets of London, Paris and New York, William S. Burroughs was recognised as a pioneer and precursor: and with the later connections established through a younger generation of artist-occultists, the link from ‘cosmonaut of inner space’ to ‘psychonaut’ was assured.

„For more information about Matthew Levi Stevens, please see The book-length version of his The Magical Universe of William S. Burroughs is available from Mandrake of Oxford. To order go here:

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MATTHEW LEVI STEVENS was born 31st of October 1966, shortly before Midnight. He is a writer, researcher, and online commentator. Awareness of the Occult and ‘chance encounters’ with artist-practitioners determined his path at a young age. He is currently expanding and revising his essay The Magical Universe of William S. Burroughs for book-length publication, and with his partner Emma Doeve working on a Grimoire inspired by the Graeco-Egyptian Magical Papyri. For more information about Matthew Levi Stevens, please see

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

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Sister Veni Cooper-Mathieson: Pioneer Thinker & Metaphysical Teacher

veni math cooper


Australia has a long tradition of self-help literature and much of it was written, in the early years, by colourful characters who embraced a hodgepodge of new and progressive ideas which included Theosophy, New Thought, Swedenborgianism, Socialism, Christian Science, temperance, vegetarianism and marriage reform. This connection between minority religious and social philosophies and ideas of individual mental development was to be observed across the Western world from the late 19th century, though the connection often surprises modern readers.

One of the greatest characters to have written and taught in early 20th century Australia called herself Sister Veni Cooper-Mathieson (1867–1943). She was a prolific, if highly eccentric, author in the field of self-help, a true pioneer who perambulated through most of the cities of Australia peddling her New Thought philosophy.

A polymath in outlook, Sister Veni saw Australia as ripe for the development of new ideas about religion and mental development. She anthropomorphised, and at times even eroticised, a country she saw as being undeveloped, writing in her 1904 book Australia! Land of the Dawning:

“Still no man knoweth thee, O! Virgin Land! No hand hath yet uncovered thy secret parts, nor eye searched out thy hidden mysteries. In thy fair bosom thou holdest treasures unknown and even undreamed of.”

Australia was, for her, a metaphor for the individual, all of us containing vast and unexplored richnesses and possibilities, though few men knoweth them. In this same book she set out her vision of Australia as a “lovely virgin freshly risen from the waves,” ready to lead the world in these new philosophies, quickly to become a universal “City of Refuge.”

She was a serial religious entrepreneur who posited herself as a thoroughly modern woman. “Sister,” in her case, did not connote any membership of a Catholic religious order. The usage was in fact common among non-conformist religious groups, as best exemplified in the person of the American Pentecostalist preacher Aimee Semple McPherson, known lovingly across the world as “Sister Aimee,” founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. Sister Aimee was herself a visitor to Australia in 1922, and I suspect her name and example would have been well known to Sister Veni long before that visit.

Sister Veni made her living publishing books and journals, conducting lecture series and correspondence courses and overseeing spiritual libraries, study centres and healing rooms, the latter which saw her eventually fall foul of the Australian law. Any close examination of her output, and of mentions of her in the contemporary press, proves that Sister Veni was somewhat luckless. She was pursued doggedly by the authorities across Australia who seemed convinced that she was a fraud. She moved from city to city, and frequently found trouble with the police.

The Tasmanian authorities, for example, looked askance at Sister Veni’s claims to be a medical practitioner. After she had offered a young constable treatment for his bad back, which involved her blowing across a damp flannel draped over his naked form, she was arrested and charged with fraudulent practise.

Sister Veni was a charismatic teacher, writer and leader in what was already recognised as a traditional American mould, and it is highly likely her slightly dictatorial and grandiloquent style got in the way of her attracting a genuinely popular following in the always-cynical Australia.

Her writing is littered with colourful and grandiose references to the Christ ideal, a central idea of New Thought (as it was of Christian Science). From the turn of the 20th century till the advent of the First World War, she was a prolific publisher of New Thought journals in the various state capitals she moved between. In organs such as 1913’s ‘The Healer’ (“A monthly publication devoted to the teaching of the true science of life, health and happiness”), Sister Veni variously bullied, lectured and bamboozled her readers with these new ideas, relying heavily on biblical quotation and Christian imagery to make her point.

Interestingly, Sister Veni was also much involved in questions relating to women. She wrote on Woman’s Emancipation (1904), and, like the Adelaide Theosophist and eccentric Agnes Benham before her, was concerned that a correct conception of marriage is essential to personal and social spiritual development. She wrote that unless a marriage is a, “true spiritual union there is no marriage in the sight of the most High God, for he deals with us purely as spiritual beings.”

This idea is lifted directly from the 18th century Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, who taught of the importance of true spiritual marriages, in which bonds are unbroken even in the afterlife, where married couples will spend an eternity in heaven together. For Sister Veni marriage was mostly a prison for women, and true spiritual companionship was rare. Most marriages, she opined, were useless because they were based on temporal considerations.

She advocated what she called “Free Unions,” unvisited by state intervention, in which the children of love matches might be raised in a spirit of genuine affection, and which might allow couples to dissolve their bonds with ease if it might be discovered that theirs is not, in fact, a spiritual marriage in the eyes of the most High God.

She was also the founder of the White Cross Moral Reform Crusade, a group for young women that met in Sydney’s Domain and required of its members a pledge of chastity and “womanly modesty.” This group was formed as a reaction to what Sister Veni perceived as a “defiling and debasing atmosphere of lust.” This atmosphere was, she asserted, “robbing our women of their womanhood, undermining the health, strength and beauty of our girls. It is a menace to the home-life of the future, to the stability of the Nation, and the true development of the coming generations.”

Moral destitution was a by-product of an insufficiently exercised mind and body, and Sister Veni saw the ideas of New Thought as a way out of this low point in human history caused, in part, by the hypocrisies of older religious frameworks. An advancing era of personal responsibility would save young people from their destructive lusts. Basically, this was a group advocating sexual abstinence among young people to avoid the social and health problems of early pregnancy and venereal disease.

Again this kind of connection to self-improvement might seem unlikely, more associated, perhaps, with the puritan fundamentalism of mainstream Protestant groups of the times like the Methodists and Presbyterians. But this was a direct copy of a similar movement among New Thought women in America. The movement had from its earliest days made a neo-gnostic connection between sexual purity and spiritual advancement.

This wonderfully inspired and energetic woman has, until recently, been almost lost from Australia’s history books. Historians, writers and academics have traditionally been hostile to expressions of overt spirituality, and have dismissed important figures such as Sister Veni Cooper-Mathieson as quacks unworthy of serious examination. But perhaps a new generation of thinkers will recognise these fascinating figures as the great pioneers they were, and re-instate them as important figures in literary and cultural history.

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WALTER MASON is an Australian academic and writer with a long-standing interest in meditation, prayer and other contemplative practices. His first book Destination Saigon was named one of the 10 best travel books of 2010. His new book is Destination Cambodia. Website:

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 141 (Nov-Dec 2013)

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The Dual Search for the Philosophers’ Stone

3182676676_1deebaecb8_oBy RICHARD SMOLEY

To say what the Philosophers’ Stone – the great goal of alchemy – is, one has to know. And to know, one must have attained it. I cannot claim to have done this, so what follows must be speculation.

The mystery grows deeper the closer one attempts to look. Even to say what alchemy itself is proves difficult. Of course, everyone knows what alchemy is – or thinks he knows: it is an outmoded form of science in which men in conical hats cooked and mixed various strange substances trying to make gold out of base elements. Or they sought to make the Philosophers’ Stone, a substance that was supposed also to produce gold – and to confer physical immortality besides. This project was totally deluded, but somehow gave rise to modern chemistry with all its wonders and curses.

However cartoonish it may be, this picture has some truth to it. Or so the stories suggest. According to one, the seventeenth-century Flemish scientist Jean-Baptiste van Helmont once received a curious visitor to his laboratory. The stranger did not identify himself, but offered to give his host a piece of the Philosophers’ Stone. Van Helmont accepted on the condition that he be allowed to conduct his own experiments on it in the stranger’s absence. His guest readily agreed, asking nothing in return for the substance; the scientist’s conversion, he said, would be reward enough. The stranger left, never to be seen again.

“I saw and handled the Philosophers’ Stone,” van Helmont wrote. “It was a saffron-coloured powder, very heavy, and it glittered like splinters of glass.”

Van Helmont had his assistants melt eight ounces of mercury in a crucible. He then added the powder and sealed the vessel. Fifteen minutes later he opened it and was astounded to find a lump of gold.

In 1666, the Dutch scientist Helvetius had a similar experience. Given the Philosophers’ Stone by a stranger, he was able to transmute a piece of lead pipe into gold that an assayer called the finest he had ever seen. Later, when the gold was melted down, mixed with silver, and separated out again, there was more gold than there had been at the beginning. Evidently some of the silver had been transformed by contact with this alchemical gold.

Such stories abound in the literature of the early modern era. We read not only of mysterious strangers visiting early scientists, but of such figures as the fifteenth-century French alchemist Nicolas Flamel, who, having learned the secret of the Great Art (as alchemists call their practice), amassed a tremendous personal fortune and endowed many churches and hospitals. Another Frenchman, Jacques Coeur, allegedly used his alchemically created wealth to bail out his bankrupt nation after the Hundred Years’ War. Alchemists were particularly welcome at the Hapsburg court of Austria in the seventeenth century, where they would commemorate their feats by striking their transmuted gold into elaborate medallions, at least one of which still exists.

Alchemy, then, appears to resemble chemistry to some degree. In fact one of the few practicing alchemists that I know in the US is a former chemistry professor who abandoned the conventional form of the science because he found it boring. But both the Stone and alchemy itself may offer greater mysteries still.

A completely different perspective on the subject appears in a book called The Hermetic Tradition by the Italian esotericist Julius Evola (1898-1974). For Evola, alchemy is not about gold and metals and stones. These expressions are just blinds to cover the alchemist’s real goal – immortality in the true sense of the word.

Evola distinguishes between immortality and mere survival after death. The latter is the lot of ordinary men. They go on to a shadowy netherworld like the Greek Hades or the Sheol of the Old Testament and lose all sense of personal consciousness. “In the eternal sleep, in the larval existence of Hades, in the dissolution – which is thought to be the destiny of all those for whom this life and the forms it takes constitute the beginning and end of everything human – in all this only those will escape who, while still in life, have learned how to focus their consciousness upon the higher world.” Evola goes on to criticise the conventional belief that “immortality is a certainty, not a problematical possibility.”

It was, Evola contends, the goal of initiation in the mystery schools of antiquity to confer this immortality. He quotes Plotinus, the philosopher of the third century CE, who wrote, “As the gods must one be, not as good men. It is not that one must free oneself from sin, but that one must transform oneself into a god.” After the decline of paganism and the triumph of Christianity, which did not support this effort in the slightest, the alchemical path was created as a means of concealing it. From this point of view, Evola claims, it was “much better then to speak of Mercury and Sulfur, of metals and puzzling things and impossible operations” than to allow the pure teaching to be desecrated by religion.

What, then, is the real alchemy? For Evola, it is the transformation of the body, especially in relationship to the spirit, to the life force. By this process the body goes from imprisoning the spirit to expressing it in a perfect way. “The corporeal principles are elevated to a higher plane, and ‘the two are made one’ in a spiritual corporeality; and the word that serves… to express that corporeality will be… the Philosopher’s Stone.” The symbol of the Stone is chosen because at this point “the body, as a completed, organised, and stable Nature is a ‘fixed’ thing as opposed to the instability of psychic principles and the volatility attributed to ‘spirits’.” This image evokes Christ’s parable that speaks of a man building his house upon rock rather than sand.

This state, Evola emphasises, is the true goal of alchemy. Its attainment is difficult and uncertain, and particularly in its later stages is hard to grasp. But that is not surprising: one cannot be expected to grasp something that one has not experienced for oneself, particularly something that is so deeply at odds with ordinary understanding.

In any event, much of Evola’s discussion, although it is far more lucid than we find in traditional alchemical texts, remains mysterious and puzzling. But there is one part of the process that is reasonably clear – the journey to the gates of death. By some process (which Evola does not describe) the candidate is brought into a kind of catatonic state that resembles death – except that he remains conscious during this process and then returns to life. This confrontation confers immortality – a stage that Evola equates with the alchemical term albedo or “whitening.”

Evola does not talk much, or at all, about the actual experience that the candidate undergoes during this initiation. Indeed the only first-hand account of such a process that I know of can be found in a book called Opening the Dragon Gate, in which a Chinese wizard named Wang Liping tells of his initiation into Taoist alchemy under the guidance of two masters in the almost unimaginable setting of Mao’s Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. Wang undergoes a death and rebirth process that matches Evola’s description.

There are other steps to the alchemical process as well. After the whitening stage, there is the rubedo, or “reddening,” in which the now-immortal spirit is reunited and reintegrated with the physical body. Does this confer physical immortality? The alchemical legends suggest that it does. Nicolas Flamel was reported to be seen hundreds of years after his lifetime in the fourteenth century; the eighteenth-century savant the Comte de St.-Germain, another heir to the alchemical legacy, was similarly said to be centuries old; and the Taoists have their legends of the Eight Immortals, whom author Victor H. Mair describes thus: “They are immune to heat and cold, untouched by the elements, and can fly, mounting upward with a fluttering motion. They dwell apart from the chaotic world of man, subsist on air and dew, are not anxious like ordinary people, and have the smooth skin and innocent faces of children.”

Like practically all legends, these tales are unverifiable, although by the same tack, they are impossible to refute: we cannot go through all seven billion people on earth one by one and prove that none of them has lived for hundreds of years. The physical immortality to which alchemy points remains, as Evola says, a “problematical possibility,” waiting for us around a corner that may or may not exist.

All this said, it is hard to entirely dismiss the more familiar version of alchemy. There are practicing alchemists who do work with metals, and, as we saw at the beginning of this article, there were even some who claimed to have attained the summit of this work. Again, these achievements remain elusive and legendary, but again negative proof is impossible.

Thus we are left with a dual alchemy. One path attempts to transform the essence of a metal so that it reaches its most perfect form (which was always held to be gold). The other path is aimed at transforming human nature. In the end, do these goals converge? They can only do so if the principle of consciousness that dwells within us is fundamentally the same as that which dwells in all of nature, animate and supposedly inanimate. In that case the two would in the end be one.

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Titus Burckhardt, Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul, Translated by William Stoddart, Penguin, 1971

Chen Kaiguo & Zheng Shunchan, Opening the Dragon Gate: The Making of a Modern Taoist Wizard, Translated by Thomas Cleary, Tuttle, 1998

Julius Evola, The Hermetic Tradition: Symbols and Teachings of the Royal Art, Translated by E.E. Rehmes, Inner Traditions, 1985

Fulcanelli, The Dwellings of the Philosophers, Translated by Brigitte Donvez and Lionel Perrin, Archive Press, 1999

Cherry Gilchrist, Everyday Alchemy: How to Use the Power of Alchemy for Daily Change and Transformation, Rider, 2002

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola, Alchemy: The Secret Art, Thames & Hudson, 1973

Victor H. Mair, Wandering on the Way: Early Taoist Tales and Parables of Chuang Tzu, Bantam, 1994

Mark Stavish, The Path of Alchemy: Energetic Healing and the World of Natural Magic, Llewellyn, 2006

David Goddard, The Tower of Alchemy: An Advanced Guide to the Great Work, Samuel Weiser, 1999


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; and Forbidden Faith: The Secret History of Gnosticism. This article is adapted in part from his Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions (coauthored 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. His recent book is Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History, which contains many articles that originally appeared in New Dawn.

The above article appeared in New Dawn Special Issue Vol 7 No 3

Read this article with its illustrations and much more by downloading
your copy of New Dawn Special Issue Vol 7 No 3 (PDF version) for only US$4.95

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

Ritual Magic in Theory & Practice

levi-transcendental-magicBy RICHARD SMOLEY

Several years ago I decided to do an evening-long introduction to ritual magic at the New York Open Center, one of the city’s best-known gathering places for mind, body, and spirit activities. Soon before it was about to start I told myself, with some surprise, “My God! I’m about to do ritual magic with a bunch of people who have walked in off the streets of New York!”

Despite my apprehensions, the evening went off well. Power was raised, channelled in a certain direction, and then the ritual was closed. The only negative result was a comment I got back on a feedback sheet from a participant, who said she was shocked that I did not begin the ritual by invoking the holy archangels of the four directions (usually given as Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel).

The person who complained was both right and wrong. In ritual magic, it is essential to create a sacred space to work in. But it is not essential to do this by invoking the four archangels specifically. In fact there are many ways to do it. Invoking the archangels is part of the Western tradition of high magic, particularly as handed down by the extremely influential Victorian occult society known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Here is another, quite different way to create a sacred space, from the Native American medicine man Rolling Thunder (known as “RT” to his friends), as described by one of his students:

We started a fire in the fire pit and formed a circle around it, warming ourselves in the chilly weather. RT pulled out a pouch of Five Brothers Tobacco, pure tobacco with no artificial ingredients. He passed the pouch around, each of us taking a little bit of tobacco in our hands. RT then led us in a prayer, starting out with Father Sun, Mother Earth, Grandmother Moon, and All Our Relations. He would include “the East where the Sun rises, to the South where the heat comes from, to the North where the cold comes from, and to the West where the sun sets.” RT would vary the order and the wording from time to time, just to maintain our attention.1

This is somewhat simpler than a lengthy invocation and visualisation of archangels. The version I used in the ritual in New York was simpler still; at the outset I simply asked the participants to visualise a pillar of light in each corner of the room.

This anecdote illustrates two basic concepts of ritual magic: (1) it is important to create a sacred space in which to work; and (2) there are many methods for accomplishing the same purpose. While many people associate the word “ritual” with something rigid and formalised, ritual magic, practiced at its best, is neither. Rather it’s a flexible system, with enough structure to give form to one’s intention, and with enough pliability to give the practitioner a great deal of leeway in actual practice.

In my brief description of the New York ritual, I mentioned another important part about ritual magic – raising power. No one knows what power is (used in this sense), and at the same time everyone knows what it is. We cannot say whether it is a form of electromagnetic energy, the life force known as chi, or something quite different from either of these. But all of us have experienced its effects, and, moreover, all of us have raised it ourselves, usually without knowing what we are doing.

Remember the last time you entered a room in which an argument was about to break out. Although probably nothing was different about the air or the lighting or any of the physical aspects of the room, you undoubtedly noticed a feeling of tension and perhaps danger in the atmosphere. This tension becomes even more palpable if the room is silent, and the pressure that you feel to dispel it becomes extremely intense. One way of dispelling it is to express it somehow, and if the tension is not too strong, it can be broken when someone simply speaks. At other times, it erupts in an argument or even a physical fight.

Another example is the classic situation of the teenage dance. At the outset the boys are ranged at one end of the hall, the girls at the other. Everybody is too shy to begin dancing, and again an extreme amount of tension accumulates in the room. Finally one courageous couple breaks the tension and begins to dance. The energy starts to flow. It is expressed through dancing (and perhaps later on, sexually).

Most of the time this raising of power is completely unintentional and undesired. Its presence causes a great deal of discomfort, and depending upon an individual’s personality type, he may try to get rid of it by giving in, arguing, or simply leaving. The magician, by contrast, wants to raise this power. But he (or she) chooses to do it only in certain circumstances and for specific results.

The raising of power partially explains another feature we have seen in ritual magic – the creation of a sacred space of some kind. It can be done, as we have seen, by marking out the four directions; traditional magicians have also done it by drawing a geometric figure, such as a circle or a pentagram, with the point of a wand or a sword in the space around them. The actual shape does not matter as much as building an invisible sanctuary where certain forces are kept in and stray influences are kept out.

I’ve said that the magician raises power for specific intention, and in this context it’s important to note that power in this sense, like the Force in the Star Wars films, is morally neutral. It can be used for good or evil or for that matter mixed ends. Using it for good purposes – such as healing or blessing or cleansing – is known as white magic. Using it for harmful purposes, such as cursing or coercion, is black magic. These terms are well-known; a less familiar one is grey magic, which is done for mixed motives. In all likelihood few magicians probably practice grey magic intentionally, although most have probably done so without entirely realising it. I personally would characterise doing a magical ritual to find a lover as grey magic; doing a ritual to make a specific person fall in love with you would be closer to black magic, since it intentionally interferes with the free will of another person.

All these reflections lead to some questions: Does ritual magic work? If so, how? And since practicing magic for selfish ends is at best morally ambiguous, why do it at all?

The Astral Light

To look at how magic works, it’s helpful to understand a concept that has fallen into disuse in recent years but still occupies a central place in Western magic: the astral light. Esoteric texts from the Renaissance and early modern era often refer to it as the anima mundi, or “the soul of the world.”

“God is light,” the Bible tells us (1 John 1:5). Esotericism regards this image as a specific and accurate picture of reality. This light pervades the universe; there is nowhere and nothing it is not, but it is modified, its purity and intensity are filtered and diluted, as it proceeds through various levels of manifestation. Esoteric theory holds that this light reaches us on earth only after passing through the zones of the stars and planets, whose influences it absorbs; hence its name.

Astral light must not be confused with physical starlight. It is a subtle matter, imperceptible to the five senses and to the implements of science. “It is the common mirror of all thoughts and forms,” writes the nineteenth-century French magus Éliphas Lévi, “the images of all that has been are preserved therein and sketches of things to come, for which reason it is the instrument of thaumaturgy and divination.”2

To form a more or less accurate picture of this light, one need only ask, what is the substance of a thought? Neurochemical responses, a scientist may say. While that may be true up to a point, we don’t experience these images as neurochemical events; we experience them subjectively as images and forms. In this latter form, they can be said to be made up of astral light.

A more topical analogy comes from the world of computers. Hardware, software, and networks together form cyberspace, a dimension that, while in no way separate from the workings of computers, seems to obey its own laws and possess its own reality. This resemblance between the apparently outmoded world of the occult and the sophisticated ideas of cutting-edge science has not gone unnoticed: Silicon Valley is a hotbed of interest in the esoteric, and computer aficionados sometimes speak of cyberspace as a kind of bardo – a term used in The Tibetan Book of the Dead to designate the astral plane.

The fine matter of the astral light is also believed to form the subtle or “astral body” of humans, giving literal force to the words of Shakespeare’s Prospero: we are indeed “such stuff as dreams are made on.” Shakespeare probably meant these words metaphorically; he was saying that we are frail, transitory, ephemeral. But then so are dreams and mental images.

This is not to say that the astral light is itself a frail substance; occultists consider it indestructible. But this subtle matter does not hold shapes well. Dream figures constantly shift form, and even before our waking eyes mental images rise and fall like waves. For this reason some esoteric teachings figuratively refer to this substance as “water.” Under most circumstances, practically none of the thoughts or images formed in this “water” ever come into physical manifestation; there is not enough force behind them to make that happen. Hence, the central aspects of occult magic has to do with forming, holding, and energising a shape composed of astral light. If enough power and skill are used in its creation, the image will sooner or later manifest in the physical world.

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In theory the process sounds simple enough, and in a way it is, but it is not so easy to accomplish. To begin with, in order to manifest in the physical world, an image must have a steady, consistent form in the mind’s eye. In practice, however, few things are more difficult to achieve, since it is notoriously hard to hold an image in one’s mind for all but the briefest time. This may be partly due to a lack of mental discipline, but it also reflects the nature of the astral light itself. It is fluid and slippery; trying to hold it is like trying to grab water with one’s bare hands. Much of magical practice consists of moulding this elusive substance. Hence magical training emphasises, above all else, mental concentration and will.

Look at some object near you. Now close your eyes and try to visualise it. Then open your eyes again, and compare your mental picture of the object with the object itself.

If you’re like most people, you’ll find some discrepancy between the object and your picture of it. You may find that you were able to imagine some parts of it better than others, or that you could imagine it as seen from one angle but not from another. You’ll probably find not only that it’s hard to keep your mind on the same picture, but that it’s difficult to create an entirely accurate image even of an everyday object right in front of you.

One part of magical training is intended to hone the skill of visualisation. The magician may begin by taking extremely simple objects or forms – geometric shapes, for example, like triangles and circles – and attempting to visualise them. Later on, the aspirant may be able to proceed to more complicated things like three-dimensional objects. A piece of fruit, an orange, for example, is a good thing to use, since one can imagine not only its appearance, but also its taste, smell, and texture.

Visualisation and imagination form only one aspect of the discipline. The second and equally important part is the conditioning of the will. The mind is not likely to enjoy concentrated imagination at first; it will probably rebel and drift on to its ordinary worries and fantasies. The only way to train it is to constantly bring it back to the object.

Such work is often tedious, and the beginner may be able to practice for only a few minutes a day before concentration gives out. Gradually, however, these practices will achieve their end. The act of constantly bringing the mind back to the object, despite boredom or frustration, begins to form a small core around which the will can constellate. And the will is the magician’s principal tool.

So far this procedure resembles the “creative visualisation” described in many books. Creative visualisation, however, generally doesn’t go past this point. Nothing more may be needed: sometimes the greatest hurdle lies in simply formulating a clear goal. But often the enterprise requires some sacrifice: an additional investment of vital energy to literally give life to the desired image.

This brings us back to the need to raise power. For a process of ritual magic to be complete, it must have a clear and specific form in the mind of the practitioner – and enough power must be directed toward it to ensure it manifests.

This does not always happen. To cite another personal experience, about fifteen years ago I was on a retreat with a group holed up in a country house in Derbyshire, England, learning to practice magical techniques. One of the chief things taught was raising power, which was done by having the group (of about a dozen people) channel mental energy in a certain direction. Throughout most of the retreat this power was directed to an actual sink – a drain in the floor of one of the utility rooms. The reason for doing this was quite clear. We were learning to raise power, but this power could not be allowed to float around in the atmosphere. It would create enormous tension (and there was tension enough anyway); given enough momentum, it would start to cause mayhem. So for training purposes the power was directed to the ground – it was literally “earthed.”

Such was the practice for most of the retreat, but toward the end each of us was allowed to raise power and direct it toward whatever we wished. We all took turns: we sat in a room on our own while the other members of the group directed power toward us. When it came to be my turn, I decided to channel this power toward realising a particular project I had in mind at the time.

But it was no good. I could not focus the power in the direction I wanted; it felt as if it kept slipping and sliding away from me. I tried to recoup my efforts more than once, but soon the time was up. The whole experience had the depressing quality of a premature ejaculation.

Where did the failure lie? I certainly felt power being sent in my direction; that was not the problem. And the project I was developing was clear enough in purpose and intent. Rather the failure came from my own will. Although I did my best to work with the power through the exercise, there was some level at which I was not interested enough in this project to make it manifest.

It was, as a matter of fact, a book project, and it came as no surprise to me a few weeks later when I learned that all the publishers to whom my agent had submitted the project rejected it. None of this was especially tragic; all writers have projects that they come up with and never manage to materialise; in fact, these generally far outnumber the successful ones. But the whole experience taught me something about the nature of will.

Will, as I’ve said, is a chief characteristic of the ritual magician, and from my experience, I would say that the will is in many ways as subtle and elusive as the astral light itself. Where exactly is my will? In my superficial wishes and desires? In my gut? In the deep and inaccessible reaches of my heart? I would say that for the will to be truly effective, it must lie in, and encompass, all these parts of one’s being; if one is conflicted or ambivalent, the results will be nil.

All this helps to answer a question that was posed earlier: Does ritual magic work? It does work, but it is a subtle and difficult process that requires a great deal of training and mastery – and especially self-knowledge – in order to succeed.

The Importance of Ritual

Ritual magic, as practiced in the West, is an elaborate and somewhat cumbersome discipline. Fully devoted practitioners devote an enormous amount of effort to making and obtaining robes, wands, swords, cups, talismans, incense, and other appurtenances of the magician’s craft. Are these necessary? They are – nearly every ritual of any kind requires some kind of paraphernalia – but the complexity and elaborateness of these things can vary greatly. Purists among magicians tend to say that tools that the practitioner makes himself, from scratch, are the ones that have most power. And from what we’ve already seen in this article, we can understand why. Power follows attention. And something that has had a great deal of effort and attention directed toward it, even if it is crudely executed, is likely to have more power than a more polished object that has been manufactured.

Is ritual necessary in order to make one’s will manifest? After all, if it’s simply a matter of raising power and focusing it on an image, what need is there for a ritual at all? Can’t it be done by thought power alone?

In fact, it can; and that is the theory behind creative visualisation and what some portions of the New Age world call “manifesting.” In these techniques it’s enough to work exclusively through thought power – if the will is strong enough. These practices differ from prayer in that they don’t necessarily invoke the favour of God or a god in order to operate; rather it is a matter of simply using certain universal (though little-known) occult laws. They differ from ritual magic in that no physical operation is necessary.

Given all this, the reason for practicing ritual magic is twofold: in the first place, ritual magicians are drawn to this kind of activity. For them the more inward and sedentary acts of prayer and meditation may seem a little bloodless. There is a certain satisfaction to be gained from making and wielding magical implements in a way that’s perhaps not very different from the reasons people sometimes prefer to build their own bookcases or brew their own beer. This may seem fairly obvious, but it is not trivial. There is a part of the mind that will not take anything seriously that it cannot see or touch, and ritual magic is meant to address – and involve – this part of the mind.

The second reason is both grander and more abstract. Man, it is said, is a bridge between worlds. He is the only creature that we know of who is capable both of extending his mind to sublime and mystical levels of experience and of doing and acting in physical reality. Some esoteric teachings would go so far as to say that this is our function as human beings, and that many of our sufferings and discontents occur because we have forgotten it. In light of this idea, we can see how ritual magic can be valuable and effective in its own right, quite apart from whatever apparent results it might achieve. It enables the magician to serve as a conduit between the higher and lower worlds, and to assist in the work of unifying them.

There is a great deal about ritual magic that I haven’t been able to discuss in an article of this length – divination, for example, which in its many forms attempts to take a kind of reading of the patterns in the astral light in order to find out what is likely to happen in the physical world. (The Tarot and the I Ching are two common methods used by magicians today to do this.) Nor have I been able to explore the issue of raising and interacting with spirits – invisible entities that, under the right circumstances, can communicate with us and can also have an effect in the physical world. These are large and important subjects in their own right, and serve to indicate that ritual magic, practiced in the West for centuries, retains its fascination and its power.

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  1. Sidian Morning Star Jones and Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., The Voice of Rolling Thunder: A Medicine Man’s Wisdom for Walking the Red Road, Bear & Co., 2012, 6.
  2. Éliphas Lévi, Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual, trans. A.E. Waite, 1896; repr., Bracken Books, 1995, 15.


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; and Forbidden Faith: The Secret History of Gnosticism. This article is adapted in part from his Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions (coauthored 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. His recent book is Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History, which contains many articles that originally appeared in New Dawn.

The above article appeared in New Dawn Special Issue Vol 7 No 2

Read this article with its illustrations and much more by downloading
your copy of New Dawn Special Issue Vol 7 No 2 (PDF version) for only US$4.95

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

Australia: A Police State

police_stateBy STEVEN TRITTON

The government is charting an audacious new course in the ‘war against terrorism’ and it has important implications for us all. At the time of writing, the Australian parliament has passed the first of three tranches of controversial new national security legislation.

Officially known as the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014, these new laws are an affront to democracy and mark an unprecedented threat to the freedom and privacy of all Australians. The raft of measures will considerably strengthen powers for spy agencies and deepen the coercive surveillance apparatus in Australia. There will be no time limit or sunset clause on the Bill.

The new laws give Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) officers much greater power to access computers, computer systems and computer networks. This includes access to any number of computers where only a single warrant needs to be issued, including the potential to monitor “an entire corporate network or an entire internet service provider network or at the extreme end the whole internet.”1

Referring to the new legislation, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, whose party didn’t support the Bill, said in a media release: “Big brother surveillance won’t make Australia safer. These are unprecedented powers that invade the privacy of all Australians for no security benefit.”2

Australian Lawyers Association President Greg Barns told Fairfax Media that the new laws would give security agencies carte blanche, “to surveil anyone, anytime, anywhere within Australia’s borders and possibly overseas if they have a jurisdictional connection to Australia.”3

Mr Barns explained: “This effectively makes it easier for ASIO to spy on all of us and in the absence of strong privacy protections in Australia, what will happen is inevitably there will be abuses of that power. In particular the fundamental right to privacy will be substantially impacted in a very negative way.”4

Under the new laws ASIO officers will have broad civil and criminal immunity. This means that intelligence officers would not be subject to prosecution if they were to use force or commit a crime in the course of a new class of “special intelligence operation” (SIO). While ASIO employees need to apply to the Attorney-General for authorisation to conduct an SIO, there is no limit on how many operations can be designated as such.

In light of the Edward Snowden scandal that hit the US National Security Agency, the new laws strengthen penalties for the leaking of information. Any intelligence officer found copying or removing classified intelligence material without authorisation could now face up to three years jail. If the officer is found to have passed information to a third party, they could face up to ten years imprisonment.

There are new offences created for anyone found to reveal or share information about an SIO. Whistleblowers and anyone else who discloses an SIO could face up to five years jail, or up to ten years if it endangers someone’s health and safety or prejudices the effective conduct of an operation.

There are deep concerns that journalists could ‘commit’ criminal offences and face jail for publishing stories, even when disclosure is in the public interest.

Seventeen recommendations by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security concerning the legislation, that were accepted by the government, still leave wide open the possibility to prosecute journalists and editors.

The recommendations do little to mitigate circumstances of an offence as the Director of Public Prosecutions would be under considerable pressure to prosecute anyone who revealed the information, “particularly if it was serious revelations that embarrassed the government,” said Mr Barns.5

When asked if there should be a public interest defence, Mr Barns replied, “absolutely.” Mr Barns further explained that unlike other jurisdictions such as the United States, United Kingdom and Canada that “have a constitutional right to freedom of speech,” Australia does not “have sufficient human rights protections… and so what it means is an editor would be at risk of being prosecuted and the public interest defence wouldn’t fly.”6

Dr. Binoy Kampmark of RMIT University in Melbourne, in an online article ‘‘Australia’s Police State: ‘Coercive Surveillance’ and the New Security Laws,” elucidated on the wider ramifications of the new laws:

“Turning off the spigot on information about government activity is a fundamental aim of the new laws, a regime in desperate search of an enemy. The enemy, rather than being tangible, security threats of the ‘existential’ sort actually become the writing class, the intelligentsia (if such a term ever deserves to be used in Australia) and those who so happen to publish material on special intelligence operations, notably of the abusive sort.”7

Broadening executive powers with no independent judicial oversight increases the risk such powers will be abused, says Dr. Kampmark:

“When oversight mechanisms for intelligence gathering are diluted, or simply evaded, the prospects for abuse are all but inevitable. Organisations have a habit of getting lazy over time, and this rule of sloth is rather hard to resist in the field of intelligence gathering.”8

It has also emerged the new laws will criminalise disclosures and reporting on SIOs even when “illegal activities” have been conducted by intelligence officers, or a bungled operation results in the death of an innocent person.9

Even more disturbing than procedural abuses, writes Dr. Kampmark, is the “ominousness” of the Bill that “gives a rather bright green light to intelligence officials to run riot in paramilitary fashion against enemies of the state.” With its “scope of the immunity from prosecution, the shoddy compensation regime, and the lessening of oversight,” the new legislation could plausibly “leave the way open to a torture system.”10

In his closing thoughts on the new laws and the spectre of a mandated torture system, Dr. Kampmark warns: “ASIO is being given a broader policing scope, one that involves interrogation, detention, and good old psychological mauling… The Attorney General has all the cards at this point, and is determined to convert ASIO into a playground bully with policing potential.”11

Similar views on the increasingly empowered ASIO come from Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales, George Williams, who spoke of the “extraordinary regimes” federal governments will now be able to implement:

“These provide for preventative detention orders, control orders and questioning and detention by ASIO. None of these regimes can now be found in nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Not even Israel allows its domestic spy agency to detain innocent citizens and subject them to jail if they refuse to answer questions.”12

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There are two further tranches of national security legislation to pass through federal parliament at this time of writing, all of which contain disturbing draconian measures.

The second tranche of new national security legislation, the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill will make it a criminal offence for Australian nationals to travel to, or remain in, any area declared by the foreign affairs minister as a “no-go zone.”

These zones will be declared according to the presence of “terrorist” organisations engaging in hostile activities, and could be anywhere in the world. Anyone returning from a proscribed area will be compelled to prove they had not engaged in any terror-related activity.

The new laws restricting Australian citizen travel to “no-go zones” are “unprecedented among western democracies, according to terrorism experts.”13 Professor George Williams says the laws could criminalise anyone travelling to a no-go zone regardless of their reason for the visit, unless demonstrated for a specific “legitimate” reason as identified by the government:

“A person could escape conviction only by proving that they went to the area solely for a reason identified by the government as legitimate. The Bill says that it is a defence to enter a no-go zone such as to provide humanitarian aid or visit a family member. On the other hand, a person could be jailed if they went there to visit a friend, undertake freelance journalism, for a religious pilgrimage or to conduct business.”14

The new laws will broaden the existing prohibition on “engaging in armed hostilities in a foreign State” with the substitute phrase “engages in subverting society,”15 thus targeting anyone committing subjectively-determined activities not necessarily related to terrorism.16

As Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney Ben Saul said in his submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security:

“The Explanatory Memorandum is entirely misleading to suggest (at p. 7) that the definition of this offence is similar to the definition of a ‘terrorist act’, since the latter also includes the conjunctive requirements that conduct be intended to (a) advance a political, religious or ideological cause and (b) coerce or influence a government, or intimidate the public.”17

As Prof. Saul outlines, this means “subverting society,” “transforms many ‘garden variety’ crimes under foreign national law (such as assault, malicious wounding, or arson), into an Australian national security offence.”18

The third piece of legislation is the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979. This Bill will be revised with new security amendments and is expected to be introduced to federal parliament later in 2014. The amendments to this Bill will require telecom companies retain their customers’ Internet and phone metadata for a period of up to two years. The amendments will permit security and law enforcement agencies to access this data without warrants.

Steve Dalby, regulatory chief of iiNet, Australia’s second-largest Internet provider, said in his submission to the Senate Standing Committee that the amendments threatened the civil rights of Australians and are incompatible with any democracy. He described the metadata retention scheme as indicative of “a regime obsessed with surveillance of the general population and the compilation of digital dossiers on every citizen, including children and the innocent…”19

Under current government-mandated regulatory requirements, all Australian telecommunications and Internet service providers are required to maintain interception and data collection capabilities for government surveillance purposes.

Fairfax Media revealed in December 2013 that security and law enforcement agencies are accessing massive flows of communications and Internet metadata from the customers of telecom companies.

“Australia’s leading telecommunications company, Telstra, has installed highly advanced surveillance systems to ‘vacuum’ the telephone calls, texts, social media messages and Internet metadata of millions of Australians so that information can be filtered and given to intelligence and law enforcement agencies,” wrote Phillip Dorling in an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 6 December 2013.20

That law enforcement agencies already have authorised access to massive flows of data was confirmed by a spokesperson from Telstra who told Fairfax Media the company was “required to provide reasonable assistance to law enforcement and national security agencies in response to lawful requests from these agencies.”21

Few people are aware that private data on Australian citizens is circulated amongst the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence-sharing group of nations that includes the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Assurances of oversights on intelligence sharing about Australians among the Five Eyes nations has been criticised in the Inquiry into the Comprehensive Review of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979.

In a submission to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange accused Australian government agencies of providing misleading evidence to a parliamentary inquiry.22 Responding to the Assistant Inspector General Jake Blight’s affirmations that data sharing on Australians “is regulated tightly by the Intelligence Services Act,” the WikiLeaks submission stated:

“In fact, the revelations of [US National Security Agency whistleblower] Edward Snowden have documented shared and integrated 5 Eyes databases, and that untargeted, bulk interception, collection and sharing of algorithmic analysis of private communications are routine among the 5 Eyes intelligence agencies.”23

The Wikileaks submission dated 24 September 2014 concludes:

“By expanding the scope of surveillance overreach to anyone that was ‘in the interest of Australia’s national security, Australia’s foreign relations or Australia’s economic wellbeing’, almost anyone could be caught, rendering the ‘strict oversight’ a gesture, a meaningless gesture in the context of mass surveillance, collection and sharing of intelligence.”24

The new security laws will give security and law enforcement agencies additional and stronger powers to spy on Australians, and much more of our data will be harvested and retained for arbitrary surveillance purposes, be that on home soil or of interest to intelligence agencies abroad.

There has been little public scrutiny and debate of the new laws, which have the unwavering support of the opposition Labor Party. Certainly, questions have been asked and objections raised, but these have all but been muffled by the cacophony of melodramatic hypotheticals and reactions to the dramatic events in the period during the passage of the Bills in parliament.

Paul Farrell of The Guardian expressed the sentiment of many journalists by lamenting the absence of a “concerted campaign” and “unified push by the media to stop” the passing of the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 in the Senate.25

Returning to a point made earlier in this article, lawyer Greg Barns rightly points out that one reason why this legislation sailed through parliament with little resistance is because Australia doesn’t “have a human rights act.” In comments to Fairfax Media, he said: “This sort of legislation is much easier to strike down in places like Canada and the UK where you got these rights that people can enforce. Here there’s nothing to hold it back. Nothing to stem the tide.”26

Raising the spectre of the new security laws paving the way toward authoritarianism, Tasmanian Independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie warned: “At some point in the future we’ll have spies kicking in doors and using force with no police alongside them and that is another step towards a police state.”27

In further remarks on National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014, Mr Wilkie told the House of Representatives:

“Why is the government – with the opposition’s support – wanting to overreach like this? I can only assume the government is wanting to capitalise on and exploit the current security environment… It is clearly overreach by the security services who have basically been invited to write an open cheque.”28

Commenting on the new laws and the potential impact on civil liberties and expansion of executive power, Dr. Kampmark remarked:

“It is no exaggeration to suggest that the current swathe of proposed laws risk placing Australia, not merely on a police state footing, but a garrisoned footing. Terrorism, for all its fearful properties, remains an idea, a tactic and a method. The consequences of responding to it are quite something else. Shredding civil liberties is the first step to admitting a failure in dealing with the very problem a society should resist.”29

The federal government’s draconian national security agenda has enjoyed an otherwise far less contentious reception amid the sensationalised theatre of terrorism. Indeed, there is a “delicate balance between freedom and security,” as Prime Minister Tony Abbott put it. But that delicate balance is threatened as our freedoms, rights and privacy are systematically eroded by the state. As Mr Barns opined, “it is the sort of legislation one would expect to find in an authoritarian society.”30

Professor Henry Giroux in a recent article, ‘Totalitarian Paranoia in the Post-Orwellian Surveillance State’, writes that “if the first order of authoritarianism is unchecked secrecy, the first moment of resistance to such an order is widespread critical awareness of state and corporate power and its threat to democracy…”31

Raising such “awareness” in Australia is now more “critical” than ever.

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Note: All links accessible at time of publication

  1. Ben Grubb, ‘New laws could give ASIO a warrant for the entire internet, jail journalists and whistleblowers’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 September 2014 at
  2. Scott Ludlam, ‘Big brother surveillance won’t make Australia safer’, Greens MPs, 25 September 2014 at
  3. Ben Grubb, ‘Parliament ‘bullied’ to pass national security laws, says Greens senator Scott Ludlam’, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 September 2014 at
  4. Ibid
  5. Ibid
  6. Ibid
  7. Dr Binoy Kampmark, ‘‘Australia’s Police State: ‘Coercive Surveillance’ and the New Security Laws’, Global Research, 27 September 2014 at
  8. Ibid
  9. Ben Grubb, ‘Media reporting of ASIO killings illegal under new national security laws, says law expert’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 September 2014 at
  10. Dr Binoy Kampmark, ‘Torture in Oz’, Counterpunch, 26-28 September 2014 at
  11. Ibid
  12. George Williams, ‘Anti-terror laws need proper scrutiny’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 October 2014 at
  13. Gay Alcorn, ‘No-go travel zones unprecedented among western democracies’, The Guardian, 22 September 2014 at
  14. Ibid, George Williams, ‘Anti-terror laws need proper scrutiny’
  15. See the Bill’s ‘Explanatory Memorandum’ at;fileType=application%2Fpdf
  16. Louise Yaxley, ‘ASIO’s new powers to expand beyond terrorism’, ABC, 2 October 2014 at
  17. Ben Saul, ‘Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 Submission 2’, 1 October 2014 at
  18. Ibid
  19. Stephen Dalby et al, ‘Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs’, iiNet, 29 July 2014 at
  20. Philip Dorling, ‘Telstra’s data ‘vacuum’’, The Age, 6 December 2013 at
  21. Ibid
  22. Julian Assange, ‘Comprehensive revision of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 Submission 46’, WikiLeaks, 24 September 2014 at
  23. Ibid
  24. Ibid
  25. Paul Farrell, ‘Journalists and whistleblowers will go to jail under new national security laws’, The Guardian, 26 September 2014 at
  26. Ibid, Ben Grubb, ‘Parliament ‘bullied’ to pass national security laws, says Greens senator Scott Ludlam’
  27. Matthew Knott and Ben Grubb, ‘New national security laws pave way for ‘police state’, says Andrew Wilkie’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 October 2014 at
  28. Ibid
  29. Dr Binoy Kampmark, ‘Winding back the Liberties: The New Anti-Terror Laws in Australia’, The Rule of Law Institute of Australia, 25 September 2014 at
  30. Ibid, Ben Grubb, ‘Parliament ‘bullied’ to pass national security laws, says Greens senator Scott Ludlam’
  31. Henry Giroux, ‘Totalitarian Paranoia in the Post-Orwellian Surveillance State’, Truthout, 10 February 2014 at


STEVEN TRITTON has written two articles for New Dawn: ‘Sleepwalking into the Surveillance Society’ (No. 145, July-Aug 2014) and ‘Australia: The End of Freedom?’ (Special Issue Vol. 8 No. 5). Steven co-authored Australia’s Security Nightmares with a chapter on raising awareness about national security challenges in 2012. Steven can be contacted at

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

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New Dawn Special Issue Vol.9 No.1

CoverV9N1  The History That You 

 Were Never Told 




The Secret Origins of the First World War

By Gerry Docherty & Jim Macgregor

The Killing of Diana
Assassination of the Humanitarian Princess

By John Morgan

Osama bin Laden & the Hidden Roots of Terror

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

The Islamic State
America’s Double-Edged Sword

By Dmitry Minin

The Lucky Country
A Subterranean State

By David Thrussell

Operation Mockingbird 2.0

By David Thrussell

Udo Ulfkotte
& the Long, Deep Tentacles of Operation Mockingbird

By David Thrussell

Oliver Stone vs. Mockingbird

By David Thrussell

Bilderberg Group
Boardroom of the New World Order

By Stephen Lendman

The Man Who Opposed Hitler

By Mehmet Sabeheddin

Forgotten Revolutionaries

By Mehmet Sabeheddin

The Untold Story of China’s Rise

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Marching Towards Disaster

What’s Really Behind the US Push in the Asia-Pacific? What are the dangers to Australia from Obama’s ’Pivot to Asia’? Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya investigates.

Dangerous Liaisons

Former Australian PM Malcolm Fraser’s interview on Sophia&Co about Australia’s relations with Russia, the role of China, and the US alliance.

Boom to Bust in 2015?

The Predictions of Martin Armstrong’s Market Cycle Theory. Steven Tritton introduces us to the man who says he can predict the next Global Financial Crisis.

Chemtrails & the Nuclear Connection

What the Mainstream Media Isn’t Telling You. Andy Whiteley & Ethan Indigo Smith share their shocking findings on a little known disaster in the making.

Australia: Lost in Asia & Beyond?

The global community is currently undergoing a period of vast & unprecedented change. Where is Australia headed? asks former Australian diplomat Reg Little.

Transformed by Lightning

Real Life Stories. When lightning strikes, it can sometimes change the lives of people in unexpected ways, writes Australian author Louis Proud.

The Bible: A Coded Text?

Richard Smoley examines claims there is a secret code in the ancient scriptures, separating the facts from the fiction.

Gematria: The Link Between Numbers & Letters

Richard Smoley offers a fascinating look at the ancient technique of Gematria that assigned numerical values to letters.

Vietnam: Encounters with the Spirit World

To attend a Vietnamese Lên đong ceremony, explains Dan Neiman, is to be transported into a supernatural world of gods and spirits.



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Sean Stone Speaks Out



As a post-2012 digitally-networked generation rushes headlong into a juncture between an ever-growing global corporatocracy, an ever-worsening financial barometer, never-ending military adventures and the drumbeats of World War III, an alternative dialogue on the Internet continues to grow thanks to ardent truthseekers like, among others, Luke Radkowski of We Are Change, Mel Fabregas of Veritas Radio, Alex Jones of InfoWars, and Sean Stone, the host of Buzzsaw, a weekly interview program broadcast on TheLip.TV.

Buzzsaw’s library of guests cover a broad range of topics that strike at the heart of our current human predicament – former World Bank lawyer and whistleblower Karen Hudes, Public Enemy’s Professor Griff (on Illuminati influence in the music industry), former Mossad agent Juval Aviv, Kerry Cassidy of Project Camelot, economic ‘hitman’ John Perkins, and Bilderberg exposer Daniel Estulin, among many others. In his Buzzsaw interviews, Mr. Stone takes the conversation to spaces the mainstream media dare not tread.

Some may be familiar with Mr. Stone as an actor, writer, producer and director of a number of Hollywood films, like his latest, Greystone Park, a horror film based on his true life experiences searching for the supernatural in an abandoned psychiatric hospital. Others may know him as the son of controversial filmmaker Oliver Stone, or as the co-host during the final season of Jesse Ventura’s ‘Conspiracy Theory’ on TruTV. For some, their first exposure to Sean Stone may have been on Fox’s ‘O’Reilly Factor’ where he elaborated on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s stance on Israel and the Holocaust, intending to give more depth to a man that the mainstream media tends to paint one-dimensionally as a ‘fanatic’. At a young 29 years of age, Mr. Stone is not only accomplished in the public arena, he’s also developed a deep spiritual foundation to his character that is well beyond his years.

Mr. Stone, like his father, is obviously not one to back down from controversy. Rather, he is one of the few to take a stand in a clearly whitewashed media climate. While it might be no surprise that TV shows are referred to as programs, Mr. Stone and Buzzsaw are doing their part to de-program.

– Marc Star

MARC STAR (MS): All of us truth seekers have experienced some process of awakening. What was yours?

SEAN STONE (SS): In one capacity, I started to awaken at 10-years-old when my father took me to India and Tibet on a vacation, and he taught me about the third eye. He showed me these monks who were meditating in Tibet and taught me about levels of patience and the principles of meditation. We were confronted with the extreme poverty of a place like India, where we saw a child die, literally, in the street. The mother just couldn’t feed the child anymore and it died, right there. In India, it feels like a million people within a square mile – the city blocks are filled with squalor and filth. There’s some wealth, but a lot of misery. On one level I awakened to the extreme material contradictions on our planet, along with the spiritual possibilities of existence.

But what does the third eye mean to a 10-year-old? The idea that you have a spiritual life, that you’re open to a higher power, or a higher meaning, despite all of these random, mundane acts of existence – you live, you suffer, you die. But what is it about?

I’ve always been on that trajectory of seeking out deeper meanings and deeper understandings. In junior high and high school, I was interested in history – and questioning the official accounts of history because my father had helped introduce these topics. When you’re 13 or 14 and you start watching a film like JFK… I would re-watch it and watch it again because there are so many things about how our country is really run and how people are manipulated to believe these fairy tales by the media and by the mainstream way of thinking.

So you start to take that awakening into politics and history and eventually you come across the deeper questions in history that intersect with secret societies – the banking cartels, the masonic groups, for example. Masonry is obviously a very broad range of people, although many of the most influential people in history have been Masons – but then there are obviously more secretive orders.

Then you look at the spiritual teachings and you come across the Gnostic sects within Christianity, the Sufis in Islam, the Kabbalists in Judaism, and you start to wonder, okay if there is this lineage of secret teachings in the spiritual sense, then what do I need to understand on this planet that is deeper than what the eyes and ears tell you.

That, I think, is the general journey of awakening. It went from the historical and intellectual sense of researching and doing my thesis at Princeton on the New World Order to an actual confrontation into the mystical and magical – because you can study the magical, you can study these sects of Illuminati, there’s all sorts of reports and accounts of them practicing rituals and magic. Then you actually confront these mystical, fantastic things – and that’s what happened when I went to Greystone Park, which is the basis of my recent film.

I started to seek out these haunted locations and once you’ve entered these places, once you’ve entered that realm, you start to hear things that are not meant to be there – phantom voices and screams. You get phone calls. And you get all these things along the way of your journey that make you realise, okay, there is more going on than what you can read in a book to understand.

MS: How was your thesis on the New World Order received at Princeton?

SS: At Princeton you have a thesis advisor and a secondary reader. My advisor was cool with my approach throughout the process because the approach was very rational. It was all predicated on either primary or secondary sources. The topic of the thesis was to research Henry Kissinger’s mentor, William Yandell Elliott, who was the Professor Emeritus of Politics at Harvard for about 40 years. He had trained all these guys from the Bundys, to Kissinger, to [Zbigniew] Brzezinski, to [Samuel] Huntington. Even [John F] Kennedy was in his class. This guy is obviously a tremendous figure and I was looking at his intellectual trajectory – he was basically recruited into the Round Table circles at Oxford.

The Round Table goes back to the Rhodes/Milner plan which, Cecil Rhodes stated in his will, was to re-incorporate America back into the British Empire. And that’s pretty much what the New World Order was about. It was about transcending the old formation of the British Empire into a new multinational system of power whereby you ultimately move toward one-world consolidation of government, of finance, of legal controls, and even the worldview becomes increasingly consolidated by Anglo-American morality.

That’s something you can trace. People like Carroll Quigley have done the work, in Tragedy and Hope, to lay out for us what was going on. Quigley was a professor at Georgetown who had the credentials and the reputation that he could say it and people either absorbed it and understood it, like [Bill] Clinton, or were not intellectual enough to have read it, or they tried to ignore him.

So when it came to my thesis, I was relying on people like him and the primary sources I came across, even digging into William Yandell Elliott’s correspondence and his own writings to understand how they envisioned this empire that was predicated on controlling the resources of the planet, and using these organisations like the United Nations and other formations to control those resources without putting too much of an American hand into the equation. It’s the idea of the informal empire. It’s the idea you don’t want to make your position too well known. It’s like creating the invisible hand in world affairs.

The British Empire is to my mind that invisible hand that people don’t want to talk about to this day. They think it’s over, and yet no, there’s a reason why the City of London is still the centre of finance and the pound sterling is still the strongest currency in the world. This empire still exists. It’s a commonwealth now with tremendous influence. The Queen is probably one of the biggest landholders in the world. The Crown holdings are immense. They have assets in all of these major corporations that own the resources of the planet.

It’s not a trivial thing to talk about the British Empire. You see the continuance of the influence of people like Tony Blair in the creation of the second Iraq war, for example, with the Niger documents. Or the British policy regarding, as Blair stated, the end of nation states. Around ‘99 or 2000 in Chicago he said there would be an end to the Treaty of Westphalia; there will be no more nation states. That’s exactly what we’re talking about. The destruction of the nation state and the preference of the empire, which is now corporate – or a corporate structure – to the idea of a sovereign nation state.

MS: This is an agenda that many out there aren’t yet ready to accept as true. Do you find yourself surrounded by awakened people, or by brick walls?

SS: I feel like in life, the interesting thing is, when you start to take a stand, and you send out signals to the universe of who you are and what you’re doing here, you tend to attract people that are on your wavelength. The universe intersects you with those who are basically on the level that you’re on. I’m always shocked by the level of ignorance that I find when I turn on the TV or when I do go outside of where I operate, and recognise there are a lot of sleepwalkers on the planet. But within myself and the circles I keep, I find that I tend to attract those who are more open minded.

MS: You seem to be a perfect fit as the host of Buzzsaw – with a well-versed background on politics, spirituality and the conspiracy. How did you end up in that seat?

SS: As I was completing my film, I met Tyrel Ventura, Jesse’s son. Tyrel had been a producer on ‘Conspiracy Theory’. They were about to shoot their final season and Jesse was dealing with this lawsuit against the TSA [Transportation Security Administration]. The TSA had been harassing him because of the metal in his body, and he felt there should be a more respectful way of treating a governor when going through these searches at the airport. So he was suing TSA and he couldn’t fly. As a result, Tyrel became a main point person for the show, and I met with Tyrel about coming on the show as his cohort. We would become the two main co-hosts doing the research, travel and investigation on camera. Based on my experience with ghost hunting and exploring these haunted places, and having researched on my own all the different theories regarding the alien presence on the planet and my familiarity with that world, they hired me. Tyrel and I became the two chief hosts of ‘Conspiracy Theory’ for season three.

That season was delayed a year because it was pretty controversial. Even though it doesn’t get into the topics of the political conspiracy, it did get into the topics of time travel, reptilians, the agenda of weapons in space – all these things that people might find more ‘far out’. Yet I think it struck a nerve to the point where, as opposed to the first two seasons of ‘Conspiracy Theory’ where you had buses and billboards promoting the show, the third season was delayed a year, and then they didn’t even put up any advertising for it. It felt to me like TruTV wanted the show to go away. And sure enough, after the third season it was over.

I was contacted by Will Gibson, Mel Gibson’s son, who works for The Lip, an online TV station. They were looking for content, so Tyrel and I came up with Buzzsaw, as a spin-off of ‘Conspiracy Theory’, where Tyrel and Tabetha Wallace would do the news on a weekly basis and I would do the interviews. I felt it was an elaboration of what we did on ‘Conspiracy Theory’, because when you’re doing a show like ‘Conspiracy Theory’, which is reality TV, you go in there with the intention of doing an interview and you come away with something that’s cut up and sensationalised to keep your audience hooked into the idea of some kind of imminent threat. There were a lot of stories I wanted to recount, from people like David Icke or Anthony Sanchez, about Dulce, but I didn’t have the time on ‘Conspiracy Theory’ to do it. Buzzsaw gives me a platform to actually go deeper into those interviews and conduct the long form discussions we now have.

Buzzsaw is now an archive of these 30-to-60 minute shows that people can look at and listen to at their own leisure. As long as the Internet is around, people will be able to go back and see what Sean Stone interviewed David Icke about in 2013. What did all these people have to say at that time in history. If you look at it as a whole, we have amassed a great wealth of knowledge on topics from everything from economics to the alien agenda to spiritual issues like what are we doing on Earth, to politics and history.

MS: All of these topics meet at a very important place right now – that is, the suppression and control of information in order to keep humanity fenced within carefully guarded reality. It makes it even harder to get at the truth when those who have the most influence over the information flow are disseminating disinformation. On a path of inquiry such as this, how does one discern?

SS: That’s an issue that even scientists deal with, this issue of empirical knowledge based on senses – and our senses are inherently flawed. They are designed to give us a very limited understanding of this universe. Which reality do you want to believe? Do you want to believe in a relativistic understanding of the universe? But even that has its limitations. Do you want to understand what’s going on in the realm of antimatter, dark matter and dark energy – the invisible forces? Do you want to hypothesise about that? Do you want to hypothesise about string theory and how many different dimensions are interacting with our own reality at any moment? Quantum theory and how that affects fantastic experiences that people have in this life – this relationship between consciousness to reality, that we are actually creating reality as we go through it, which, philosophically, is an old Kabbalistic/Gnostic understanding of the universe, that man is actually creating the universe as we go along.

It goes back really to who you are and what you choose to believe – who you are as a person. That’s what I went through with Greystone Park, my film. The film was an expression of the experiences I had in places like Greystone, the mental hospital, where I’m breaking into these haunted places and trying to decipher for myself, what did I see? Did I really see something fly by itself? Did a piece of wood really fly by itself? Or was that a gust of wind that I didn’t account for? Were those really voices and screams I heard or was it something planted to scare me? Was this a government psy-op to fuck with my mind?

That’s what the film tries to go towards, this notion of… is this an expression of the mind or is it something external? I believe that it’s a mixture of both. I believe our minds are actually creating the external reality. But not everybody can understand that. So people go back to their safe zone where there is an external reality, it’s quantifiable, it’s based on cause and effect, you can measure it and account for everything that occurs. Then there’s the more spiritual, quantum sense of reality in which reality is internal, we are creating/manifesting it and miracles can occur. There are things that are inexplicable to human understanding – but not to say that within a universal science they can’t be accounted for. But within our realm of understanding, we don’t have the knowledge to understand everything that occurs. It really boils down to who you are. I can’t answer that for anyone else.

MS: What you’re doing is potentially a threat to the established system. Do you feel you are stepping into dangerous territory? Do you feel observed?

SS: I feel I’ve been observed probably my whole life, before I even realised it. But again, the real question is, who actually runs this system? There are people who think they run the system – and there are certain tools and access to finance, for example. But I believe there is a higher order of powers on this planet. I don’t think humans are ultimately in control. When it comes to what is considered extraterrestrial, or extrahuman, in its origin that actually could exist interdimensionally, for example, then you’re talking about a higher level of consciousness that actually may find it necessary for people like me to play my role.

I believe very much what Shakespeare wrote. Shakespeare, whoever he was, was a Rosicrucian. He indicated a lot of esoteric knowledge through the plays. When he talks about all the world is a stage, the idea that we’re each just actors in this play, it’s very true. I don’t believe that anything happens without our higher Self, our higher Soul, knowing what we’re getting ourselves into and allowing it to occur.

To me there is no real danger or threat. It’s just a performance. This is just a film. This timeline is just one reel of the film. When it comes to an end, we’re not done. We go somewhere else. We’ll play our role somewhere else. So it’s really most important for us to be true and honest to who we are and to serve our mission here. And that’s, I think, the best thing you can do – not to run and hide or be afraid of these powers, or believe that money or materialism is going to save you because you’re not going to last here regardless. You’re not going to last more than maybe a hundred years on this planet. So really what you’re doing is affecting eternity, it’s not affecting just this moment.

MS: Why all of the secrecy at the top of this potentially non-human control structure?

SS: While there are certain nefarious agendas, at the same time there are certain agendas that are beyond human understanding. The universe is structured around order, geometrically, around the nature of light. Where the stars are in alignment to the Earth creates a certain hologram, a certain type of reality. That’s constantly shifting.

When the age comes to an end, as it did with Pisces, and we enter Aquarius, there is going to be a different shift and awakening with consciousness even if people don’t believe it – look technologically what is occurring because of the access phones and computers give us to each other, allowing us to connect physically in ways that historically maybe sorcerers or wizards or witches could possibly do with astral projection and remote viewing. The consciousness of the planet is connecting. What will occur is not necessarily for me to predict, but I do believe there are many reasons for secrecy, one being if you know the ending it will affect the way you play the game. You might get lazy. You might want to almost check yourself out of your actions because, in a sense, you want to feel like you have free will. And free will is a very important premise for this whole thing to occur. So there has to be a certain level of secrecy.

But again, when it comes to the more nefarious powers, say like the banking side of things, it’s not necessarily a secret anymore. People know things like the Federal Reserve system is a private operation by certain bankers, but we’re going along with it because at the end of the day we feel safer within the system as it is now created than the potential system that will come about from its dissolution. Sometimes you have to wait for the actual collapse to occur before you can actually introduce the solution. There are very few people who are strong and brave enough to take the leap into another possible reality or another future without being forced to do so.

MS: Earlier this year on your program Buzzsaw you did a somewhat ‘prophetic’ interview with former Mossad operative Juval Aviv in which he stated we’re heading “toward a third world war.” In recent months we’ve witnessed civil war in eastern Ukraine, the downing of MH17, the merciless Israeli bombardment of Gaza, and an escalation of conflict in the Middle East with the rise of the “Islamic State.” Where do you think we’re heading and what forces are driving current events? Are we on the road to World War III?

SS: Some people will say that we’ve been on the road to World War III as soon as World War II came to an end, because if you believe that the Albert Pike letters to [Giusseppe] Mazzini in the 19th century were actual letters and not apocryphal, then he talks about three world wars, and the third world war being predicated on the State of Israel-Middle East clash of religions and the end of the Judeo-Christian worldview and the entry of Luciferianism.

    I didn’t do anything prophetic with the Juval interview. We just talked about what we can see occurring. People are not very astute sometimes. They get so caught up in the moment, they don’t actually watch the overall shape of the geopolitical climate. You know that a collapse is imminent because the financial structure is predicated on derivatives that far exceeds the productivity of all the nations on the planet. Sooner or later that financial system is going to come to an end. The banks have become so large, they’re too large to collapse. But at the end of the day, if they don’t collapse, then something has to occur to shift them into a new order.

During the Juval interview I mentioned I had been told directly by people in the military, high level intelligence people, to inform people you know in Israel to leave, Israel’s about to get hit, war is coming. This was in April. So when they have this incident with the kids who get kidnapped, and they turn that incident into a war against Gaza, against Hamas, people think this is just a random act. No, these things are created. These events are created because there is a plan. Unfortunately, people are not planners, they’re not conspirators themselves. When you’re a filmmaker, for example, you know how things are planned because you work on it, you write scripts. I have a script that was written in 2009 that dealt with what occurred in St. Louis just a few months ago with the Ferguson incident. My story had to do with rioting in the suburbs of St. Louis, predicated on racial violence and the black community feeling repressed and offended by police actions in the killing of a young black kid.

These kind of things are not difficult to understand if you have an imagination to create it. But the problem is, most people are so caught up in their momentary activities they don’t have the imagination to see a different future. When you are in a position of power and you have money and influence, as leaders of countries and their associates – people that go to conferences like Bilderberg, the Bohemian Club, that belong to the Trilateral Commission and read and write their reports – they have time to imagine, they have time to create, they have time to formulate scenarios.

Whether or not World War III is coming is impossible to say because you could also say Obama has missed certain marks in that regard. Maybe he didn’t escalate the crisis with Russia quick enough over the Ukraine; maybe they didn’t utilise the Israel situation to escalate into a full on war between Hezbollah and Israel; maybe this Islamic State is actually bringing the United States, Iran and Russia together against a common enemy. I can’t tell you what’s coming because, again, I believe we’re all involved in creating our own reality and I believe that whatever occurs is ultimately going to be for the best spiritual interest of mankind.

MS: What are your feelings on the BRICS alliance and its impact on the rest of the world?

SS: I look at it as a welcome divestment from a US dollar based hegemony in the world. And what the BRICS states have been talking about. For example, China and Russia talking about an Earth defence shield, going back to Star Wars, talking about nuclear fusion based technologies. I’m shocked at the eventual impoverishment coming to this country because of the collapse of our industry and infrastructure. We don’t have any sensibility when it comes to the idea of high tech industries that require not just computer skills, but also industrial skills. Let’s do Mag-Lev rail, let’s go do fission and fusion processes to generate energy, let’s orient ourselves towards exploring space and terraforming other planets, let alone this one. All of these endeavours will help us better understand our own situation in the cosmos.

I do think there is a private sector that is heavily involved in space exploration, in the stargates, in Tesla-type technologies, and that’s being hidden and suppressed. That’s a crime against humanity to have that level of technology and understanding and not share, not educate your people, and let them fall into this level of ignorance where they’re only focused on the newest reality TV show, the next award ceremony, and they’re not actually endeavouring and wanting to be scientists. Kids are not growing up wanting to be scientists and presidents and astronauts anymore. They just want to be basketball players or a celebrity of some kind. That’s all they see, as far as someone to emulate. There’s a quote from Prince Ea’s rap song recently. He says the people we are imitating now, sixty years ago we would have said were an embarrassment. You would have called them out as examples of what not to be. And that’s the problem. We’ve flipped our society, our cultural intelligence, our social instinct to educate our young. We’ve flipped it all on its head.

When I see the BRICS nations talking about fusion, talking about investments in nuclear-based technologies, talking about missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond, and defending the Earth from comets and things like this, more power to them, because someone has to do it. The United States and the Western hemisphere have fallen off the map in that regard.

MS: Ultimately, though, doesn’t this breakaway civilisation that is behind every one of these topics have its influence, not just in the West, but in Russia and China as well?

SS: Of course. But again, we’re dealing with an issue we don’t quite understand. We’re dealing with cultures that are influenced by various parties. The Western world has been influenced by the Roman/Babylonian empire. That’s our cultural heritage here in the West. Russia has a slightly different cultural heritage, also splintered from Rome. The East Roman empire became basically what is Russian, but there is also something Slavic in the soul, in the spirit. The Chinese also have a mixture of Mongol, Khan and Hun blood. So there are different spiritual traditions in every part of the world. And that has something to do with the non-human entities that I’m talking about.

In regard to the idea that non-human entities are only some kind of Draco reptilians that rule the entire planet, I don’t think that’s quite accurate. I think there are different aliens, or what would be considered alien beings on this planet from different worlds. But again they tie into the various bloodlines. And so the white, Aryan Western world is of a different blood group and spiritual orientation than the Russians, than the Chinese, than the Africans. Maybe that’s what some of this warring has to do with – the fact of different soul groupings and different motivations for what is desired by different species.

MS: It’s a difficult puzzle to piece together once you go beyond physical reality.

SS: Even within physical reality because you start to deal with psyches. One of the things that fascinated me about studying history was trying to actually determine someone’s action. You think that person’s predictable, they’re a machine. They’re not a machine, they have a psyche. What’s actually going through their mind when they make a decision? Is it the interest of the council to take certain actions and they’re just following their duty? Or did they have a fight with their wife that morning and they’re in a bad mood when they make a decision? Or do they just really want to screw somebody over, somebody they’re pissed off with, so they make a decision against what the other person is saying. It’s always difficult to understand because whether it’s non-human or it’s psychic, we don’t know exactly what’s in someone else’s mind. Could it be a so-called alien influence in that person’s mind? Just as well as saying it’s their brain that’s functioning. What is a brain? It’s not a computer. People think it’s a computer. And yet what’s going on in the mind is much more complex than what a computer can imagine, because you’re dealing with emotions, you’re dealing with instincts, you’re dealing with intellect, memory and possible visions of the future.

MS: Have any of your guests on Buzzsaw blown your mind, or shattered any beliefs?

SS: I’ve never had that experience of having someone I talked to shatter my belief. I think that people can challenge the things you believe and make you go back and re-assess. But I think I’m too open minded to not have at least heard a point of view. I think there is very little that can be told to me that would completely shock me. I feel like I’ve heard just about every possible thesis of history and reality at this point, believe it or not. The only issue is what is provable. So for a show like Buzzsaw, it’s very hard for a guest to prove something. Unless a guest were to transform into an alien being on the program, I would not be shocked by what they tell me.

What we’ve done is compile a nice assembly of material that you can look at this post-2012 time period, let’s say, as a historical moment and we’ve touched upon most of the major events from the world historical stage. When people look back at the show’s archive of interviewees, you’d have a certain picture of what was going on here on Earth.

MS: What is the heart of matter?

SS: The heart of the matter is the human heart. The heart of the matter really is you, as a human being, your consciousness is affecting this reality. You’re creating this reality. You’re part of it. I think the trouble is many times we’re walking through life as though it were a rehearsal, as though we are conforming to the laws, rules and behaviours that we’ve either been told or have absorbed into us, as opposed to feeling a way through a situation, walking into a room and feeling the energy in that room, facing someone and feeling the energy that they’re giving you. I think the more we connect to the heart, that heart chakra, that place of our emotional knowledge and intelligence, I think the more we’ll have an authentic existence.

Sean Stone’s Buzzsaw interview program can be viewed here:

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MARC STAR is a researcher, writer, photographer and musician living in Los Angeles, California. Woken up to the global cabal sometime after 9/11, Mr. Star dove head first down the rabbit hole in an effort to ferret out the Truth. He shares this journey on his blog,

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

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