GARDEN OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER
THE JOURNEY TO SPIRITUAL FULFILLMENT
Longfield Beatty 1939
Where is the root of the Golden Flower?
In the garden of the Two Trees.
And where does the flower bloom?
In the Purple Hall of the City of Jade.
Where is this garden?
In the seed water, the moat of the City.
When does the flower bloom?
At the end of the far journey.
From water to fire, earth to gold, serpent to eagle;
from father to mother, mother to son,
son to father.
And the cost of the journey?
The blood of father, mother, and son.
Blood, then, is a password?
No, only the Sphinx can teach the password.
THE CULT OF THE SUN
ADORATION OF RA
by the Scribe and Royal Commander
"He saith, Homage to thee who art brilliant'and mighty! When thou
hast dawned in the horizon of the sky there is praise of thee in the mouth
of all people. Thou art become beautiful and young as a Disc in the hand
of thy Mother. Dawn thou in every place, thy heart being enlarged forever!
"The divinities of the Two Lands come to thee bowing down, they give
praise at thy shining forth. Thou dawnest in the horizon of the sky, thou
brightenest the Two Lands with Malachite.
"Thou art the Divine Youth, the Heir of Eternity, who begat himself
and brought himself forth, King of this land, ruler of the Tuat, Chief
of the Districts of the Other World who came forth from the Water, who
emerged from Nun, who reared himself and made splendid his children! "Living
God, Lord of Love! All folk live when thou shinest, dawning as King of
the Gods. O Lord of the Sky, Lord of the Earth, King of Truth, Lord of
Eternity, Ruler of Everlasting, Sovereign of all the Gods, Living God
who made Eternity, who created the sky and established himself therein!
"The Nine are in jubilation at thy shining forth, the earth is in
joy at beholding thy beams, the people come forth rejoicing to behold
thy beauty every day."
And the next quotation is "relayed"
from Budge (op. cit., p. 52:1), having come from Papyrus No. 10188 (Brit.
Mus.). There have been some omissions in order to reinforce as much as
possible the particular aspect of it which is our immediate concern To
this end also notes have been added to certain passages of particular
THE LAMENT OF THE SISTERS
(Isis and Nepthys over the dead
"Beautiful Youth, come to thy exalted
house we see thee not.
"Hail, Beautiful Boy, come to thy
house, draw nigh after thy separation from us.
"Hail, Beautiful Youth, Pilot of Time, who groweth except at this
"Holy image of his Father, mysterious essence proceeding from Tem.
"The Lord I How much more wonderful is he than his Father,ii
the first-born son of the womb of his Mother.
"Come back to us in thy actual form; we will embrace thee. Depart
not from us, thou Beautiful Face, dearly beloved one, the Image of Tem,
Master of Love.iii
"Come thou in peace, our Lord, we would see thee.
"Great Mighty One among the Gods, the road which thou travellest
cannot be described.iv
"The Babe, the Child at morn and at eve,v
except when thou encirclest the heavens and the earth with thy bodily
"Come, thou Babe, growing young when setting,v
our Lord, we would see thee.
"Come in peace, Great Babe of His Father, thou art established in
"Whilst thou travellest thou art hymned by us,vii
and life springeth up for us out of thy nothingness. O our Lord, come
in peace, let us see thee.
"Hail, Beautiful Boy, come to thy exalted house; let thy back be
to thy house. The Gods are upon their thrones. Hail ! Come in peace, King.
"Babe ! How lovely it is to see thee! Come, come to us, 0 Great One,
glorify our love.
"O ye gods who are in Heaven.
O ye gods who are in Earth.
O ye gods who are in the Tuat.
O ye gods who are in the Abyss.
ye gods who are in the service of the Deep.viii
follow the Lord, the Lord of Love!"
"Isis and Nepthys clearly represent the great duality, positive
and negative, male and female, life and death, who are made one by the
sovereign force of love"
THE TRUE AND INVISIBLE ROSICRUCIAN
Paul Foster Case 1981
"The Zohar says that all is contained
in the mystery of Vav, and thereby all is revealed. The same Qabalistic
authority connects Vav with the Son of David, and this was interpreted
by erudite Europe in the seventeenth century, as a reference to the
Attached to the nail was a stone. This is the same stone we have mentioned
before. It is the Stone rejected by the builders. It is the Stone of
the Philosophers. It is ABN, Ehben, signifying the union of the Son
with the Father.
We have already said that Henry Khunrath published in 1609 a book called
Amphitheatrum Chemicum, in which appears an illustration showing the
word ABN, Ehben, enclosed in a triangle. This radiant triangle, with
the letters ABN at its corners, is borne by a dragon, and the dragon
is on top of a mountain. The mountain is in the middle or center of
an enclosure, surrounded by a wall having seven sides, whose corners
bear the words, reading from left to right or clockwise around the wall:
Dissolution, Purification, Azoth Pondus, Solution, Multiplication, Fermentation,
Projec- tion. Thus, the inner wall summarizes the alchemical operations.
Its gate has the motto Non omnibus, meaning "Not for all,"
as if to intimate that entrance into the central mystery is not for
Surrounding this inner wall is another in the form of a seven- pointed
star, composed of fourteen equal lines. The gate to this outer wall
is flanked by two triangular pyramids, or obelisks. Over one is the
sun, and this obelisk is named Faith. Over the other is the moon, and
this pillar is named Taciturnity, or Silence. Between the pillars, in
the gate, is a figure bearing the caduceus of Hermes or Mercury, standing
behind a table on .- which is written "Good Works." Below
is the motto: "The ignorant deride. what the wise extol and admire."
Thus, in Khunrath's diagram we have the same association be- tween a
seven-sided figure and a stone that occurs in the Fama. The mystic mountain,
with the dragon at its summit, is also a Rosicrucian symbol, as one
may see in Thomas Vaughan's Lumen de Lumine, where Section 2 is entitled
"A Letter from the Brothers of R.C.,
"Concerning the Invisible, Magical
Mountain and the Treasure therein Contained."
THE JOURNAL OF PSYCHICAL RESEARCH
"5 The author
of Magic Mountains (McOwen, 1996) refers to times when the hill
.and glens were quiet and peaceful and the hill person could find solitude.
Then, senses were heightened and psychic phenomena and "mind-links
with the past could be more easily absorbed if the person were reasonably
2061 ODYSSEY THREE
Arthur C. Clarke 1987
"THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN"
WHY SMASH ATOMS ?
A. K. Solomon 1940
"ONCE THE FAIRY TALE HERO HAS
PENETRATED THE RING OF FIRE ROUND THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN HE IS FREE TO WOO
THE HEROINE IN HER CASTLE ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP."
THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN
Thomas Mann 1875-1955
"It was an especially well cured
brand, with the best leaf wrapper, named"
"Light of Asia"
LIGHT OF ASIA
Sir Edwin Arnold
"THE LIGHT OF ASIA
THE GREAT RENUNCIATION
THE LIFE AND TEACHING OF GAUTAMA
PRINCE OF INDIA AND FOUNDER OF BUDDHISM"
Page 99 page numbers 99/100 omitted
"Book the Fourth"
THE TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD
The After-Death Experiences on the Bardo Plane, according
to Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup.s English Rendering
Compiled and edited by
W.Y Evans-Wentz 1960
SRI KRISHNA'S REMEMBERING
"MANY LIVES, ARJUNA, YOU AND I HAVE LIVED, I REMEMBER
THEM ALL, BUT THOU DOST NOT"
Bhagavad-Gita, iv, 5.
Page 222 (Addenda)
IV. THE GURU AND SHISHYA (OR CHELA) AND INITIATIONS
"Very frequently the Bardo Thodol directs the dying or the
deceased to concentrate mentally upon, or to visualize, his tutelary deity
or else his spiritual guru, and, at other times, to recollect the
teachings conveyed to him by his human guru, more especially at
the time of the mystic initiation. Yogis and Tantrics ordinarily
comment upon such ritualistic directions by saying that there exist three
lines of gurus to whom reverence and worship are to be paid. The
first and highest is purely superhuman, called in Sanskrit divyaugha,
meaning . heavenly (or "divine ") line'; the second is of the
most highly developed human beings, possessed of supernormal /
Page 223 / or siddhic powers, and hence called siddhaugha;
the third is of ordinary religious teachers and hence called manavaugha,
Women as well as men, if qualified, may be gurus. The shihsya is,
as a rule, put on probation for one year before receiving the first initiation.
If at the end of that time he proves to be an unworthy receptacle for
the higher teachings, he is rejected. Otherwise, he is taken in hand by
the guru and carefully prepared for psychical development. A shishya
when on probation is merely commanded to perform such and such exercises
as are deemed suitable to his or her particular needs. Then, when the
probation ends, the shishya is told by the guru the why
of the exercises, and the final results which are certain to come from
the exercises when successfully carried out. Ordinarily, once a guru
is chosen, the shishya has no right to disobey the guru,
or to take another guru until it is proven that the first guru
can guide the shisya no further. If the shishya develops
rapidly, be-cause of good karma, and arrives at a stage of development
equal to that of the guru, the guru, if unable to guide
the shishya further, will probably himself direct the shishya
to a more advanced guru.
For initiating a shishya, the guru must first prepare himself,
usually during a course of special ritual exercises occupying several
days, whereby the guru, by 'invoking the gift-waves of the divine
line of gurus, sets up direct communication with the spiritual
plane on which the divine gurus exist. If the human guru be possessed
of siddhic powers, this communion is believed to be as real as
wireless or telepathic communica-tion between two human beings on the
The actual initiation, which follows, consists of giving to the shishya
the secret mantra, or Word of Power, whereby at-one-ment is brought about
between the shishya, as the new member of the secret brotherhood,
and the Supreme Guru / Page 224 /
who stands to all gurus and shishyas under him as the Divine
Father. The vital-force, or vital-airs (prana-vayu), serve as a
psycho-physical link uniting the human with the divine; and the vital-force,
having been centred in the Seventh Psychic-Centre, or Thousand-petalled
Lotus, by exercise of the awakened Serpent-Power, through that Centre,
as through a wireless receiving station, are received the spiritual gift-waves
of the Supreme Guru. Thus is the divine grace received into the
human organism and made to glow, as electricity is made to glow when conducted
to the vacuum of an electric bulb; and the true initiation is thereby
conferred and the shishya Illuminated.
In the occult language of the Indian and Tibetan Mysteries, the Supreme
Guru sits enthroned in the peri carp of the Thousand-petalled Lotus.
Thither, by the power of the Serpent Power of the awakened Goddess Kundalini,
the shishya, guided by the human guru, is led, and bows
down at the feet of the Divine Father, and receives the blessing and the
bene-diction. The Veil of Maya has been lifted, and the Clear Light
shines into the heart of the shishya unobstructedly. As one Lamp
is lit by the Flame of another Lamp, so the Divine Power is communicated
from the Divine Father, the Supreme Guru, to the newly-born one,
the human shishya.
The secret mantra conferred at the initiation, like the Egyptian
Word of Power, is the Password necessary for a conscious passing from
the embodied state into the disem-bodied state. If the initiate is sufficiently
developed spiritually before the time comes for the giving up of the gross
physical body at death, and can at the moment of quitting the earth-plane
remember the mystic mantra, or Word of Power, the change will take
place without loss of consciousness; nor will the shishya of full
development suffer any break in the con-tinuity of consciousness from
incarnation to incarnation."
MAGIC AND MYSTERY IN TIBET
Alexandra David - Neel 1965
Mystic Theories and Spiritual Training
"As for the method which mystics call
the 'Short Path', the 'Direct Path,'2
it is considered as most hazardous. It is - according to the masters who
teach it - as if instead of following the road which goes round a mountain
ascending gradually towards its summit, one attempted to reach it in straight
line, climbing perpendicular rocks and crossing chasms on a rope. Only
first-rate equilibrists, exceptional athletes, completely free from giddiness,
can hope to succeed in such a task. Even the fittest may fear sudden exhaustion
or dizziness. And there inevitably follows a dread-ful fall in which the
too presumptuous alpinist breaks his bones.
By this illustration Tibetan mystics mean a spiritual fall leading to
the lowest and worst degree of aberration and perversity to the condition
of a demon.
I have heard a learned lama maintain that the bold theories regarding
complete intellectual freedom and the enfranchisement from all rules whatever,
which are expounded by the most advanced adepts of the 'Short Path', are
the faint echo of teachings that existed from time immemorial in Central
and nonhern Asia.
The lama was convinced that these doctrines agree completely with the
Buddhas highest teaching as it was made evident in various passages of
his discourses. However, said the lama, the Buddha was well aware that
the majority do better to abide by rules devised to avert the baleful
effects of their ignorance and guide them along paths where no disasters
are to be feared. For that very reason, the all-Wise Master has established
rules for the laity and monks of average intelligence.
The same lama entertained serious doubts as to the Aryan origin of the
Buddha. He rather believed that his ancestors belonged to the yellow race
and was convinced that his expected successor, the future Buddha Maitreya,
would appear in northern Asia.
Where did he get these ideas? 1 have not been able to find out. Dis-cussion
is hardly possible with Oriental mystics. When once they have answered:
'I have seen this in my meditations,' little hope is left to the inquirer
of obtaining further explanations."
2. "Technically, in mystic parlance, tsi gchig, lus gchig sang
rgyais, 'to attain buddha-hood in one life, one body'. That is to
say, in the very life in which one has begun ones spiritual training.
Tibetans say also lam chung ('the short road')."
There exists an immense literature in India
devoted to the explana-tion of the mystic word aum. The latter
has exoteric, esoteric and mystic meanings. It may signify the three persons
of the Hindu Trinity: Brah-ma, Vishnou, Shiva. It may signify the Brahman,
the 'One without a second' of the adwaita philosophy. It stands as a symbol
of the Inex-pressible Absolute, the last word to be uttered in mysticism,
after which there follows only silence. It is, according to Shri SankarAcharya,9
'the support of the meditation', or, as declared in the Mundakopanishad's
text itself, 'It is the bow by the means of which the individual self
attains the universal self.'10
Again, aum is the creative sound whose vibrations build the worlds. When
the mystic is capable of hearing all in one the countless voices, cries,
songs, and noises of all beings and things that exist and move, it is
the unique sound aum which reaches him. That same aum vibrates also in
the utmost depth of his inner self. He who can pronounce it with the right
tone is able to work wonders and he who knows how to utter it silently
attains supreme emancipation.
Tibetans who have received the word Aum from India, together with the
mantras with which it is associated, do not appear to have been acquainted
with its many meanings among their southern neighbours, nor do they know
the very prominent place it occupies in their religions and philosophies.
Aum is repeated by Lamaists along with other Sanskrit formulas, without
having a special imponance by itself, while other mystic sylla-bles, such
as hum! and especially phat!, are supposed to possess great power and
are much used in magic and mystic rites.
So much for the first word of the formula.
Mani padme are Sanskrit terms that mean jewel in the lotus'. Here we come,
it seems, to an immediately intelligible meaning, yet the current interpretation
does not take any account of that plain meaning.
9 In his commentary on Mundakopanishad.
10. 'The pranava (that is the name of
the sacred syllable aum) is the bow, the atman (the individual self) is
the arrow and the Brahman (universal self: the Absolute) is said to be
Common folk believe that the recitations
of Aum mani padme hum! will assure them a happy rebirth
in Nub Dewa chen, the Western Paradise of the Great Bliss.
The more 'learned' have been told that the six syllables of the formula
are connected with the six classes of sentient beings and are related
to one of the mystic colours as follows:
Aum is white and connected with gods (lha).
Ma is blue and connected with non-gods (lhamayin).11
Ni is yellow and connected with men (mi).
Pad is green and connected with animals (tudo).
Me is red and connected with non-men (Yidagl2
or other mi-ma- yin13).
Hum is black and connected with dwellers in purgatories.
There are several opinions regarding the effect of the recitation of these
six syllables. Popular tradition declares that those who frequently repeat
the formula will be reborn in the Western Paradise of the Great Bliss.
Others who deem themselves more enlightened declare that the recita-tion
of Aum mani padme hum! may liberate one from a rebirth in any of
the six realms.
Aum mani padme hum! is used as a support for a special meditation
which may, approximately, be described as follows:
One identifies the six kinds of beings with the six syllables
which are pictures in their respective colours, as mentioned above. They
form a kind of chain without end that circulates through the body, carried
on by the breath entering through one nostril and going out through the
As the concentration of mind becomes more
perfect, one sees men-tally the length of the chain increasing. Now when
they go out with the expiration, the mystic syllables are carried far
away, before being absorbed again with the next inspiration. Yet, the
chain is not broken, it rather elongates like a rubber strap and always
remains in touch with the man who meditates.
Gradually, also, the shape of the Tibetan letters vanishes and those who
'obtain the fruit' of the practice perceive the six syllables
as six realms in which arise, move, enjoy, suffer, and pass away
the innumer-able beings, belonging to the six species.
And now it remains for the meditator to realize that the six
realms (the whole phenomenal world) are subjective: a mere creation of
the mind which images them and into which they sink.
Advanced mystics reach, by the way of this practice, a trance in which
the latters of the formula, as well as the beings and their activity,
all merge into That which for lack of a better term, Mahayanist
Buddhists have called 'Emptiness.'
Then, having realized the 'Void,' they become emancipated from the illusion
of the world and, as a consequence, liberated from rebirths which are
but the fruit of that creative delusion.
Another of the many interpretations of Aum mani padme hum! ignores
the division in six syllables and takes the formula according
to its mean- ing: 'a jewel in the lotus.' These words are considered as
The simplest interpretation is: In the lotus (which is the world) exists
the precious jewel of Buddha's teaching.
Another explanation takes the lotus as the mind. In the depth of it, by
introspective meditation, one is able to find the jewel of knowledge.
truth, reality, liberation, nirvana, these various terms being different
denominations of one same thing.
Now we come to a meaning related to cenain doctrines of the Mahayanist
According to them nirvana, the supreme salvation, is not separated from
samsara, the phenomenal world, but the mystic finds the first in the heart
of the second, just as the 'jewel' may be found in the 'lotus.' Nirvana,
the 'jewel' exists when enlightenment exists. Samsara, the 'lotus,'
exists when delusion exists, which veils nirvana, just as the many petals
of the 'lotus' conceal the 1ewel' nestling among them.
Hum! at the end of the formula, is
a mystic expression of wrath used in coercing fierce deities and subduing
demons. How has it become affixed to the 'jewel in the lotus' and the
Indian Aum? - This again is explained in various ways.
Hum! is a kind of mystic war cry; uttering it, is challenging an
enemy. Who is the enemy? Each one imagines him in his own way: either
as powerful fiends, or as the trinity of bad propensities that bind us
to the round of rebirth, namely lust, hatred and stupidity. More subtle
thinkers see him as the 'I.' Hum! is also said to mean the mind
devoid of objective content, etc., etc.
Another syllable is added to conclude the repetition of Aum mani padme
hum! one hundred and eight times on the beads of a rosary.
It is the syllable hri! Some understand it as signifying an inner reality
hidden under the appearances, the basic essence of things.
Beside aum mani padme hum hri! other formulas are also repeated as Aum
vajra sattva! That is to say, 'Aum most excellent (diamond) being.' It
is understood that the excellent One meant is the Buddha. The followers
of the Red hat sects often repeat: Aum vajra guru padma siddhi hum! as
praise of their founder Padmasambhava. These words mean 'Aum, most excellent
powerful guru Padma, miracle worker, hum!'
Amongst longer formulas one of the most popular is that called kyabdo.14
It is Tibetan without admixture of Sanskrit and its significance is plain,
yet far from crude. The text runs as follows:
'I take refuge in all holy refuges. Ye fathers and mothers
[ances-tors] who are wandering in the round of rebirths under the shapes
of the six kinds of sentient beings. In order to attain Bud-dhahood, the
state devoid of fear and sorrow, let your thoughts be directed towards
AUM MANI PADME HUM
ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT TIMES
153 x 12 ISISIS 1836
THE STARGATE CONSPIRACY
Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince
"The new belief system wears a
coat of many colours"
A COAT OF MANY COLOURS
Herbert Read 1945
"The aim of the superrealists as Max
Ernst has recently declared, is not merely to gain access to the unconscious
and to paint its contents in a descriptive or realistic way: nor is it
even to take various elements from the unconscious and with them construct
a separate world of fancy; it is then their aim to break down the barriers
both physical and psychical, between the conscious and the unconscious,
between the inner and the outer world, and to create a superreality in
which real and unreal, meditation and non, conscious and unconscious,
meet and mingle and dominate the whole of life. In Bosch's case, a quite
similar intention was inspired by medieval theology, and a very literal
belief in the reality of the Life Beyond. To a man of his intense powers
of visualization, the present life and life to come, Paradise and Hell
and the World, were equally real and interpenetrating; they combined,
that to say, to form a superreality that was the only reality with which
an artist could be concerned".
NAMES OF GOD
"THEN SINGS MY SOUL MY SAVIOUR GOD TO THEE HOW
GREAT THOU ART HOW GREAT THOU ART"
JOSEPH AND HIS BROTHERS
"THE COAT OF MANY COLOURS"
LIGHT AND LIFE
Lars Olof Bjorn 1976
Opposite Page 122
"PHARAOH AKHENATEN, SOVEREIGN OF EGYPT 1370-1352B.C,
WITH QUEEN NEFERTITI
CHILDREN BELOW THE BENEVOLENT SUN"
1370 MINOS 1352 = 18 1+ 8 = 9
THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
May 9th 2004
THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN
Thomas Mann 1875-1955
"WHIMS OF MERCURIUS"
THREE CALVARY CROSSES
+ + +
X X X
6 + 6 + 6
1 + 8
JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL
THE CONCEPT OF A PSYCHOSPHERE:
A HEURISTIC SUGGESTION
Volume 62 Number 851 April
"In "Survival and the Idea of 'Another
World' " (Price, 1953) H. H. Price, sometime professor of philosophy
at Oxford and President of the SPR from 1939 to 1941, gave us a coherent
and ingenious account of what we would mean if we postulated 'another
world' in which disembodied humans might exist. His main concern was to
assist the discussion of the Survival Hypothesis. He went out of his way
to stress that his paper would not deal with the evidence and arguments
pro and contra Survival, on which he recognised that opinions were (as
they still are) deeply divided. His sole purpose was to consider whether-contrary
to some strongly opposing views-the idea of conscious existence in some
other sphere than our familiar three-dimensional might make sense. As
he put it (I paraphrase) there wouldn't be much point in examining the
supposed evidence for the continuation of consciousness in some other
sphere than the material one if the very concept made logical nonsense.
For many of us Price succeeded brilliantly in his limited objective. Acknow-ledging
that he was drawing on the insights of earlier work-for example, Whateley
Carington's Telepathy (Carington, 1945), Ducasse's Nature,
Mind and Death (Ducasse, 1951), the metaphysics of Schopenhauer and
the speculations of some Hindu and Buddhist schools-Price devises a coherent
and internally consistent Other World in which human consciousness can
be conceived as functioning, even if disembodied. He is at pains to emphasise
that there need be nothing 'imaginary' or 'unreal' about his Other World:
it would differ from our familiar three-dimensional in several respects
(which he discusses), but it would be quite as real in the sense of providing
a substratum for ongoing and vivid human experience. It would be, he said,
"a world of mental images", adding that "there
is nothing imaginary about a mental image. It is an actual entity, as
real as anything can be." And he engages in an entertaining discussion
of the misuse which is often made of the word "imaginary". His
Other World would be, he says, not an imaginary world, but an
Where on earth (or, rather, out of it) would Price's Other World exist?
He remarked that there didn't seem to be much room for it now that astronomers
and geologists had occupied the regions formerly allocated to Heaven and
Hell. Price's solution was remarkably simple. "Mental images,"
he said, "are in a space of their own. They... have spatial
properties". Taking visual images as a prime example, he noted that
although these images have no spatial relationship to objects in the physical
world, they do have "extension and shape, and they have spatial relations
to one another".
It is perhaps surprising that Price's Other World has not become common
coin in the discussion of psychical research. The concept offers a coherently
conceived 'realm', or at least a 'universe of discourse', in which we
could conveniently lodge our more counter-intuitive phenomena, safe from
- insulated against - the somewhat demoralising activities of the neo-
/ Page 354 / Darwinists, the neuroscientists and others whose increasingly
brilliant under-standing of how the physical world works offers material
benefits to human- kind but increasingly deprives us of room for the well-established
paranormal, let alone any foothold for 'values' and 'meaning'. Price has
certainly left his footprint, and he finds himself in other good company.
His ideas are cognate, for example, with those set out in Professor John
Poynton's "Making Sense of Psi: Whiteman's Multilevel Ontology"
(Poynton, 1994). Professor John Smythies, also, acknowledged his indebtedness
to Price a while ago (Smythies, 1988) and has done so again more recently
in an extended discussion of the locus of human consciousness (Smythies,
1994). Professor Ian Stevenson, too, in his latest monumental volumes
on cases suggestive of reincarnation (Stevenson, 1997), refers to Price's
ideas (inter alia) as possibly offering "a plausible realm
where discarnate personalities exist between terrestrial lives".
But on the whole Price has had less influence than he should. One objective
of this Note is to encourage researchers to go back to that illuminating
Proceedings of 1953 and to consider what more might be quarried
A primary difficulty in putting Price's ideas to work-empirically, testably-lies
in those nagging questions which he elegantly brushed aside rather than
answered: the where and the how of his Other World. It
is all very well to provide a philosophically coherent account of a 'space'
of mental images and to demonstrate with good-humoured irony that words
like 'real' and 'unreal' lack sensible meaning when applied to it. It
is quite another matter to argue convincingly that such a 'space'
actually exists ('actually', with its empirical connotations, being
perhaps a more useful term than 'really', which has metaphysical overtones
and tends to lead us into a morass of logic-chopping and tediously linguistic
argumentation). Is Price's Other World actually there ('somewhere')?
Is there anything 'in' it? Or is it merely an ingenious verbal toy? Price
would say (indeed, he did say) that his sole concern was to make sense
of a concept, not to demonstrate that it had instances. But we might find
it profitable to press his ideas further, to put flesh and blood on them,
so to say; or if not flesh arid blood, at least a local habitation and
Price's Other World, though explicitly designed to see whether sense
could be made of the idea of human Survival, seems to me to be also (if
not indeed first and foremost) a potential repository of much else which
interests us in psychical research. Where better to lodge such things
as the sporadic non-conventional communications between minds (telepathy),
the experiences of those who have undergone the NDE and the OBE, and the
inexhaustibly rich realm of hypnagogic, hypnopompic and deeper-sleep dreaming?
All of these essentally private phenomena-'private' in the sense that
they occur in 'inner' experience and only enter the public realm if those
who have them report them-might conveniently be lodged, if only for heuristic
purposes, in Price's 'mental' and 'imagy' Other World. This would at least
encourage us to look for similarities and relationships among these 'inner'
phenomena and to consider whether, regarding them as a genus with several
species, they indicate what Price felt might be "the causal laws
of an image world", differing in crucial respects, as he says, "from
the laws of physics".
There is, however, a whole range of other phenomena from psychical research
which might be called 'public'-'public' in the sense that they
impinge / Page 355 / on observers and are more than merely 'inner'-which
cannot be given a place in Price's Other World as he defined it. Telepathy
and dreams have a home there, but PK, poltergeists and the physical phenomena
of the seance room (to mention only three species of this second genus)
clearly have not. While these phenomena obviously differ in their characteristics
from those to be expected "from the laws of physics", we can
hardly regard them, either, as obeying "the causal laws of an image
world", the laws of Price's Other World. In all these public phenomena
a crucial feature is that at least some of the events are taking place
in our familiar three-dimensional space-hence their public nature, their
availability to 'a public' (or anyway to a public which
is prepared to observe them). These things may often resemble
dreams and other 'inner' events, for example in the absurdity and caprice
(frequently amounting to the grotesque) of which they are capable; but
dreams they certainly are not.
What account should we attempt to give of these 'public' events?
Are they to be regarded as entirely distinct from the 'private' events
for which Price seems to be offering a home? Are we to strike a dividing
line across the field of the paranormal, leaving (for example) precognitive
dreams and ostensible communication between minds to be lodged in Price's
Other World while seeking an entirely different locus and explanation
for (for example) the all- too-physical depredations of a poltergeist
and the transient but all-too-material materializations of human figures
at a physical seance? It would be extravagant of us ('unparsimonious'
is the term used in more orthodox enquiries) to make any such radical
division at the outset. Research may eventually force us to do so on good
empirical grounds. But we owe it to intellectual rigour, or anyway to
aesthetic tidiness, to have at least a preliminary go at seeking a unified
approach. Brute facts will tell us soon enough if we're wrong.
Although Price did not postulate any interaction between his 'imagy' world
and the world of physical events (he didn't have to, given his limited
objectives) we must attempt to do this if we're to bring the full range
of paranormal events, including physical occurrences in the public world,
within Price's schema. We have to assume that whatever goes on
in Price's Other World in the way of images which relate to each other
in obedience to "the causal laws of an image world", something
or other (closely related, it seems, to these same images) can sometimes
determine, or at least substantially influence, the course of events in
our daily three-dimensional in occasional supravention of our increasingly
well-understood 'normal' laws of physical causation. We would have to
ascribe to 'mere' images a kind of causative power which sometimes goes
beyond their power to affect merely other images in Price's 'imagy world'.
This is a radical suggestion, but it is by no means a novel one. It
has perennially haunted the human imagination in two principal forms:
first of all, in every system of magic; secondly, in philosophical Idealism.
Magic makes the crudely literal assumption that thought (mental images),
reinforced or focused by ritual procedures, is capable of acting directly
on the material world in a non-conventional manner. (But magic is
notoriously unreliable, the usual let-out being that some other magician
has been casting counter-spells, or that the moon was in the wrong quarter,
or that the sacrificed black cockerel was not wholly black. . . ) Idealism
in its several forms makes virtually the opposite Page 356 / assumption
to the magician's, namely that everything, including the material
world, consists of nothing but mental images, with the corollary
that we ought, in principle, to be able to alter 'reality' merely by taking
thought. Idealist philosophers have usually side-stepped the embarrassing
lurch into magic which 'taking thought' might imply by the device of making
ad hoc additions to their metaphysical systems, e.g. that the world, though
entirely a world of thought, is a thought in the mind of God, or that
its obstinate stability, its brute persistence in observing the regularities
of scientific 'laws' (and barking our shins if we get in the way), is
due to a consensus of expectations (a consensus of mental images) on the
part of human observers. Why there should be such a consensus and why
it should take the particular form it does is never explained (and God,
of course, need not be given an explanation).
Among Price's invaluable merits is that he avoids both magic and Idealism.
If we are to toy, with some enlargement of his hypothetical 'imagy world'
in a manner which would allow it, at least in principle, to impinge occasionally
on the public world of objects, we owe it to him to be equally abstemious
from the magical and the Idealist. The only way in which we can achieve
this balancing act is by reifying Price's 'Other World'. We must
imagine it as being entirely real (as real as the world of everyday experience);
and we must give it a precise location and distinct properties. We must-quoting
a useful line from Act 5, Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night's Dream-give
"to airy nothing a local habitation and a name".
As for the habitation, I think we need not blush to postulate a space
or sphere or realm which adjoins our familiar three-dimensional but lies
at such an angle to it that our physical organs of perception (evolved
wholly to assist survival in the three-dimensional) cannot perceive it.
Many competent physicists now permit themselves as many as 7 or 8 dimensions
(additional to the familiar three) simply to accommodate the weird behaviour
of mere matter (e.g. Kaku, 1994); and good cosmologists are now telling
us that nine-tenths of the mass of the universe cannot be perceived (can
only be inferred) and is best called, provisionally, 'Dark Matter'. In
this new Wonderland of orthodox scientific speculation there must surely
be room for the very modest 'other space' which our own field of enquiry
seems to require. As for a name, I diffidently suggest 'Psychosphere',
a neologism formed by analogy with that currently fruitful term 'biosphere',
though without any implication that there is more than a linguistic resemblance.
I employed this term as a purely fictional device in a short novel published
in 1985 about the perennial puzzle of the UFO phenomenon (Noyes, 1985);
but it may be worth considering whether the concept can be put to coherent
use outside a fictional context.
To serve the purposes for which I suggest we should invent it (purposes
of a heuristic or 'thought-experiment' nature) the Psychosphere must have
some minimum properties. It must be a space in which Price's mental images
have real existence. Since mental images are, by definition, objects of
minds, the Psychosphere must also have all the properties of minds as
determined by orthodox psychology and by systematic introspection. As
we wish the Psycho-sphere to have causative action in three-dimensional
space, there must be a linkage between the two. These are, I suggest,
the three essential properties of the Psychosphere, and they follow, merely
by logic, from the thought-experiment / Page 357 / which the concept is
designed to assist. Once we have invented the Psycho- sphere, however,
vistas of speculation become apparent and possibilities of experimentation
may suggest themselves.
To speculate. . . A Psychosphere of the kind proposed will have to be
the repository of all mental objects emanating from all minds, including
animal as well as human minds, including also (if they exist) the minds
of creatures which have evolved elsewhere in the universe. Different levels
of mind will doubtless make different quantities and qualities of input
to the Psychosphere: the contribution made by the dim awarenesses of low-level
invertebrates will certainly be less than the contribution made by any
member of Homo sapiens, but there will be no good reason for excluding
them. The Psychosphere must therefore be an inconceivably vast and
complex cauldron of ideas, memories, volitions, desires and all the other
furniture of conscious experience and unconscious mental functioning.
To be anything other than a chaos it must therefore have properties of
internal organization, for example a tendency for mental images to form
clusters on some such principle as the Association of Ideas. We can imagine
that all minds, in addition to making their inputs, also have a
limited degree of access to the Psychosphere, the extent of this
access depending on the complexity, sophistication and existing contents
of each mind, and depending perhaps also on the possession of particular
gifts (e.g. those of mediumship) and / or altered states, e.g. trance
and dream. (F. W. H. Myers will have made a very large input; Mrs
Piper clearly possessed a very large access.) To allow for interaction
with the physical world we must assume that the Psychosphere has some
of the properties of a field of force, analagous with the gravitational
and electromagnetic fields of classical physics but possessing perhaps,
in addition, morphogenetic capacities resembling those envisaged
by Rupert Sheldrake in his theory of morphic resonance. We
might regard it as a source of forms (in something like Plato's sense),
as a repository of archetypes ( a la Jung), and as an originator
of novelties as well as a replicator of existing ideas. To quote again
from A Midsummer Night's Dream, we might think of the Psychosphere as
the location of that "imagination" which "bodies
forth / The shape of things unknown. . ." From the swirling though
semi-structured cauldron of the Psychosphere, receiving its inputs
from a myriad of minds but possessing causative properties of its own,
might there not well emerge into the physical sphere, even if only transiently,
many other non-conventional phenomena than those which preoccupy psychical
research? Might not the Psychosphere be considered, not only as the
mediator of such things as telepathy, distant viewing, laboratory PK and
the poltergeist, but also as the puppet-master of the Great Legion of
Fortean peculiarities-lake monsters, the multitudinous creatures of folklore,
some crop circles (if any are other than man-made), Flying Saucers, the
entities which briefly emerge from the latter, the fleetingly observed
anthropomorphic 'manimals' of the kind represented by Big Foot and the
yeti, and many such other denizens of recorded human experience?
In ascribing capacities of this kind to the Psychosphere, we would be
avoiding the absurdities of magic: it would not be the volition of individuals
which operated (magically) on the physical world-to heal a friend, to
kill an enemy, to englamour a desired sexual object-it would be the Psychosphere
/ Page 358 / which lent itself to these objectives, operating by means
of its capacity to influence the physical sphere and acting along the
lines of the volitions of the more psychically talented minds which form
part of its contents. We would also be avoiding the peculiarities of Idealist
metaphysics: there would be nothing 'unreal' or 'imaginary' about either
the Psychosphere or the world of everyday experience; both would have
unimpaired ontological status, albeit differing in their respective properties
All this may be thought fanciful: the Psychosphere is perhaps merely an
idea with which to play. But I believe something of the sort, even if
we abandoned it after further study, would help to focus our thinking
when we consider the phenomena of psychical research, not to mention the
many puzzles about morphogensis in the physical sphere, which (pace the
Neo-Darwinists) have not been satistactorily resolved by conventional
means. And the idea already has a modicum of theoretical support and perhaps
some predictive value.
As for theory, the papers by John Poynton and John Smythies mentioned
above offer some ingenious models for an 'adjoining realm' which interacts
with our familiar physical world. I hope they would not think it inconsistent
with their views to envisage the Psychosphere as sometimes acting, not
only via the many points of intersection with the physical represented
by conscious minds, but occasionally (spontaneously) 'in its own right'.
More recently, Professor Archie E. Roy, in his The Archives of the Mind
(Roy, 1996), has tackled the question whether human thoughts and intentions
may possibly persist (perhaps pre-exist, perhaps post-exist) as a kind
of 'software' or 'program' when not directly manifesting in the 'hardware'
of the body, the analogies of 'software', 'program' and 'hardware' being
drawn, of course, from our current understanding of the operation of computers.
Any such 'software' or 'program' needs to have its being in some substratum.
The Psychosphere might serve. All these conjectures need further refinement
and clarification, but none of them seems inconsistent with, or more extravagant
than, the speculations now current among mainstream physicists and cosmologists.
As for predictive value, if we give the Psychosphere properties of the
kind suggested, we might predict the following, all of which bear some
resemblance to familiar aspects of our field.
A. If a sufficient number of people strongly believe in, or hope for,
a pheno-menon, viz. make an emotionally vigorous input to the Psychosphere,
the Psychosphere will oblige by producing it. For a while, table-turning,
ectoplasm and Flying Saucers will be frequently, if only transiently,
B. When a sufficient number of people come to oppose these outrages to
common sense, especially if (like CSICOP) they exhibit strong emotion
in doing so, the Psychosphere may be tipped into withdrawing them. Table-
turning and ectoplasm seem to have suffered this fate; Flying Saucers
(or rather the populations pro and contra these engaging objects) are
still fighting it out.
C. Accordingly, there will be fashions-almost artistic movements-in the
ebb and flow of paranormal occurrences, as Dr John Beloff has often noted
(e.g. Beloff, 1993, pp. 233-234) / Page 359 / April 1998] The Concept
of a Psychosphere
D. The Psychosphere will itself-without prompting and sheerly from
its own internal dynamics-produce new phenomena from time to time: thought-
ography, metal;.bending, EVP. .. If these capture the public imagination,
i.e. if sufficient people make an emotionally vigorous input to the Psycho-sphere,
the phenomena will persist for a while (anyway until CSICOP gets there
and/or the public becomes bored and therefore ceases to 'fuel' the Psychosphere
in support of these new toys).
E. Some of the spontaneous activities of the Psychosphere will take
the more durable form of new species of plants and animals in the Biosphere-but
only if the brute circumstances of the available DNA and the state of
the Darwinian selective pressures permit it. Otherwise, the novel ideas
will have no more than transient or ambiguous existence. (Circumstances
have clearly not yet been propitious for the durable coming-to-be of the
Yeti, the Big Foot, other 'manimals', the Loch Ness Monster or the Surrey
Puma. The Unicorn has failed altogether.)
A lengthier text would be needed to explore these fragmentary suggestions
further. They are offered in their present form merely in the hope that
they may prompt discussion.
2 Bramerton Street Chelsea
Beloff, J. (1993) Parapsychology: A Concise History. London:
Carington, W. W. (1945) Telepathy. London: Methuen.
Ducasse, C. J. (1951) Nature, Mind and Death. Illinois: Open
Kaku, M. (1994) Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey through the
10th Dimension. Oxford: OUP.
Noyes, R. (1985) A Secret Property. London: Quartet Books.
. Poynton, J. C. (1994) JSPR 59, 401-412
Price, H. H. (1953) ProcSPR 50 (182), 1-25
Roy,A. E. (1996) The Archives of the Mind (esp. pp 330-364).
Essex: SNU Publications. Smythies, J. R. (1988) JSPR 55, 150-156
Smythies, J. R. (1994) The Walls of Plato's Cave. Aldershot:
Stevenson, I. (1997) Reincarnation and Biology (esp. pp.2083-2088)
Connecticut: Praeger Publishers.
MIN DOTH DREAM WHAT DOTH MIN MEAN
THE THIRTEENTH LETTER OF THE ENGLISH ALPHABET
JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL
UNSNARLING THE WORLD-KNOT: CONSCIOUSNESS,
FREEDOM, AND THE MIND- BODY PROBLEM
David Ray Griffin. University of California
Press, Berkeley, 1997. xv + 266 pp.
Volume 62 Number 851 April 1998
"The mind-body problem, which Schopenhauer called the 'world-knot',
has overshadowed Western philosophy since Descartes and has continued
to vex and engross both philosophers and scientists, perhaps particularly
in the present time, when we have witnessed spectacular developments in
genetics and neuroscience. The hope of many thinkers, including Professor
Griffin, is that by unravelling the connection between mind and
matter at this nodal point, we might be able to gain an unprecedented
and decisive understanding of what is arguably the central mystery of
Dualist and materialist theories have ended in dismal failure, according
to Griffin. For materialists, the insuperable difficulty has been to suggest
any coherent way in which consciousness can possibly be derived from the
insentient neurones of the brain. On top of the many other absurdities
which it engenders, epiphenomenalism has no hope of evading this manifest
contradiction at its very heart. Eliminativists like the Churchlands can
only rest in their wish or faith that belief in the actual existence of
consciousness will some day just evaporate, with all the remaining superstitions
of 'folk psychology'. However, more patient and sensitive physicalists
reluctantly concede that this massive stumbling-block will not simply
go away, and Griffin painstakingly reviews the attempts of philosophers
like Nagel, Searle, McGinn, Galen Strawson, and Jaegwon Kim to come to
terms with it. Their inevitable failure, he concludes, follows from their
ultimate inability to explain, not only / Page 369 / how consciousness
could emerge from the brain, how subjectivity could arise from something
blankly objective, but also what can be meant by the relation-ship between
consciousness and brain activity, how our experience and behaviour can
result as an obvious (if partial) unity from the activities of the thousands
of millions of neurones constituting the brain, and how materialism can
be reconciled with our hard-core commonsense beliefs about our ability
to acquire knowledge of abstractions and norms, and indeed of the external
physical world itself given the view that all knowledge must come
to us mediated by our sense-organs feeding our brains.
Dualist theories are apparently in no better case. Dualism seems to violate
the principle of the conservation of energy, and undoubtedly violates
the principle of continuity, since it would require us to postulate some
kind of 'leap' to account for the evolution of sentient beings from insensate
Where are we supposed to draw the line between experiencing and non-experiencing
things? And if there are two ontologically disparate components in every
living animal-one immaterial, nonspatial, and devoid of physical energy,
and the other blindly material, mute, unintelligent, and without desires,
thoughts, or purposes-how can our minds exert causal influence over our
bodies or vice versa, as interactionist dualists are bound to maintain?
By far the greater part of Griffin's book is an attempt to resolve all
of these issues by expounding and defending a third option which combines
the intellectual strengths of both dualism and materialism while avoiding
what he considers their fatal flaws. This he does by adopting the metaphysical
standpoint of panexperientialism, drawing heavily on the analyses and
insights of Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne. Every truly
- individual thing which exists, from molecules and cells up to elephants
and human beings, is both a material object and a mental subject, with
both a 'material pole' and a 'mental pole'. Thus there is no need to postulate
a magical leap or supernatural intervention to bridge a gap between sentient
beings and insentient matter, because matter is not wholly insentient.
(This refutes the influential fallacy of Descartes, whose notion of a
brute insentient matter has been uncritically accepted by his materialist
opponents.) For the panexperientialist, human and other animal minds
have an ontological homogeneity with the cells which compose their bodies,
nervous systems, and brains, for in both cases there is a mental dimension
and a physical dimension.
Panexperientialism (or panpsychism) has often been dismissed with
derisive incredulity. Do rocks have feelings, can lakes form intentions?
Professor Griffin sets out to dispel the kinds of incomprehension by which
this meta- physical theory has been typically beset. He draws a distinction.
between true or compound individuals like cells, plants, and animals,
all of which have the rudiments of mentality, and mere aggregations like
rocks or bodies of water, which have no individual mentality whatsoever,
beyond such primordial mentality as resides in their component particles.
But can we really attribute even a grain of incipient, embryonic, primordial
mentality to, say, bacteria or viruses? Griffin will argue that the random
behaviour of the subatomic particles, or rather streams of energy, of
which such minute things are composed, gives us grounds for ascribing
a form of spontaneity to them; that this is a primitive kind of self-determining
choice; and that this is the origin / Page 370 / and nucleus of the quality
of freedom, inseparable from mentality, with which all higher organisms,
ascending to man, are to some extent endowed, however slight in particular
In the October 1997 issue of this Journal Professor J. C. Poynton
reviewed a recent book by Griffin (1997) in which the author gives special
attention to the data of psychical research. However, in the present work
the notions of ESP and PK play a very much smaller part. Griffin readily
accepts that telepathy, clairvoyance, and psychokinesis have gained enough
empirical confirmation over the last hundred years to warrant their inclusion
in the world-outlook of every reasonable person, and he condemns the closed
and defensive attitudes still shown by the scientific community in general
towards such phenomena essentially because they conflict with the physicalist
paradigm of reality to which so many scientists have declared a priori
allegiance. But his comments on ESP and PK are chiefly of interest because
of his attempts to relate them to his own panaexperientialist paradigm.
According to this, it is fallacious to ground our concepts of perception
primarily on our faculties of vision and touch. There are rudimentary
individuals, such as unicellular organisms, which have experiences although
totally lacking in organs of sense. And, Griffin claims, much of the knowledge
acquired by man and the higher animals comes via forms of perception which
are equally nonsensory. However, he is able to make this claim only because
he extends the term 'perception' to cover kinds of cognition which are
seldom thought of as perceptual in character: for example memory, which
he describes as the present perception by a mind of its own past experiences;
our knowledge of mathematical and logical relations, which he oddly classifies
as 'experiences' of abstract entities; moral and aesthetic experience;
and religious experience. He attributes our awareness of bodily pain and
pleasure to the 'experiences' of the cells situated where we find these
sensations occurring, and to the capacity of these cells to communicate
their experiences to our minds. He is even willing to speak of the mind
as 'perceiving' (albeit unconsciously) the processes going on in our brain
cells when these are eventually activated by the relay of external stimuli
impinging on our peripheral sense-organs.
Because of the epistemological difficulties involved in standard theories
of perception, according to most of which we only gain knowledge of the
physical world indirectly, by means of the sense-data which it produces
for our immediate apprehension, Griffin seems to favour a kind of direct
realism; this cannot be just apprehension of images or of our own brain
cells but must be awareness of events which typically occur outside our
bodies, and therefore is intrinsically perception at a distance, and hence
nonsensory. There are echoes here of Moncrieff's neglected masterpiece,
The Clairvoyant Theory of Perception (1951). Equally, to understand
how we are able to move our own bodies we have to conceive of a nonmotor
action by the mind which originates the motions of those body cells which
terminate in overt bodily movements. This is the basis for that special
kind of nonmotor action on other bodies, at a distance from our own, which
we call psychokinesis.
There is much else of interest and worthy of debate in this book, for
instance Griffin's replacement of the idea of a substantive mind or self
by his version of a successive pattern of 'occasions of experience' which
have a unity formed by / Page371/ their inherent recollection of past
occasions of experience in the life-history of the individual. But the
book is densely written, much of it in the somewhat irksome terminology
of process philosophy, it is, I think, too long, for the reader will find
the same themes tending to recur several times; and there is a needless
abundance of references to the work of other contemporary philosophers,
which may soon strike us as inevitably rather dated. Its special interest
for students of psychical research is strictly limited, although its comparatively
few remarks on paranormal cognition and agency are indeed highly suggestive.
Philosophers will find the overarching panexperientialist metaphysic idiosyncratic
and provocative, but at present that is surely a very good thing."
292 Cottingham Road R. W. K. PATERSON Hull HU6 8QA
Griffm, D. R. 1997) Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Spirituality: A
Exploration. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Moncrief!, M. M. (1951) The Clairvoyant Theory of Perception. London:
Faber & Faber.
THE STARGATE CONSPIRACY
Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince
"According to writers Peter Tompkins
and Christopher Bird, Daniels - who studied the effects of electro-
magnetic waves on human beings - became convinced, in the 1970s, of the
existence of some kind of intelligent force in the universe that operated
through electromagnetic frequencies and that 'human beings can mentally
interact with it,.47"
CLOSER TO THE LIGHT
Melvin L. Morse and Paul Perry
SPIRIT IN MEDICINE
CONJURED DEATHS AND ANCIENT RULERS
"Deep in an underground chamber a solemn
group of men is seeking guidance from death. They are dressed in white
robes and chanting softly around a casket that is sealed with wax. One
of their members is steadfastly counting to himself, carefully marking
the time. After about eight minutes, the casket is opened, and the man
who nearly suffocated inside is revived by the rush of fresh air. He tells
the men around him what he saw. As he passed out from lack of oxygen,
he saw a light that became brighter and larger as he sped toward it through
a tunnel. From that light came a radiant person in white who delivered
a message of eternal life.
The priest who is attending this ceremony is pleased with the results.
"No man escapes death," he says. "And every living soul
is destined to resurrection. You go into the tomb alive that you will
learn of the light."
The man who "died" but is now reborn is happy. He is now a member
of one of the strangest societies in history, a group of civic leaders
who induced nearly fatal suffocation to create a near-death experience.
Sound like a cult from some place in northern California? ex-hippies looking
for a new high, perhaps? Not at all. This
was the cult of Osiris, a small society of men who were the priests and
pharaohs of ancient Egypt, one of the greatest civilizations in human
history. This account of how they / Page 79 / inspired
near death is an actual description of their rites from Egyptologists
who have translated their hieroglyphics.
One of the most important Egyptian rituals involved the reenactment by
their god-king of the myth of Osiris, the god who brought agriculture
and civilization to the ancient Egyp-tians. He was the first king of Egypt
who civilized his subjects and then traveled abroad to instruct others
in the fine art of civilization. His enemies plotted against him. Upon
his re-turn to Egypt, he was captured and sealed in a chest. His eventual
resurrection was seen as proof of life eternal.
Each new king was supposed to be a direct reincarnation of Osiris. An
important part of the ceremony was to reenact his entombment. These rituals
took place in the depths of the Great Pyramid and were a prerequisite
for becoming a god-king. It is my guess that many slaves perished while
the Egyptians experimented, to find exactly how long a person could be
sealed in an airtight container and survive.
Nonetheless, these near-death experiences were more im-portant to the
Egyptians than the lives of a few slaves. After all, this was the age
of the bicameral mind, a period in which men believed that their thoughts
came to them from the gods and were not internally generated. For the
Egyptians, thoughts and dreams were gods speaking to them.
Prior to the evolution of individual consciousness, people were what Princeton
psychiatrist Julian Jaynes calls "bi-cameral." By this, he means
that they did not understand that their own thoughts and actions were
generated from within themselves, but rather that they thought external
gods created these thoughts and actions. For example, a fully conscious
human thinks: I am hungry and I will make myself a sandwich. The bicameral
man thought: The gods have created a pain in my belly and cause me to
find food to satisfy them. The Iliad is an excellent example of bicameral
thinking: It is one god who makes Achilles promise not to go into / Page
80 / battle, another who urges him to go, and another screams through
his throat (at his enemies). In fact, the gods take the place of consciousness.
The beginnings of action are not in conscious plans, reasons, and motives;
they are-to the bi-cameral man-the actions and speeches of gods.
This bicameral thinking has long vanished from human beings, ever since
the evolution of language and writing. Once men could write down their
thoughts, and read what other people have written, they came to understand
that each human being has an individual consciousness, and that gods do
not direct our every action.
However; ancient Egypt was a prime example of a bi-cameral society. Jaynes
states that Egyptian civilization was controlled and directed by the bicameral
voice of their first god-king" Osiris. It was essential to their
civilization that each new king consider himself to be the vehicle of
the halluci-nated voice of the dead king whose admonitions still con-trolled
society. What better way to generate this absolute continuity of the god-king
than to have each new king undergo a near-death experience. Just as children
that I in-terviewed often perceived the light that they saw as the light
of Jesus, these king-initiates would perceive that same light - as the
spirit of Osiris.
A near-death experience by a bicameral man would have extraordinary significance,
more so even than it has to mod-ern man. For one thing, it would be absolute
proof of eternal life. Since they felt that the gods inspired their every
thought, a near-death experience would be like having a god open the doors
of perception to a mortal.
An NDE gave Egyptian rulers a sense of all-knowing. Before they were sealed
into the casket, they only acted like kings. Afterward, they felt as if
they had deeper knowledge of the world around them.
I also believe that an NDE as part of a king's job description / Page
81 / may account for the unusual peace and prosperity that Egypt enjoyed
for the nearly two thousand years that the pharaohs reigned. As happens
with those who experience NDEs today, these kings were transformed by
the humbling and exalting experience of near death. They developed a reverence
for the love that people share with one another. They became kind and
caring and interested in the universe and the world around them.
These were people who supported extensive research in astronomy. With
their "primitive" tools, they were able to obtain a vast knowledge
of the stars, even finding dark stars that we have been able to confirm
only with powerful telescopes.
The ancient Egyptians were advanced in medicine and the use of foods and
antibiotics to prevent epidemics among pyr-amid workers. They knew of
special diets of red onions, bread, and garlic that stimulated the immune
system, a diet that was only recently endorsed by the National Science
Foun-dation. They even had a fair amount of knowledge about surgery.
Archaeologists have deciphered the exact experience of these mystery rituals,
and virtually all agree that its purpose was to generate an understanding
of eternal life. Their un-derstanding of the death process has been handed
down through the ages in a document known as The Egyptian Book of
the Dead. This book is simply a detailed description of a near-death
experience. It starts with a judgment scene and goes on to reveal many
gods and various voices, continues on a long boat trip through a dark
tunnel, and ends with union with a bright light.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead is quite similar to The
Tibetan Book of the Dead, a manual for dying that was passed by
word of mouth in Tibetan culture until about fifteen hundred years ago,
when it was recorded by Europeans.
The Tibetan Book
of the Dead gives the dying person con-trol over his
own death and rebirth; The Tibetans, who be-lieved in reincarnation, felt
that the dying person could influence his own destiny. The Tibetans called.
this book Bardo Thodol, or "Liberation by Hearing on
the After-Death Plane." It was meant to be read after death
to help the de-ceased find the right path.
Part of what the priest is supposed to read
goes like this: "Thy own intellect, which is now voidness. . . thine
own consciousness, not formed into anything, in reality void. . .will
first experience the Radiance of the Fundamental Clear Light of Pure Reality.
"The union of your own consciousness and the Clear Light is
the state of Perfect Enlightment. This is the Great Body of Clear Light.
. the source of life and light."
How similar the Tibetan beliefs to the Egyptians and other ancient people
too, from Europe to Africa.
The Aztec Song of the Dead represents a work that served to enlighten
the Aztecs about the world beyond. This was a society, that practiced
ritual and slow death as part of their basic religion.
Their Song of the Dead tells the story of Quetzalcoatl, their god
and legendary king who discovered the arts, science, and agriculture and
who represented the forces of civilization, good and light. He is described
by his people as "igniting the creations of man's hands and the imagination
of his heart."
"Their Song of the Dead reads like a
poetic version of a near-death experience. It practically scores off the
top of the scale of the Near-Death Experience Validity Scale developed
by researcher Kenneth Ring. The Song reads like this:
"Then the time came for Quetzalcoatl to die, when he felt
the darkness twist in him like a river."
He then had a life review, in which he remembers all of his good
works and is able to settle his affairs. He then "saw / Page 83 /
my face/(like looking into a) cracked mirror." He hears flutes and
the voices of friends and then passes through a shining city and over
hills of many colors.. He comes to the edge of a great sea, where he again
sees his own face, during which time "the beauty of his face returned
There is a bonfire on the beach in which he throws himself,and . . .
It ended with his heart transformed
into a star.
It ended with the morning star with dawn and evening. '
It ended with his journey to Death's kingdom with seven days
With his body changed to light.
A star that burns forever in that sky.
All of these cultures believed they left
their bodies and embarked on a spiritual voyage, a journey that had
the same traits as that of Katie, who nearly drowned in that swimming
pool in Idaho."