John Anthony West is a funny and highly heretical Egyptologist, in the gang of Hancock-Bauval et al. He wrote Serpent in the Sky, and runs regular tours of Egyptian temples. (Wouldn't mind going on one of those myself!)
Starting sometime in January, you can find West's podcasts at galactic7radio.com. To give a flavor, some sample topics:
Notes from a Heretic’s Notebook; Symbolist Egypt: The Doctrine of the Return to the Source; Darwin Debunked, Darwin De-clawed, Darwin Dethroned; Einsteins of Old: Ancient Symbolism/Modern Astrophysics; Son of Mystery of the Sphinx - Geo-panel – the Quest to Rewrite History. Further evidence; Number – Ancient Key to the Kosmos; Consider the Kali Yuga – Precession of the Equinoxes and the Great Year; Atlantis Here, Atlantis There, Atlantis Damn Near Everywhere; The Four Cowboys of Apocalypse 2.0: Capitalism, Patriotism, Democracy and Technology; Science, Education and the Media:Jesuits of the Church of Progress; Debunking Debunkery: JAW Takes on the Mind Gestapo and the Paradigm Police... etc...
To anyone but neo-Gnostics and devoted students of Dickian IrReality, this stuff will read as demented ravings.
Parts of the Exegesis were included in VALIS, and excerpted in other books of the VALIS trilogy. But there are thousands of unpublished pages of notes and drafts–philosophical speculation mixed with autobiography and analysis of his own writings.
The official PK Dick site is starting to put these online, a few at a time, in facsimile.
Not in His Image: Gnostic Vision, Sacred Ecology, and the Future of Belief
John Lamb Lash
Chelsea Green: 442 pp., $35; $20 paper
Gnosticism is a label applied to a collection of religious ideas that has long exerted a certain appeal to public intellectuals and controversialists, ranging from the theologian Marcion in the 2nd century AD to literary critic Harold Bloom in our time. What attracts them, I suppose, is the conviction that the highest truths are available only to a small circle of initiates — the Greek term gnostokoi can be translated as "those who understand divine matters, knowing what the gods know."
The latest to unfurl the banner of Gnosticism is John Lamb Lash, who describes the Gnostics of the ancient world as "the elite of Pagan intellectuals" and declares that their writings are "the explosive charge that can blow the institution of the Faith off its foundations, for good and all." By "the Faith," he means the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition in its entirety, and he intends to do nothing less than convert his readers into latter-day Gnostics.
Lash, whose publisher describes him as "an exponent of the practice of mythology," rejects much of the contemporary scholarship on Gnosticism. For example, he dismisses the work of Princeton historian Elaine Pagels, author of "The Gnostic Gospels," because she places the texts discovered at the Egyptian archeological site of Nag Hammadi within the context of early Christianity. Such an approach, he insists, "has hampered understanding of who the Gnostics were, and why they protest so vehemently against the rise of Christianity."
Lash seeks to rescue Gnosticism from the dustbin of Christian history and restore it to its rightful place amid the splendors of pagan antiquity. To signal his admiration for the fecund religious imagination of paganism, he capitalizes the word "Pagan" as if it were a single faith rather than a phantasmagorical assortment of beliefs and practices. But he does point out that Gnosticism itself shouldn't be described as a religion or even a sect, if only because gnostokos was "the generic term for any person learned in divine matters." Above all, he insists that Gnosticism represents the path toward "spiritual deep ecology," symbolized by today's adherents of the Greek earth goddess Gaia.
"Not in His Image" is perhaps best compared to Robert Graves' "The White Goddess," an earlier and only slightly less eccentric effort to find and explain the linkages among the fantastic variety of religious experiences in the ancient world. Like Graves, Lash is a self-invented scholar who has read widely and thought deeply. (He is the author of "Quest for the Zodiac," "The Hero" and "The Seeker's Handbook," and the co-founder of metahistory.org with a former wife, Joanna Harcourt-Smith, who lived with Timothy Leary in the 1970s. And he is general executor of the estate of Jack Kerouac's daughter, Jan, to whom he also was once married.) He confidently issues pronouncements about what he calls "the wholesale genocide of Pagan culture" and prescriptions for the spiritual salvation of the world.
Lash offers this work as a corrective to the "scholarly specialization" that condemns the Gnostics to "an obscure and uncertain place on the margins of the history of religion." Along the way, he seeks to repudiate what he sees as the pigheadedness of the academic establishment. Thus, for example, he condemns biblical scholars who do not see the continuities that Lash detects between the early Christians and the religious community at Qumran. He calls them "Zaddikites," but they are better known to the lay reader as the custodians of the Dead Sea Scrolls: "They fail to realize that the message of love in the charming miracle tales of the New Testament is a sugar coating on the bitter cyanide of Zaddikite ravings."
But Lash is not concerned merely with scolding biblical scholars. His goal is to melt down the religious and philosophical ideas of antiquity and recast them as a serviceable faith for our world. In place of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, which he links to "the religious schizophrenia of the ancient Hebrews" and which he flatly condemns as "annihilation theology," he proposes that we embrace Gnosticism and what he dubs "Gaian ethics," which he describes as "not a call to faith in God, but faith in the human species."
Lash is capable of explaining the mind-bending concepts of Gnosticism and pagan mystery cults with bracing clarity and startling insight. At moments, however, he slips into a kind of New Age rant as baffling as any mystical text. "What we seek in 'Gaia theory' is a live imaginal dimension," he writes in one such passage, "not a scaffolding of cybernetic general systems cogitation." Or: "Gnosis, taken as a path of experimental mysticism, and the Sophianic vision, taken as a guiding narrative for co-evolution, can provide the spiritual dimension for deep ecology independently of the three mainstream religions derived from the Abrahamic tradition."
Even he acknowledges that his book can be "a long haul and a lot to follow" and that his line of reasoning "demands exceptional concentration from the likes of us, many of whom cannot stay in the moment for three minutes at a time."
Lash's arguments are often lively and entertaining, even when they aren't convincing. When he contends that Celtic civilization spread to the far corners of the ancient world — "An apocryphal legend claims that John the Baptist was a Celt," he writes, "and Mary Magdalene was Circassian, half Celt, half Jewish" — he is reduced to citing the film "Lawrence of Arabia" to support the proposition that "Celtic half-breeds survived in the Levant down into the early twentieth century."
And when he considers what he calls the "sci-fi theology" of the ancient Gnostics, he comes uncomfortably close to affirming that the otherworldly "Archons" of Gnostic myth were authentic extraterrestrials.
"It is worth noting that the first great UFO wave of the twentieth century occurred in the summer and fall of 1947 when Jean Doresse was in Cairo examining the Nag Hammadi Codices, at the very moment the first Dead Sea Scrolls were found," Lash writes. "This was also the year that the CIA was founded, with the dual intention (according to UFO conspiracy buffs) to co-opt alien technology and cut a deal with the aliens, allowing them to experiment covertly on human subjects.... In fact, a CIA agent named Miles Copeland was dispatched to Damascus to examine and photograph some of the first scroll fragments to be unearthed."
At one telling moment at the outset of his book, Lash describes how his life was transformed when, in early adolescence, he was reading a copy of Nietzsche's "Thus Spake Zarathustra" in the back seat of the family car on the way back from an orthodontist's appointment in upstate New York. "I swore to finish what Nietzsche had begun," he declares. "I vowed to think through and live out his critique of Christianity to the end."
With "Not in His Image," he keeps that vow. But when Lash invites us to embrace the "high strangeness" of what he calls the "ET/Archon" hypothesis "with the Gnostic theory of alien intrusion" — "the stranger it gets, the more sense it makes," he insists — he passes wholly through the looking glass.
Jonathan Kirsch is the author of, most recently, "A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization."
Somewhere I once read reference to a government report. It warned about the eventual merger of pagans and eco-activists into some kind of "earth-activist religion" [horror soundtrack kicks in]. (No doubt one or two overpaid intelligence analysts out there are tasked to tracking all this.)
Starhawk is obviously front-runner in this game, but here are some other dots to connect:
"Gaia-logue" with Lynn Margulis, Stephan Harding and John Lash, from Bioneers by the Bay--summary, and mp3 [oops, can't find it now--buried somewhere on there!].
Interview with Stephan Harding, author of Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia, PhD in "Behavior Ecology," and director of the program in holistic studies at Schumacher College UK. Harding's a trained scientist, worked closely with Lovelock, but seems to be advocating out and out earth mysticism. Interesting.
*Timothy Leary* Was A Saint Who Will Be Remembered Long After Jesus, Mohamed And Elvis Are Forgotten
Talk given by Fraser Clark at Synergy’s Leary Appreciation Night, in London, on Friday 13th, 2006 [full text].
We live today in a culture which is so committed to the slaughtering of hundreds of thousands of people for oil and money that it is very difficult for us to distinguish the true heroes among us who point us towards a very different future.
When I say Tim Leary was a Saint, it is not going to be believed or even seriously contemplated in this present culture. But this psychopathic society which totally surrounds us is at a crisis point and will clearly either destroy itself or be forced to radically change its ways, and there is every sign that it is rapidly beginning to do so. Whether it manages this renaissance in time is a matter of opinion, but it will either die or it will emerge as a green, cooperative, disarmed and truly democratic global civilisation.
And, in this sense, it is the people in this club and participating here tonight who are the vanguard of this future culture, for if or when the change occurs people will live like most of the people in this club - a kind of spiritual, shamanised recreational model.
So my analysis is based on how that new culture will look back on The Troubles which it has managed to escape, and who it’s heroes will be.
So first I am going to define what a saint is and why I think Timothy Leary is one. Second, I shall outline the signs why he will probably never be forgotten. Then I shall consider why other better known prophets may very well disappear. And lastly I shall place some provisos on Leary as a Saint in the sense that there are higher levels than mere saints.
First, then, how was he a saint?
If you consult today’s dictionary you will find 3 definitions of saint. The 3rd, and most colloquial, is *”*An Illustrious Predecessor.” Well, nobody can argue with that. Leary *is* unquestionably a direct predecessor of today’s global shamanic rave scene. I could even argue that we would not be sitting here today were it not for Saint Tim. Yes, it would have happened eventually, but it might have taken another hundred years if it were not for both LSD and for Tim Leary refusing to shut up about it and allow it to be made illegal or confined only to some small elite as Aldous Huxley and other intellectuals of the time recommended.
This argument continues today, of course. At the Albert Hoffman Conference in Switzerland this year, while the elderly professors and notables in the great hall were lamenting the disappearance of this wonder drug from academia and the labs, outside thousands of ravers, from every corner of the planet, were celebrating the event in their own inevitable all-night parties.
I was asked recently by a reporter to sum up Leary’s contribution in ten words and I replied *”*He stopped 1984 from happening”. The Big Fear through the 1950s, until the Hippy Movement, was that Big Brother would take over. It was a very real Fear. Government was getting bigger and their control technology more powerful and the individual, the Little Man, was being increasingly marginalised in favour of State Control.
The Beatniks, and then the Angry Young Men, were a rebellion against this growing clone culture but they were very small in numbers and never became a mass fashion like the Hemingway generation before them they were basically loner individuals opting out, and they never rose to anything approaching a Movement to ACTUALLY CHANGE THE SYSTEM.
I joined this early Alternative Culture as a sort of anarchist and beatnik poet in the early ’60s and I tell you, when I told people they shouldn’t trust politicians, that they weren’t looking out for the common man’s benefit, people would laugh in your face like you were crazy. That’s one of the huge evolutions between then and today. Now everyone *knows* about politicians, nobody believes a word. This is a very positive development. Like a baby culture growing up.
Leary was a professor of Psychology when he found psilocybin and later LSD and realised that the psychedelics were the greatest spiritual psychological tools for mental health that we were ever likely to find. And he stood up for them to the very end, first being fired by Harvard University for refusing to stop his perfectly legal experiments, and later being harassed and demonised, and finally arrested and imprisoned, and escaping prison and joining the rebel underground and then fleeing to Europe and Africa and refusing to shut up about their importance as the Primary Tool to Save the World. The psychedelics are *still* that. And the world needs their healing insights *more than ever* today.
In other words he devoted his entire life to speaking up loudly for Individual Liberty and the Right to Internal Privacy. As an old man his slogan was *Think For Yourself And Question Authority*. Even a total cynic would have to admit that Leary, Acid and the Hippy Movement at least delayed 1984 for 20 years, and I think it was forever. Why? Because the Hippies never disappeared, they just went out of fashion. And the Hippy Spirit of Free Shamanic Inner Enquiry was reborn, in far larger numbers, when rave and ecstasy burst upon the world.
Rave wasn’t something brand new that came out of nowhere. All through the 1980s I had been predicting it in my magazine *The Encyclopaedia Psychedelica*, and the reasons I gave were that, having seen the depth of the human Spirit, I simply could not believe that it had disappeared forever.
So, in terms of illustrious predecessors, Ken Kesey, Alan Ginsberg, the Beatles, Muhamed Ali and Elvis were Heroes, but Timothy Leary rises a level above, to that of Sainthood.
The other 2 definitions of Saint speak of “*sanctus sancire = made sacred,*” and *”*pre-eminent for holiness”. If holiness is to shrug off your well paid middleclass security and to suffer the tribulations of working for humanity in the only way you know how and in a world controlled by the dark forces of Ego Power and Dominance, then Saint Timothy was certainly “pre-eminent
Second, what are the signs that Leary will be long long remembered?
President Richard Nixon called our good ex-professor *”*the most dangerous man alive.” Dumb, wily and mean though Nixon was, even he seems to have recognised the saint’s power to affect people, to *move* them. I always maintained, even then, that Leary would outlast Nixon in history. Well, a couple of months ago, seated at a pavement café, I mentioned this to an
extrovert friend who immediately enquired of the next passers-by, a 30 something couple, whether the name Richard Nixon meant anything to them. Both looked nonplussed. But when he asked about Timothy Leary the guy replied *”*Wasn’t he some kind of radical writer or something?”
Within 10 years of his death (which we celebrate today) Leary has already been rediscovered by an entire generation of ravers who do not look like they will soon forget him or the drug associated with him.
Jesus, on the other hand, if he existed at all, disappeared from Public History for 300 years after *his* death, only to reappear as an adjunct of Roman Christianity, the bloodiest Empire in human history and the lowest human evolution has ever sunk.
Mohamed was associated with invasions and violence against other cultures even in his own lifetime, and certainly after his death. And today, throughout the west, unfairly, he is becoming associated with terrorism. So how long he will actually last is a fair question.
Saint Timothy, on the other hand, has *never* been associated with violence of any kind, though he walked among social lepers, rebels and outlaws and jumped bail and jail with gay abandon. And, less than a decade after his death, he is being debated in underground clubs where the avant garde gather. And we all know the avant garde is next year’s fashion. Two new Leary autobiographies are in the shops, one of which is shite and I advise you to stay well clear of it, and the other is I Have America Surrounded which I highly recommend. And no less than 2 movies on Tim’s life are in the works, one starring Leo Decaprio.
And now, lastly, I’d like to point out that saying he was a Saint is not as strong as it appears. Saint Nicolas, Santa Claus, was a saint because he was a lovely nice man who gave presents to children. That’s kind of what Tim was for us hippies. He was a Saint Claus because he brought hope and inspiration to so many people.
But he was not a Teacher, nor a social agitator like a Ghandi for example, or a Mandela.
And he was no spiritual Adept like, say, George Gurdjieff, who was a Master. Leary pointed a whole generation to LSD and LSD pointed us all to Higher Possibilities. But Gurdjieff and other Teachers actually teach us how to make these higher levels *permanent*, not just something you feel for a night.
George Gurdjieff taught that we are 3 brained beings, possessed of equally important intellectual brains, emotional brains and physical-moving brains. He taught that our first spiritual work must be to balance all three, and to reach the stage of Balanced Man. *Then and only then* should we develop our higher centres. Failure to first reach Balanced Man will mean our opening of higher centres will be unbalanced. An overdeveloped intellectual brain (without equal development of the other 2) produces a Weak Yogi - too much knowledge but producing no action. Or the Absent Minded Professor. Similarly, over stimulation of the emotional brain will produce a Stupid
Saint. And so on.
Tim Leary was a human being of his time, with as many failings and repressed material as all of his contemporaries. There is no claim to any superman abilities here, though unquestionably LSD opened his higher centres. But, OF COURSE, he made mistakes, MAYBE he sinned, MAYBE even seriously. But with today’s communications technology we know more about 6 months in
Leary’s life than in the whole lifetime of Santa Claus. Which includes less holy peoples’ opinions, voiced for all sorts of tainted motivations. We shall never know if Santa Claus was a secret paedophile, but we know a million details about Leary, many of which will be untrue. So let’s not miss the Big Picture of the man’s life by losing ourselves in a mass of shabby alleged details, most of which were filtered through the police
system while he was in jail. How would *you* fare if the glare of the world’s media was set loose on you. And especially if the mass of the media was serving Mammon.
And lastly, Tim Leary was not a Shaman. He was always the social psychologist, fascinated by the development of human culture. Terence McKenna was a shaman. I knew and worked with both men on several occasions, but I knew Terence much better, as a friend. When Leary died ten years ago, I sensed very strongly that he continued to hang around. He is a kind soul, he *cares *about Humanity, and he wants to see if his social experiment will pan out over the long term. When Terence died it was quite different. As a shaman he flew straight onto the other dimensions without a single glance back.
I even sense that Saint Timothy is here tonight, gauging how the seed which he planted is developing. Hi, I know you’re there, Tim! Thanks for everything you did for us.
And, Tim? Can you make sure and get me on the guest list?! Thanks!
[reposted by Cinnamon Twist, eblips.net]
Just got back from the Precession and Ancient Knowledge meeting in Irvine. No massive blockbuster news if you’ve been following this event and its “binary star” premise, but:
• Schoch & West announced they are putting together a team of 6 geologists, 1/2 appointed by them, and 1/2 appointed by Zahi Hawass, to examine weathering of the sphinx. Schoch also confirmed seismic evidence for a large cavity underneath the left paw of the Sphinx (predicted by Cacye–Hall of Records?). But Hawass will not give access to it yet. Schoch also debunked the ‘Bosnian Pyramids.’
• Hancock showed some new information relating the positioning of ancient sacred sites to precessional numbers. I missed his ‘bonus talk’ on his new book Supernatural at the end of the day, alas!
• A few speakers addressed the role of electromagnetism on human consciousness and paranormal phenomena. Some of this information was more empirically grounded than one typically finds at New Age expos, which is nice. On the other hand, two of the presenters were exotic weapons developers. Weird.
• John Major Jenkins rehashed his work on Izapan cosmotheology, and suggested that 2012 was the turning point half-way through the 26,000 year precessional cycle (ie, ‘perihelion’ of the Sun’s orbit around a common gravitational center with an unknown companion star).
• Hoagland, predictably, has discovered some more alleged artifacts on the Moon and Mars — a robot head, and a ruined ‘Queen Mary’, respectively; mentioned in passing that humanity is descended from Martians; and summarized the work of Russian researcher Kozyrev on torsion fields and aether.
• Poor Geoff Marcy–who must be tenured, to have gotten away with appearing at a fringe event like this–was gentlemanly, presenting his own work in finding extrasolar planets, and efforts to build a new observatory dedicated exclusively to that end.
Ultimately, the organizer Walter Cruttenden had the chunkiest and most revelatory talk, unfortunately it was mostly a repeat of material in his book, The Lost Star of Myth and Time.
His binary star hypothesis, with Sirius as the main candidate, seems to have quite a lot in its favor. If proved true, this will be a bombshell of almost Copernican proportions. However, its not the closest star to Sol, so for the proposition to hold some, er, minor revisions to Newton’s laws of gravity may be in order…
Recordings of all the talks should be available shortly from the website. Proceedings with documentation will be available too.