Conspiracy theory advocates are often criticized by those who more or less believe in the official version of events as making far too much out of mere coincidence. On the other end of the spectrum, conspiracy theorists claim that these nihilists, holding the view that history is essentially a purposeless, random process, are "coincidence theorists."
A coincidence theorist, from this perspective, actively dismisses all of the most anomalous, contradictory details in the mainstream media account of things as being nothing but a set of coincidences. To be dismissive in this manner, conspiracy theorists argue, is to either be willfully ignorant or complicit in the conspiracy on some level.
The fact that the towers on 9/11 fell in a way that exactly resembles buildings that are brought down by controlled demolition is an example of this type of "coincidence." The fact that one of the passports of the accused hijackers miraculously survived this devastation intact and undamaged enough for the authorities to determine that it was owned by a member of Al Qaeda is another example.
A third such coincidence is the anomalous spike in market shorts, during the days before 9/11, against those companies -- airlines, insurance companies, etc. -- that were most negatively impacted by the attacks. Similar 9/11 "coincidences" are legion.
In almost all major events coincidences of this kind can be found in abundance. A good conspiracy theory can account for all of these while "coincidence theorists" will argue, often to absurd lengths, that they are nothing but instances of pure chance.
At times, though, even the believers of One Big Conspiracy, the absolutists, will become bothered by coincidences that are so strange that to accept them as being facets of the conspiracy would imply that the conspiracy was far vaster, far more powerful, more supernatural, than even their grand theories would allow for.
This creates a dilemma. Either the absolutists, like the nihilists, must also dismiss these things as being sheer coincidence, thereby implying that many of the central planks in their own theory might be jettisoned accordingly, or they must inflate their theory to even more all-encompassing dimensions.
This inflationary move is the course most often taken. The theories grow in complexity and absurdity, but this is the only means to safeguard the absolutist position.
There are a large number of coincidences of this order. By now almost everyone has heard of those connecting the lives and assassinations of presidents Lincoln and Kennedy. Here is a sample:
Both presidents were shot in the head.
Both presidents were shot on a Friday in the presence of their wives.
Both presidents were accompanied by another couple.
The male companion of the other couple was wounded by the assassin.
Both presidents had a son die during their presidency.
Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre; Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald in a Lincoln automobile, made by Ford.
Both presidents' last names have 7 letters.
A staggering amount of paradigm-bending coincidences of this second order can also be found in relation to 9/11. For several years now researchers have claimed that the uncanny frequency of the number eleven in the events of that day, the immense volume of "predictive programming" allegedly foreshadowing 9/11 in the popular media, the esoteric symbology of the twin towers (Jachin and Boaz), the Pentagon, Flight 93, etc, all identify 9/11 and other mass events as nothing less than occult "mega-rituals."
All of this would appear to take us well beyond the customary bailiwick of the intelligence agencies. At this point in their journey the believers in One Big Conspiracy face a very abrupt fork in the path. They must either abandon their absolutist perspective and embrace a rather nebulous notion of cosmic synchronicity or they must consider that the conspiracy ultimately transcends what is humanly possible.
The most notorious proponent of the latter view is David Icke:
So, The Biggest Secret for me, in summary, is that an extraterrestrial race has interbred with humanity, creating particular hybrid bloodlines which they can work through from this dimension very close to ours, and that as it expanded over the thousands and hundreds of years to the present day, they've managed to expand their power out of a power base in the Near and Middle East, other places too but particularly there, until today they are actually in control of the planet.
And it is the ultimate control because they're controlling the planet from another dimension, but most of humanity doesn't even think that there are other dimensions. And this suppression of knowledge about other dimensions, the suppression of knowledge of the nature of life, the nature of frequencies and vibrations, ... the eternal nature of consciousness, ... the very knowledge or even perception that there could be any other dimension or any other levels of life ... means that they can go on controlling humanity from levels of existence that most of humanity doesn't even accept exist. I mean, you can't get better forms of control than that.
The Ruthless Love Of The Dreaming Mind
Icke's idea that beyond the intelligence agencies, beyond the financial institutions that fund these agencies and their governments, beyond the ruling family dynasties that have always dominated these institutions, and beyond even the esoteric societies that practice the secret religion of these dynasties, are non-human, off-world, extra-dimensional entities -- the true archons of this world -- is not really all that novel.
Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, in their bookThe Sion Revelation, explain that just such a belief became widespread among European occultists of the mid-18th century:
The arrival of the Unknown Superiors marked the introduction of an important new element into European esotericism, which was to develop into the idea of orders being under the guidance of spiritual or nonterrestrial entities rather than anonymous human beings -- this notion eventually became more or less indispensable to magical orders.
This doctrine of the "Secret Chiefs" became increasingly prominent within late 19th century esoteric organizations like the Theosophical Society and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Precursors of this idea, though, can be traced back to the early and medieval Catholic belief in the Communion of the Saints, a mystical body of all Christians, both living and dead, with Christ at its head. From a pessimistic perspective, though, which is far closer to that of Icke, these entities greatly resemble the original Archons of Gnosticism.
Only entities of this capacity, being unbounded by the third dimensional barriers of space and time, would have the ability to carry out conspiracies apparently forged from the raw material of synchronicity itself. One of the first absolutist, occult conspiracy theorists of this type was James Shelby Downard.
Downard called the sinister architects of the conspiracy "masonic sorcerers," and it is clear from his writing that even if these beings were human in name their abilities and ambitions were in no way limited to the human sphere. Downard lays this out in the context of the JFK assassination:
But the ultimate purpose of that assassination was not political or economic but sorcerous: for the control of the dreaming mind and the marshalling of its forces is the omnipotent force in this entire scenario of lies, cruelty and degradation. Something died in the American people on November 22, 1963 -- call it idealism, innocence or the quest for moral excellence. It is the transformation of human beings which is the authentic reason and motive for the Kennedy murder and until so-called conspiracy theorists can accept this very real element they will be reduced to so many eccentrics amusing a tiny remnant of dilettantes and hobbyists.
"Control of the dreaming mind" implies a near complete mastery of the realm of synchronicity and the archetypes, and this is precisely the radical thesis that Downard is presenting. We are all the dreamers of this world, but increasingly this dreaming power, which most of us do not know that we possess, is being stripped from us. We dreamers become disposable bit players in the grand consensus nightmare of the masonic sorcerers.
Even Robert Anton Wilson appeared temporarily fazed by the extremes of Downard's vision. In Cosmic Trigger he writes about a tape that Downard and his partner, William Grimstad, produced summing up their theories, entitled "Sirius Rising":
Later, Mr. Grimstad sent me a tape, entitled "Sirius Rising," in which he and another conspiracy buff named Downard set forth the most absurd, the most incredible, the most ridiculous Illuminati theory of them all. The only trouble is that, after all the weird data we have already surveyed, the Grimstad-Downard theory may not sound totally unbelievable to us.
The idea, though, that advanced entities use coincidence or synchronicity in order to communicate with and control humanity is not limited to sublime paranoids like Downard. The scientist John C. Lilly also held that an institution called the Earth Coincidence Control Office (E.C.C.O.), which ultimately takes its orders from a Cosmic Control Center (C.C.C.) via Galactic and Solar System sub-centres, is a non- or trans-human collective that is fully enabled to generate and control the coincidences of individuals on Earth. Lilly conveyed the following message from ECCO:
To all humans
If you wish to control coincidences in your own life on the planet Earth, we will cooperate and determine those coincidences for you under the following conditions:
1) You must know/assume/simulate our existence in ECCO
2) You must be willing to accept our responsibility for control of your coincidences.
3) You must exert your best capabilities for your survival programs and your own development as an advancing/advanced member of ECCO's earthside corps of controlled coincidence workers. You are expected to use your best intelligence in this service
4) You are expected to expect the unexpected every minute, every hour of every day and of every night.
5) You must be able to maintain conscious/thinking/ reasoning no matter what events we arrange to happen to you. Some of these events will seem cataclysmic/catastrophic/overwhelming: remember stay aware, no matter what happens/apparently happens to you.
6) You are in our training program for life: there is no escape from it. We (not you ) control the long-term coincidences; you (not we) control the shorter-term coincidences by your own efforts.
7) Your major mission on earth is to discover/create that which we do to control the long-term coincidence patterns: you are being trained on Earth to do this job.
8) When your mission on planet Earth is completed, you will no longer be required to remain/return there.
9) Remember the motto passed to us (from GCC via SSCU):
"Cosmic Love is absolutely Ruthless and Highly Indifferent:
it teaches its lessons whether you like/dislike them or not."
Ignoring the abrasive cosmogonic bureaucratese of the whole dispatch, the final motto is particularly ominous. Not only conspiracy absolutists like Downard and Icke should be alarmed by it. The motto amounts to saying -- we will make you experience synchronicity, positive and/or negative, in order to usher you into "Cosmic Love" regardless of your feelings in the matter. At the same time, though, it is obvious that Lilly concluded that this was absolutely necessary for the good of humanity. Sometimes love is tough.
Instruction and Frustration
From here on the spaghetti theory of conspiracy reenters the story. Just as at lower levels of the conspiracy, within the relatively mundane cloak-and-dagger charades of the intelligence agencies, there is no single unified plot of dominance but rather a multiplicity of cliques jostling for total control, it is the same thing in the more rarefied spheres of the transhuman entities.
Robert Anton Wilson in Cosmic Trigger, recording a discussion with personal student of Crowley and O.T.O. head, Grady McMurtry, brings up the question of why movements that beneficially expand consciousness are always so rapidly squelched by the authorities rather than allowed to flourish.
"I'll tell you what I think," Grady said. "There's war in Heaven. The Higher Intelligences, whoever they are, aren't all playing on the same team. Some of them are trying to encourage our evolution to higher levels, and some of them want to keep us stuck just where we are."
According to Grady, some occult lodges are working with those nonhuman intelligences who want to accelerate human evolution, but some of the others are working with the intelligences who wish to keep us near an animal level of awareness.
This is a standard idea in occult circles and it can safely be stated, without exaggeration, that every "school" or "lodge" of adepts that exists is regarded, by some of the others, as belonging to the Black Brotherhood of the evil path.
In a sense, this is a very traditional idea. Since the time of Adam, angels and demons have been in perpetual warfare over the possession of the souls of humanity. There have always been at least two great and conflicting conspiracies. One wants us to soar to the realm of the Spirit and one wants us to become ever more enmired in base and debasing Matter.
The late medieval grimoire, The Book Of The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, also takes up this theme:
The infamous Belial hath no other desire than that of obtaining the power of hiding and obscuring the True Divine Wisdom, so that he may have more means of blinding simple men and of leading them by the nose; so that they may always remain in their simplicity, and in their error, and that they may not discover the Way which leadeth unto the True Wisdom; seeing that otherwise it is certain that both he and his Kingdom would remain bound and that he would lose the title which he giveth himself of "Prince of this World," having become the slave of man. This is wherefore he seeketh to annul and destroy utterly this Sacred Wisdom.
Given the influence of this text on Crowley and the Golden Dawn in general it is easy to see how this teaching would enter into notions of the Black Brotherhood. To me this also brings to mind the work of Philip K. Dick and his opposition of Belial with VALIS/Zebra. Dick was certainly not one to believe in a single all-controlling cosmic conspiracy.The Dickian reality is multifaceted, fluid, schizophrenic, spaghetti-like.
In W.B. Yeats's magnus opus, A Vision (a book which I intend to explore deeply in future posts), Yeats reveals that the "system" of the book was presented to him and his young wife during automatic writing sessions and "sleeps" by mysterious disincarnate entities which Yeats simply calls the "Instructors." Fascinatingly, Yeats also mentions opposed entities called the "Frustrators."
Because they [the Instructors] must, as they explained, soon finish, others whom [they called] the Frustrators attempted to confuse us or waste time. Who these Frustrators were or why they acted so was never adequately explained ... but they were always ingenious and sometimes cruel. The automatic script would deteriorate, grow sentimental or confused, and when I pointed this out the communicator would say ‘From such and such an hour, on such and such a day, all is frustration’ . . . but had I not divined frustration he would have said nothing . . . and a Frustrator doubtless played upon my weakness when he described a geometrical model of the soul’s state after death which could be turned upon a lathe . . . One said, as though it rested with me to decide what part I should play in their dream, ‘Remember, we will deceive you if we can.’
As mentioned before in this blog, in his field studies among the peasants of western Ireland Yeats discovered that Irish fairies could be similarly divided into groups that either tended to help or hinder humankind. The Instructors and Frustrators appear to be higher order representatives of the same phenomenon. Clearly, as on all other levels of nature, there is also abundant diversity on the planes beyond the all-too-human.
Disguises Of Enchantment
In postmodern ET lore the number of different reported alien races, cryptoids and preternatural beings of all sorts is immense and growing. The Watcher Files website has compiled an extensive, heavily annotated list of such entities ranging from the Agharians and Alpha-Draconians to Zombies. In the face of all this "evidence" it is hard to imagine that anyone would hold the view that there is just one cosmic conspiracy. The spaghetti stretches up to the stars and deep into the bowels of the hollow earth.
Nor should we assume that this is something new. Graham Hancock, carrying on the research of people like Jacques Vallée and John Keel, argues in his book Supernatural that the whole UFO/alien abduction phenomenon is structurally very similar to accounts of fairy encounters, to shamanic ordeals in which the shaman has his body dismembered by spirit entities -- his bones removed and replaced by quartz crystals, and to the DMT experience. And Hancock finds the record of virtually identical experiences in cave paintings dating back to the Paleolithic. He concludes:
The bottom line would be that non-human, apparently non-physical intelligences, whose first interactions with us are documented in rock paintings of therianthropes dating back 35,000 years, and who inspired all the world’s religious traditions, are still present amongst us today, following their own agenda according to their own timetable and purposes.
And what is the nature of these intelligences? Hancock explains that even the top academic investigators of the DMT experience, Richard Strassman and Benny Shannon, have no real clue who or what their case studies are contacting.
The upshot is that Strassman and Shanon, the top scientists in this field, are able to offer theories, but not definitive explanations, for the mysterious universal hallucinations of spirit beings that our ancestors first depicted in rock art 35,000 years ago, that took the form of gods and goddesses for the high civilizations of antiquity, that were known as fairies, elves, demons, and goblins in the European Middle Ages, and that continue to manifest in the twenty-first century as spaceships and aliens while still retaining much of their ancient “enchantment” and many of their traditional disguises. Nothing that Strassman and Shanon have discovered rules out the possibility that these complex hallucinations, and the distinctive themes such as therianthropy, hybridism, abduction, and the wounded man that run through them from the earliest times until today, might represent veridical encounters with alternative realities.
For me, it is without question that these are "veridical encounters with alternative realities." To Hancock's list, though, I would also add the beings reportedly encountered during Near Death Experiences, angelic and Marian apparitions, beings evoked in ceremonial magick, ghosts and the shadowy realm of the ancestors and the dead. Terence McKenna stated at least once that is was very probable that the famous "machine elves" of his own trips to hyperspace were, in fact, the dead.
My own private opinion about this is, I think that what psychedelics in these high-dose, correct set/setting situations carry us into is an ecology of souls. . . . Those ‘things’ in that place are our ancestors.
This would seem to agree with Yeats. The poet explained throughout A Vision that the entities he communicated with were quite human although not presently existing in physical bodies. Yeats went on to state that all angels and demons are likewise human in one form or another. Fairies in Irish folklore also were once a race of men, the Tuatha Dé Danann, that retreated into an underworld or parallel dimension of the landscape. In fact, this is the most ancient view of such entities. Are the myriad of races of aliens, therefore, also different character types of humanity? Could they be in actuality our shape-shifting ancestors?
The Root Of All Demons
From Tibetan Buddhism, however, is found another piece of this puzzle. In a ritual practice stemming from pre-Buddhist shamanism, and very closely related to the shamanic ordeals covered by Hancock and as recorded by Mircea Eliade in Shamanism, called chod or gcod we find a very different explanation of the encounter with spirit entities. Described as a "tantric feast," the chod practitioner ventures off alone at night to a haunted charnel ground where wild animals devour corpses left exposed to the elements -- or to some equally horrifying location.
Here, the practitioner bangs a drum made from human skull caps and blows a trumpet fashioned from a human thigh bone while dancing madly. He is summoning all of the spirits of that place, all of the gods and demons of the world in general to rip apart and consume his body and mind. As Giacomella Orofino writes in "The Gcod Tradition" fromTantra In Practice:
This dance is followed by the evocation of all kinds of gods and spirits, invited to attend the ritual sacrifice of one's body. The gcod pa [practitioner] visualizes the transformation of his consciousness into a dakini, who cuts the head off his physical body and then places the corpse inside the cranium, which stretches to cosmic proportions. The corpse is subsequently transformed in accordance with the wishes of the guests, multiplied infinitely, and offered to them as a gift.
What follows is a series of coloured offerings: white, multi-coloured, red and black. These recall the stages in the alchemical process, including the multi-coloured stage called the Peacock's Tail. Clearly, the chod practitioner has become the lead or shit which will be tortured and "killed" in order to become gold.
Then the offering is divided into various categories: the white offering, in which the yogin visualizes that his body is transformed into ambrosia to be consumed by the higher deities and the three jewels: the buddhas, devas, and dakinis; the multicoloured offering, in which his body is transformed into all kinds of riches and material goods and offered to the dharmapalas, the protector spirits of Buddhist law; the red offering, in which the dismembered flesh and blood are multiplied infinitely to appease the demons and fierce spirits; and finally the black offering, in which the officiant visualizes that all the errors and wrongdoings in the world are absorbed into his body, which is then offered as a meal to the demons. These offerings aim to satisfy all spirits, both higher and lower, in order to placate negative impulses and to eliminate definitively the ills of the world.
Structurally, this is recognizably the shamanic dismemberment ordeal and initiation, the alien abduction experience, a bad trip on DMT or datura, an evocation of the demon Choronzon without the protection of a magickal circle, etc. but shockingly it is very welcomed in this tradition. It is, in fact, the goal of the entire chod practice to suffer in this most excruciating and madness-inflicting manner. The final aim of the gcod pa is to attain the realization that all of the demons and gods attacking her very being, both physically and spiritually, are in truth only aspects of her own mind.
The root of all demons is one's own mind.
If one feels attraction and desire
in the perception of any phenomenon,
one is captured by the demons.
When the mind grasps at phenomena
as if they were external objects
one becomes contaminated
This is from the 11th century poem, "Great Collection of the Teachings,"by Ma gcig Lab sgron, the woman teacher who developed the practice of chod. And with this practice the whole of the absolutist cosmic conspiracy is literally turned on its head.
The chod demons are the exact equivalents of the entities of shamanism, the "machine elves" of the DMT experience, the space alien abductors, and the "secret Chiefs" of the occult orders. With this extreme Tibetan ritual practice we finally discover who it is that looks out from the Eye in the Pyramid: as yet unintegrated aspects of our own mind.
Objects of Animation
At once this recalls Jung. It is very tempting at this point to reduce everything down to the workings of the unconscious mind. From this viewpoint the "entities" are not real at all. They are temporary autonomous portions of the psyche that can be, through analysis, consciously integrated into a more healthy and enlightened sense of the Self. The experience of synchronicity, prodigies, encounters with spirit beings and so on are merely necessary stepping stones on the path to full individuation.
In other words, this Jungian interpretation is a great way to dismiss cosmic conspiracy and the actual existence of the entities altogether. Unfortunately, the spaghetti will not let us rest here. And however "Jungian" this might sound it would seem that the Master himself is in no way this reductive. As Jung wrote in Psychology and Alchemy:
Since we cannot possibly know the boundaries of something unknown to us, it follows that we are not in a position to set any bounds to the self. It would be wildly arbitrary and therefore unscientific to restrict the self to the limits of the individual psyche, quite apart from the fundamental fact that we have not the least knowledge of these limits, seeing that they also lie in the unconscious. We may be able to indicate the limits of consciousness, but the unconscious is simply the unknown psyche and for that very reason illimitable because indeterminable. Such being the case, we should not be in the least surprised if the empirical manifestations of unconscious contents bear all the marks of something illimitable, something not determined by space and time.
And with this we are swept up in the swirling, tangled noodly strands once again. These experiences cannot be reduced in the above way because the psyche itself has no known limits. We can, as in Tibetan Buddhism, view the entities as being aspects of our own minds but we cannot conclude that they are unreal. They are at least as real as the psyche itself, which Jung admitted as being illimitable and indeterminable. Wow. The carpet is yanked from under our feet and the floor erased.
In the tradition of Buddhism that Ma gcig followed, all is Mind. The universe, really only existing as a concept, is far more like a vast, complex dream than any sort of mechanism. Any laws that appear to be in place are really only provisional, temporary. Mind is primary.
The same idea, more or less, can be found in a neglected corner of modern Western philosophy. The much ridiculed George Berkeley arrived at a very similar conclusion. We can read this at the close of Three Dialogues Between Hylas And Philonous:
Whereas to say - There is no Matter, if by that term be meant an unthinking substance existing without the mind; but if by Matter is meant some sensible thing, whose existence consists in being perceived, then there is Matter...
What we call matter, in other words, exists only as and through the mind. Truly, we are the stuff that dreams are made of. Berkeley called his philosophy immaterialism and it is also called philosophical idealism. Jung did not, to my knowledge, confess to holding such a view, but his above idea that there is no definable limit to the mind takes us very close to Berkeley.
William Blake, however, was a big fan of Berkeley (as was Joyce). If anything, Blake thought that Berkeley did not go far enough. For Blake, all is imagination. And in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Blake relates a fable that sums up nearly everything that this post is trying to express:
The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could perceive.
And particularly they studied the genius of each city & country, placing it under its mental deity;
Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of & enslav'd the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began Priesthood;
Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales.
And at length they pronounc'd that the Gods had order'd such things.
Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast.
The Gods and Geniuses, the entities of all kinds, were once understood as residing in the human heart. Through the expression of the imagination the archaic Poets animated the world with these beings. Eventually, though, things became systematized. Certain Poets became Priests and began to monopolize knowledge of the new system. And in this way they were able to mystify and then enslave the masses who continue to forget the true power of their imagination.
Towards A Worldwide Chod
All of these characters, Icke and Downard and McMurtry and Lilly, are correct in many respects. The world is dominated by warring factions of beings and their more human representatives who control us through their knowledge of reality as imagination. Conspiracy theory itself, becoming more and more psychedelic in nature, is gradually taking us all to this realization. Perhaps there will need to be the equivalent of a collective, worldwide chod to cause us to remember once more where all the deities truly reside.
As conspiracy theory becomes increasingly psychedelic, though, there is an alternate theory, growing in popularity, that everything psychedelic, including presumably this entire post, is total conspiracy. The crooked trail of iridescent meatballs takes a turn next in this direction.