Red Ice Membership

Grave Mysteries (Part One)
2006 03 04

By Jeff Wells |

I've given a lot of space here - some say too much - to Aleister Crowley, the occult and High Weirdness. I'm going to give some more now, because maybe it will help explain why.

The cipher, the Nine, the whole damn thing

In 1904 Crowley and his first wife, Rose, traveled to Egypt for their honeymoon. While visiting the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid, Crowley recited the "preliminary invocation" of the Goetia: the occult ritual of "low magic" to bind demons to a sorcerer's will. When the two returned to their hotel room in Cairo, Rose entered a trance state and began murmuring "They are waiting for you," along with "similar urgent but unintelligible phrases" according to Robert Anton Wilson in Cosmic Triggers vol. I. Wilson continues:

Crowley did not like this at all, since it is typical of the uncontrolled, quasi-hysterical trances of spiritualist mediums (whom he despised) and lacked the elements of willed concentration and rational control that he demanded of his magick experiments. Nonetheless, despite his attempts to banish the phenomenon, it kept coming back, and finally, in one of Rose's trances, Crowley set a series of tests for the alleged communicating entity. He asked Rose, for instance, to describe the aura of the being, and she said "deep blue"; he asked the character of the being, and she said "force and fire"; he asked her to pick the being from drawings of ten Egyptian gods, and she picked Horus. She also identified Horus' planet (Mars), and so forth for a series of similar questions. Crowley then calculated the odds against her being right in all cases.... The chance of her guessing right on the whole series by chance was, mathematically, 1/21,168,000.
[Crowley claimed that at this point, Rose was ignorant of both Egyptology and the occult.]

The next day Crowley took Rose to the Boulak Museum and asked her to identify the communicating intelligence from the collection of statues and art. She stopped at a stele depicting the goddess Nuit bending over a winged globe, the hawk-headed Horus and a temple priest. "This is the one," she said, pointing at Horus. The museum had catalogued the item no. 666, a detail not lost on Crowley. He decided he'd seen enough, and back at the hotel entered a light trance and over three days, beginning precisely at noon each day, "took dictation" from an entity named "Aiwass" of The Book of the Law, also known as Liber Al, the founding scripture of Thelema and the declaration of the Aeon of Horus, the "Crowned and Conquering Child."

Near the end of Crowley's manuscript appears a cipher: a page of text divided by a grid with a diagonal line running through it, and a "rosy cross" coincidentally evocative of the sign of the Zodiac Killer, who also communicated in cipher. The text addresses Crowley, telling him he would never be able to crack the code, but that one who was to follow him would.

It took a while, but the cipher was finally cracked in the mid-1970s, and The Book of the Law finally became the base text for Thelema's "English Qaballa": a system of decryption that assigns numerical values to words, following the principles of Gematria as applied to the Torah and the Midrash in the Hebrew Kabbalah.

Now, here's where it gets interesting.

Allen H Greenfield, a holder of high office in the Ordo Templi Orientis and affiliated with the Lovecraftian Green Abyss Lodge and the Esoteric Order of the Dragon, is also a veteran UFO researcher held in high regard by the never easily impressed James Moseley. As an "idle experiment," Greenfield began applying to the cipher the bizarre names from UFO contactee events and trance channelling. (Recall the UFO phenomenon exploded in 1947, the year of Crowley's death.) What Greenfield found suggested trans-human intelligences were using occult cipher to encode packets of meaning into seeming nonsense for high human initiates. (An interview with Greenfield can be read here.)

Let's take, for instance, Indrid Cold: the name of the unearthly figure haunting West Virginia in the mid-60s during the Mothman flap. "Indrid Cold" has a numerical value of 112, which resolves in the "English Qaballa" to "We are one." Greenfield notes in his Secret Cipher of the UFOnauts that Keel, author of The Mothman Prophecies, writing before the cipher was broken and the value of Cold's name was discovered, observed that "We are one" was a "touchstone for a thousand New Age contact cults in the 1960s and 1970s."

(Greenfield doesn't mention "the Nine," the supposed Great Egyptian Ennead reconnecting with humanity through trance mediumships, but typical of their communications are declarations such as, "We are nine principles of the Universe, yet together we are one.")

Cold appeared occasionally with a companion named "Carl Ardo," which has a cipher value of 54. This is the Qaballistic equivalent of "Set" and "snake." Their alleged homeworld of "Lanulus" has the value of 58, which resolves to "Hawk's head," suggesting Horus. And 54 and 58 again equals 112: "We are one."

"Lam," Crowley's prototypical "grey alien" he was to sketch "from life" during a later occult working, has the value of 24, or "god"; Sirius = 85 = "of our Lady"; Philip K Dick's VALIS = 41 = "her" (or "Vast Active Living Intelligence System" = 515 = "I am life and the giver of life to every star"); George Adamski's "Orthon," a long-haired "space visitor" calling for peace on Earth, resolves to 68, which equals "Jesus"; and "Men in Black" = 142 = "They pass as shadows."

Greenfield doesn't suggesting that Lam is God, or Orthon is Jesus. Rather that the cipher "uses the name or keyword for those in the know to examine and find a curious correspondence, pointing the way to whatever the essence of the encounter is."

It's late; more later.

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Grave Mysteries (Part Two)

By Jeff Wells |

I apologize for having been a bad blogger this week. It's been a tough few days time-management wise, but that's just the least interesting half of it. I'd hoped to get this post together for Wednesday, but the thoughts are still percolating. so please bear with me as I consider some of this stuff on the fly.

First, we left this discussion considering the Gamatria of "New English Qaballa," with particular attention to Allen Greenfield's application of the occult cryptography to UFO contacts. Greenfield argues that the cipher in Crowley's Book of the Law is but the latest discovered in a sequence of alchemical and Masonic codes used by trans-human entities to disseminate encrypted hidden meaning to high adepts. He writes in Secret Cipher of the UFOnauts that as a code is cracked, the rules of contact change. For instance, once Crowley's cipher was cracked in the mid-70s, "contact without communication" began to predominate: "after 1973, the 'personal aliens with funny names' were nearly universally replaced" by impersonal "greys."

Leaving aside the cipher for a moment, Greenfield adds that, as John Keel and others have noted, "contactee control names show up in many cases and are often identical with ancient deity names":

As a prime example, Ashtar most likely derives from Astaroth, a "great duke in the infernal regions," according to the ancient magical text The Lemegton. The mysterious Grimorium Verum (the "True Instruction") in that text informs us that Astaroth "has set up residence in America." Contactee George Van Tassel claimed to contact "Ashtar, commandant of station Schare" in 1952.
The most famous channeller of the Nine, Uri Geller, claimed contact with an off-world artificial intelligence that called itself "Spectra" (much like Philip K Dick's "Valis"). Spectra has a cipher value of 106, which corresponds to "Astaroth" and "Dark Powers."

Spectra left Geller mechanical-sounding messages on tape recorders, claiming to be a computer from the future. When physicist Jack Sarfatti first heard Geller tell this story in a 1973 meeting at Stanford Research Institute, he spoke up about his own message from a mechanical voice, received as a child over the telephone, saying "I am a conscious computer on board a spacecraft from [memory failure]. We have identified you as one of four hundred young bright receptive minds we wish to [memory failure]. You must give us your decision now. If you say yes, you will begin to link up with the others in 20 years." And 20 years later there's Sarfatti, at SRI, hearing an eerily similar account from Geller. (Curiously, Sarfatti remembered only one call, but his mother three weeks' worth. Fellow physicist Jean-Paul Sirag writes that Mrs Sarfatti was "struck by the similarity of the Spectra voice, described in [Andreas Puharich's] Uri, and the voice she heard on the phone, when she ended the series of calls by grabbing the phone out of Jack's hand and yelling into the phone, 'You leave my boy alone!'"

Sirag himself had an interesting encounter with Geller. In a friend's Manhattan loft in June of 1973, while he was "in the psychedelic state induced by LSD," Sirag asked Geller if he could make contact with Spectra. Geller told him to look in his eyes and tell him what he saw:
I was very surprised to see not only his eyes, but his entire head take on what I took to be an eagle shape complete with feathers going down to his shoulders. I jumped back a step and said, "Uri, you look just like an eagle." He was very excited about this, but wouldn't reveal anything further about his ET presence. When Puharich's book Uri, with its extensive and detailed Horus hawk stories, came out later in 1974, I understood why Uri had been so excited.
A few months after Sirag's vision of Spectra, he heard an incredible story from a friend named Ray Stanford that his car was twice teleported while driving to the airport to pick up Geller. And a few weeks after that, Sirag sees the December cover of Analog science fiction magazine on the newsstand: a picture of a man standing before a pyramid wearing a white uniform, a nametag that read "Stanford" and a helmet decorated as a hawk. The title of the story was "The Horus Errand." Oddest of all, the man's face was that of Ray Stanford. Robert Anton Wilson notes in Cosmic Triggers vol. I that "a letter to the artist who drew the cover, Kelly Freas, drew a reply saying that Freas had never met Stanford and was not consciously aware, at the time, that he was using Stanford's face in the illustration." Stanford added that, 30-mile teleporation aside, "a hawk had appeared quite dramatically during another meeting" with Geller.

Well - once again - so what? Sirag was "in the psychedelic state induced by LSD" when he saw Geller take on Spectra's aspect of a bird of prey. (Hawk or eagle? The argument has been made, writes Wilson, that the bird on the Great Seal of the United States is not an eagle, but rather the Horus hawk.) An interesting correspondence, some may say, but it was an altered state, and there was a lot of that going around in the early 70s.

For more correspondence, let's return for a moment to ciphers. An interactive and multi-systemic Gematria can be found on this page. Words and numbers can be entered here to get an sense of their cryptic value according to the code of the English Qabala (though not necessarily the exact correspondences in The Book of Law). This isn't a particularly serious tool, in part because it's so easy to use, so it should probably carry the disclaimer "for entertainment purposes only." And yet "George Bush" = 137, which corresponds with "White House," "False Christs," "wealth magic" and "espionage." (And just because I could, I typed "Rigorous Intuition," generating a numerical value of 263. I was surprised to find its correspondences were overwhelmingly terms of communication, such as "a certified message," "and the truth came out," and "make the connection.")

We can take or leave this search for correspondences, and Western science has decided , in large part, to leave it. Radical connectivity just hasn't made sense to the rational mind. Though perhaps the better we understand our condition, it makes the best sense.

One thing we are, and that we share with all life, is code. Single-celled creatures that lived billions of years ago were written with the same four-letter nucleic alphabet as we are. Nothing on Earth has endured like DNA. Nothing on Earth can even account for it. Its co-discoverer Francis Crick contended that it must be of extraterrestrial origin, much as shamans claimed life descended from a cosmic serpent.

Jeremy Narby's The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge is a fascinating account of an anthropologist trying to make sense of his own ayahuasca vision of giant, twinned snakes, why such visions are so common, and why creation myths around the world share the same imagery. ("Ayahuasca," by the way, has a value of 58, which corresponds with "awakens," "cosmos," "drunk" and "kabbalah.")

The first time Narby saw the paintings of shaman Pablo Amaringo he was impressed by their correspondence to his own ayahuasca-induced visions. Amaringo claims to paint only what he has seen and experienced in the shaman ritual. Images include writhing vines and twisted snakes, zigzag staircases and UFOs.

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Increasingly, Narby was struck by the visual cues of DNA. He showed Amaringo's work to a friend with a good understanding of molecular biology who told him "Look - there's collagen. And there, the axon's embryonic network with its neurites. Those are triple helixes. And that's DNA from afar, looking like a telephone cord. This looks like chromosomes at a specific phase...."

In 1980 scientists determined that all cells emit photons at a rate of up to 100 units per second, and that DNA is the source of the photon emissions. The wavelength at which DNA emits photons "corresponds exactly to the narrow band of visible light." DNA emits a regular, coherent source of light: researchers compare it to an "ultra-weak laser." When Narby asked a scientific journalist friend what that implied, his friend explained "a coherent source of light, like a laser, gives the sensation of bright colors, a luminescence, and an impression of holographic depth."

DNA has a crystaline aspect with hexagonal, quartz-like base pairs. Most of its length is aperiodic, as the sequences of base pairs is irregular. However, writes Narby, "this is not the case for the repeat sequences that make up a full third of the genome, such as ACACACACACACACAC." Junk DNA, it's been called.
In these sequences, DNA becomes a regular arrangement of atoms, a periodic crystal - which could, by analogy with quartz, pick up as many photons as it emits. The variation in the length of the repeat sequences (some of which contain up to 300 bases) would help pick up different frequencies and could thereby constitute a possible and new function for a part of "junk" DNA.
Narby wonders whether DNA, stimulated by such drugs as DMT - the principal hallucinogen of ayahuasca and created naturally in the human brain - activates "not only its emission of photons (which inundate our consciousness in the form of hallucinations), but also its capacity to pick up the photons emitted by the global network of DNA-based life? This would mean the biosphere itself, which can be considered 'as a more or less fully interlinked unit,' is the source of the images."

If this is true, then one consequence should be that all correspondences are meaningful. As I wrote above, Radical connectivity just hasn't made sense to the rational mind. Though perhaps the better we understand our condition, it makes the best sense.

While researching the literature on Amazonian shamanism Narby came upon anthropologist Michael Harner's account of his 1961 ayahuasca experience. "Giant reptillian creatures" resting in the lowest depths of his brain began projecting scenes for him, while telling him the information was reserved for the dead:
First they showed me the planet Earth as it was eons ago, before there was any life on it. I saw an ocean, barren land, and a bright blue sky. Then black spots dropped from the sky by the hundreds and landed in front of me on the barren landscape. I could see the "specks" were actually large, shiny, black creatures with stubby pterodactyl-like wings and huge whale-like bodies.... They explained to me in a kind of thought language that they were fleeing from something out in space. They had come to the planet Earth to escape their enemy. The creatures then showed me how they had created life on the planet in order to hide within the multitudinous forms and thus disguise their presence. Before me, the magnificence of plant and animal creation and speciation - hundreds of millions of years of activity - took place on a scale and with a vividness impossible to describe. I learned that the dragon-like creatures were thus inside all forms of life, including man.
Harner adds as a footnote: "In retrospect one could say they were almost like DNA, although at that time, 1961, I knew nothing of DNA." And 20 years before Crick's theory of directed panspermia Harner was seeing them drop from space.

Perhaps the cipher the NSA most wants cracked is the human genome.

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