Thursday, April 20, 2017

Media, Mushrooms, and Mysterious Matters

I've previously posted about my belief in the importance of regularly tuning in to independent or alternative media sources, as well as providing support (if possible) to alternative media that you find valuable. See for example this post from November, 2016, entitled "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past" (a title taken from a line in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four).

Above is a short message from Bob Bain, host of the Mysterious Matters podcast (you can listen to the message via iTunes by following this link and looking for the "Future of Mysterious Matters message posted on April 14, 2017).

In it, Bob describes the devastating financial impact on content creators who rely on ad revenues sold by Google-Alphabet against YouTube videos that the content creators post, due to Google-Alphabet's response to complaints from some corporate ad buyers about totally unrelated content, which led to ads being pulled (by Google) from all kinds of other content creators (such as Mysterious Matters) deemed to be "on the fringe" in any way.

Content creators such as Bob, whose Mysterious Matters podcast has tens of thousands of followers, can generate ad revenues by allowing Google's YouTube to sell ads against that content. Those paying for the ads don't know what content their ads will be sold against, and those providing the content (such as Bob) don't know what ads will be placed on their videos. Therefore, when some corporations paying for ads told Google's YouTube that they were unhappy about the content (videos) that some of their ads appeared against, Google responded by pulling ads from a wide swath of content creators -- including Mysterious Matters.

Apparently, hosting interviews with guests who discuss techniques for inducing lucid dreaming, or the relative merits of various "ancient alien" theories, or paranormal encounters from the state of Tennessee, is now categorized as being as "potentially objectionable" as incendiary, racist, or misogynistic content. I certainly have not listened to every interview Bob Bain has ever done, but those I have listened to are enough for me to feel safe in saying that he does not deserve categorization as "objectionable content" -- and in fact he does not even curse on his show (except very rarely and reluctantly and when he is really upset about something) and most of his podcasts are rated as "clean" in iTunes.

The fact is that there has been a sudden and fairly massive push to identify everything that is an "alternative" to the dominant neoliberal and neoconservative paradigm or worldview advanced by the corporate-sponsored media outlets as being racist or incendiary or misogynistic -- a weaponization of the term "alternative" which recalls the deliberate weaponization of the terms "conspiracy theory" as a way of stifling the proliferation of dissenting voices in the united states in the wake of the Warren Commission that was supposed to investigate the John Kennedy assassination.

Threats to the economic viability and survivability of alternative sources of information is a very serious subject, as discussed in the blog post linked above whose title comes from an Orwell quotation. The need to have avenues and sources of information that are beyond the tremendous monetary influence of massive corporate interests should be a concern of everyone who values the open investigation of  explanations for the evidence we see in the world around us which might not be popular or which might not serve the interests of certain industries (or which might in fact expose wrongdoing by certain powerful persons or business interests).

Ultimately, the ability to construct a "narrative" or a "paradigm" to "excuse" or to (supposedly) "justify" certain practices is an essential aspect of getting away with fraudulent, oppressive, or criminal behavior -- and thus everyone who opposes oppression should recognize the importance of investigating and "trying on" alternative  paradigms and frameworks that might better explain the events of the past -- and the present.

If fewer people can find a way to provide independent platforms for independent voices to be heard, the result is unquestionably negative and detrimental to open discourse and critical thinking -- and open discourse and critical thinking are vital to democratic society (and anathema to oppressive regimes, as Orwell demonstrated so memorably in his writing).

There are other ways to support such independent media sources besides the ad-based model, of course -- as Bob says in the address above, he made the mistake of relying on ads sold against his many YouTube views, and he won't make that mistake again. In the meantime, he notes that any donations to help replace the sudden loss of ad revenues are appreciated. I would urge anyone who listens to his show to try to do so, if possible.

Kudos to Bob for explaining what is going on and the impact it is having in such a clear and concise way -- I myself don't have any ad-based revenue and so I was unaware of the impact of this recent development.

Below is a link to his most-recently published interview -- ironically, his 100th episode, a real milestone for any podcaster, coming right at the time when the survival of his show is in doubt.

This is a fascinating interview on many levels. It deals with the work of Jerry and Julie Brown, who have written a book -- The Psychedelic Gospels -- examining the many instances of the depiction of psychedelic (or entheogenic) mushrooms in Christian art in chapels and frescoes in Europe and the Mediterranean across several centuries and dozens of countries.

The evidence they've found of the depiction of mushrooms in sacred artwork from Christian sites is undeniable. At the top of this post is an example from a chapel in France which is featured on their website, where there is a better photograph taken by Julie Brown. The image shown above comes from two images found on Wikimedia commons, here and here.

These findings are very significant, and they resonate very well indeed with findings of mushroom imagery in Buddhist iconography, for example, or even the possibility some scholars have suggested linking some aspects of the Norse god Odin to sacred mushrooms (see this post for some discussion of both those links, from Buddhist art and Odin myths).

I myself am very open to the potential validity of such connections, although some readers may at first wonder if allegations of "mushroom connections" would be contradictory to allegations of "celestial connections" in the myths. 

In fact, they may actually be complementary, rather than contradictory. For one thing, the celestial connections are undeniable at this point, in my opinion -- so I do not feel threatened in any way by discoveries of other connections. There is so much evidence that the myths around the world are based on heavenly cycles that it really is difficult to dispute. 

In fact, I am quite convinced that these Star Myths (from around the globe) are pointing us towards the existence of an Invisible and Infinite Realm -- and I am quite open to the suggestion that the use of powerful and naturally-occurring entheogenic mushrooms to facilitate the connection and integration with the Invisible and Infinite Realm was central in some (or even many) ancient traditions. I believe that we are actually "hard-wired" with many different available avenues for connecting with the Infinite Realm -- and one of these avenues is certainly the effect that certain widely-occurring mushrooms can have on human consciousness.

There are many other methods of becoming more attuned to and integrated with the Invisible Realm besides the use of outside substances, of course -- some of those discussed by Mircea Eliade are listed in this previous post.

As you can see from the fresco shown above, the presence of mushrooms in a depiction of the Triumphal Entry, artwork that dates to the early 1100s according to most researchers, cannot be denied. Of course, I disagree with the conclusion that this artwork necessarily indicates the existence of a literal, terrestrial and historical Jesus, even one who understood the power of entheogens, as was asserted in the interview by Dr. Brown. 

In fact, the Triumphal Entry itself can be shown to be filled with episodes that are based directly upon specific constellations and relate to very specific points on the zodiac wheel. I explored some of these in a blog post and video a couple years back, and since then I have found more connections (many of which are presented, with star-charts, in Star Myths of the World, Volume Three -- Star Myths of the Bible).

One significant aspect of the Triumphal Entry is the fact that Jesus is described as riding on a donkey, or even on two donkeys (obviously a difficult description to understand literally) -- and that there are two stars known as the "donkey colts" in the constellation Cancer the Crab, located at the very top of the zodiac wheel, at the point of Summer Solstice.

Between these "donkey colts" (Asellus Borealis and Asellus Australis) lies the beautiful Beehive Cluster. For tips on finding it, see here, here, here, or this video starting at about 11:00 minutes in. It is actually a very good time of year to go looking for the Beehive Cluster right now.

As discussed in some of those posts linked in the previous paragraph, the sign of Cancer (marking the point of Summer Solstice) is associated with the "top" of the year, and with the top of the Djed-column of Osiris -- and with the top reaches of the chakra system in the human body. The "upraised arms" of the constellation Cancer itself can be seen to correspond to the upraised claws of the scarab beetle symbol of ancient Egypt, as well as with the upraised arms of figures such as Moses at the battle with Amalek, and also the upraised arms of the god Shu in ancient Egypt.

Thus, I believe that the Beehive between the upraised arms near the top of the Djed column may well correspond to the pineal gland in a man or woman or to the upper chakras in general -- which makes the presence of mushrooms in an artistic depiction of the Triumphal Entry very intriguing indeed!

I am very grateful to Jerry and Julie Brown for their fascinating research, and to Bob Bain and his podcast for allowing them to tell more people about this research -- I might not have heard of their work had it not been for Mysterious Matters!

I hope that everyone involved in the search for truth will pay close attention to the state of independent media in the weeks and months and years to come. While there are serious challenges, it is also safe to say we are in a "golden era of podcasting" right now, as well. Let's all do what we can to support independent media outlets -- by listening, by rating, by encouraging, by sharing, and (if possible) by donating when and if appropriate!