Monday, September 27, 2010


Monday, September 6, 2010

In the News...

On 8 April 2006, a 300-year-old ledger bound in human skin was found lying in the street in the Headrow district of Leeds. Detectives later found out it had been stolen from a house in the city's Headingly area. In a practice called anthropodermic bibliophagy, it used to be a custom in the 18th and 19th centuries to bind accounts of murder trials in the killer's skin. Shropshire Star, 10 May 2006; FT212:11

A Filipino judge who worked in a suburb of Manila was fired and fined after claiming three magic dwarves assisted him in obtaining the powers of bilocation, healing, and prophecy. Judge Florentino Floro was 86ed after a three-year investigation. Floro believed the three duwendes-a Tagalog word for mystic dwarf-even had names: Armand, Luis, and Angel. Independent on Sunday, 7 May 2006; FT212:09

On 27 December 2004, the brightest explosion in our Milky Way galaxy since Kepler's surpernova in 1604 was observed. Amazingly, considering it was 50,000 light-years away, it was brighter than the Full Moon for a tenth of a second. A dense neutron star known as SGR-1806-20, is thought to have erupted after accreting material onto its surface through its huge gravitational field. Had the enormous amount of energy it released in X-rays and gamma-rays been within 10 light-years of Earth, it could have destroyed our atmosphere and killed all life on the planet. Times, 19 February 2005; FT 196:08

Alvaro Weyne, a Brazilian businessman, had come to the conclusion that the safest place to put about 15,000 dollars worth of cash and checks was in his office waste bin. He was correct-an office cleaner emptied the booty into a dumpster without giving it a second thought. Independent on Sunday, 5 September 2004; FT 196:10

A fight between the superheroes Spiderman, Batman and Superman, broke out at 12:30 in the morning on Christmas morning in Kent, UK (with a nod to Clark Kent perhaps?). The fight erupted when a burger van the superheroes were frequenting ran out of burgers. Sun, 30 December 2004; FT 196:10

Archaeologists digging at a site in Piotrowka, Poland, discovered a group of 11th century human skeletons buried face down, covered with heavy stones, and adorned with expensive jewellery. The archaeologists believed the burial customs were done to prevent the dead from rising from their graves. Perhaps this could be related to early vampire beliefs/scares? Sun (Dublin) Metro, 5 April 2007; FT 225:11

A 20-year-old burglar hopefully learned a lesson and earned a headache-from a garden gnome. 69-year-old Jean Collop woke up at 5am on 12 April 2005 to find an intruder on her roof in Wadebridge, Cornwall. The man was trying to get in through a window when Ms. Collop threw the gnome at him which then bounced off his head. Neighbours were on guard below when police arrived to find the young man still on the roof in a daze. Daily Express, Sun, 15 April 2006; FT 202:10

A (hopefully) very odd happening at a wedding in Croatia was reported in 2005. The bride and best man had stolen off to a washroom for a little illicit sex, when a friend of the groom walked in on them. This apparently caused the bride to go into what was termed a "muscle spasm" and uh....caused the pair to be in a "locked" position. Other guests came to either gawk at the couple or to try to pry them apart to no avail. The couple were taken to a hospital in Varazdin where the bride was given a muscle relaxant, freeing the best man. The wedding party continued--with the groom announcing that it would now celebrate his divorce. Irish Independent, 4 June, Sunday Mail, 5 June 2005; FT 202:11

Residents of the Indian village of Madanpura became concerned when a storm knocked down a tree--the reason--they believed a ghost lived in the tree and would now be homeless. Several villagers claimed that the ghost had come to them in a dream asking to be re-housed. The villagers organized a fund drive to pay for a new home for the revenant. Independent on Sunday, 9 July 2006; FT 215:09

Curtis Lofton ruined his spotless record as a teacher in Lower Paxton, Pennsylvania, when he was found outside his home, naked in the snow. A police officer asked him hif he was OK, to which he replied: "No, I am crazy, and I need a menthol cigarette." He then told the officer that he was Jesus Christ before hitting him on the head with a plastic trumpet. Mr. Lofton was charged with open lewdness, aggravated assault, cannabis possession, among other charges. No word if impersonating Jesus Christ is a misdeameanor or felony. Independent on Sunday, 8 January 2006; FT 214:11

I hadn't done one of these in a while and wanted to put something up for September--hope you enjoy!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Angels & Demons: Duality & Paranormal Phenomena

I mentioned the Neoplatonists in earlier articles. The Neoplatonists believed in the concept of a world-soul, which they also also acquired from Plato. They called this the Anima Mundi. This world-soul or Anima Mundi was the realm from which emerged the gods and daimons. The Anima Mundi is also equal to Dr. Carl Jung's collective unconscious and I also believe it is Dr. Huston Smith's Intermediate Plane or Dr. Henry Corbin's Imaginal Realm.

The Soul of the World, collective unconscious, or Imaginal Realm-whatever noun we choose to identify this magical place with-cannot be known directly. The daimons, myths, and gods that emanate from this realm are, in a sense, metaphors for one another. It is also useful, I believe, to imagine the Anima Mundi/Imaginal Realm as the beautiful, calm reflective surface of a crystal-clear mountain lake on an enchanting Autumn night. Using this imagery, picture that the images on the surface of our lake are actually empty-or not "really" on the lake-but the surface of our magical lake can reflect everything. Then I think we have a good metaphor/analogy for Jung's collective unconscious/Anima Mundi/Imaginal Realm.

In other words the gods, daimons, and myths of the Imaginal Realm are not in the Imaginal Realm etc.--they are the Imaginal Realm etc. One thing that using the placid surface of a lake for our analogy to the Imaginal Realm that may give a false impression of this place is the sense of calm and serenity it gives. In fact, it is a dynamic, tempestuous place that constantly branches into "our" world-its tendrils leaping into the physical plane, the mental plane (our thoughts/imagination) and our psycholgical complexes and dreams.

The philosophy of alchemy gives us one of the most refined embodiments of the Anima Mundi. Mercury (Mercurius) personified a dynamic, living spirit in the physical matter and also the unconscious itself. "The mythical figure of Proteus, a favorite image of the Renaissance, represented a combination of the sea image and the personification: as daimonic offspring of the sea-god Poseidon. Proteus is the shape-changer par excellence-always himself, yet always appearing as something else."

"When Jung spoke of images, he referred especially of course to those archetypal images we encounter as daimons and gods. We must not be misled by the word "images" into thinking of them as somehow unreal. We should, on the contrary, approach them as Jung approached daimons like his Philemon-"as if they were real people" to whom he "listened attentively." He did not, we notice, treat them as literally real, as we (mistakenly) treat hallucinations or (correctly) treat people in the street...He treated them as metaphorical beings, as if they were real people. And it is this metaphorical reality, as (if not more so than) literal reality-as real as Philemon-that he called psychic reality." Daimonic Reality, Patrick Harpur, pp. 47-48.

There are two benefits for thinking of the Anima Mundi instead of the collective unconscious as the prime metaphor for daimonic reality. The first is that the Anima Mundi evokes the notion of the soul, with all of its religious and mystical implications as opposed to psyche which has been denuded of these connections by almost everyone except Jung and a handful of other thinkers. The second benefit is that the Amima Mundi suggests a plane of being that is as much "out there" as it is "within us," as opposed to how the "unconscious" part of the collective unconscious suggests as area of being that can be reduced to psychological factors.

W.B. Yeats wrote: "If all our mental images no less than apparitions (and I see no reason to distinguish), are forms existing in the general vehicle of Anima Mundi, and mirrored in our particular vehicle, many crooked things are made straight." From the human standpoint, the soul is a microcosm which is also composed of a deep, abstruse collective level or world-soul where all of the separate, individual souls meet. From the world-soul/Anima Mundi's point of view it is a macrocosm, a complete impersonal world which has the ability to paradoxically be made known in a personal manner (duality again--microcosm/macrocos, personal/impersonal) as individual human souls. Jung realized that the deeper we dig into our souls, the unconscious unfolds-turning inside out: "At bottom the psyche is simply the world."

The word "animism" is used, by and large, in a derogatory manner by Western society towards traditional societies-all of which, even if they don't have an intellection for it, perceive Anima Mundi. This is because Western culture, long ago, denied any sense of anima in Nature thus taking soul out of it and debased Nature to dead matter reacting in accordance with sterile mechanical laws. To cultures which are animistic, Nature reveals herself in all her glory as thourougly daimon-haunted. These people recognize the sylphs of the air, the genii of forest and mountain, numina of trees and streams etc. The amazing variety of daimons associated with certain places also have their opposite numbers in places of habitation, such as ancestral spirits and the "kinder and gentler" household gods. To people in animistic cultures no part of mundane reality is without the sacralization of everyday living or without a daimon who has to be awarded its share unless one wants to invite misfortune and mishap into their lives.

Daimons also love to inhabit areas such as sacred graves, stone circles, tumuli, and holy wells. Perhaps the lights seen hovering over crop circles and tumuli (among other sacred sites), are analogous in some way to "modern" UFOs that are spotted over power generating stations, nuclear reactors, military bases and reservoirs. If this is the case we would have dualities with the ancient and modern: ghost/fairy lights (ancient) hovering over stone circles/tumuli (ancient). UFOs (modern) hovering over military bases/nuclear reactors (modern). The military bases, nuclear reactors and the like would play the part of our modern "sacred" technological sites which we worship, as animistic cultures worship at stone circles or sacred graves and the like.

Geographical locations where a high number of UFOs are seen are called "windows." Other Fortean phenomena also seem to favor certain locations or "windows" on occasion. A window is certainly a good name to describe an area where there is more permeability between daimonic and ordinary reality--the "daimonic" and "ordinary" being perhaps another duality that is essentially the flip sides of the same coin.

Daimons are famous for haunting "boundary" areas. The anthropolist Victor Turner called them liminal ("threshold") zones. These liminal zones and the daimons that haunt them occur in a wide variety of areas physical and mental-many of which can be thought of in the form of dualities: consciouness/unconsciousness, day/night, old/new (example: at the turn of the year) etc. Other liminal zones that daimons favor are crossroads, bridges, the bases of mountains, and shores. Mobile home parks and caravan sites are frequented by strange beings, UFOs and other Fortean phenomena more often than other areas where people make their homes-especially considering their usually smaller size. Could this be because they are often located in liminal (boundary/threshold) zones between city and country? Perhaps also because these areas are "home" and yet "not- home" to so many people? Could these examples also be yet more evidence of duality?--city/country, home/not- home? Whatever one thinks of the duality issue-one thing can be said for certain with regard to these quirky places: Many people know of a magical, enchanted place whether it is largely known or private where our so-called "laws" of space and time, matter and causality appear to be undermined; and for a time-usually brief we catch a glimpse of a hidden order of things.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Angels & Demons: Duality & Paranormal Phenomena

I think the daimons and the realities from where they have their origin have always been with humanity and quite possibly precede us. Plato and the people who arrived on the scene after him and tried to preserve (and expand on) his teachings have left us some of their thoughts about the daimonic/magical aspect of reality. In the Timaeus, Plato thought of the individual daimon as the element of pure reason in man-a kind of intelligent and wise spirit rudder to steer the ship of one's soul by. The philosophers we call Neoplatonists (they would have thought of themselves as Platonists) expanded on Plato's ideas about reality and daimons.

Wikipedia: "The philosophers called Neoplatonists did not found a school as much as attempt to preserve the teachings of Plato...The concept of the One was not as clearly defined in Plato's Timaeus (the good above the demiurge) as it later was by Plotinus' Enneads: however the passage in Plato's Republic (509c) in which the Sun is said to symbolize The Good (or the One) can be seen as ample justification for the late Platonist's view of the One-for here Plato calls The Good, "beyond essence," especially when this is placed alongside the range of attributes denied of the One in the Parmenides. The afterlife Socrates defines in Phaedo is also different from the afterlife of the person or soul in the Enneads. The soul returns to the Monad or One in Plotinus' works. This is the highest goal of existence, reflected in the process of henosis. In both the Enneads and Phaedo there are different afterlives: one could be reincarnated, one could receive punishment, or one could to to Hades to be with the heroes of old. This last one for Socrates was the highest ideal afterlife. This is in contrast to Neoplatonism's ideal afterlife of returning to the One or Monad. However, what is said in the Phaedrus (248c-249d) reconciles these two apparently conflicting views: for Socrates in this dialogue shows that a movement from life to life (including periods in Hades) is part of a much greater cycle that culminates in perfection and a divine life."

Plotinus is a very important person in Neoplatonism. Even though his teacher, Ammonius Saccas, was said to have founded Neoplatonism, it is Plotinus' Enneads that are the primary and classical document of Neoplatonism. To Plotinus, the individual daimon wasn't anthropomorphic, but instead, a living psychological principle that dwells within us and is transcendent to us. Here Plotinus appears to be in agreement with Dr. Carl Jung's later work-that there are beings (daimons), archetypes and a psyche beyond ourselves. Here is a bit of what Jung thought about his own personal daimon Philemon: "Philemon brought home to me the critical insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which have their own life...I held conversations with him and he said things which I had not consciously thought...He said I treated thoughts as if I generate them myself but in his view thoughts were like animals in the forest, or people in the room...It was he who taught me psychic objectivity, the reality of the psyche." Dr. Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, pp.208-209.

The Syrian Neoplatonist Iamblichus (d. 326 AD) also added greatly to the study of daimons, in fact, modern investigators of the paranormal could learn a lot from the distinctions he makes between "phasmata." "For instance, while phasmata of archangels are both "terrible and mild," their images "full of supernatural light," the phasmata of daimons are "various and dreadful." They appear at different a different form, and appear at one time great, but at another small, yet are still recognized to be the phasmata of daemons." As we have seen, this could equally well describe their personifications. Their "operations" interestingly, "appear to be more rapid than they are in reality" (an observation which might be borne in mind by ufologists)." Patrick Harpur, Daimonic Reality, p.39.

Personal daimons, for the most part, prefer two different guises to appear in. They can manifest as glowing orbs of light or take on an angelic/wise-man/woman countenance. Napoleon's daimon both counseled and protected him--it could also be seen by him as a shining sphere, which he called his star, or would visit him as a dwarf dressed in red that would warn him of danger. I agree with Patrick Harpur that the two forms are different manifestations of each other--a duality--the star as an astral guide and a red-bedecked dwarf that warns to stay out of harm's way. The reports of personal daimons/guardian angels/spirit guides are hardly the only paranormal phenomena where the same principle seems to be at work, but taking on different forms that can often be looked at from the perspective of duality--one paranormal coin with two different faces, as I hope to show in upcoming posts. The second image is a drawing Carl Jung did himself of "Philemon."

All the best to anyone stopping by! Oh- that first image- that is a pic of me with my trusty dragon - his name is Mucho Caliente Breath;-)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Angels & Demons: Duality & Paranormal Phenomena

One of the best commenters in blogland, my friend Xdell at the Xspot , left a comment under the previous article that gave me the idea for the direction this series should go next. This is with regard to where paranormal phenomena come from, and how, and why they manifest as they do. Of course, there may not be much more than theorizing here, but I think we may be able to see some surprising patterns develop.

Here is one idea that I hope people who read this blog will at least entertain, even if they end up not agreeing completely, or at all with it. The more I have studied paranormal phenomena/Fortean phenomena over the years, the more convinced I have become that almost all-if not every one of them are produced by (a) human consciousness interacting with matter. (b) human consciousness interacting with non-human consciousness. (c) human consciousness interacting with both matter and non-human intelligence. Another way of saying this is that I think most, if not all, of these phenomena live through us. I also wonder if the human race is just as dependent on these other beings and levels of existence.

Here might-notice I said "might"-be some examples of a, b, and c above. Many of these phenomena may "overlap" categories: (a) noisy ghosts "poltergeists", crop circles, synchronicities, BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) sightings, UFO sightings. (b) NDEs (near death experiences), channeling (Jane Roberts with the "Seth" material for instance), automatic writing. (c) UFO trace evidence cases and contact with UFO "aliens," encounters with elementals, gnomes, fairies etc, and trace evidence left behind from these encounters (fairy rings, missing time etc. -very similar to modern UFO reports quite often), cattle mutilations, "intelligent" hauntings, crop circles.

As you can see, these examples are by no means a complete list. When dealing with paranormal/Fortean phenomena I don't think there will ever be an end to the "list." I mentioned that some of these phenomena would straddle categories-this is due to the way one looks at them. Crop circles, for instance, could they be caused by some natural, but as yet unexplained process? Could they be caused by human consciousness interacting in some way with physical matter? Or could they be caused by some non-human intelligence interacting with matter and human intelligence?

The reason I am not giving a "d" category of non-human intelligences only interacting with matter is that I am thinking that the very fact we humans observe a certain phenomenon-crop circles-for instance-means that we are in some way interacting with the phenomenon by simply just noticing it and trying to explain it. Some might consider this "cheating", but I think the reason I am doing this will become more evident as this series progresses.

I would also like to use Huston Smith's ideas about the "Primordial Tradition" from his book Forgotten Truth to represent the 4 levels of reality I will refer to in this series. In this book, Smith talks about the Great Chain of Being and how it begins with the Infinite level of Spirit (God Unmanifest, Godhead) and proceeds down, or "devolves" to the Terrestrial level (Body, physical reality). This can also be thought of as "devolution" from Absolute Unity, Infinity, Eternity, and Truth down to the state of Duality, Finiteness, Temporality, and Falsehood.

The very highest level of reality is the Noetic Absolute. This is the realm of the Godhead, Spirit, and the Infinite Source of all Creation. This level is the Alpha and the Omega of all existence. It is beyond human language to describe-this level of Spirit must be experienced to know it. It is also somewhat paradoxical, as it is beyond all form, but is "pregnant" with every form of existence.

The next level "down" is the level of the soul: God Manifest. Huston Smith calls this the Celestial plane. This is the plane of the knowable aspects of God. It is also the plane of the archetypes or "first forms." I believe many paranormal events have their origin at this level of reality.

The next level "down" is what Huston Smith refers to as the Intermediate level of existence. This is the level of the world in all its invisible aspects: Mind and the Vital Principle. This would also be the "astral" plane and the "Imaginal" level of reality. I think that quantity-wise, if not quality-wise, most forms of paranormal phenomena and experience originate with human minds/imaginations interacting with this Intermediate or Imaginal level of existence.

The final level is the most self-explanatory. This is what Smith calls the Terrestrial level, and is simply the level of our physical reality here on Earth. There is a "mirroring" of all of these levels of reality in human beings: Spirit= the level of the Infinite; Soul= the Celestial/Archetypal level; Mind= the Intermediate/Imaginal/Astral level; Body=the Terrestrial level. All these levels of reality are accessible to human beings-the only thing is not many experience the Celestial and Infinite levels.

I will close this post with a wonderful bit from Patrick Harpur's Daimonic Reality (pg. 35) that explains some more about the where and why of the beings (daimons) that inhabit these other levels of reality: "Daimons were essential to the Gnostic-Hermetic-Neoplatonic tradition of philosophy-which was more like psychology (in the Jungian sense) or a mystical discipline than the logical excercises that philosophy became. But the daimons of myth evolved into a sort more suited to these philosophies, whether angels, souls, archons, thrones, or powers- many of which later infiltrated Christianity. Ever flexible, the daimons changed their shape to suit the times, even becoming abstractions when necessary (the Neoplatonic henads for example) but preferring if possible to remain personified...Never quite divine nor quite human, the daimons erupted out of the Soul of the World. They were neither spiritual nor physical, but both. Neither were they, as Jung discovered, wholly inner nor wholly outer, but both." To be continued...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Angels & Demons: Duality & Paranormal Phenomena

"This world of Imagination is the world of Eternity; it is the divine bosom into which we shall all go after the death of the Vegetated body. This World of Imagination is Infinite, and Eternal, whereas the world of Generation, or Vegetation, is Finite and Temporal. There Exist in that Eternal World the Permanent Realities of Every Thing which we see reflected in this Vegetable Glass of Nature. All Things are comprehended in their Eternal Forms in the divine body of the Saviour, the True Vine of Eternity. The Human Imagination..." William Blake A Vision of the Last Judgment

Consider: An encounter with a man whom my friend Terry Robinson wonders if he was actually an angel saves him from drowning. Another poet, and friend of mine, Stephen Morrissey has an excellent blog and series of poems, Dream Journeys that would fit right into this new series I am going to do here! There are also other poems of Stephen and Terry that these gentlemen kindly let me post here at My Favorite Monsters under the "poetry" label-and also by their names.

A young mother notices her 3 year old daughter has run off from the garden where she was playing. The mother looks around frantically and to her horror sees the young girl sitting on the nearby railroad tracks-a train is coming. "As she raced from the house screaming her daughter's name, she suddenly saw a striking figure, clothed in pure white, lifting Lisa off the tracks. While the train roared past, the glorious being stood by the track with an arm around the child...When the mother reached the daughter's side, Lisa was standing alone." Daimonic Reality by Patrick Harpur, pages 37-38.

And what of these incidents: "Or the Petropolis, Brazil, report of October 25, 1957, in which we are told that a girl dying from cancer was saved by a fantastic operation performed by two men who came from the sky. Or the case of "Dr X," the French doctor who observed two strange objects near his house in October 1968 and was subsequently cured of a large hematoma and of a form of paralysis." Dimensions, page 154 by Dr. Jacques Vallee.

And what on Earth are we to make of these encounters/incidents?: "Driving home in a company van the evening of March 17, 1978, Englishman Ken Edwards saw a strange figure on top of an embankment...It descended the steep hill at an impossible right angle to the ground, and before walking across the road and straight through a chain link fence as if it wasn't there, turned to face the van and shot narrow beams of light from its eyes into the cab. A power surge burned out all of the major components, Edwards' watch stopped, and he showed Hough [Peter Hough-a respected UFO researcher] marks on his hands that had been clutching the steering wheel which resembled sunburns. He soon began complaining of stomach pains, and was found to be riddled with cancer, and died at 42. Maybe he would have anyway, if he and something unknowable hadn't crossed paths, but like Barbara, his widow, told Hough, "A thing that can burn skin, stop watches and destroy an expensive radio might well be capable of harming a human being." Rigorous Intuition by Jeff Wells pages xiv and xv.

And this?: "Last July 20, Vince Weiguang Li delivered an Edmonton newspaper that carried a lengthy feature on the Wendigo, "a terrifying creature in native mythology that has a ravenous appetite for human flesh. It could take possession of people and turn them into cannabalistic monsters."

"Li abruptly quit his job and took a bus across the Canadian prarie, where he beheaded and cannabalized 20-year-old Tim McLean. "I just don't know what to think of it, quite frankly," says the pieces author, and Windigo expert, Nathan Carlson. He'd documented numerous cases of people believing they were "turning Windigo" who would beg to be killed "before they started eating people." At Li's first courthouse appearance, the only words he spoke was a soft, "Please kill me." also from Rigorous Intuition pg. xv

And this?: "On 16 November 1963 four young people were walking along a country road near Sandling Park, Hythe, Kent. Seventeen-year-old John Flaxton was the first to draw attention to a bright "star" which seemed to be moving over the woods at Slaybrook corner. The group grew alarmed when the "star" started to drop towards them. As they ran for safety they became aware of an oval-shaped golden light floating above an adjoining field. They stopped running-and the light stopped moving. They felt they were being watched."

"Up until now. the encounter is typical: the anomalous light heralds the advent of some visitation-a ring of fairies perhaps or a blond "spaceman" with a stirring message for mankind. Instead, "the glowing disappeared behind the trees, and the next thing the young people knew was that a dark figure was stumbling across the field towards them. It seemed to be completely black, human-sized but with no head [and] have wings of the kind associated with bats...The youngsters are convinced they saw a ghost. Mervyn Hutchinson, eighteen, said it was like a bat with webbed feet and no head." Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld by Patrick Harpur, page 44.

The 1963 sighting in England, that Patrick Harpur talks about, gave me a bit more of a pause than its very creepy nature would already suggest. It happened 6 days before the Kennedy assassination in Dallas, Texas (or the 1963 coup d' etat for some of us conspiracy researchers!) "over the woods at Slaybrook corner," and involved an entity very reminiscent of Mothman . Now many people who believe in, and investigate such things believe the Mothman is an apparition that presages death, similar to the Black Dog or the White Lady. Maybe my ponderings on this case are "out of left field." However, I do believe in the reality of these (and thousands upon thousands) of other paranormal/Fortean phenomena. I also believe that human consciousness (at all of the levels of existence it can access) interacts like it is a web -spun within and without the threads and skeins of gross physical matter, and other, more subtler forms of matter which I definitely think exist too.

So I ask myself, "WTF is going on?" The first image is William Blake's The Ghost of a Flea, painted circa 1815-1820. The second image is one I saw on a discussion forum so I don't know who did it- another mystery! To be continued...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Dyatlov Pass Mystery

During the late evening of 1 February 1959 to the early morning of 2 February, something very strange happened to nine experienced skiers in the Ural Mountains of the Soviet Union. Whatever happened to these 7 men and 2 women, the consequences cost them their lives.

The investigation into their deaths seemed to show that the nine fled the camp they had set up in sudden terror. The group fled towards a thick forest about a kilometer and a half away (about 1 mile). They were in such a rush to flee, they didn't even try to open the tent, which was tied shut against the wind and snow-instead slashing the tent open wih their knives! When they dashed down the snowy slope towards the thick forest, they left behind such essentials as skis, food and warm coats. They didn't have a chance of surviving in the forest where bitterly cold temperatures hovered around -30 C (-22F).

The investigators at the time offered the explanation which didn't really explain anything, that "a compelling unknown force" caused the deaths of the group. The area-now known as "The Dyatlov Pass" in honor of the fallen group and their leader was then shut off to amateur sportsmen for "reasons of safety."

There would have been a tenth member in the group that fateful eve/morn had he not fallen ill and turned back-Yuri Yudin. "If I had a chance to ask God just one question, it would be: "What really happened to my friends that night?" says Yudin.

Yudin and his nine comrades had left on their journey on 23 January 1959. Their destination was Otorten Mountain in the northern Urals. Yudin and eight of the other members of the group were either students or graduates of the Ural Polytechnic Institute of Sverdlovsk (now called Ekaterinberg-the city where the Tsar and his family were executed on the orders of V.I. Lenin in 1918).

The members of the group who perished are as follows: Igor Dyatlov, 23, and leader of the group=well respected for his expertise in cross-country skiing and mountaineering; Georgy Kolvonishenko (24), Yuri Doroshenko (24), Zina Kolmogoreva (22), Rustem Slobodin (23), Nicolas Thibeaux-Brignollet (24), Ludmila Dubinina (21), Alexandr Kolevatov (25) and Alexandr Zolotaryov, quite a bit older than the rest at 37.

Some silly rumours concerning Zolotaryov's involvement with the group began (as they will in these unexplained cases) saying he was either a "rather mysterious" or "unexplained" addition to the group. This was simply ridiculous. Zolotaryov had simply requested to go along because of his interest in the sport. Dyatlov had been initially reluctant to take him, but Zolotaryov had proven himself to be a very experienced sportsmen and came with a recommendatation from some of Dyatlov's own friends.

"Sports Tourism" had become very popular in the USSR after the years of austerity and privations caused by WWII and Stalin. Under Nikita Khrushchev's leadership, the USSR moved away from the extreme repression and terror under Stalin starting with Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" to the Twentieth Communist Party Congress of the Soviet Union in 1956. The Soviet Union was also experiencing great economic growth during the Khrushchev years (1955-1964), which allowed Soviet citizens to pursue other interests. Another reason sports tourism flourished was its apolitical nature.

Upon leaving on 23 January, the initial group of ten left for what was supposed to be a three-week journey. They travelled by train to Ivdel, arriving on 25 January. Then they went to Vizhay-the last inhabited settlement before the snow-covered wilderness between them and Otorten. On 28 January 1959, Yuri Yudin became ill and had to turn back, leaving the nine to proceed without him. This was the last time he saw his friends alive.

Events after Yudin's departure can only be reconstructed from the diaries and photographs left by the group, and the investigation into the incident. On 31 January the group reached the river Auspia, where they set up a base at the edge of the highland area, and left food and equipment there for the return journey. From here, they began climbing the pass towards Otorten on 1 February 1959.

For some reason-most likely bad weather conditions causing them to become disoriented-the found themselves on the slopes of the moutain Kholat Syakh, at a height of around 3600 feet (1100 meters). They pitched their tent here around 5 p.m. on 1 February, although if they had travelled just about another mile (1.5 km) down the moutain, they would have had some greater shelter from the bad weather in a forest.

The last diary entry made by the group indicated they were in good -even terrific spirits. The next day they planned to continue on to Otorten, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) to the north, before returning to their base camp.

What happened to the group during that tragic timeframe from the late evening of the first to the early morning of the second is of course, a complete mystery. There have been loads upon loads of unsubstantiated claims and rumours piled upon this case. Everything from alien creatures, secret military testing gone wrong, some members of the groups corpses were said to have a strange orange-tan color, revenge by an indigenous tribe called the Mansi for daring to intrude upon their sacred territory (there was not a shred of evidence to support this theory-absolutely no evidence of anyone besides the original members of the group was found), injuries on some of the corpses were said to be only explained by "high-pressure" concussion type events (simply untrue), high levels of radiation also was said to have been found on some of the bodies-radiation was detected-but it was low-level and explainable by natural forces, the Yeti or Almasty (abominable snowmen), there were even rumours that the party had somehow fallen prey to subterranean Russian gnomes-perhaps similar to Richard Shavers' "Deros"!

Apparently there were reports of mysterious "bright flying spheres" in the area around the general time (February-March 1959) of the tragic deaths. However, even if true, these lights can in no way be linked to this case with what we know about it. Perhaps a bit more should be said about the local indigenous people- the Mansi. When one or more investigators thought of the Mansi as suspects, they may have been thinking of an incident in the 1930s, when Mansi shamans reportedly drowned a female geologist for trespassing on land they considered sacred. However, even though both mountains related to the Dyatlov expedition were known to the Mansi, neither are considered a sacred or taboo site. There is the chilling coincidence that Otorten means "don't go there" in the Mansi language, and Kholat-Syakhl means, even more chillingly "Mountain of the Dead." These Mansi names are probably more related to practical warnings for the nomadic Mansi tan any sort of tribal mythology or curse.

Here are some observations from the Aquiziam site: (a) Ludmila Dubinina's tongue was not ripped out it was degraded through natural processes. (b) The radiation was inconsequential (c) The area was not sealed off to everyone-only amateur sports groups (d) The case was never classified (e) There are currently no records of any experiemental aircraft being tested in the area in 1959. (f) There is no evidence (now or then) that the area was used to test weapons. However, this doesn't rule out secret testing. (g) Photographs thought to be missile parts have turned out to be old radar units. (h) The "mysterious" envelope contained only general correspondence. (i) Photographs show that any discoloration of the bodies was wholly normal. (j) The injuries discovered are explainable and consistent with those that might be expected to occur in a group of desperate and clearly frightened people that had been stumbling around in dangerous conditions in the dark. (k) There is absolutely no evidence for crashed UFOs, Concussion Weapons, Mad Mansi, or Russian Death Squads. (l) All the physical evidence found at the time and subsequent analysis and testing indicates that there was no avalanche. However, at least one person involved with this case still believes that an avalanche was the cause.

And finally, from the Aquiziam site: "However, these now broadly accepted facts do not diminish the mystery-in a strange way they enhance it. As we have repeatedly said throughout these pages...Why did nine, experienced and sensible, ski-hikers abandon their tent in such a hurry and in weather conditions that were hostile and almost certain to lead to their deaths? What really happened that night?"

More here and here Infrasound was put forth as a possible explanation on the Aquiziam site (BTW-I would very much recommend going through all of Aquiziam's pages on this strange incident and the other links to get a "feel" for the case!) and I wonder if this is a good candidate? Infrasound is very-low frequency sound waves that can make the human brain think something supernatural is going on, i.e., produce terrifying and eerie feelings in people. However, I also have to wonder if a group such as these nine people would have been suggestible to this feeling? These were obviously no "Nervous Nellies" (like me- LOL). I will have to research infrasound further to see if this makes sense and will come back with a link for infrasound. All the best to anyone stopping by!

The first image is a picture made showing the original picture of the Dyatlov Party's tent with the area they went to when they fled in terror. The second image is of the Dyatlov group having fun-not at the final campsite. The third image is of the original search team. The last image is of 23-year-old Igor Dyatlov. OK- here is the link to infrasound information-I will try to find more on it!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Strangeness In Chile

In Jenny Randles 2001 book- Time Storms, on pages 17-18, she tells of a very strange and disturbing encounter of the unknown in 1977 in Putre, Chile:

"On 24 April 1977, a small unit of army conscripts was sent on a two day excercise into inhospitable territory above the small town of Putre, Chile. The intention was to harden the inexperienced troops for the rigours of military life. That night they camped on a windswept, arid plateau at Pampa Lluscuma, at a height of 12,000 feet. In charge of the raw recruits was Corporal Armando Valdes.

At 3:50 a.m., Pedro Rosales, the recruit on guard duty, saw something very odd. He called out to Valdes, who came immediately. What appeared to be two fuzzy, violet lights were descending from the mountains and heading their way. The ground below was filled with an eerie glow.

Unsure if these were flares being used in a mock attack, Valdes sprang quickly into action. He ordered some of the men to screen the camp fire light with blankets in the hope that they might escape detection in the dark. He told the others to secure and prepare their weapons whilst he went to investigate. He told them to crouch behind a nearby well, rifles posed. Then, uttering a plea to God to protect him-and with, they reported later, a conviction in his eyes- the corporal clambered over the well and headed into the darkness towards the purple glow.

Within seconds the inky night had swallowed him up. Moments later, the violet glow below them disappeared too. The conscripts fell into stunned silence before debating what to do next. They decided to wait and hope that their commander might return-which at 4:30 a.m. he duly did. But he approached them from behind- not from the direction in which he had just walked. Moreover, he was clearly less than well.

The startled soldiers saw him wandering as if in a trance, his voice uttering words that sounded like those of a sleepwalker. "You do not know who we are or where we come from," he said in a monotone, although he never consciously recalled saying this. He reached the camp site, looking barely able to stand, and collapsed on the ground apparently unconscious.

Having cared for him as best they could, the men waited for a cold dawn to rise over the mountains. It was then that they noticed several very strange things about their stricken leader. Although they had seen him shave only hours earlier, he was now sporting several days' growth of beard. His watch had stopped at about 4:30 a.m., the approximate time of his return to the camp, but the date display-which had to be wound on manually through twenty-four hours at a time to alter it-read 30 April. It was as if Valdes had lived through five days in fifteen minutes.

At about 7 a.m. the corporal regained consciousness, but he was still far from lucid. He appeared to be in a state of shock, with massive memory loss and no proper body coordination. The troops took the decision to abandon their excercise and get him to the nearest town, a difficult two-hour trek.

At Putre, the local schoolteacher, Pedro Araneda, was the closest to an expert on hand and he taped an interview with the still only semi-coherent officer and some of the men. This was to prove important, because when the Chilean military arrived they put a block on the tape's release and the military governor of Arica province ordered Valdes to keep silent about his experience. However, Araneda was eventually allowed to release the transcripts."

Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet had to approve a journalist's request to interview Valdes in 1983. Unfortunately, Valdes was only able to confirm the details of the original story. Valdes still had no memory of the missing 15 minutes (or 5 days depending on how one looks at the case). "They are a void in my mind," he commented. The massive time loss factor in this case reminds me of the Travis Walton case in Arizona in 1975. The last gentleman pictured is the MegaHandsome Anton Antipov-I don't know who the other one is- unfortunately;-). More here

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Heartwarming and Inspirational: 11 Year Old Helps Feed the Homeless

By Diane Herbst:

"It all began in third grade, when Katie Stagliano's (pictured above) 40-pound cabbage fed 275 homeless people. Now, Katie's six gardens have produced over 4,000 pounds of vegetables to feed the needy."

"When Katie Stagliano was in third grade, she planted a cabbage in her family's garden. When it grew to an astounding 40 pounds, she donated it to a soup kitchen, where it was made into meals for 275 people (with the help of ham and rice). "I thought, wow, with that one cabbage I helped feed that many people?" says Katie, now entering sixth grade. "I could do much more than that."

This story really "made my day" as we say in the USA sometimes! With regard to the post below- who do you think will win in the end (unless you think it will always be business as usual as many do) beautiful-souled folks like Katie? Or the very unpleasant and evil people represented by the global elite? Peace and be well to anyone stopping by! The hunkalicious guy is Nick Ayler!

More here

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ghosts of Regimes Now Past

One of the many features that I have always enjoyed enormously in Fortean Times magazine and the Fortean Times website is "Fortean Traveller." As you might guess, this feature involves the employees and correspondents of the magazine who go to many delightfully unique and bizarre locales around the world, and report back on their findings.

For the January 2009 issue, Mark Fernyhough visited a location not much removed in space from the "sceptre'd isle"- but one with a fascinating and unfortunately very bloody past. Berlin- more specifically the eastern part of the city.

The article, "The Ghosts of East Berlin" doesn't actually go into any "absolute" positives with regard to ghostly phenomena. However, the article is darkly atmospheric, interesting and brings up some wonderful thoughts and comparisons to other cities and their own hauntings. The article is very well worth the short time it will take you to read it!

The author visits the Friedhofspark Pappelallee, a graveyard established in 1847 which evolved to incorporate a children's playground, an intriguing juxtaposition of life and death. This cemetery is located in Prenzlauer Berg, which the author describes as "...a scenic refuge of flourishing bohemia where antiquarian booksellers, galleries and independent record shops quietly thrive in cobbled leafy streets." But for a lack of funds, the communist regime (1949-1989) would have razed and redeveloped the area because it was known to be a "notorious breeding ground of alternative viewpoints."

Mr. Fernyhough visits the "remains" fo the Palast der Republik, which he hilariously describes as havinb looked like "... a horrendously compelling work of 1970s futuristic architecture. Resembling a golden Borg ship straight out of Star Trek..."

Other spine-chilling locales inspected are the grounds of the former Communist state radio station headquarters and Sudwest Kirchof Stahnsdorf, one of Europe's largest graveyards. The author tells us "In the 1930s, during a chapter of typical Nazi distastefulness, 30,000 dead were dug up from the city's more central graveyards to make way for Albert Speer's grand 'North-South axis', part of the plan to transform Berlin into a new capital, Germania."

Mr. Fernyhough is also introduced to a former GDR U-Bahn (underground) driver named Detlef. Detlef reports that despite communist oppression, he has fond memories of the German Democratic Republic, telling his interviewer, "Passengers are less friendly these days and hardly acknowledge us drivers." The driver was almost killed in 1986 when the train in front of his caught fire under Alexanderplatz, saying, "We escaped in the nick of time through an emergency exit hole." This prompts Fernyhough to ask him if he has witnessed any ghosts or experienced any other odd phenomena in the tunnels-"We are greeted with dismissive laughter; he'd rather tell us about a couple on Bulowstrasse who make love with their curtains open."

Fernyhough ends his article with this insightful, and I think, poignant paragraph: "Such paranormal indifference regarding the U-Bahn compares poorly with London's own underground, in which virtually every station has a manifestation or ghostly tale associated with it. But then, in this city, half-remembered ghoulish anecdotes are not recquired. Here, fact is stranger, darker and more potent than any fictionally embellished nightmare. Indeed, the scope of the terror this place has endured in relativly recent history is almost unimaginable. Berlin's tragic past is a living entity, entwined in its conflicted architecture and constantly evolving landscape, and its resonance affects not only the personality of the city itself, but everybody and everything that dwells here."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Extra Strength Gamma-Ray Burst Detected on the Summer Solstice

A record-breaking gamma ray burst from beyond the Milky Way temporarily blinded the X-ray eye on NASA's Swift space observatory on 21 June 2010. The X-rays traveled through space for 5 billion years before hammering into and overwhelming the space-based telescope. "This gamma-ray burst is by far the brightest light source ever seen in X-ray wavelengths at cosmological distances," said David Burrows, senior scientist and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State University and the lead scientist for Swift's X-ray Telescope (XRT).

A gamma-ray burst is a violent eruption of energy from the explosion of a massive star morphing into a new black hole. This megaburs, named GRB 100621A, is the brightest X-ray source that Swift has detected since the observatory began X-ray observation in early 2005.

Although Swift satellite was designed specifically to study gamma-ray bursts, the instrument was not designed to handle an X-ray blast this bright, "The intensity of these X-rays was unexpected and unprecedented," said Neil Behrels, Swift's principle investigator at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "Just when we were beginning to think that we had seen everything that gamma-ray bursts could throw at us, this burst came along to challenge our assumptions about how powerful their X-ray emissions can be."

More information here

The model is the ultra-luscious Nick Ayler!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Betelgeuse-We hardly knew ye!

Note-the spacing is a bit off to say the least for this article! I tried to work with HTML code as much as I can which isn't much and got it a tad better-but still not right-apologies to reader!

Betelgeuse is a semiregular variable star whose apparent magnitude ranges between 0.2 and 1.2, the most for any first magnitude star. It is the ninth brightest star in the night sky located between 520 and 640 light-years from Earth.

Classified as a red supergiant, Betelgeuse is one of the largest and most luminous stars known. For comparison, if the star were at the center of our solar system its surface would extend past the orbit of Jupiter, completely engulfing Mercury, Venus, the Earth and Mars.

Betelgeuse is probably only between six and eight million years old. Its mass is so high- between 15 and 18 times that of our Sun-that it has evolved very rapidly as all massive stars do. For instance, our Sun may live about 10 billion years, and lower-mass stars than the sun can live from 15 billion to around 1 trillion years for the very lowest mass stars (around o.08% the mass of our sun).

Betelgeuse is the second brightest star in the constellation Orion (only behind Rigel AKA Beta Orionis). Betelgeuse marks the upper-right vertex of the Winter Triangle and center of the Winter Hexagon.

Recent ground-based infrared measurements of the disk of Betelgeuse gave a mid-infrared angular diameter of 54.7 (plus or minus 0.3 milliarseconds) in November 1999, slightly smaller than the typical visible-light angular diameter. These measurements ignored any possible contribution from hotspots, which are less noticeable in the mid-infrared, but factored in some limb darkening, whereby the intensity of the star's image diminishes near the edge, as the photospheric gas gets thinner.

It is difficult to define the precise diameter of Betelgeuse as the photosphere has no 'edge.' Instead the gas making up the photosphere gets gradually thinner with distance from the star.

On 9 June 2009, Nobel Laureate Charles Townes anncounced that the star has shrunk 15% since 1993 with an increasing rate. He presented evidence that UC Berkeley's Infrared Spatial Interferometer (ISI) atop Mt. Wilson Observatory had observed 15 consecutive years of stellar contraction. The average speed at which the radius of the star has been shrinking during the period is around 210-219 meters per second (m/s).

Despite Betelgeuse's diminished size, Townes and his colleagues, Edward Wishnow, pointed out that the star's visible brightness, or magnitude, which is monitored regularly by members of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), had shown no significant dimming over the same time frame.

The distance to Betelgeuse is not known precisely. The measurement of the optical parallax from space yield a distance estimate of 495 light-years, while parallax measurement using radio emission gives a longer estimate of 640 light-years. Assuming a compromise distance of 570 light-years, the star's diameter would be about 950 to 1,000 times that of the Sun! If the Sun were the size of a beach ball, Betelgeuse would be the size of a professional sports stadium!

Betelgeuse has most likely exhausted its supply of hydrogen and is currently generating energy by the thermonuclear fusion of helium into carbon and oxygen. On the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, the star has moved off the main sequence and has swelled and cooled to become a red supergiant.

The future fate of Betelgeuse depends on its mass, as it probably contains more than 15 solar masses, it will continue to burn and fuse elements until its core turns to iron, at which point Betelgeuse will explode as a type II supernovae. During this event the core will collapse leaving behind a neutron star remnant some 20 km (the size of a city!) in diameter-in other words very very dense! However, if Betelgeuse is at the lighter end of estimated mass, it may instead contract to become a white dwarf.

Considering its size and age of 8.5 million years, old for its size class, Betelgeuse may explode within the next 1,000 years. Perhaps it has already exploded, and because we are around 570 light-years away, we just haven't gotten the news yet!

The stars unusual name spawned the 1988 film Beetlejuice, and script writer Michael McDowell was impressed at how many people made the connection. He added they had received a suggestion the sequel be named Sanduleak-69-202 after the former star of Supernovae 1987A. In August Derleth's take on H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos, Betelgeuse is the home of the 'benign' Elder Gods. There has been much debate over the identity of the red star Borgil mentioned in the Lord of the Rings, with Aldebaran, Betelgeuse and even the planet Mars touted as candidates. Professor Kristine Larsen concluded the evidence points to it being Aldebaran, as it precedes Menelvagor (Orion). Astronomy writer Robert Burnham, Jr. proposed the term padparadaschah, which denotes a rare orange sapphire in India, for the star.

Jeff Wells notes in his most recent post at Rigorous Intuition, "Hey hey, We're the monkeys": "It [Betelgeuse] appeared above, completing the constellation of Orion, as the first homogines appeared below, creating the evolutionary branch that differentiates us from chimpanzees. Australopithecus was obolesced by increasingly sophisticated models of symbologic acuity, able to connect the dots of the night sky into pictograms of their world. And in due, deep time, Orion became our superlative, celestial representation."

The first gentleman pictured is Craig Horner-thanks to Michael for bringing this guy to my attention-much appreciated! The last gentleman pictured is the super-hot and gorgeous Anton Antipov-unfortunately I don't know who the others are. I am going to continue with the Kabbalah series, and just need some time to gather information. I will try to post about other subjects in between as much as I can. Peace and be well to anyone stopping by!
PS- can anyone tell me how to get a different template than the ones blogger provides? I am so tired of seeing the background for this blog. If it isn't too difficult to change, I would like to see something like I see at different blogs that I link to. If it is difficult -maybe I shouldn't even try with my 'puter skills-LOL!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Light: Connecting Principle of Creation

In Kabbalah, the 10 Sephirot are the emanations of the Divine attributes of God. The Ein Sof (limitless) is the unknowable, undifferentiated, infinite Divine essence. The 10 emanations of the Sephirot enable the Creation to know God, and become God's attributes that reveal divinity. They are also channels through which all of Creation is continu0us and God is the only true existence. A "Chain of Progression" (Seder hishtalshelsus) of interpenetrating "Worlds", including the Four Worlds (Atziluth, Beri'ah, Yetzirah, and Assiah-more on these in next article) links the Ein Sof with the physical world.

Each of the Sephirot consists of a "light" (an "ohr") that is vested in a "vessel" (a "kli"; plural keilim). This light is simple, pure and undifferentiated, as it originally flows from the Ohr Ein Sof ("The Light of the Ein Sof"), God's infinite light. It represents Divine revelation in the world. It is associated with the Kabbalistic Divine name of Ban. The differentiation between the 10 Sephirot, each with its own particular characteristic, arises from each of their different spiritual vessels. The light adapts itself to each vessel, to express the particular nature of each vessel.

Kabbalists read their mystical teachings into exegetical interpretations of scripture and Rabbinic literature. This arose from their belief that Kabbalah forms part of the Oral Torah inherent in the revelation at Mount Sinai. Consequently, in Jewish tradition, each verse and concept can be interpreted in the fourfold Jewish method of Pardes , with the metaphysical interpretations of Kabbalah and Hasidic philosophy forming the Sod (secret) level of meaning. In this way, Kabbalah interprets a second meaning in Talmudic legislation and use of the term for "vessel" (kli).

In the Hasidic sense a vessel is an object that can serve a useful purpose, even if it may not resemble a physical receptacle. This term is used frequently in discussion of the laws of Shabbat . In Jewish mysticism, typically, these narratives are given metaphysical interpretations, which relate "kli" to its Kabbalistic meaning.

In Hasidic philosophy, the plural fourfold levels of meaning are viewed as uniting in a higher essential source of explanation that describes Divinity. Jewish mysticism views such alternative, spiritual interpretations of Torah as stemming from more revealed Divine realms in the Chain of Worlds.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Light: Connecting Principle of Creation

In addition to the 10 "lights" of God contained and transmitted by the Sephirot, Kabbalah also describes a more primordial light that shines from the Ein Sof (Infinite) itself. This light, the origin of all Creation, and all lower lights, is called the Ohr Ein Sof ("the light of the Infinite" or otherwise, itself "The Infinite Light").

The Kabbalistic and Hasidic teachers asked the question of how there can be a revelation of God, in the Ohr Ein Sof, before Creation. They reasoned that before Creation, there could not be a being to behold a revelation of Divine light. The Ohr Ein Sof is a form of Divine self-knowledge, and through God knowing Himself, He created everything, with its subsequent historical unfolding, God its ultimate purpose in the innermost Divine Will.

Because the Ohr Ein Sof is itself infinite, it couldn't be responsible for the creation of Worlds. Any direct creations of the Infinite Light would be of infinite number, and would not be actual creations at all, as the would remain totally nullified ( "bittul") to the Infinite Light, and would have no independent self-awareness. Instead, it is only through the restrictions of the Sephirot and the descending "Chain of Progression" (Seder hishtalshelmus), that the Worlds could manisfest.

As the Divine Light descends through the chain of worlds from the Infinite to our finite realm, the creative flow of Divine light encapsulated in the Sephirot, undergoes countless restrictions, diminutions and veilings, to progressively hide Divinity. In Kabbalah these are called "Tzimtzum" (Constrictions-plural "tzimtzumin").

However, after the new teachings and doctrines of Isaac Luria (The "Arizal"), in Lurianic Kabbalah, these innumerable Tzimtzumin of the descending chain of Worlds are called the "Second Tzimtzumin." Isaac Luria taught the new concept of a "First Tzimtzumin", based on earlier allusions in the Zohar. As Lurianic Kabbalah became almost universally accepted in the Jewish development of Kabbalah, in modern times if the term Tzimtzum is used without qualification, it will invariably refer to the first, cosmic ultimate Constriction taught by Luria.

In Lurianic Kabbalah, the Tzimtzum concealed the Ohr Ein Sof, which resolved the dichotomy between the Infinite Light and the possibility of creating finite Worlds. Without this raidcal leap of a concealment of the Ohr Ein Sof, even the progressive, gradual concealments of the Chain of Worlds, the problem would not be properly overcome. Only a second, new light, extremely diminished, and of a different quality than the Ohr Ein Sof, could become the creative source of all reality. This new light, a "thin" illumination from the Ohr Ein Sof, called the Kav ("Ray), shone into the "Vacated Space" (this goes back to the concept of the "Ari", that at the beginning of Creation the Divine "withdrew" a complete tzimtzum from a "Chalal" ("Vacated Space"), to allow Creation to take place), and was a light that was adapted to the perspective of the subsequent creations on their own terms. It could relate to a finite creation (Divine Immanence), rather than the infinite Primordial light (the ultimate Divine transcendence).

Interpretations of this in Kabbalah and Hasidic philosophy, are careful to avoid literal, spatial, geometric understandings of the Vacated Space and the Kav , as such dimensional understandings relate only to our physical world. Nonetheless, circular diagram representations of this, strictly metaphorical, are used in Kabbalah to represent the process. In the first, a black circle is broken only by one thin, vertical, straight line that descends from the surrounding white into the centre of the black circle from the top. Here the surrounding white represents the Chalal vacated "space", and the thin white line represents the "thin" illumination of the Kav, derived from the Ohr Ein Sof, but able to illuminate into the Chalal on its own terms.

This representation is then augmented by a second, similar diagram, where the successive, unfolding Five Worlds, each with the original circle as a series of concentric circles. The descending chain of Worlds proceeds in the diagram towards the centre of the circle, representing our lowest physical realm. Each successive World and Sephira is a successively smaller concentric circle, representing diminished, more constricted Divinity.

The same Kav line is still shown connecting the outer Ein Sof to the centre of the circle, as the light of the Kav is the origin of all Creation after the Tzimtzum, towards the circles centre. The utilization here of concentric circles, or spheres is also significant, as with each subsequent lower step, the light "encompasses" (sovev-"surrounds") that level of "immanent" ("mimilei-"filled") creation. Each of the Sephirot comprise both an encompassing light vested in its immanent vessel. Each World similarly incorporates its own relative level of Divine transcendence, illuminating its own level of Divine immanence. An image of the interpenetrating Worlds of the Kabbalah and the light of the Kav is pictured below.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Light: Connecting Principle of Creation

Ohr ("Light") in Hebrew or plural Ohros/Ohrot "Lights" are very important terms in the Kabbalistic tradition. Light, along with the human soul-body relationship are the two main metaphors for understanding Divinity in the Kabbalistic tradition. The metaphorical description of the spiritual Divine creative flow, using the term for physical "light" we perceive with the eye, comes from analogous similarities. These include the intangible physicality of light, the wonder it inspires and the illumination it gives, its apparently immediate transmission and constant connection with its source.

Light can be veiled (Tzimtzum-constrictions in Kabbalah) and reflected ("an ascending light from the creations" in Kabbalah). White light divides into seven colors, yet this plurality unites from one source. Divine light divides into the seven emotional sephirot, but there is no plurality in the Divine essence. The term "Ohr" in Kabbalah is constrasted with Ma'ohr, the "luminary", and Kli, the spiritual "vessel" for the light.

Of course, using light as a metaphor for the metaphysical "beyond" can only go so far. Human beings must use these analogies to spatial and temporal phenomenon to understand a spaceless and timeless eternity because that is all most of us know or have experienced.

Once these images are grasped, Kabbalah stresses the need to attempt to transcend them by understanding their deficiencies. Among the limitations of the central metaphor of "light" are the physical inability of the luminary to keep its radiance, the fulfillment of purpose light gives the luminary, and the categorical differentiation between the light source and its light. God created our world, the universe, the Sephirot and so on to infinity by an act of His will. God was not forced to create the Universe or Mankind, and the emanation of Creation did not complete some aspect of God He was lacking; the Godhead was already the Alpha and the Omega- timeless, spaceless and perfect beyond the ability of mere words to describe.

The distinction between the Divine light (beginning with the "Ohr Ein Sof" , which is the primordial "Infinite Light", and subsequently the emanation of the 10 Sephirot) and the Divine esscence (the Ein Sof) appears only relative to Creation. From God's perspective, Scripture states "For I the Eternal, I have not changed."

From the persepective of God's self knowledge, the emanations remain completely united and characterless to their source. This answers early Rabbinic criticism of dualism in Kabbalah. The term in Kabbalah and Hasidic philosophy fo this nullification is Bittul. In daily spiritual life (Dveikus) it inspires the mystical humility of nullification of the ego.

The Ein Sof (literally: "Without End/Limitless/Infinite) is the Kabbalistic term for the Divine essence. Kabbalah describes 10 Sephirot (The 10 Divine emanations or attributes), that reveal the unknowable Godhead to the creations and channel the creative life-force to all levels of existence. Big "however" here- these 10 attributes of God do not represent the Divine essence (the "Luminary").

This difference triumphed over criticism that the Kabbalists were trying to introduce a plurality of gods into the monotheism of Judaism. Kabbalistic texts use great caution to emphasize this difference, and warn against anthropomorphizing the subtle descriptions of Kabbalah in human terms. To avoid such heresies, the historical transmission of Kabbalah was traditionally restricted to direct teaching in close circles.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Light: Connecting Principle of Creation

One of the things I forgot to mention in the previous article, is the fascinating property that if one could travel at the speed of light-or ride on a beam of light-time would stop completely. Time would cease to exist for the traveller. For light time has no meaning. If it takes light 2.3 million years to travel from the Milky Way Galaxy to the Andromeda Galaxy-from the ray of lights perspective the trip happened instantly-literally taking no time at all.

As physical objects in our universe travel ever closer to the speed of light, time begins to slow down tremendously the closer one gets to light-speed. If humanity ever manages to build a starship capable of travelling at a very significant percentage of the speed of light, using a matter/antimatter propulsion system for instance, travelling at 99.99999.... percent the speed of light, not only are the stars within our galaxy within reach of the passengers of such a ship in the typical human lifespan but travel to the furthest galaxies in the universe could be conceivably possible within such a lifespan due to time dilation.

The Aura, Light and Spirituality

From page 165 of Michael Talbot's The Holographic Universe: "One mystical phenomenon that appears to involve the ability to see reality's frequency aspects is the aura, or human energy field. The notion that there is a subtle field of energy around the human body, a a halolike envelope of light that exists just beyond normal human perception, can be found in many ancient traditions. In India, sacred writings that date back over five thousand years refer to this life energy as prana. In China, since the third millenium B.C., it has been called ch'i and is believed to be the energy that flows through the acupuncture meridian system. Kabbalah, a Jewish mystical philosophy that arose in the sixth century B.C., calls this vital principle nefish and teaches that an egg-shaped bubble of iridescence surrounds every human body.

Many cultures believe the aura of an extremely spiritual individual is so bright it is visible even to normal human perception, which is why so many traditions, including Christian, Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, and Egyptian, depict saints as having halos or other circular symbols around their heads. In his book on miracles Thurston devotes an entire chapter to accounts of luminous phenomena associated with Catholic saints, and both Neumann and Sai Baba are reported to have occasionally had visible auras of light around them. The great Sufi mystic Hazrat Inayat Khan, who died in 1927, is said to have sometimes given off so much light that people could actually read by it."

And from pages 288-89 in the same book, Talbot talks of how consciousness is not only more fundamental than matter, but how consciousness actually "projects" the physical world: "Because everything unfolds out of the irreducible totality of Brahman, the world is also a seamless whole, say the Hindus, and it is again maya that keeps us from realizing there is ultimately no such thing as separateness. Maya severs the united consciousness so that the object is seen as other than the self and then as split up into the multitudinous objects in the universe," says the Vedic scholar Sir John Woodroffe. "And there is such objectivity as long as [humanity's] consciousness is veiled or contracted. But in the ultimate basis of experience the divergence has gone, for in it lie, in undifferentiated mass, experiencer, experience, and the experienced."

"The same concept can be found in Judaic thought. According to Kabbalistic tradition "the entire creation is an illusory projection of the transcendental aspects of God," says Leo Schaya, a Swiss expert on the Kabbalah. However, despite its illusory nature, it is not complete nothingness, "for every reflection of reality, even remote, broken up and transient, necessarily possesses something of its cause." The idea that the creation set into motion by the God of Genesis is an illusion is reflected even in the Hebrew language, for as the Zohar, a thirteenth-century Kabbalistic commentary on the Torah and the most famous of the esoteric Judaic texts, notes, the verb baro, "to create" implies, the idea of "creating an illusion."

DNA & Light

From one of Jeff Wells' many excellent articles at Rigorous Intuition- "Are You Being Served?" : "One work in particular resonates with this alien DNA argument. Entitled "What A Human Being Is," it depicts a twisted double strand that looks remarkably like a DNA molecule. This was about 50 years before Francis Crick and James Watson won the Nobel prize for the discovery. Aliens talking? Remote Viewing? These sorts of "coincidences" are just the sort of thing that orthodox Ufologists routinely ignore to their peril.

As well, on the RI forum thread, "Attack Ships on Fire" smartly noted that along with the DNA-like double helix, "there appears to be a prism effect happening near the base...[of the picture] another odd connection/premonition about DNA being able to emit photons of light."

The picture Jeff is referring to is by artist Af Klint ca. 1910, pictured below. I would highly suggest reading both of Jeff's articles that are linked in my article. Thanks again everyone for all of your thoughtful and intelligent comments! I hope to have the next article here pretty soon.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Light: Connecting Principle of Creation

I have been thinking of light in relation to the Universe and the Kabbalah lately. Light is so fundamental to our very concept of reality that it is hard to imagine a world without light. From the Book of Genesis to the Special Theory of Relativity, light plays a STARing role. And how many times have you heard of light as a metaphor for good and darkness as a metaphor for evil? Or how about having knowledge as opposed to being "kept in the dark"?

The speed of light in a vaccuum is presently defined to be exactly 299,792,458 metres per second: In other words -pretty f^%$ing fast! The property of light that led to Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity is that it can NEVER go faster than itself. In a vacuum, light will always travel at a constant speed, even between particles of a substance through which it is shining. If you have a spacecraft travelling at 99% of the speed of light and it flashes a light beam ahead of it, the light isn't now going at almost twice as fast-it is still travelling at 299,792,458 metres per second.

However, even though you can't make light go any faster than its fixed speed you can bring it to a total standstill! Two independent teams of physicists have been able to bring light to a total stop by passing it through a strange state of matter called a Bose-Einstein Condensate of the element rubidium.

Some theories as to the physical and metaphysical nature of light follow: In 5th and 6th century BC India, the Hindu schools of Samkhya and Vaisheshika began to develop theories about light. According to the Samkhya school, light is one of the five "subtle" elements (tanmatra) from which emerge the "gross" elements. The atomicity of these elements is not specifically mentioned and it appears that they were actually taken to be contiguous.

The Vaisheshika school posits an atomic theory of the physical world on the non-atomic ground of ether, space and time. The basic atoms of those of earth (prthivi), water (pani), fire (agni), and air (vayu), that should not be confused with the ordinary meaning of these terms. These atoms are taken to form binary molecules that combine further to form larger molecules. Motion is defined in terms of the movement of the physical atoms and it appears that it is taken to be non-instantaneous. Light rays are taken to be a stream of high velocity tejas (fire) atoms. The particles of light can exhibit different characteristics depending on the speed and that arrangement of the tejas atoms. Around the first century BC, the Vishnu Purana refers to sunlight as "the seven rays of the sun."

Indian Buddhists such as the Dignaga in the 5th century and the Dharakirti in the 7th century, developed a type of atomism that is a philosophy about reality being composed of atomic entities that are momentary flashes of light or energy. They viewed light as being an atomic entity equivalent to energy, similar to the modern concept of photons. Well ahead of their time, they saw all matter as being composed of these light energy particles. The Rigveda posits that light consists of three primary colors: "Mixing the three colors, ye have produced all the objects of sight!"

I hope to be back soon with more. I am kind of stumbling in the "dark" with how to proceed with this series-but when I feel that I am finally totally flummoxed, a great comment or link from one of my readers/blogfriends "lights" my way! To my straight men and lesbian readers-sorry about all the beefcake lately- I am quite sexually frustrated right now- so please bear/bare with me-my uhh SortofSO/FB is in Europe right now acting as an escort for a very wealthy man until about the first of August-so it might be "Hunkalicious" at MFM for awhile! Until meeting him in April, I had no idea how incredibly creative and life- sustaining the act of intimacy could be. When we touch, I feel as if a supernovae's worth of "electric light" is going through my body and soul. He has also earned a place in my memory banks with the rather memorable (to me anyway) statement "Devin, not all private jets are luxurious, some are real clunkers!" Heavens forbid any man who has touched my soul to fly on a "clunker" of a private jet! With much love to anyone stopping by, Devin AKA Vayu (will explain the "vayu" soon).

The gentleman above is the stunning Nick Ayler. Lordy- what perfection! The gentleman for the "Keter" article is the Awesomely Astounding Anton Antipov. Anton and Nick remind me that God not only doesn't "play dice" but also allows a heavenly- sublime -ethereal- profound-beauty to echo through some of His MenCreatures!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Keter: The Crown

Keter is the topmost of the sephirot of the Tree of Life. Keter means "crown." Keter is on the middle axis of the Tree and directly above Daath, Tiphereth, Yesod and Malkuth.

From "The sefira of keter develops into two partzufim (personaes). Its external partzuf referred to as Arich Anpin ("the Elongated Face"), corresponds to the superconscious power of ratzon (will) in the soul. Its inner partzuf, referred to as Atik Yomin ("the Ancient of Days") corresponds to the corresponding power of ta'anug (pleasure) in the soul).

The seven lower sefirot of Atik Yomin are enclothed within the partzuf of Arich Anpin (thus introducing pleasure as a primary motivational force driving the will). The three upper sefirot of Atik Yomin, which are not enclothed within Arich Anpin represent the unadulterated superconsciousness pleasure of emunah (faith)--deriving from one's essential rootedness within Divinity.

The meaning "crown" corresponds, in particular to "the head of nothingness," the source of Divine pleasure in the soul. The "crown" symbolizes the spiritual power to receive and integrated into one's consciousness the pleasure of Divine revelation, as our sages express with regard to the world to come: "the righteous sit with their crowns on their heads and receive pleasure from the radiance of the Divine Prescence" (Tractate Kalah Rabati 2:3)".

Wikipedia: "Keter is so sublime, it is called in the Zohar "the most hidden of all hidden things", and it is completely incomprehensible to man. It is also described as absolute compassion, and Rabbi Moshe Corovero describes it as the source of the 13 Supernal Attributes of Mercy.

Keter, although being the highest Sehphira of its world, receives from the Sephira of Malkuth of the domain above it (see Sephirot). The uppermost Keter sits below no other Sephira, although it is below Or Ein Soph which is the source of all Sephirot.

According to the Bahir:

The first Sephirah is called the Crown, since a crown is worn above the head. The Crown therefore refers to things that are above the mind's abilities of comprehension.

Additionally, all of the other Sephirot are likened to the body which starts with the head and wends its way down into action. But the crown of a king lies above the head and connects the concept of "monarchy", which is abstract and intangible, with the tangible and concrete head of the king.

13 Supernal Attributes of Mercy

Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, in The Palm of Devorah, discusses ethical behaviour that man should follow, related to the qualities of the Sephirot, in order that man might emulate his creator. Through discussion of a line in Micah, 13 attributes are associated with the Sephira Keter:

Whos is God lik you, who pardons iniquity and forgives the transgressions of the remnant of his heritage? He does not maintain His anger forever, for He delights in kindness. He will again show us compassion, He will vanquish our iniquities, and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Show faithfulness to Ya'akov, kindness to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from days of old. (Micah 7:18-20)

Non-Jewish Practices

In The Mystical Kabbalah, Dion Fortune describes Keter as pure consciousness, beyond all categories, timeless, a point that crystallizes out of the Ein Soph, and commences the process of emanation that ends in Malkuth.

The name of God given to it is Eheieh, the archangel that presides over it is Metatron, the order of angels that reside in it are the Holy Living Creatures (the Chaioth ha Qadesh), and its mundane chakra is said to be the First Swirlings of the cosmos (Primum Mobile, Rashith ha Gilgalin).

As pure formless consciousness, it is often compared with the Sahasrara chakra, in Indian Shakta Tantra.

In Aleister Crowley's Liber 777, Keter is associated with the Four Aces of the Tarot deck, White, Brilliance, Poseidon, Brahma, Wodan, Zeus, The Trinity, Almond in flower, Diamond, Elixir Vitae, Dao, and Death (not a complete list of te 777 associations).

It is said to have a negative aspect, the Qliphoth Thaumiel.

Keter is also indentified with the planet Neptune, the Atma in Theosophy and Raja Yoga, and the Khabs am Pekht in Egyptian mysticism."

More here and here and here .