Well, that was an interesting week.
Sorry for dropping the ball on this blog. In part, it's kids home from college – the good part. In another, not so good part, I ended up finishing out my time on the Lightmind Forums before they closed for good. Made the mistake of getting into it with Gaddy there, my long-time mean-spirited foil, and boy, was that a mistake. Rather dispiriting, but what the hell did I expect? As I mentioned, I need to get out of the forum world in any case, and I guess this should have been taken as a sign.
But do I listen? Nooooooooo. Somehow, I get an email from an MSN forum, just some little link to a post on the afterlife of animals (don't ask), which out of lame curiosity I follow, and end up getting into a thread there. For a little background, this MSN forum is called “Reality Checkpoint”, and it has an archive of channeled material written by Kyle Griffiths (forum handle “spiritrebel23”) who has a very interesting thesis he has been pursuing for over 20 years. He originally published his ideas in a book called “War in Heaven” in 1988, which as manager of the old Dawn Horse Bookstore in San Rafael, I got a mailer for, ordered some copies of, and bought one myself. The book is rather remarkably fascinating in creating a complete, internally consistent, if somewhat paranoid vision of the history of religion, past and present.
The thesis of War in Heaven is that almost all of religion and spirituality is basically a false front for a massive scam run from the astral planes by perverted souls he calls “theocrats”. These souls are no different from ordinary human souls, except that they have learned how to stop reincarnating by feeding off the energies of other souls on the astral plane, and the energies of humans on the physical plane, who they develop a parasitic relationship with, called “religion”. The basic idea is that all religion is essentially the creation of these theocrats, who convince humans to worship them, give them energy, and keep them alive and growing on the astral plane. To keep this going, the theocrats induce humans to enter into a passive trance-like state through prayer, chanting, ritual, and all the various methodologies of religion. During this trance state, theocrats are able to both feed off human energy, and send subliminal messages to the humans which reinforce this state, and which develop into a whole set of religious cosmologies and moral systems which become codified as various forms of religious tradition. He describes the evolution of this theocratic basis for religion from early shamanism to traditions of human sacrifice, animal sacrifice, and then monotheism and other more stable religious systems, and finally to the modern era of extra-religious systems of politics and modern technology, all built on the same model of theocratic mind-control. Griffith has gotten all this information from channeled “guides” who belong to an astral-based group called “the Invisible College” that has been fighting these theocrats since about the 13th century, and who come from other planets, and are responsible for everything from the Renaissance to modern science to the secular revolution and popular democracy.
I could go into more detail, but I won't. If anyone is interested, the entire text of “War in Heaven”, along with plenty of updates, is available here. (The chapters are numbered, but not in order. Scroll down to the bottom for the beginning chapters). A good summary by another member of the group is available here.
Now, I had been quite impressed with the book back in 1988, and kept its ideas in mind over the years. I felt the guy was onto something, even if it didn't seem like the whole picture. Certainly there's plenty of reason to see some kind of psychic vampirism as a big factor in a lot of religion and spirituality, but it's a bit of a stretch to suggest that all of it is built that way. In any case, I didn't pay much attention to it again until this past summer, when I found these links again, reread the material, and thought about posting on their forums, and asking a few questions. I never got around to it, until I got this little email about the animals, went there, perused the forums, and found this thread here, which is basically a very harsh critique by Griffith of a near death experience (NDE) by this guy Mellen-Thomas Benedict, who had a very powerful NDE that is posted on his website. (I'd recommend reading it for its own merits. Quite an interesting NDE many seem to consider one of the best out there). Griffith in no uncertain terms finds Mellen's experience to be an example of very sophisticated modern theocratic deception, using cosmic visions of oneness and love to fool us into thinking that there is anything going in the astral realms other than theocratic abuse. Looking for forum-action (fool that I am), I began posting there in response, because I felt that Griffith was being quite unfair to Mellen, and labeling even what I would consider good and positive spiritual experiences and messages as theocratic.
You can read the thread here if you like. It degenerates pretty quickly. I gotta admit, I wasn't expecting this to happen, and in part its my fault, because pretty quickly I start realizing these guys have created a very insular cult-mindset around this material, and just aren't interested in questioning their basic assumptions, or feeling any need to examine the bigotry implied in their criticisms of others, like Mellen. (And as is my way, I wasn't shy about pointing this out). It's an example once again of how the cult mind operates, and excludes everything that doesn't mesh with the received wisdom of the cult. I really go into it for a few days, and as you can see if you read the thread, it ended up with me being banned. Form your own ideas. It's a shame in a way, because like I say, I think there's some merit to the ideas in WiH, but they just are one slice of the realities of this universe. An important one, I think, but one that is relegated to oblivion, I gather, by the close-mindedness and cultic exclusivity of its advocates. Kind of like Adidam in its own way.
Anyway, it's all a little embarrassing to me, and the real question is, what's any of it got to do with self-enquiry? The short answer is, nothing. In many respects it just represents my own ability to get distracted from self-enquiry by whatever gets into my mind. And I certainly noticed that over this time, my practice of self-enquiry has been much weaker and I have felt the effects of that – weakened energy, subtle fascination, mild irritability, slight depression, etc. It's a sign of my karmas, my tendencies to get into stupid shit like this and become distracted by conflicts with other people. In this case, it's much worse than anything you'd find on Lightmind, where most people at least were very much engaged and open to questioning themselves. In many respects, it's good that it turned out this way. I got my views on the WiH material clarified and deepened, and being banned will keep me from wasting any more time on these guys.
Still, it's not a bad set of ideas. Even the criticism made of higher spiritual experiences as potentially being abused by astral theocrats isn't something I dismiss. It's just that there's far more to it than that, and far more to the universe than these hellish lower astral planes described by Griffith.
So, maybe I'll get back into focusing on self-enquiry, and return this blog to its intended purposes. Not that I mind a little commentary on other spiritual matters like this now and then.
I want to add that I'd discourage people from posting on the Reality Checkpoint forums in response to my contributions there. I don't want to flood those guys with any more traffic bringing questions and opinions they might find disturbing. Clearly they don't want that kind of attention, and I don't want to encourage it. So feel free to read the posts, but only respond there if you're really interested in their program. You have to get Kyle's permission to join in any case in order to post, and I don't think he'd like that if it was inspired by our thread. That said, do as you wish, naturally.