Monday, September 30, 2019

The Practice of Watching for the New Moon

Every month after the day of the conjunction of the moon (when the moon passes directly between earth and sun) brings an opportunity to look for the first appearance of the new crescent, following closely behind the setting sun in the west.

Above is a photograph I took this evening (Sunday, September 29th just after sunset) of the extremely thin new crescent moon for this month (straight up from the highest part of the tree silhouettes). The moon is following the sun down towards the western horizon. You can see by the glow on the horizon that the moon is "to the left" of the point where the sun went down, because the arc of the moon's path is coming downwards from the left side of the image, which is the southern sky as we face west in this photograph.

In other words, the path of both the sun and moon arcs across the sky for viewers in the northern hemisphere (where this photo was taken) from east to west above the southern horizon, and south in this photo is to the left, so the moon is arcing down from the left after crossing the sky above the southern horizon.

Below is another photograph showing that downward arc (the blue arrow points to the thin sliver of the new moon, and shows the angle which the moon has followed from the southern portion of the sky down into the west):

Watching for the appearance of the first sliver of the new moon after conjunction was a very serious task for the priests in many ancient cultures. You can do an online search of the texts of the biblical scriptures to see how many times the words "new moon" are mentioned. The ancient Hebrew calendar began each new lunar months with this observation, which had to be confirmed by more than one witness -- but many other ancient cultures around the world appear to have used the very same process, and in many traditional cultures this system survived up through the twentieth century.

In ancient Egypt, observing the first crescent of the new moon following conjunction was extremely important and imbued with esoteric significance. Gerald Massey (1828 - 1907), writing in Volume Two of his Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World, argues that the crescent of the new moon seen in the sky was the "bow of promise" that the world would not be again destroyed by a deluge (a deluge which Massey argues was metaphorical, and having to do with the "overthrowing of the pole" (and hence the shifting of the ages due to the motion of precession -- see Massey, Volume Two pages 550 and following).

Of this bow of promise, which he argues is seen in the new moon each month, Massey writes:
After the deluge in "the destruction of mankind" the god Ra establishes a covenant with those who have escaped from the flood. He says that what he commanded is well done, and that the destruction of his enemies removes destruction from themselves [i.e., from mankind]. "Said by the majesty of Ra,  It is well done, all this. I shall now protect men on account of this. Said by Ra, I now raise my hand that I shall not destroy men," i.e., not again. The making of this covenant after the deluge is followed by the establishment of the New Year's festival under the direction of the young priestesses of Hathor. "Hence comes it that libations are made under the directions of priestesses at the festival of Hathor through all men since the days of old," (line 25). When the lunar orb has been converted into the abode of Ra by night it is said, "And there arose the crescent moon of Taht [Thoth]." Now the lnar crescent is the mythological bow (Proc. Soc. Bib. Arch,. vol vi. p. 131). The speaker in the character of the solar god issuing from the crescent moon exclaims, "I am the lion-god issuing from the bow, and therefore I shot forth" (Rit. [i.e., the Book of the Dead, which in earlier centuries was often referred to as The Ritual], ch. 132). When this was written it had been apprehended that the moon derived its light from the hidden sun, and shot the arrows forth with the growing, stretching crescent that was drawn bow-like to the full with all the force of the young lion-god. It was for this that Taht the lunar deity was wanted by Ra as his bowman by night to shoot the arrows of his light with the crescent of the monthly moon for his bow. For this the bow was set in the nocturnal heaven by Ra: "And there arose the crescent moon of Taht" = the bow. The crescent moon was figured as the bow in heaven for a sign that there should be no further deluge of destruction, because the keeping of time and season did not now depend upon the setting or non-setting stars. When time was reckoned by Tehuti the teller [Thoth], by means of the dual lunation, a power was established that no flood which had submerged the pole or drowned the heptanomis, or the heaven in ten divisions, could in future overwhelm. Thus the deluge in the stellar myths being over, and the powers of darkness being defeated and destroyed, chiefly through the direct agency of the lunar goddess Hathor, the bow of Taht was set in heaven with its promise that the wrath of Ra should not again cover the earth. 
[. . .] 
It has now to be shown that the bow in the Kamite mythos, which we look upon as the original [i.e., which Massey believes to be the original pattern upon which the scriptures of the Bible were  later patterned], was not the rainbow, which was afterwards substituted as more natural by those who knew no better. The lunar crescent was not only the bow of the deluge and sign of promise for all future time, it was also an ark of safety from the waters of the Nun, in which the young child of light was bosomed and reborn of the lunar virgin mother. In the Osirian cult Osiris was reborn in an ark of crescent shape which was a figure of the crescent moon. It is said to Osiris in the preparatory pangs of birth, "Taht is a protection for thee. He placeth thy soul in the lunar bark in that name which is thine of god Moon" or god An, another name of Osiris (Records, vol. ii. p. 119). The ark of the new moon was a means of resurrection for Osiris on the third night after his death, if we count the 17th Athyr as one. The priests brought out the sacred coffer containing a little golden ark. They also modelled a little image of the crescent moon. 562 - 563.
Although I have found much evidence to suggest that the imagery of the deluge (found in the myths of cultures around the globe) is celestial in nature (to include the ark and the bow), this does not mean that the ancient myths do not also use lunar symbolism: the ancient system of myth imparted to humanity in extreme antiquity is amazingly sophisticated and can be shown to incorporate the movement of the sun, the planets, and the moon into its multi-layered profundity.

Thus, I have no doubt that the monthly cycle of the moon was imbued with deep esoteric meaning by the ancient system which was given to all cultures for our benefit and instruction. Massey was particularly attuned to the connection of ancient myth with the cycle of the moon (see  discussion in this previous post from 2014).

The interpretation given in the passages cited above suggests that the disappearance of the moon at the period of conjunction each month, followed by the reappearance at the first sighting of the very thin new waxing crescent following the period of disappearance, was associated with the death and rebirth of the dying god (in this case, Osiris) has profound lessons for us in this very present moment.

The disappearance of the god or goddess is one of the most important patterns in myth around the world, seen in the myth of Osiris but also in other cultures in the myth of Persephone, and of Tammuz, and of Baldr, and of Rabbit Boy, and of Amaterasu, and many more. This pattern may very well illuminate aspects of our own plunge into and entanglement with the material realm during this incarnate life -- and dramatize our separation from our own essential or Higher Self, which the myths around the world show to be a nearly universal aspect of the human condition.

Our separation from our essential self is a very serious issue -- but the myths also show us that this separation is not irreversible. We can recover our connection with our own essential and authentic self, and the myths (I am convinced) point us towards the ways we can do so.

Thus, every new moon we have an opportunity to consider this vitally important subject of the recovery of our essential self. 

We might even say that the ancient practice of looking intently for the first visible sliver of the new moon each month points us towards the intensity (and the regularity) with which we should be pursuing reconciliation with our own authentic self.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Pursuit of Mastery and the Road to Consciousness

Above is a video of an individual named Andrey Morozov who has achieved a certain very impressive level of mastery in playing the keyboard, demonstrating the ability to play one of the signature pieces by one of the greatest keyboard masters of the rock era, the incredible Jon Lord (1941 - 2012): the title track from the album Burn (1974) by Deep Purple. 

The song contains one of the most baroquely beautiful and aesthetically satisfying keyboard solos of the many virtuoso solos by Jon Lord, which you can hear in the above video beginning at 3:55 in the above video, with the most famous section of the solo beginning at 4:25, about 30 seconds in to the start of the solo.

You can hear Jon Lord playing the Hammond organ in this same song in a live performance at the California Jam in 1974, along with bandmates David Coverdale (lead vocals, swinging the mike stand around and wearing a white shirt with flower and butterfly embroidery), Ritchie Blackmore (lead guitar, wearing what looks like a black velvet dinner jacket with no shirt), Glenn Hughes (bass guitar and vocals, wearing a white suit with serious bell-bottoms and platform shoes), Ian Paice (drums, wearing a brown vest over a yellow t-shirt), and Jon Lord (keyboards, wearing a blue button-down shirt).

Thanks to the internet, you can now find dozens of excellent videos offering tutorials to help you learn to play this intricate musical creation by the tremendous Jon Lord (see also this one and this one).

The ability to play that piece with that level of skill at that speed undoubtedly requires hundreds of hours of practice (almost certainly on top of thousands of hours of building a foundation including the mastery of chord progressions).

And, although YouTube allows them to share this achievement with a wide audience, I would suggest that the hours which went into achieving that level of mastery would provide tremendous benefits even if they never shared their performance with anyone else.

In a discussion of this very subject, the late great John Anthony West (1932 - 2018) argues that one of the primary byproducts of the pursuit of mastery is "the development of individual consciousness," and that this consciousness can be developed even if we are forced to work within very strict boundaries (including playing someone else's music, note-for-note): indeed, he argues that striving towards a certain level of mastery even within very strict boundaries is far more beneficial to the development of consciousness than any so-called "self-expression" with no boundaries at all.

In his masterpiece Serpent in the Sky, originally published in 1979 (I own the 1987 Julian Press edition which has 256 pages and features a preface by Peter Tompkins), John Anthony West explores the connection between art, mastery, and consciousness.

He asks what could have led the artists of ancient Egypt to deliberately select the most difficult materials from which to carve their sculptures: "what kind of 'logic' dictates a preference for working with difficult material?" (88). He then presents counter-arguments to possible explanations, shooting down the suggestion that they selected such difficult material (such as diorite and granite) primarily for purposes of durability or economy. 

John Anthony West then presents his hypothesis:
The Egyptian artist was not free to choose his material or his subject. Thus, it would seem that those in command deliberately chose difficult mediums in order to create difficulties for their artists. As I have mentioned, it is universal law, dictated by necessities of number, that achievement takes place only in the face of commensurate opposition. 
By forcing artists to work with the most intractable materials [. . .] the sages of Egypt provided their artists with a challenge that gave them an opportunity to achieve a pitch of mastery they might never achieve left to their own devices. 
[. . .] 
The chief beneficiary of art is the artist. He can put into his work only as much as he personally understands. In the exercise of his art, he develops his understanding. 
[. . .] 
In Egypt, the anonymous sages were the artists, in our modern inspirational sense. They designed the temples and the statues and the wall friezes. The sculptors, painters and masons were but interpretive artists, this is true. But there is no ignominy in this position. We do not think the violin virtuoso 'repressed' because he must play Beethoven's or Bartok's notes. Moreover, within the restriction of the imposed piece, there is ample opportunity for the exercise of creativity -- otherwise all virtuosos at a given level of professionalism would sound the same. And if the virtuoso is a real virtuoso, then he will share in Beethoven's revelation. 89 - 90.
In other words, John Anthony West argues that the high civilization of ancient Egypt saw the pursuit of mastery, working with a deliberately difficult medium, and even within very strict boundaries, as transformative in a positive way and a means of pursuing one of our central tasks within this human existence. He writes:
Leaf through any pictorial survey of Egyptian art and architecture, and you will get some idea of the magnitude and mastery of their works; a moment's reflection will give some insight into the encompassing nature of the activity that must have been required to produce it. Then, if instead of passively accepting the orthodox conclusion that all of this was the product of organised delusion carried out to satisfy priestly and pharaonic megalomania, we look at it as a continuous exercise in the development of individual consciousness, we will be coming somewhere close to what must have been one aspect of Egyptian motivation. 90.
When he argues that putting in the hours required to express the kind of mastery that ancient Egypt demonstrates in the artwork of its artisans is a kind of "continuous exercise in the development of individual consciousness," I would add that this kind of "development of consciousness" may well have to do with the reconnection with the essential self.

I would argue that the kind of mastery demonstrated in the keyboard videos above, for example, facilitates (and even at some level requires) the transcendence of the chattering, doubting, endlessly analyzing, endlessly assessing and comparing persona of the "egoic mind." At first, of course, the egoic mind will be very much involved (and even very necessary) in the initial hours of practice and skill-building -- but at some point, after hundreds of hours have been devoted towards the chosen form of expression, the level of skill that begins to develop will enable the state of "flow" or "no mind" or "playing above yourself" which transcends the egoic self and facilitates the emergence of the (often repressed and therefore elusive) authentic self.

Indeed, in order to demonstrate the level of keyboard virtuosity demonstrated in the above videos, I would argue that a state beyond the chattering of the egoic mind is practically a necessity.

Playing a musical instrument is just one option of a path which we can choose in order to pursue that vital goal of mastery within a difficult medium, leading to "the development of individual consciousness" and the reconnection with the essential self. Below is another example of an extremely high level of mastery, demonstrated within the difficult medium of balancing on a foam-and-fiberglass surfboard angled into the face of a moving, triple-overhead-plus ocean wave by championship surfer Coco Ho at Honolua Bay on the island of Maui:

And here is a link to a split-screen video clip showing Coco Ho surfing within the rather more-restricted confines of an artificial-wave tank at a recent competition, and showing how her artistry on that wave is very similar to that of her father, championship surfer Michael Ho, surfing the same wave.

Again, as John Anthony West points out, just because she and her father are surfing a nearly-identical wave, and shredding it using nearly-identical moves, "we do not think of the violin virtuoso as repressed" just because he or she is playing a song by Beethoven, and in West's observation it is within the restrictions set by the challenging medium within which the artist is displaying his or her mastery that the "continuous exercise in the development of individual consciousness" takes place.

Obviously, we will not all be able to achieve the same level of skill exhibited by masters who have risen to the very highest levels their art such as Coco Ho and Michael Ho in surfing, or Jon Lord in keyboard virtuosity, but I would suggest that if we devote thousands of hours to a chosen area of human endeavor, we can achieve a level of mastery which can enable us to connect with our authentic self.

John Anthony West continues in his discussion of this vital subject:
Even today there is a kind of 'art' that is intended to guide the performer along the road to consciousness, though we tend not to think of this as 'art' but rather as exercise or discipline. Into this category of art fall Zen archery and painting, tea-making and the martial arts, and the dances of the Dervishes and of the temple dancers of India and Bali. 92 - 93.
If the medium of music or the medium of ocean waves are not your first choice for pursuing the "road to consciousness," you may want to consider one of the martial arts of China or the surrounding cultures. Just as I would argue that we can greatly benefit by putting in the hours to master the chord-progressions in a challenging Jon Lord solo even though we ourselves will never actually achieve the level of mastery of the late Jon Lord himself, I would argue that we can discover a way to reconnect with our essential self by pursuing a martial art for many years, even while realizing that not all of us will achieve the level of the top masters in that art.

Below is a video clip showing Chen Taiji master Chen Yu demonstrating a level of mastery that testifies to thousands of hours of disciplined training in his art:

And below is a video showing a demonstration of Taiji drills by master Marin Spivak, who trained for many years with master Chen Yu in China:

These are just a few examples out of the nearly limitless areas of human endeavor and art from which we can choose a path to pursue mastery. As John Anthony West explains in the quotations cited above, it may be that the entire civilization of ancient Egypt was built around the concept of such disciplined pursuit, "as a continuous exercise in the development of individual consciousness."

I would add that when we begin to achieve the levels of mastery demonstrated by the individuals in these videos, we are likely to reach a place where we begin to transcend the egoic mind (because mastery at these levels actually requires reaching a "flow" state in which we must transcend the egoic mind and its characteristic doubting, critiquing, and self-sabotaging patterns). During the early stages of our pursuit, however, the exact opposite will be the case: the egoic mind will actually be in overdrive!

One final thing to point out from John Anthony West on this subject is his opinion, voiced in a 2008 interview, that although it is possible to pursue such mastery on one's own, "you're much better off with a teacher. You can learn it by yourself, and then when you get to a certain point you have to get a teacher to teach you what you're doing wrong, so you can do it right."

But whether or not we have access to a teacher at any given time, I would argue that putting in the hours to pursue mastery in some area of human endeavor is a vital and essential path for reconnecting with our self.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

September Equinox, 2019

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

In less than twelve hours, the earth will hurtle past the point of the September equinox, at 12:50 am Pacific time on Monday, September 23rd, which will be 3:50 am Eastern time in North America. 

Those times are actually given using the misleading system of "daylight savings time" (which continues this year until November 3rd), so in terms of where we actually are on the turning of the earth in relation to the heavens, add an hour to those numbers. In other words, earth will speed through the exact point of equinox at 12:50 am Pacific time, but "daylight savings time" misleadingly tells us that it is 11pm when our part of the globe is actually at the hour of midnight, when the part of the world upon which we are standing is turned most directly away from the sun -- so if we were to do away with "daylight savings" then we would call the moment we speed past that point of equinox 1:50 am in the Pacific time zone and 4:50 am in the Eastern. As it is, however, clocks set to daylight savings time will say 12:50 am in the Pacific zone and 3:50 am in the Eastern.

The Greenwich Mean Time at the point of equinox will be 7:50 am on 23 September. This should help you to calculate what time it will be in your part of the globe when earth hurtles past the equinox point.

A long time ago, I wrote a blog post using a metaphor which compares the earth to an old sailing ship, with the bowsprit representing the north pole and the stern lantern representing the south pole. 

This metaphor helps us to understand the celestial mechanics behind the solstices and equinoxes. As the ship orbits the sun, the orientation of the bowsprit (representing the north pole) and the stern-lantern (representing the south pole) remain the same -- they point in the same direction in space. 

The point of summer solstice for the northern hemisphere is reached when the bowsprit of the ship sweeps past the very point where it points most directly towards the sun. There is one specific moment where this takes place during the orbit. Similarly, the point of winter solstice for the northern hemisphere takes place when the ship reaches the opposite end of its orbit from the summer solstice, at which point the bowsprit is pointed most directly away from the sun and the stern-latern (representing the south pole) points most directly towards the sun (which explains why it is summer time in the southern hemisphere when it is winter in the northern).

The points of equinox take place halfway in between these two points, when the ship is arranged "broadside" to the sun, and there is one specific moment in time where earth passes through the exact point of equinox.

The exact date of the equinoxes and solstices "slips around" due to the fact that earth does not make an exact round number of spins on its axis during the period it takes the planet to come back to those exact points of solstice or equinox. That's why the September equinox date is usually the 22nd, but sometimes falls on September 21st, and this year falls on September 23rd. It's not the equinox point that is changing but rather the calendar itself, which fits rather "loosely" over the year due to the fact that there is not an exact fit between days (spins on the axis) and orbital period.

The points of equinox are days of "crossing over" in the world-wide system of celestial metaphor which forms the foundation for the ancient myths of cultures on every inhabited continent and island of our planet. At the equinox. the path of the ecliptic "crosses" the celestial equator, and at the equinox we "cross over" from the "upper half" of the year when hours of light are longer than hours of darkness to the "lower half" of the year when hours of darkness are longer than hours of light (at the fall equinox), or vice-versa from the "lower half" of the year when darkness exceeds daylight back to the "upper half" in which daylight again exceeds darkness.

The ancient myths dramatize the equinox crossing in many different ways, but one of the most important ways in which the myths allegorize this "point of transition" is by likening it to the transition of our soul into (or out of) the material realm. The point of the autumnal or fall equinox (the September equinox for the northern hemisphere), the "crossing point" where we transition "downwards" into the half of the year in which hours of darkness are longer than hours of daylight, was particularly associated with the plunge down into this "lower realm" of material existence which each of us undergoes when we are born into this physical body.

This physical birth was seen as our "first birth," but it was nearly always paired with our "second birth" or spiritual birth -- and this, as Alvin Boyd Kuhn explains in his masterful 1940 text Lost Light, explains why there are so many examples of myths featuring "two mothers" or "two-mother symbolism." On page 8 of that text, Kuhn writes:
The ancient books always grouped the two mothers in pairs. They were called "the two mothers" or sometimes the "two divine sisters." Or they were the wife and sister of the God, under the names of Juno, Venus, Isis, Ishtar, Cybele or Mylitta. In old Egypt they were first Apt and Neith; and later Isis and Nephthys. Massey relates Neith to "net," i.e., fish-net! Clues to their functions were picked up in the great Book of the Dead: "Isis conceived him; Nephthys gave him birth." Or: "Isis bore him; Nephthys suckled him," or reared him.
What can this ancient teaching possibly mean, and how can it help us where we are, in this present moment?

I am convinced that one of the powerful teachings contained in the myths for our benefit and blessing in this life concerns the recovery of our authentic self -- our essential self or Higher Self, sometimes referred to as the "divine self," and associated in the ancient myths with the symbolism of the second birth, rather than the first (material and physical) birth.

The ancient myths, over and over, and from all parts of the globe, dramatize a story of trauma: a story of separation from who we actually are -- a story of loss of connection with the essential self, and a need for reconnection and reconciliation with Self.

The symbolism of the two mothers -- and the two births -- is one of the powerful ways in which this teaching was dramatized within the incredible esoteric teachings given to humanity in their "original instructions" in myth.

We see this imagery, for example, in the story known as the Judgment of Solomon, which is related in the third chapter of the book of 1 Kings in the scriptures of the Bible. In that story, we see again the pattern of the two mothers, and of two births (represented by two babies). One of the babies is a living baby, and one is a dead baby. Solomon must use his judgment (itself a gift from the divine realm, as discussed in this recent video) to solve the dilemma of how to proceed when faced with these two mothers.

The ancient myths consistently associate our physical or material birth -- and our physical and material body -- with death and mortality (hence the dead baby in the Solomon story). The second birth is associated with the spirit, with the divine, and with the essential self, the authentic self, the Higher Self.

The second birth, and the reconnection with our own essential self, is not something we achieve by reaching for anything or anyone outside of ourselves -- how could it be? 

It does, however, have at its core the realization that the "lower self" or the natural self, perhaps best referred to as the egoic mind (which all of us create for ourselves, as part of the process of becoming entangled in this material realm) must relax its grip and allow room for the Higher Self to come back.

This profound teaching is dramatized again and again in the world's ancient myths. Previous posts which discuss this vitally important subject include:
Thus, as we reach this point of September equinox -- which in the world's ancient myths is associated with our plunge down into matter (even as the northern hemisphere plunges down into the "lower half" of the year, when hours of darkness begin to outweigh hours of daylight) -- we should consider not just our "first birth" but the fact that the ancient myths nearly always pair the births (and pair the mothers, as with Isis and Nephthys, or Apt and Neith, or the two harlots in the Judgment of Solomon, or the two Mary's in the gospel accounts).

In other words, as we reach these significant points in the great cycle of earth and heavens, it is an occasion to contemplate the urgent work of recovering and reconnecting with our essential self, who in fact is always available to us, always with us, and through whom we come into connection with the wider realm of nature and even beyond it, to the Other Realm, the realm of pure potentiality . . . the realm of the gods.

No one else can do it for us. But I am convinced that the myths are there to point the way. 

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Just two weeks until this year's Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge!

Above is the trailer for this year's Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge, which is now less than two weeks away, kicking off on Friday, October 4th and continuing through Sunday, October 6th in Newport Beach, California.

You can still sign up at the conference website (linked above) and receive $50 off the price of admission by entering my last name in the "discount code" space on this registration page (which is reached via the "Buy Tickets Now" link on the website's main page).

Presentations this year include talks by Robert Schoch, Walter Cruttenden, Carmen Boulter, Christopher Dunn, and many others -- and I have been doing a lot of preparation for my presentation this year on the subject of "Stars, Myths and Recovering your Self."

I hope you can join us if at all possible.

Below are a couple of videos from the tenth Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge, which took place in 2016 in Rancho Mirage, California and which I was privileged to attend as a speaker.

First is a video containing part of the amazing presentation by Alan Green, who will be returning as a featured presenter at this year's conference. Below that is the entire presentation by the late, great John Anthony West, who stepped onward on the journey to eternity (as it says in the texts of the ancient Egyptian Spells for Going Forth by Day) in February of 2018.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Solomon at Gibeon

Here's a new video I just made entitled "Solomon at Gibeon contrasted with Paris and Midas."

This video explores one small corner of the question of what these ancient myths are teaching us and what their purpose might be.

In it, using examples from three specific myths -- the dream of Solomon at the high place of Gibeon described in 1 Kings 3, the famous Judgment of Paris, and the offer by the god Dionysus to Midas to grant whatever King Midas might ask -- I argue that the myths are telling us that we can ask the divine realm for help in this incarnate life, and that indeed we very much need the wisdom of that Other Realm in order to navigate this world and in order to help others and to govern in righteousness when in positions of responsibility.

However, the ancient myths from around the world also demonstrate rather clearly that we can go to the divine realm for other purposes as well -- purposes which do not help others, but rather do the opposite -- and the myths imply that requests of this nature may indeed be granted, even though such purposes are strongly condemned in the ancient wisdom given to humanity in the myths.

As I have stated in previous posts, it is quite likely that there are those who know this fact, but don't want you to know it -- see for example the following discussions:
The video explores a very important passage of Biblical scripture which I believe everyone would do well to contemplate, and some of the implications for our understanding of what the world's ancient myths are trying to teach us.

There appears to be abundant and ever-increasing evidence that awareness of this vital purpose of the world's ancient wisdom is being deliberately suppressed, by those who want to use the very real power available to us from the Other Realm for purposes which are in fact condemned by the myths themselves.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The gods are always near

Above is a brand-new video I made today entitled "The Gods are Always Near."

It explores five categories of evidence found in ancient myths from around the world which demonstrate to us that the gods and goddesses work out their purposes through men and women in this material realm, and that the gods are in fact always close at hand and available to us.

Literalist Christianity has waged a centuries-long campaign to divorce men and women from the ancient gods, as well as from the rhythms of the earth and the heavens, from the power of the Invisible Realm, from the realm of Nature, from one another, and even from our own Selves.

However, we still have access to the ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories given to every culture of humanity, on every inhabited continent and island of our planet -- and those ancient traditions show us that the gods are real, that they are present, and that they dwell in mortal men and women.

This fact should impact the way we see and interact with every other man, woman and child, in whom the gods also dwell -- and it should also impact the way we live our own lives.

Previous posts which examine this important subject include:
Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you'd like to receive immediate notification every time a new video is published -- and please feel free to share with others you know who would also benefit from these explorations of the ancient wisdom preserved in the myths, scriptures and sacred stories of humanity.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

YouTube says, "We'll give you your feed -- you just shut up and eat it"

Here is a link to a story published in just a couple days ago, on September 12, entitled "Just how effective is the new YouTube's fact-checking feature?" and written by Daniel Green.

The issues being raised in this article impact everyone and I believe the developments being described constitute an extremely serious threat to the principles of human freedom, democratic self-governance, and human rights including freedom of speech and freedom of the press as articulated in the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

To that end, I have just published a new video entitled "Electronic heresy tribunals: Algorithms deployed to prevent you from hearing 'conspiracy'," discussing some of my concerns regarding the topics in this article and the infringement on the human rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the press which are already being implemented in the united states and elsewhere, right now, by corporations such as YouTube (but there are certainly other corporations involved in this same type of illegal activity).

As the title suggests, the subject of the article is a new feature being tested by YouTube in India which will "combat the spread of misinformation" by throwing up "information panels" containing "content to debunk misleading claims" whenever users enter a search term related to "topics typically subject to misinformation." 

Examples provided in the article of subjects deemed to be "responsible for the spread of misinformation" include "geoengineering" and "chemtrails." These topics, the article informs us, are seen as being conducive to "spreading conspiracy theories and views opposing the scientific consensus." 

Apparently, the "scientific consensus" on those subjects (geoengineering and chemtrails) is that the men and women who are the citizens of the nation need not be informed on the subjects of what jet aircraft might be spraying into the atmosphere over their heads -- such things need not be discussed or subjected to a vote. In fact, it would be best if the public were never informed that such things are going on, and that anyone who asks questions about spraying unknown stuff out of airplanes be labeled a "conspiracy theorist" so that no pesky public debate on this topic need ever arise.

The article then goes on to inform us that this system, being tested-out in India, is one which "YouTube intends to extend to other countries throughout the rest of the year."

However, "information panels" which appear on your search results when you are looking into a topic that someone doesn't want the "hoi polloi" to know anything about (such as chemtrails and geoengineering) won't protect you from seeing a conspiracy video which itself does not have a label -- and so the article informs us that YouTube has a different solution to "tackle this" perceived problem: altering their algorithms so that far fewer people will ever encounter videos containing "misinformation" or "conspiracy theory."

Jumping rather abruptly to the united states, the article's author informs us that: 
Since changes to the recommendation system came into effect in the United States in January, views of so-called 'borderline content,' videos that misinform but do not violate the website's guidelines, have dropped by more than 50 per cent.
That should be reassuring to everyone who was worried about men and women in the general public seeing videos discussing "views opposing the scientific consensus" without helpful warning labels provided by the major news platforms. 

What would we do if the people of this nation were able to see videos about the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7, which fell into its own footprint at freefall speed (or at a speed which is indistinguishable from freefall speed by any scientific measure)? We simply cannot have people finding videos regarding that awful, murderous event without helpful warning labels containing "debunking" information from sources such as the New York Times or NPR, which have spent the past 18 years pretending that the collapse of high-rise steel towers into their own footprints simply due to fire somehow does not  oppose scientific consensus (or even the laws of physics). 

Fortunately for all those who might have been worried that men and women might "stumble across videos in their feed" (as the article puts it, without a hint of irony) which don't come with helpful debunking material provided by the corporate-controlled media, the engineers at YouTube are on the case, and they have created algorithms which drastically reduce the chance that anyone might "stumble across" something so distasteful in their "feed." 

The word feed, by the way, when used as a noun typically signifies grain and other material given to cattle or hogs in large troughs (as well as to horses, who sometimes get their "feed" in a "feed bag," one per horse -- in a kind of individualized fashion, more akin to the "feed" that is provided to individuals by the algorithms at YouTube).

So, rest easy: YouTube has come up with some excellent screens to ensure that you won't be getting any nasty bits in your individualized feed.

In fact, the article informs us, YouTube's algorithms are so effective that "views of so-called 'borderline content,' videos that misinform but do not violate the website's guidelines, are down by more than 50 per cent."

That's quite a drop! I know that if YouTube's revenues were to be "down by more than 50 per cent" in some quarter, the investment world would not like it very much. 

Of course, the makers of videos which have been judged (in secret, apparently) to "misinform" probably do not even realize that they now have sophisticated algorithms working overtime to ensure that nobody sees the content they are creating and putting out on YouTube. They probably have absolutely no idea that they have violated some undefined standard, since (as the article informs us) these algorithms are set to find content that does not violate any actual published guidelines.

As I note in the above video, I myself have mentioned "chemtrails" and "geoengineering" many times before on this blog (you can do a search for these terms and find many photographs I took myself, which apparently makes me someone who "spreads views opposed to the scientific consensus," which the subject of chemtrails apparently indicates). 

I have also mentioned my deep concern about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the past, including during the period prior to a ballot initiative in my home state of California which would have required food manufacturers to inform buyers when genetically-modified ingredients are present in their food. That ballot initiative was defeated: there are a number of very powerful interests which are adamantly opposed to the men and women of this country knowing the extent to which their food contains GMOs (which might lead to political action). 

I would not be at all surprised if videos discussing negative aspects of GMOs might be categorized as "misinformation" and actively suppressed by the algorithms in question -- although we have no actual way of knowing, since these algorithms do not judge videos based on any public guidelines (as the article explicitly states), but rather based on some sort of secret criteria known only to the shadowy adjudicators who have taken it upon themselves to steer you away from "borderline content."

I would in fact be very surprised if mention of inconvenient facts such as the collapse of Building 7 at freefall speed were not included in content considered to be not just "borderline" but actual "conspiracy theory," which must never be mentioned in any arena that would alert the majority of men and women in this country to an issue that they should look into as having a great deal of relevance to their own lives. 

Judging by the fact that mainstream news sources such as the New York Times or the Washington Post have spent the past eighteen years studiously ignoring (or even ridiculing) the overwhelming evidence which points to the conclusion that the conventional or "official" narrative of the events of that awful day is completely bankrupt (a narrative which still frames their reporting on the subject of 9/11, as you can see from any of the articles they had on their site this past week discussing the anniversary and the "war on terror"), you can be fairly certain that YouTube (which gets its "content to debunk misleading claims" from the major media corporations when it plasters warning labels on searches about chemtrails in its India beta-test, as noted above) has its algorithms set to make it more difficult to find videos by those who offer evidence that challenges or refutes the "official" story.

I'm sure the same applies to video content which challenges or refutes the "official" story surrounding the events of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, or the massacre at Jonestown in 1978. If someone doesn't want you to know about the information that refutes the accepted doctrine about these events, then YouTube is ready with algorithms to prevent the people from encountering any heresy.

Now, I am perfectly aware of the arguments in favor of creating algorithms and warning panels to combat deliberate misinformation (note that I have not achieved perfect awareness in all realms of human endeavor, but I am certainly very much aware of the arguments for the institution of some kind of counterbalance to false and misleading YouTube videos, which can and do influence the opinion of certain demographics in very significant and sometimes very harmful ways).

In this article, published in the New York Times about a month ago (please note that mention of the New York Times, which I have just criticized for continuing to promote the bankrupt "official" narrative of 9/11 -- and they continue to promote the bankrupt narratives of the other important events mentioned in preceding paragraphs as well -- is not ironic here: this article and others like it provide the basis for the argument in favor of the kind of censorship described in the above-mentioned article, which I oppose, and I oppose the New York Times position if indeed they are in favor of YouTube censorship), the power of YouTube to spread lies which lead young men (primarily young men) towards acceptance of fascistic arguments (in this case, in Brazil -- leading to the election of Jair Bolsonaro) is brought home to the reader very strongly (research credit for this story on Brazil and YouTube goes to the indefatigable Dave Emory, whose decades of invaluable research in opposition to the spread of fascism -- especially in the united states -- can be found at his website at 

After reading the above New York Times article about the use of misleading YouTube videos in Brazil, I can understand the impulse of well-meaning men and women to say, "We need to counter these kinds of outright fake headlines and YouTube videos that are leading impressionable young men  (primarily young men) into the dangerous and despicable cesspool of fascist dogma."

However, I would argue that the implementation by YouTube (and other tech firms) of secret algorithms designed to dramatically reduce traffic to certain videos is wrong for the following reasons (much as I detest the use of misleading videos to drive disaffected young men towards fascistic beliefs, as described in the New York Times article):
  • First and foremost, secret algorithms or secret panels determining what is and what is not "misinformation" or "conspiracy theory" and then severely restricting the ability of such content to be found flies in direct violation of the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. The concept of freedom of speech and freedom of the press are not simply "American" rights: they are universal rights. Secret algorithms that drastically impede the ability to find a video are a form of direct infringement of the First Amendment articulation of freedom of the press. This is illegal, according to the highest law of the land in the united states (ie, the Constitution itself). So, no matter how much of a "good idea" it seems (on the surface) to restrict the ability to find a video based on the principle of preventing fascistic content, the founders recognized that this seductive idea is absolutely inimical to a free and democratic society -- hence their decision to enshrine the absolute protection of a free press in the very First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Secret panels or secret algorithms which stymie someone's video (without their knowledge of what protocols they have violated) as soon as it is published is a clear violation of freedom of the press (the printing press in 1776 and 1787 did not just belong to big corporate media concerns such as the New York Times: individual citizens such as Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Paine could print out their arguments and distribute them widely, using the printing press -- but under the new algorithms implemented by Google / YouTube, their pamphlets could be squelched before they ever reached a large number of citizens).
  • It should be abundantly clear that removing the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press is in no way an appropriate counter to fascism: on the contrary, the ability to squash every expression of an opinion other than the "official" narrative is clearly an attribute of fascism itself.
  • The proper way to combat fascism is to remove the conditions in which it thrives. Ask any expert in the study of the conditions conducive to fascism and they will probably mention high levels of unemployment or underemployment, particularly of young men, and a feeling of economic despair or anxiety (leading to the feeling that you don't have a fair shot at obtaining economic success within the normal channels of the economy). This previous post discusses the work of economists such as Warren Mosler and Michael P. Hudson, who explain ways to provide for true employment, as well as lowering the crushing debt burdens which prevent young men and women from getting married, buying a house and having the kind of confidence in their future which is probably the strongest antidote to fascism, which is an ideology born of despair and desperation.
  • One of the most important ways to combat the rise of fascistic and extremist tendencies among young adults in their teens and twenties is to squarely oppose the policies of austerity and scarcity which create the kinds of despair and desperation mentioned in the preceding point. I have written numerous previous posts discussing my opposition to the politics of austerity, many of them referencing the absolutely critical analysis of Professor Michael P. Hudson, including: "Austerity is an affront to the gods," "Collaborators against the gods," "Thor's visit to Olaf Tryggvason,"  "Privatization vs the gods (and the people)," "Transforming everyone and everything into commodities," and "All this has happened before," (among many others). The real way to combat fascism is to remove the conditions in which it tends to grow -- not to remove freedom of speech and freedom of the press (itself a fascistic move, and one which clearly violates human rights as acknowledged in the Bill of Rights to the Constitution).
  • When videos lead to violence, or even the communication of threats, then those responsible for that violence or those threats can and must be prosecuted under the law. There are laws against "communicating a threat." But quashing the videos of anyone deemed to be talking about subjects judged by some secret panel to be "spreading conspiracy theories" or "in opposition to some amorphous 'scientific consensus'" is wrong and must be opposed. Prosecute those actually calling for violence or communicating threats, without violating the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
  • Ultimately, the most organic and powerful way to prevent odious ideologies from gaining traction in society is to create an environment in which the vast majority of men and women see such ideologies as detestable and in which the vast majority of men and women make their opposition to the despicable propaganda of proponents of fascism and racism known in no uncertain terms. This type of natural reaction is immortalized in the famous scene from the movie The Blues Brothers, released in 1980 (perhaps the last year before aggressive austerity policies began to be implemented on a scale never seen before in the united states, and thus a movie which captures an attitude among the people of the nation which is now becoming more and more a thing of the past):

In such an environment, nobody feels the need to ask YouTube to create algorithms to combat detestable racist and fascist videos, because the vast majority of the population sees such ideology as hateful and harmful, and react to it in the way we see the people reacting to similar propaganda in the movie clip shown above.

The only way that ideologies such as those being espoused by the fascists in the clip above will find any foothold is if the economic environment is characterized by despair and hopelessness, brought about by deliberate institution of policies of austerity, neoliberalism, and privatization, as well as conditions which lead to ever-increasing indebtedness (including opposition to deficit spending by governments free to implement their own fiscal policy, as discussed in this previous post), as well as the kind of unemployment and underemployment which characterize policies of austerity and the reduction of fiscal policy as a tool for aiding in the growth of the economy -- all of which can be fixed without imposition of algorithms from YouTube suppressing freedom of speech for everybody in the name of (supposedly) combating the rise of fascism.

Indeed, without the economic policy fixes described above (and in the posts linked in the above paragraphs), implementing a bunch of YouTube algorithms to suppress certain types of videos will have little positive effect -- while at the same time violating the First Amendment and constituting a grave threat to democracy and the ability of men and women in the electorate to find and hear opposing views on important issues.

On the day I graduated from West Point, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the united states against all enemies, foreign and domestic. 

It is my considered opinion that the institution of secret "tribunals" (including secret tribunals implemented by impersonal algorithms and artificial intelligence) which have the ability to suppress and quash the visibility of videos which contain "misinformation" (even if violating no written guidelines) constitute a grave threat to democracy and to the human rights recognized in the Bill of Rights. 

As I say in the above video, there is virtually no difference if we change the term "conspiracy theory" to the term "heresy," and empower secret tribunals to implement algorithms drastically reducing the visibility of any video deemed to be promoting "heresy" (or even "borderline heresy"). If the united states were to implement such heresy tribunals, there would be no difficulty seeing that move as a clear and unequivocal violation of the Bill of Rights. 

And yet that is exactly what appears to be taking place in the united states (and around the world) right now.

We had better wake up and ask ourselves if we want to live in a world governed by this kind of secret tribunals deciding what information we are or are not allowed to see (in direct contradiction to the Bill of Rights).

Either that or just go back to our "feed" and take what we get.

original image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Returning to Skeptiko (a sometimes-contentious discussion ensues)

Thank you to Alex Tsakiris for having me over to his Skeptiko podcast and channel for another discussion about stars and myths.

Welcome to any new visitors who are here for the first time after listening to the interview, or watching it on YouTube. Here is the page on the Skeptiko website where you can download the audio to a mobile device (you can also do that at the Skeptiko iTunes webpage here).

This conversation is a little different from other podcasts I've appeared on, because Alex didn't want to spend much time discussing the actual evidence that the world's ancient myths can be shown to be based on a shared system of celestial metaphor. He thinks that I've already established that thesis with my writing, and discussed it extensively on other podcasts, so he wanted to focus on where that system might have come from and what its purpose might be.

This subject can make for a very profitable discussion, but perhaps I was not clear enough in stating my position that there is a sharp divide between what I believe I can "prove" (or at least what I can support using overwhelming evidence), and what must remain speculation at the present time until we have more evidence.

I can prove -- or at least establish with overwhelming evidence -- that virtually all the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories, from cultures on every continent and inhabited island on our planet, are built upon a common, worldwide system of celestial metaphor, one which is exceedingly ancient (indeed, it is already fully-formed in the most ancient extant texts known to us at this time, including the early clay tablets of ancient Mesopotamia containing the Gilgamesh cycle and the Enuma Elish, or the Pyramid Texts of ancient Egypt which incorporate elements of the Osiris and Horus cycle).

On the other hand, I cannot state at this time exactly where this ancient system came from. Indeed, no one can tell you where it came from! 

Anyone who tells you that they know for certain where this ancient system came from is either lying or mistaken.

The reason they cannot tell you for certain is that it clearly originates prior to any civilization known to conventional history at this time -- perhaps thousands of years prior to any civilization known to conventional history at this time. 

The origin of this world-wide system of celestial metaphor may be so ancient that it originated in a culture that was more ancient to the earliest dynasties of ancient Egypt than those earliest dynasties are to our own civilization! In other words, if the earliest dynasties of Egypt were about 5000 years prior to our own time, the ancient origin of the world-wide system of celestial metaphor may have been more than 5000 years prior to the earliest dynasties of Egypt.

For example, below we see a seal attributed to King Den of the First Dynasty of Egypt, who is thought to have died in approximately 2995 BC:

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

As I explain in my most-recent book, The Ancient World-Wide System, the above imagery is unmistakably celestial in origin, based on specific constellations, as are virtually all of the characters and episodes described in the ancient Egyptian myths. 

King Den lived approximately 5000 years ago, from our perspective today in the year 2019. And yet the amazing stone circles of Gobekli Tepe, which only began to see the light of day again in the late 1990s and early 2000s of our present era, appear to have been deliberately buried not later than the year 8000 BC -- and its creation must of course have been prior to its burial, meaning that it could be a great deal older than that. In other words, Gobekli Tepe is at least 5000 years prior to the time of the First Dynasty King Den, indicating the existence of a previously-unknown culture capable of engineering an enormous and mysterious field of massive and precisely-planed, astronomically-aligned stones (some of them adorned with sculpted high-relief representations of animals such as the pillar shown below) existing as many years before the life of King Den as the life of King Den is before our own time in the present day.

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

There is simply not enough information about whatever culture lived so long before the first civilizations known to conventional history (so long before the time of ancient Egypt, ancient Mesopotamia, ancient India and even the Indus-Saraswati Civilization) for us to make any definitive pronouncements about how they lived or whether or not they are the originators of this ancient world-wide system (although it certainly indicates the existence of sophisticated and extremely ancient cultures which are completely outside the current historical paradigm and which may well point us towards the answer to the question of where this ancient system of myth might have originated).

Additionally, no one can tell you dogmatically and with certainty the original purpose of this ancient world-wide system. Anyone who confidently and self-assuredly tells you that they can is either mistaken or they are lying to you.

I can tell you with absolute certainty that this world-wide system exists, that the evidence is overwhelming and conclusive, and that the existence of this system demonstrates that the conventional timeline of ancient history is fatally flawed and in need of radical revision.

I cannot tell you dogmatically that I know for certain where this system originated or even what it ultimately means -- what its original and complete intended purpose was.

After studying it for ten years, I certainly have some likely suggestions and strong opinions about the answer to these questions, but I will not dogmatically assert that I know for certain (and, again, I believe that anyone who tells you that he or she knows the answer with certainty is either naive and mistaken because they do not understand the full scope of the subject matter yet, or else they are a charlatan who is lying to you).

In the above interview, Alex appears to be quite willing to accept the evidence that I have been presenting for the past several years in my books, blog posts, videos, and other podcast interviews which demonstrates the existence of an ancient world-wide system of celestial metaphor underlying the myths, scriptures, and sacred stories of cultures around the world (and reflected in ancient artwork as well). He is so willing to accept it that he did not want to focus on that evidence during the interview, instead pushing into the areas of where it came from and what its purpose might be, even though on those topics I can only offer suggested possibilities rather than dogmatic assertions (as I've just explained). 

Indeed, he apparently feels that my research validates a possibility about which he is very excited --visitation by extraterrestrials -- and he was very eager to get me to agree with him on that explanation.

However, as I've explained in many previous posts, my years of research on the world's ancient Star Myths do not conclusively indicate extraterrestrial origin at all. In fact, I have reason to be deeply suspicious of many vocal extraterrestrial advocates from the past several decades (predating the Second World War but increasing dramatically in the decades following the putative end of that conflict), who almost universally argue that "the ancient myths actually document extraterrestrial contact" and that "the beings described in the myths as gods were actually visitors from other planets." 

The evidence that I have been writing about actually refutes and even disproves that widely-repeated hypothesis (that the supernatural beings and marvelous events described in the ancient myths are extraterrestrials) by showing that the figures and episodes described in the world's ancient myths are metaphorical, rather than literal. 

The ancient myths may indeed be describing gods and goddesses who are very real, but they are not literal, physical, extraterrestrial visitors arriving in mechanical craft to visit our planet. The gods and goddesses who move through the world's myths are realities and powers of the spiritual realm, an Invisible Realm which interacts with and indeed interpenetrates our physical realm, but their attributes are explained for our understanding using a sophisticated metaphorical code based upon the constellations in the heavens, because through the imagery of the stars which we can see we can understand truths about the Infinite Realm which we cannot see (and pause for a moment to consider what an ingenious choice this was, because when we look into the stars of the night sky, we are indeed looking into an infinite realm).

A few previous posts I've written in which I voice my misgivings about the "ancient aliens" hypothesis and about ascribing the origin of these myths to extraterrestrials include:
I have also created a fairly detailed and lengthy video discussing the famous "vision of Ezekiel" found in the Old Testament scriptures of the Bible, an episode in the ancient text which is often cited by proponents of the ancient alien hypothesis as evidence for ancient extraterrestrial contact -- a video in which I demonstrate that the text is clearly based upon celestial metaphor, containing a sophisticated description of the turning of the heavens throughout the year which matches very well to the models of celestial mechanics which we call an "armillary sphere," and describing the yawning of the ecliptic path above and below the celestial equator at the two points of solstice, and the intersection of that same ecliptic with the celestial equator at the two points of equinox during our annual orbit around the sun. The "four living creatures" introduced in Ezekiel chapter 1 and verse 5 clearly correspond to the zodiac constellations stationed at these four important points of the year (the two solstices and the two equinoxes).

In addition to that video on the vision of Ezekiel, I also wrote another extended blog post exploring its significance and its clear origin in celestial metaphor which can be found here, and there is also a discussion of this important passage in my 2016 book Star Myths of the World, Volume Three: Star Myths of the Bible.

The frequent subject changes of this particular interview, and the fact that I sometimes take too long to try to explain a point when it would be better if I just stated my view clearly and succinctly, meant that I did not really sketch out my suggestion of where I believe this ancient world-wide system might have originated (although I did attempt to present some discussion of my view on that question). I have elaborated on this topic at greater length in my 2014 book The Undying Stars

Very briefly, in that book I explain that I would divide the timeline into three very broad segments: 
  • the time in the far distant past (long before any written records we have in our possession at this time) when this ancient system was understood and informing an extremely ancient culture (or cultures) which far predates any of the known civilizations and which may have been destroyed by some type of tremendous cataclysm (the deliberate burial of the massive Gobekli Tepe complex may point to the same conclusion),
  • the period after this culture disappeared (likely due to some catastrophe) during which remnants of the ancient system survived (and during which remarkable civilizations such as those of ancient Sumer and ancient Egypt appear to have been informed by some preserved knowledge from that much more ancient period -- perhaps because they were a kind of "re-start"), during which the ancient myths were revered by the various cultures of the world, each of which maintained a set of sacred traditions that can all be seen as utilizing this same ancient system of celestial metaphor, and finally
  • the period after the rise of Literalist Christianity, during which the ancient wisdom contained in the myths was deliberately and aggressively stamped out, beginning in the region controlled by the Roman Empire around the Mediterranean, and then expanding into western Europe and northern Europe, resulting in a tragic disconnection from the ancient wisdom, and leading to the establishment of feudalism in Europe (and as far east as Russia) and eventually to the establishment of colonial powers (primarily situated in western Europe) who then continued to expand around the globe and work to stamp out connections to the ancient wisdom wherever it had survived (usually replacing them with Literalist Christianity, which is a political, empire-building system), a process which continues to this day.
I believe it is very likely that the profound system of ancient esoteric teaching, which appears to have originated in the first period described above (long before any civilization we know of, and perhaps separated from all the civilizations we know about by some tremendous catastrophe), contained the keys to greater harmony with the universe around us, including the cycles of the heavens and the energy of the earth itself, as well as harmony with our own essential self, through whom (the ancient myths appear to tell us) we have access to the divine realm: the Infinite Realm, a realm of pure potential -- the realm of the gods. It may be that these myths not only help us to recover our connection to Self, but they also point us towards the realization of potential that today lies mostly dormant.

Some of the original purpose may well have been preserved following whatever disaster led to the almost complete disappearance of that "predecessor culture" described in the first bullet-point above, during the period described in the second bullet-point (the period informed by the ancient myths, prior to the rise of Literalist Christianity). However, the rise of Literalist Christianity reveals the undeniable presence of forces who want to sever our connection to the ancient myths, and our connection to the gods and goddesses described in the "original instructions" preserved by virtually every culture on the planet (the term "original instructions" is one that I borrowed from a lecture by the important and incredibly insightful author Peter Kingsley).

It should not be very controversial to argue that Literalist Christianity has as an explicit goal opposition to the gods described in the ancient myths, and that the agents of Literalist Christianity have gone around the world seeking to eliminate reliance upon the "original instructions" and replace that reliance with acceptance of the doctrines of Literalist Christianity (in one form or another), and that this went on for centuries and still continues although to a lesser degree. Following the decline of mass acceptance of literalism, I would argue that other proxies were adopted to continue the mission of disconnection from the incredible power available in the ancient myths -- and it is very possible that the "ancient aliens" or "extraterrestrial" movement (which at times can very much resemble a fundamentalist faith, its proponents arguing its certainty with a kind of missionary zeal and fervor) has been fostered with this exact purpose in mind (note, as mentioned above, that a great majority of the proponents of the "extraterrestrial faith" insist that the ancient gods and goddesses were simply alien visitors who exist in the material realm, just as we do).

I personally am very suspicious that the popular extraterrestrial narratives, which actually began to appear well before the Second World War and which have a long history of overlap (of ideas and of proponents) with detestable racist and elitist movements such as the eugenics movement, might well be a tool of the same groups who are fighting to preserve the kinds of feudal and colonialist mechanisms of exploitation and oppression brought about during that third phase described above (the period following the rise of Literalist Christianity). I mention some of these racist and elitist connections (such as those described in the despicable doctrines promulgated in the "Urantia Book") in a fairly-recent video entitled "Literalism and 'Alien Contact'."

Despite the sometimes-contentious nature of the above interview, I'm grateful to Alex for having me over to Skeptiko for another visit. I think that Alex is very appreciative of the evidence connecting the stars and the myths, and is very excited by the ramifications of that evidence (even if he and I have some disagreements about all of the details of those ramifications). He wants to jump straight from the evidence of a world-wide system of Star Myths directly to a supposed validation of extraterrestrial visitors, because that is a topic that is apparently important to him (even though it is one about which I have serious misgivings, as described above). 

But I am convinced that disagreements and even debate can play a very positive role in forcing greater clarification of one's points (and, when necessary, re-examination of positions and the evidence in order to see where conclusions may need to be changed, or where additional analysis may be necessary).

I believe the most important distinction I would like to reiterate is a sharp dividing line between the clear evidence I have found which demonstrates the existence of a common world-wide system of celestial metaphor informing the myths of cultures on every inhabited continent and island of our planet and indeed forming their foundation, and the question of where this system came from and what it could mean (questions about which I have some definite opinions, but upon which I refuse to be dogmatic because I argue that we cannot possibly know at this point with the evidence that we have at hand -- probably because the origin of this system is far earlier than any civilization about which we have extensive evidence or any written record). We may well have more evidence about this second subject area at a later date, but at this time I do not believe anyone can speak dogmatically about it. 

However, the myths themselves contain a wealth of evidence which helps us to begin to grasp more and more of their incredible and profound ancient message for our lives. And I firmly believe that the more we can learn to listen to them in the language they are actually speaking, the better opportunity we have to hear more of what they are trying to say -- and that the language that they are speaking is a celestial language, an esoteric language, and a metaphorical language, based on an incredible system of extreme antiquity, a precious inheritance from ancestors so distant we do not even know what to call them, but who are speaking to us in a language which we can actually decipher: the language of the stars.


The above interview was recorded on August 15, 2019. You can see the interview of my first visit to Skeptiko (from January of 2017) here.