Friday 29 May 2015

In Search of the Miraculous #9: This Book Might Just Change Your Life

Seriously, it'll change everything...
Every so often someone thrusts a book into your hand, and they say something like, "Seriously, read this. It could change your life." The student evangelist handing you a snappily packaged Mark's Gospel. The preppy couple with broad smiles and a hunted, slightly desperate look in their eyes trying to give you a copy of Dianetics. The wanker in the fedora trying to make you buy yourself a copy of Atlas Shrugged.

Tuesday 12 May 2015

In Search of the Miraculous #8: The Birth of a Modern Mythology

Madame Blavatsky 
It all came from her, this cranky middle-aged woman with the terrifying clear blue eyes who came to meet an investigator of the occult called Colonel  Henry Olcott at a haunted farm in Vermont in 1874. 

She said she was a Russian countess. She said she had a direct line to an Immortal Brotherhood of Ascended Masters in Tibet. She said she knew what had really happened in Atlantis and Lemuria. 

It all started with Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Or to be more accurate, with her, a retired senator from Minnesota, and a group of reputable scientists caught by a preoccupation with lemurs.

Sunday 10 May 2015

In Search of the Miraculous #7: The Dividing of the Way

So in about 1883, in Northern California, in sight of the Cascade Mountains, there was this boy called Frederick Spenser Oliver. He was seventeen. And he began to hear voices. 

Or one voice in particular, anyway. Phylos was a "Thibetan", an Ascended Master, and he had chosen, he said, Frederick to be the vessel for his accounts of past lives. And for the next three years, Phylos dictated and Frederick wrote, out of sequence... a romantic novel.

Saturday 9 May 2015

Weekend Sketchbook

viii. Justice 
A short break from the In Search of the Miraculous series (more of that on Monday). Here, six more pieces of line art from the Chariot Tarot, straight from the sketchbook. 

Thursday 7 May 2015

In Search of the Miraculous #6: The Lives of Leadbeater

CW Leadbeater and James Wedgwood, dressed in the regalia of the Liberal Catholic Church; fulfilling all the very worst stereotypes about priests.
Every so often, you find a reminder as to why educational institutions still frown on Wikipedia. Mine was when I was checking out the Wikipedia entry on early Theosophical leader Charles Webster Leadbeater. The Talk page has a lengthy discussion as to why accusations of pederasty against Leadbeater are not entertained beyond the most basic level. It turns into a back and forth quarrel which boils down to whether you can put in an accusation like that without being able to cite any books on the subject. I actually registered an account with Wikipedia in order to fix that (who knows how long those references will stay, though?)

Why though, are the unfortunate sexual appetites of one of the most influential occultists of the Edwardian era the thing I choose to highlight, above everything else? Surely they're not the thing that defines him, right?


Wednesday 6 May 2015

In Search of the Miraculous #5: Waldorf and Steiner

Rudolf Steiner
The thing that mostly made its mark on me when impressionable seven year old me first saw a picture of Rudolf Steiner is, crikey that bloke had a big tie. I have never seen a picture of the man without the biggest, floppiest ties known to humanity. It was an image he wanted to present. He wanted to be an aesthete, in the tradition of Goethe (he even called the world HQ of his Anthroposophical Society the Goetheanum).

Arguably, of all the New Age writers I'm tackling, some obscure, some well-known, Steiner is the one who is best known outside of esoteric circles, having brought us Steiner (or Waldorf) schools and one of the first intentional forms of organic agriculture (I mean, yeah, in the old days, all farms were organic, but Steiner pretty much invented organic farming as a thing).

And he wrote some of the strangest, most difficult to fathom work on Atlantis of anyone.

Tuesday 5 May 2015

In Search of the Miraculous #4: Cayce's Atlantis

Edgar Cayce
When I wrote about Murry Hope yesterday, I kind of knew it'd probably wind up being one of very few things written about her on the internet, and probably the only critical piece. Apart from her Wikipedia entry, Google gave me listings for her books (not surprising, there are loads), one adoring biog and her 2012 death notice.

It's weird that someone so prolific should be so (relatively speaking) obscure. You can't say that about Edgar Cayce.

Monday 4 May 2015

In Search of the Miraculous #3: Murry Hope

The author picture from the back of my copy of  Ancient Egypt: The Sirius Connection, the only picture I could find of Murry Hope.
 In the 1970s and 1980s, long before the internet became what it is now, specialist magazines were absolutely the only place you could go for information on the news and controversies of your field. Prediction, of which my dad was a regular reader (and by extension, I was too, although he didn't know that) was the only important news source for the occult scene in the UK. In its pages I first learned about the Green Children of Woolpit, Mother Shipton, Rasputin, the Golem, the Philadelphia Experiment, the Necronomicon (long before I ever heard of Call of Cthulhu) and how you could sharpen razors in pyramids.

Sunday 3 May 2015

In Search of the Miraculous #2: The Lonely Death of PD Ouspensky

Where I got the title for this series from.
In Search of the Miraculous was the defining work of Peter Ouspensky. As Ouspensky goes, he was certainly a lot more principled and honest than a lot of the New Age thinkers.

Saturday 2 May 2015

In Search of the Miraculous #1: Space Barbie


So I was in this Christian Union meeting in university about twenty years ago now, and a girl (I think her name was Abi, but I'm not 100% sure) reported on a short-term missionary expedition to Uganda. She told a story of how she had witnessed someone who spoke only English praying in tongues over someone who was sick. By "in tongues," I mean glossolalia, which is a thing I've witnessed many times, and do still occasionally see. I never get used to it, but that's by the by.

Anyway, so this person that ProbablyAbi was with was praying in the unconscious spirit language and the Ugandans around were all astonished and stuff because apparently they were speaking in their - the Ugandans' - precise dialect. It was a miracle, the girl said.

Friday 1 May 2015

Lemurian bodies

They tower even over the Rmoahals, a full seven cubits high, broad shouldered, narrow-hipped, their long arms and short, bandy legs, neither of which ever fully straighten giving them an immediately recognisable profile. Atlanteans find it hard to tell them apart. Male, female, and the dual-sexed third gender that constitutes a good quarter of Lemurian society, all look very similar to the smaller peoples, with their shallow jaws and flat, wide-mouthed faces and their golden-brown or deep yellow skin. The Lemurians can tell. It amuses them that other peoples can't, and have you heard a Lemurian laugh? It is like huge stones grinding.

Small, sharp, widely spaced eyes in black, deep blue or violet stare out from under a heavy, fleshy brow. Coarse brown or sometimes white hair sits on the tops of their head, but doesn't grow over the back, where, in those Lemurians who are exceptionally talented psychically, there sits a third eye. Draped in skins dyed in bright shades of red, blue and green, carrying wooden or stone spears, the Lemurians have not taken on the technologies of the younger races. And why should they? They sing the Ak√Ęsha. It gives them all they need. Lemurian songs aid in the hunt, calm beasts, heal wounds, and lift and and move colossal stones.

The beasts they herd, the earth reptiles and the mammoths, serve as riding beasts, beasts of burden, and sources of food, clothing, ropes, bone bows and arrows, dyes and paints; no part of them goes to waste. 

Teeth made for chewing eat barely cooked steaks; huge gnarled hands work on intricate weaving projects and finely pulled thongs. 

They smell of blood and earth and the sweat of beasts. They rarely speak, but often sing in voices so deep and rich that a choir of Lemurians can stop a charging army in its tracks, no exagerration. Once, a few thousand years ago, an army of the White Sun with its land chariots and sky chariots came to take the City of Conical Stones. The Lemurians sang the army to stillness, and sang the flying monoliths that yet fill the skies of the South East down on their heads, and all were destroyed, and the stones serve as their graveyard still.