Friday, September 23, 2016

Just one more week until the Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge 2016

Just one more week until the 10th annual Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge in Rancho Mirage, California!

I am very much looking forward to presenting some thoughts about the Star Myths of the world and interacting with everyone who is able to attend -- as well as with other presenters for this year's conference, including John Anthony West, Robert Schoch, Walter Cruttenden, Carmen Boulter, Scott Onstott, Christopher Dunn, Gary Evans, Regina Meredith, Jason Martell, Alan Green, John K. Lundwall, Satyagi Brockschmidt, and Craig Marshall.

I am also very much looking forward to going out to the desert to observe the glorious panoply of the stars in the night sky over southern California this time of year, and pointing out some of the mythologically-important constellations to those who are able to join me on Friday night under the stars.

Some of the constellations we should be able to identify will include:

Great Square of Pegasus
Perseus (not pictured above -- he's outside the "window" of the image)
Northern Crown
Southern Crown
Big Dipper
Little Dipper
the glorious trail of the Milky Way galaxy

I very much hope you'll be able to join us if at all possible -- but if not possible at this time, I also hope you can get outside in the evenings this week to observe some of the above-named celestial features, all of which play prominent roles in many of the world's myths and sacred stories.

Now is a particularly good time of the month to go out to gaze at the night sky, if possible, because the moon is now waning towards the point of New Moon (which will occur on Friday, September 30 in California and early in the wee hours of the morning on October 1 for those around the longitude of Greenwich, England and points to the east of that).

It is also a wonderful time to observe the stars in the pre-dawn hours, where the moon is presently above Orion and gliding further towards the east each day.

If you are able to attend the conference this year, there will also be an opportunity to have a book or books signed, if you are interested in doing that. The conference bookstore will have copies of all of my books, including The Undying Stars, as well as Volumes One, Two, and Three of Star Myths of the World, and how to interpret them. Of course, the bookstore will also carry copies of books by the other speakers who will be attending this year's gathering.

And, if you wish to bring a copy of one of my books that you've already purchased somewhere else and have it signed, that's fine too, of course.

I hope to see you there, or at some other event in the future if you're unable to attend this one. I myself am excited to meet you, as well as some of the other authors in attendance -- some of whom I have met before and some of whom I have not!

Safe travels.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fall Equinox, 2016

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

In just about seven hours from now, the earth will speed past the point of the September equinox, where the sun's position along the line of the ecliptic will cross the line of the celestial equator.

From our perspective on earth, the ecliptic plane can perhaps best be envisioned by considering the line traced out by the sun's path each day as it arcs across the sky: if you imagined the sun leaving a visible, fiery line in the sky as it moves across the heavens, that line that the path of the sun would make would correspond to the ecliptic plane (so-called because when the moon crosses this same plane, there is the possibility of an eclipse: a solar eclipse if the moon comes between the earth and the sun along this line, and a lunar eclipse when the moon is along this line and the earth comes between the moon and the sun).

The celestial equator is an imagined line in the heavens which is "ninety degrees down" from the celestial pole around which the heavens appear to turn, due to the rotation of the earth. It is imaginary in the sense that you cannot look out into the sky and actually see a glowing arc where the celestial equator is visible, but is is a very real line in that the celestial pole is a definite point in the sky, and measuring ninety degrees down from that axial point will create an invisible circle which can be defined on a chart of the heavens.

Below is an image of the night sky, using the outstanding free open-source planetarium app Stellarium (available at, depicting the view to the south from a point in the northern hemisphere at this time of year and about 9 p.m. 

In the chart, the lines of celestial latitude and longitude are visible, and I have placed two small green arrows pointing towards the line of zero degrees celestial latitude (officially known as declination: see explanation here from Sky and Telescope). The arc between these two green arrows, crossing the heavens and arcing slightly upwards, is the celestial equator. 

Note that the point of the north celestial pole (ninety degrees up from this celestial equator) would be above and behind the viewer in the diagram -- it is not included in the small "window" formed by the rectangle above, which faces towards the south.

The plane of the ecliptic, along which we see the sun travel, is tilted to the line of the celestial equator, due to the tilt of earth's axis (known as "axial tilt" and producing the "obliquity of the ecliptic"). Because our planet's axis is tilted by about 23.4 degrees relative to our orbit, the "line" we see the sun follow through the sky during daylight will go higher above the line of the celestial equator by a full 23.4 degrees at summer solstice, and will go below the line of the celestial equator by the same amount at winter solstice. You can see a visual image of the two circles, representing the plane of the celestial equator with the plane of the oblique ecliptic, on any armillary sphere, such as the one depicted in this previous post (scroll down about halfway through that long post for two images of an armillary sphere, the second one with labels). Half of the tilted ecliptic is above the celestial equator, and half is below it, with intersections at either equinox.

The line of the ecliptic is below the celestial equator in half of its circle, because this is the night side of the great circle. You can see the zodiac constellations (which are those constellations along the ecliptic band) located below the zero line in the diagram: Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, and the very beginning of the constellation Pisces. These are labeled in the diagram below, which is the exact same star chart as the one above, but this time with the celestial equator traced-out in red, and the zodiac constellations labeled, and marked with colorful outlines for added visibility:

The sun does not actually move along the full circle of the ecliptic line each day: that takes an entire year. As earth moves along its orbital ellipse throughout the year, our changing position with regard to the sun changes the background stars which appear "behind the sun" based on our position on our orbital path (see the diagram at the top of this blog post for a visual depiction of what that sentence is trying to say). 

The sun's path through the sky each day is a function of earth's rotation on its axis: the rotation of the earth causes the sun to appear to trace out a line in the sky each day because as we turn towards the east, we see the sun appear to move towards the west. In a single day, the sun does not move very far along the ecliptic line seen in the above diagram (it moves just less than a degree each day along the entire circle). During the summer months, the sun's position along the ecliptic line (in band of the zodiac constellations) is above the celestial equator during the hours of daylight -- but in the winter months the sun's daytime position is below that same celestial equator line.

The crossing-point from "above the line" to "below the line" for the sun's position along the ecliptic takes place at the fall equinox (or autumnal equinox). Here is an article from National Geographic explaining that the earth will whizz past that crossing-point at 1421 Greenwich time, which translates to  10:21 am along the east coast of North America and 7:21 am along the west coast of North America.

Here is a post I published some years ago explaining what I call the "earth-ship metaphor" which helps us to visualize why the earth "whizzes past" the equinox points but appears to "hang out" at each of the two solstices. 

The tilt of the earth's axis is envisioned by the bowsprit and stern-lantern of the ship, which stay oriented in the same direction as the ship moves around the central sun. When one of them is pointing more directly towards the sun, that half of the "ship" (the earth) will receive more hours of daylight than hours of darkness in each twenty-four hour period. At the solstice points, the bowsprit or stern-lantern are pointed most directly towards the sun, giving that hemisphere its summer solstice and longest day. The days will shorten as the ship approaches the equinox point ("broadside" to the sun) on the way towards the winter solstice. As the ship speeds past this point, hours of day and night will roughly balance each other.

Once we pass the fall equinox, the earth's progress (and the tilt of our axis) will cause the sun to move further and further below the line of the celestial equator, towards the lowest point at winter solstice. I have attempted to diagram this phenomenon in a couple previous posts, such as here and here

You can probably see from the diagram above which shows the outlined zodiac constellations in relation to the red line of the celestial equator that the ecliptic path crosses the celestial equator at a point in between the constellations of Pisces and Aquarius in the present epoch (and much closer to Aquarius -- in fact practically within Aquarius). 

The reason the sun is not anywhere near this point right now, however, is that that crossing is occupied by the sun at the March equinox (the spring equinox for the northern hemisphere), and we are approaching the fall equinox (which means that the sun is at the opposite end of the red ring and the opposite end of the zodiac band). The crossing point you can envision in the diagram above (between Aquarius and Pisces) is rising at the eastern horizon around sunset, but its opposite crossing point (between Leo and Virgo) is presently occupied by the sun.

The diagram below shows the zodiac wheel, through which the sun moves throughout the year (as our position on earth's orbit changes the background constellations which the sun occupies -- see again the diagram at the top of this post). The orientation of the diagram, and the position of the line of the celestial equator (orange horizontal line), is depicted for the Age of Aries, in a previous epoch. At that time, the crossing points of the equinoxes (each indicated with a large red "X") were located between the zodiac constellations of Virgo and Libra for the fall equinox (right side of the diagram, next to the orange arrow showing that the sun is on the way down to winter solstice) and between the zodiac constellations of Pisces and Aries for the spring equinox (left side of the diagram, next to the orange arrow showing that the sun is on the way up to summer solstice).

The sun can thus be seen to have occupied the background stars of the constellation Virgo during the entire month prior to the day when earth's orbit brought the sun to the crossing point of fall equinox -- which makes Virgo an incredibly important constellation in the ancient Star Myths of the world. 

The entire circuit of the circle above appears to have been used by the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories as representative of aspects of our dual material-spiritual cosmos -- a cosmos in which the visible or material realm is always in contact at every single point with a spiritual realm, and one in which (according to the ancient wisdom) the material realm actually flows out of or has its source within the spiritual realm. 

At the same time, the same circle appears to have been used by the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories as representative of our own human condition, because we too have our source within the spiritual realm, and come into this material condition of incarnation temporarily for some purpose. 

The myths appear to use the upper half of the cycle to represent concepts having to do with the spirit realm, and the lower half to have to do with the material realm and thus with incarnation. The plunge into incarnation, of course, would thus correspond to the point of fall equinox, the crossing point down into the material, incarnate condition. 

Thus, in a great many myths around the globe having to do with the fact of our fall out of the spiritual realm and into the incarnate condition, a female figure corresponding to the constellation Virgo can be observed to play a very prominent role. 

For example, in the story of Adam and Eve and the Serpent, in which all three of them are banished from the Garden of Paradise, the woman Eve can be shown to correspond to the constellation Virgo (see for example the video below, and the discussion here):

In that story, as shown in the diagram and discussed in more detail in my latest book, Star Myths of the Bible (the third volume in the series entitled Star Myths of the World and how to interpret them), being cast out of Paradise corresponds to the setting of the constellations into the western horizon (due to earth's daily rotation) -- the constellations literally plunge down out of the heavenly realm of air and fire (symbolic of the Spirit World) and into the lower realm of earth and water (symbolic of this Visible Realm, the material realm).

The presence of a Virgo-figure in sacred stories having to do with the act of taking on a material body is extremely widespread. In Volume One of the same series, we examined evidence that Maya, the mother of the one who is to become the Buddha, can also be shown to correspond to the constellation Virgo.

Previous posts and videos (such as the video posted below) have also explored the evidence that the goddess Durga in the Vedas and other sacred texts of ancient India can be shown to correspond to the constellation Virgo. In the ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, the goddess Durga appears to Arjuna immediately before he plunges into the great battle of Kurukshetra -- and I believe that this battlefield in that epic may in some ways be used to represent our struggle to do what is right (and eventually to achieve spiritual growth) here in the incarnate condition of this life.

Note that Durga promises Arjuna that he cannot be defeated in this battle, and that he will eventually triumph.

Turning again to the stories contained in the scriptures of the Old Testament, the cycle of stories associated with the figure of Samson can also be clearly seen to illustrate aspects of our plunge into the incarnate condition, using the metaphorical system that corresponds to the cycle of the sun's progress through the year.

Just as the sun can be seen to progressively "lose its power" as it crosses the line of fall equinox and descends deeper and deeper towards the low-point of winter solstice, so Samson also loses his divine strength as his hair is shorn by Delilah. In fact, the "seven locks of his head" which Delilah causes to be shaved off can be conclusively demonstrated to evoke the rays which emanate from the head of the Sun-god, as discussed in this previous post (and in the video below).

I am convinced that the clear use of celestial metaphor throughout the Samson-cycle of stories indicates that these stories are not about some ancient historical personage named Samson -- and they are not even ultimately about the sun we see in the sky (and which "crosses down" into the lower half of the year at fall equinox). The stories use the sun's "descent" towards winter solstice as a way of conveying truths about our own journey, down from the realm of spirit and into this material incarnate life. During this plunge, we are temporarily "shorn" of our awareness of our own spiritual nature and indeed inner connection to the divine, just as the sun is temporarily shorn of its power and the strength of its burning rays once it begins the plunge past fall equinox and towards winter solstice.

However, just as Samson's hair eventually begins to grow back again, and just as the sun eventually reaches its "turning point" at winter solstice and begins to move back upwards again (back up the ecliptic track towards the next crossing point at spring equinox, enroute to summer solstice), so we also have our own "turning points" along our own spiritual journeys.

And, as the goddess Durga promises Arjuna, eventual victory is actually promised as a result of this process (at least, according to my understanding of the significance of the hymn to Durga in the Mahabharata).

Note, however, that although the Samson story can clearly be shown to evoke the constellation Virgo in some of its episodes, there is reason to believe that Delilah herself corresponds to a different nearby constellation. This correspondence is discussed in greater detail in Star Myths of the Bible. Nonetheless, the descent of Samson -- and his connection to the Sun-god who in other traditions also had seven locks or hair or seven rays emanating from his head -- pointing us towards the section of the year when the sun's path is on its way down to the "low-point" of winter solstice is practically undeniable.

It is also important to point out that, although the characters who "take the plunge" into the incarnate condition in all of the myths, scriptures and sacred stories discussed above are all male figures as depicted, this is by no means always the case. For example, in the extended retelling of the myth of Eros and Psyche in the Metamorphoses of Apuleius (also commonly referred to as The Golden Ass, or the The Golden Tale of the Ass), the soul who takes the plunge down into the world of trial and error (with emphasis on the error) is most certainly represented by Psyche, who is a female protagonist in that myth. And there are other examples similar to this one which use a female figure to represent the soul in its incarnate condition.

The point is that these stories are not actually about literal figures -- they are used to convey profound truths about our human condition, which truths are actually of tremendous benefit to us as we make our way through this life. We can learn those truths just as well from the story of Psyche as from the story of Samson, regardless of our sex or gender.

The various positions around the great circle of the year bring palpable changes in the seasons, and in the interaction of light and darkness, warmth and cold -- changes which can be felt and which cannot be ignored.  But it is also very important to understand that the great points of demarcation on the cycle of earth's orbit around the sun also point towards spiritual truths, as part of the ancient, world-wide system of metaphor underlying and informing the myths and sacred stories of humanity.

As we begin to understand the symbolic and celestial language that they are using, we can begin to perceive patterns and teachings which might have otherwise remained completely invisible to us.

It is my sincere hope that this special equinox season, and the spiritual teachings that the great heavenly cycles represent, will be a blessing to you in some way.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The great world-wide archaic framework (and the "bad mechanics")

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

A previous post explained that trying to formulate a hypothesis for a complex set of data can be compared to trying to put together an engine -- and, we might add, trying to assemble that engine without access to a manual and without any labels on the parts to help explain how they might relate to one another or how they might contribute to the whole. In most cases, investigators have to figure out how the parts might possibly fit together without the benefit of having seen how the finished product is supposed to look.

If you were faced with the task of trying to put together a complex piece of machinery such as a very sophisticated engine, one which you had never seen before but which you realized was critical to your very survival (perhaps critical to your escape from a desert island), you might try various different "hypotheses" or ways of fitting the thousands of little pieces together into a coherent whole. 

If you had a lot of parts left over at the end of one attempt, then you would probably have to pull it all apart and try a different idea. 

You might need to pull it apart and start again even if your early attempt managed to get the motor firing on a few cylinders (for example, one or two cylinders out of eight), because you realize that it's not assembled properly, it will not give you enough power to do the job, some parts are likely going to experience severe wear because the overall arrangement is not configured as designed, and the whole thing might seize up or fall apart at a critical moment.

However, the temptation might be very strong to try to convince yourself that the engine is assembled properly (or at least "close enough") -- even if it is only running on two or three cylinders out of eight or more, and even if you can see several pesky "extra parts" lying around that didn't seem to have anywhere to fit in when you put the engine together. You might even try to ignore the extra parts (and the fact that the engine doesn't seem to be operating anywhere close to full power), and pretend that they don't really matter.

I would suggest that when it comes to the ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories given to humanity at some point in the very distant past, many of us find ourselves in just such a situation, especially if we grew up in a culture in which the "original engine manual" or the cultural knowledge of how the "engine" works has been lost -- the engine in this case being analogous to the ancient wisdom which is contained in the world's myths and scriptures. 

We may have a sneaking suspicion that the way we are putting the engine together (or that the way someone else has told us that the engine is supposed to be put together) is not exactly right -- because it doesn't seem to be running at anywhere near "full power," and also because we notice a few miscellaneous "extra parts" which don't seem to fit into the "engine design" we are using. But the idea of tearing it all down and trying a different way of putting it all together might seem too terrifying or too disorienting and unsettling -- and besides, we might tell ourselves, we don't want to risk losing the power we're getting out of the one or two pistons that are actually working in the thing as it is put together now.

I myself was in just such a situation in my own personal life, having tried to "assemble the pieces" according to literalism, and feeling that the worldview that resulted actually seemed to work pretty well, although certainly not "perfectly well." However, when I began to notice more and more pieces lying around that didn't fit, I eventually had to admit to myself that the model that I had been using was irreparably flawed, and I had to take things apart and start over.

I share this personal story and this (somewhat simplistic) analogy because I think it might be helpful to others who might face similar situations, and also because it can help all of us to be understanding and sympathetic towards those who are extremely reluctant to look at any other possible way of "assembling the pieces" in any given complex situation (especially when it comes to the ancient scriptures). It can be very easy for any of us to point to how well two or three cylinders seem to be working, and it can be very difficult to decide that we need to tear it all apart and try a different way of assembling the pieces, thus risking the two or three cylinders that do seem to be firing "reasonably well."

The analogy is also helpful for another reason: it can help us to understand the possibility that there may actually be "bad mechanics" out there who are telling us to put the engine together in ways that actually will not work -- or at least ways that will not work at anywhere near full capacity. 

These bad mechanics might be spreading incorrect ways of assembling the engine out of their own misunderstanding of how it should really fit together -- or they might be doing so because they actually do know how it should be assembled, but they would rather have the only fully-functioning turbocharged V-8 in town (or in the world). If we admit the possibility of "bad mechanics" (and we probably should not rule it out entirely), then it is possible that there could be a combination of both types: those who don't actually know better, and those who do.

There are many other metaphors which could also be used to describe the way that the ancient scriptures can be misinterpreted or misused, but the engine metaphor seems to me to be one particularly helpful way of thinking about the issue -- especially because the ancient wisdom itself does in fact function like an engine: it actually does have the power to impact our daily life, to help us become aware of and integrated with our Higher Self, to become (among other things) less susceptible to having our mind or our emotions run away with us, and to working on the spirit body which Alvin Boyd Kuhn discusses in conjunction with the myth of the phoenix (among others) in Lost Light (see for instance pages 550 - 555 and 571 - 572).

In this metaphor, then, my series of books entitled Star Myths of the World, and how to interpret them might function as a series of "engine manuals" as far as I have been able to sketch out thus far the system which appears to be underlying the world's myths and sacred stories. An engine manual is not the same as the engine itself -- you can't make a car or a boat actually move down a road or up a river by simply dropping a bunch of manuals in the engine compartment, instead of the engine itself. However, with a well-illustrated guidebook that explains the way the parts seem to relate to one another, what their names are and what their purpose might be, as well as some discussion of the "big picture," it then becomes easier to approach the actual sources of power themselves -- humanity's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories -- and find out what they can really do.

I do not pretend to have all the pieces reassembled, by any means. That, in fact, is why this engine metaphor is (in my mind) so helpful: because I believe we are still engaged in the process of trying to understand it all, and I believe it is important to be aware of the possibility that we might need to take apart what we've already put together (perhaps take it apart many more times), even if what we've previously built seems to be "firing on one or two or even three cylinders."

As mentioned in several previous posts, including this one and this one, the authors of the seminal text Hamlet's Mill have compared the world's surviving texts and fragments of myths, rites, and even fairy tales -- and the underlying system which seems to animate and inform them all -- to a "great world-wide archaic construction," (pages 4 - 5) -- "a huge framework of connections . . . a true edifice" (8) -- and they use other metaphors throughout their work. 

As we try to fit together the pieces of this vast world-wide construction of which they speak, whose ruins seem to peek out from beneath the sands and jungle creepers, and whose scattered blocks litter remote forests and tropical islands, perhaps the metaphor of assembling an engine (without a manual) might be helpful to us (especially as we encounter others who have tried to assemble the pieces in various different ways, some of which may work more or less well than others, and some of which might leave out various pieces which should probably fit in easily, once we are able to see the big picture correctly, if ever). 

Because, in the engine-assembly analogy, if we are working with a flawed hypothesis of how the whole engine should fit together, all of the pieces won't fit and the engine won't work as well as it was designed to, even if it does produce some limited power. However, if we ever do hit upon the right overall conception (in any complex puzzle), it is often the case that every part which was left out earlier will suddenly fit in perfectly to its proper place.

I do enjoy imagining what this "great world-wide archaic construction," this "huge framework," might look like, if we were able to see its outlines snaking across continents, through dense forests and snowy tundras. Below is a "photoshopped" image I created to give just a tiny impression, and tying in the "engine metaphor" -- although in reality I think of the "archaic construction" more like a huge and mysterious musical instrument, designed to produce its powerful effects through sound and vibration (and not an actual internal combustion engine of any sort), and operating in both the material and the Invisible Realms.

image: Wikimedia commons (modified combination of two images, here and here).

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Doubts about "ancient aliens" do not preclude possibility of ancient advanced civilizations and technology

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The preceding post outlined some reasons why the "ancient aliens" theory as generally articulated is somewhat incompatible with the evidence that the myths, scriptures, and sacred stories are built upon a common, worldwide system of celestial metaphor.

As shown in that post, proponents of the ancient alien hypothesis often state explicitly that the ancient stories of gods and goddesses represent a kind of "primitive misinterpretation" of contact with ancient extraterrestrials and their spacecraft, weapons, and other advanced technologies.

However, there is abundant evidence (we might even say super-abundant evidence) that these ancient myths and sacred stories allegorize the celestial cycles of the sun, moon, visible planets, and  constellations, and that they do so in order to convey truths about an Invisible Realm which is very real and vital, even though unseen.

Obviously, it is very unlikely that the myths can simultaneously represent "primitive attempts to describe spacecraft and aliens" and "sophisticated allegorization of solar, lunar, planetary, and celestial cycles, objects, and constellations." It is possible to argue that the myths somehow describe both, but the possibility seems very unlikely, especially because the number of myths and scriptures which encode the same constellations in very different settings or "plot lines" makes it very difficult to argue that any single myth is describing some historical event. I believe the stories themselves encode the motions of the sun, moon, stars, and planets (as well as the cycle of precession and other heavenly cycles), rather than literal events involving physical persons on earth -- or physical spacecraft and aliens.

It should be pointed out, however, that such a position is by no means incompatible with the possibility of an extremely advanced ancient civilization (or civilizations) which is at present unknown or ignored by conventional timelines of human history.

In fact, the presence of the very sophisticated, worldwide system of celestial metaphor underlying the myths and sacred stories found in virtually every culture on our planet would seem to argue very strongly for the possibility of such an advanced ancient civilization (or civilizations).

The opening chapters of Hamlet's Mill explain that the hints left to us in the mythologies and scriptures appear to "reveal a world of vast and firmly established complexity, infinitely different from ours" (4). Later on in the same page, they speak of the fragments in the myths and fairy tales (which are "no longer understood") as remnants of some "great world-wide archaic construction" upon which "the dust of centuries" had already settled by the time "the Greeks came upon the scene" (4).

The evocative books of John Michell, View over Atlantis and New View over Atlantis, discussing the evidence from the stone monuments and "dragon lines" and "ley lines" which are found all around the globe, declare that "the pattern that emerges is one so incompatible with our idea of civilization that it is easy entirely to miss its significance." He then proceeds to describe in memorable terms something very similar to what the authors of Hamlet's Mill were describing (although Hamlet's Mill is looking primarily at myth rather than at structures and alignments -- and note that View over Atlantis and Hamlet's Mill were both published in the same year: 1969). Michell writes:
A great scientific instrument lies sprawled over the entire surface of the globe. At some period, thousands of years ago, almost every corner of the world was visited by people with a particular task to accomplish. With the help of some remarkable power, by which they could cut and raise enormous blocks of stone, these men created vast astronomical instruments, circles of erect pillars, pyramids, underground tunnels, cyclopean stone platforms, all linked together by a network of tracks and alignments, whose course from horizon to horizon was marked by stones, mounds, and earthworks. New View over Atlantis, 83.
As I discuss in The Undying Stars (2014), Michell explored evidence that suggested that at least one possible use of this vast world-wide array involved the use of flying machines or travel upon levitated stones or other craft, possibly linked to the ley lines or lines of earth-energy and telluric current. He writes:
Stone levitated by sound could become a flying chariot, moving along the line of a certain magnetic intensity, whose course was marked out on the ground by alignments of stones and earthworks, linked by raised causeways and forest rides. With the earth's magnetic field regulated, and the streams that run through it diverted to conform to straight lines, the stone craft and its navigator could float from centre to centre, picking their way through a canal network of alternating currents and choosing the level of intensity to which their vibrations were attuned. New View over Atlantis, 204 - 205. Also quoted in The Undying Stars, 193.
There is some evidence in the myths to support such incredible assertions. For one thing (as many researchers have noticed, including advocates of the "ancient aliens" hypothesis), there are numerous myths in which gods, goddesses, and mortals have access to flying craft of one type or another -- perhaps most intriguingly in the Vedas of ancient India. 

Note that my assertion that these myths and scriptures are based upon celestial metaphor (for which I find a lot of evidence) does not at all preclude the possibility that these metaphorical or allegorical stories came to us from some advanced ancient civilization or culture that did indeed know of or use such flying craft. 

In other words, just because the stories themselves can be shown to be metaphorical in nature (rather than literal and historic) does not mean that the ancient sages who gave us these precious myths did not use "technologies" with which they were actually familiar when they formulated the stories themselves in allegorical form.

To use an example, there are many myths involving a "trial with a bow," in which a character must string a massive bow (sometimes it is a divine bow, belonging to the gods) and successfully launch an arrow at a seemingly-impossible target, in order to win a prize (usually the prize is a woman). This myth-pattern is quite obviously present in the Odyssey (at the end of the hero's journey), as well as in the Mahabharata (quite early in the story) and in the Ramayana. 

I believe that all these stories can be conclusively shown to be based upon specific constellations -- constellations which appear to be holding a great bow in the sky, or shooting a bow and arrow. However, just because the story itself is a metaphor does not, of course, preclude the possibility that the ancient cultures in which this celestial system originated actually did know about bows and arrows as a military technology! It would be ridiculous to assert that just because someone uses something in a story or allegory, they don't actually possess that "something" in their culture. In fact, in the case of the "trial with the bow," the metaphor is much more meaningful for the very reason that the listeners did know what a bow and arrow was, and how bows operate (and how difficult they can be to string, when they are extremely heavy in draw-weight).

Thus, just because I assert that the Vedas and other scriptures of ancient India can be shown to be celestial metaphor does not mean that the "technologies" they describe and use as metaphors were completely fantastical: it is very possible that the ancient originators of some of these myths actually use the metaphor of flying craft in the stories because they did indeed possess such technologies, which would have been familiar to their listeners!

It should be noted that this is only a possibility -- I am not asserting that just because a "technology" appears in a myth, it was actually in use at some ancient time. What I am pointing out is that just because the myths can be shown to be metaphor does not mean that the metaphors they use were never actually in use in terrestrial history (although perhaps so long ago that it is now forgotten, and indeed completely denied by the conventional paradigm of human history).

I do believe that the evidence around the globe overwhelmingly argues for the existence of an advanced ancient culture at some point in our planet's past. I have written about this evidence many times in books and in this blog (here's just one example) -- and of course, many other researchers have also detailed such evidence in great detail (some of them will be speaking at the upcoming Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge, at the end of this month in southern California).

Finally, there are some researchers who suggest an intriguing tie between modern evidence of "history that has been excluded from the conventional paradigm" and the ancient evidence of an advanced civilization which is also excluded from the conventional paradigm. Some researchers see a pattern of very serious searching for ancient cities and artifacts by groups in recent centuries (certainly in the twentieth and nineteenth centuries, but perhaps going back even further than that, to the time of the Conquistadors and other expeditions in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries), which suggests that at least some of them are looking for the secrets of advanced technologies known to the ancients and forgotten or suppressed by conventional histories.

Two of the most prominent authors who have described such a possibility in their work are Joseph Farrell and Walter Bosley -- and both have written numerous books detailing the evidence that this has been going on for centuries, with extensive documentation and notes to supporting evidence and sources to back up their hypotheses.

I believe that the evidence in the ancient myths found literally around the world conclusively reveals that whoever imparted these stories to our distant ancestors possessed an extremely high level of spiritual wisdom and knowledge. 

It is very possible that, whatever the source of these ancient myths which form the "great world-wide archaic construction" described in Hamlet's Mill, or of the world-wide system of monuments and alignments which form the "great scientific instrument" described in New View over Atlantis, also possessed an extremely high level of technological wisdom and knowledge (although perhaps of a nature very unfamiliar to us today).

And, in fact, it is also very possible that the two were somehow intimately related (the spiritual knowledge and the technological knowledge).

If any additional evidence were needed that some groups have been urgently hunting for the lost technologies of the ancients for quite some time, we also have the testimony of the great filmmaker, Steven Spielberg, in movies such as the original Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981):

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Five reasons I do not subscribe to the "ancient aliens" hypothesis at this time

Myths around the globe can be conclusively shown to contain very strong parallels with details that are so precise and so obscure (in some cases) that the correspondences are very hard to attribute to "mere coincidence."

For instance, the "incomplete" or "failed baptism" motif can be shown to be present in the mythology surrounding the semi-divine hero Achilles in ancient Greece, as well as in the mythology in the cycle of myths surrounding the semi-divine hero Maui in the cultures of the Pacific Ocean. 

In the Achilles myth, the mother of the infant Achilles attempts to make him invulnerable to any physical weapon and thus virtually immortal by dipping him into either a sacred fire or into the River Styx (there are different versions of the same story). However, because she holds him by the heel, that one portion of his body remains susceptible, and he eventually receives a mortal wound in his "Achilles' heel."

In some of the many forms of the Maui cycle of sacred stories, which have been preserved by the indigenous Polynesian cultures of the Pacific Ocean stretching from the islands of Hawaii and Rapa Nui to Aotearoa (a vast expanse), Maui's father baptizes him as an infant but accidentally omits some of the essential Karakia which must be spoken during the ceremony, and thus Maui is vulnerable to death, although the baptism could have made him immortal, had it been performed properly. You can read an account of this tradition in an 1884 edition of the Princeton Review in an essay by Andrew Lang entitled "Myths of the Origin of Death" which begins on page 56 (the discussion of Maui's "incomplete baptism" can be found on page 64).

In another version of the same myth-pattern, recounted by Plutarch in his discussion of the sacred mythology of Isis and Osiris, the goddess Isis visits the palace of the king and queen of Byblos, disguising her divinity. She is searching for the casket containing the body of the murdered Osiris, which has been enclosed in a tree and then later used as a pillar in the palace. The queen, unaware of the goddess's true identity, appoints Isis to be the nurse for the queen's infant child. 

As Plutarch relates in section 16 of the account on this page, Isis decided to bestow immortality upon the child, by placing it into the fire each night to burn away its mortal nature. The use of fire is very common in versions of this story, for reasons which I believe to be celestial and to have to do with the fact that the shining column of the Milky Way band was often envisioned in ancient myth as a column of smoke or a blazing fire -- and there is also a constellation nearby which plays the role of a baby in many myths around the world, even though such a connection must be admitted to be rather unusual, and not something we would expect to simply "pop up" in different cultures in different parts of the globe, over and over again. 

Just as in other versions of this "incomplete baptism" pattern, the queen discovers what Isis is doing and, horrified to see her baby in the flames, pulls it out -- thus depriving it of the immortality that the child could have enjoyed.

This shared pattern, found in myths of ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and even of the Pacific Islands,  argues that there is some sort of common system operating around the globe in the myths and sacred stories of humanity, stretching not only across great distances but also across centuries and even across millennia.

And there are hundreds of other examples of very specific patterns which show up in the myths, scriptures and sacred stories of different cultures in ways that are clearly closely related -- including gods and goddesses who share very similar aspects and characteristics across the globe. Gods wielding a thunderbolt-weapon, for example, can be found in the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, in the Norse myths, in the Vedas, and in the Popol Vuh of the K'iche' Maya -- and in each case, the thunderbolt weapon and the god who wields it can all be seen to have very similar characteristics.

How do we explain this fact?

One possible explanation is put forward in the popular "ancient aliens" theory, championed by authors such as Zechariah Sitchin and Erich von Daniken and by many of the guests who appear on the television series of the same name, and that is that our planet was visited by aliens in ancient times, and that "our ancestors misinterpreted extraterrestrials as gods, because that was the only way that they could explain away what they witnessed," as Giorgio Tsoukalos says at 0:00:47 in the above episode, from Season 2 of the long-running series (Season 2, Episode 2: "Gods and Aliens").

While the "ancient aliens" framework is one possible hypothesis which may explain the startling evidence we find of close relationships between the myths of very different cultures, and between the gods and goddesses and supernatural beings we find described in those myths, scriptures and sacred stories (close relationships which the conventional theories of ancient history have some difficulty in explaining), there are some reasons why I do not believe it is the best hypothesis.

Below, I will very briefly list just a few of the reasons why I personally do not at present subscribe to the "ancient aliens" hypothesis as the best explanation for the evidence we find:

1. The stories in all the myths can be shown to be based on a common system of metaphor, describing the motions of the constellations -- including the examples given above. If the deity who bears the thunderbolt-weapon (for example) can be shown to correspond to the constellation Hercules in every myth-system in which this weapon appears, which I believe can be conclusively demonstrated, then it is very unlikely that the stories are describing a literal alien with a directed-energy weapon. I have now published three volumes of several hundred pages each which detail the evidence that the ancient myths are based upon celestial metaphor -- a common system of celestial metaphor used literally around the world. I freely admit that the origin of this common system of celestial metaphor is unknown, and I do not categorically exclude the possibility of extraterrestrials or extraterrestrial contact in ancient times -- but I believe the evidence is overwhelming that the myths themselves are not describing literal extraterrestrials, but rather the motions of the constellations, as well as the cycles of the sun, moon, visible planets, and other heavenly phenomena, and that therefore we cannot really use the myths as evidence for ancient extraterrestrial activity.

2. Sometimes, the same constellations will be found informing a recognizable pattern in different myths, but with very different details -- just as we find in the "incomplete baptism" pattern described above. We can see that the pattern contains many common elements, most notably the fact that the baby in question fails to attain complete invulnerability or immortality. But the other aspects of the story are very different -- in one case, it is the mother who is doing the baptizing, and in another case it is the father, while in the third example given, it is the goddess Isis who is burning away the mortality of the child. It would be unlikely for the same pattern to show up in very different "parts of the storyline" if it was based on a literal event that ancient people witnessed. Another example is the "foot-washing" scene which is found in the Odyssey and which is also found in the gospels of the New Testament. In the Odyssey, the foot-washing is performed by Eurycleia, the faithful old nurse who once cared for Odysseus when he was a baby. In the gospels, of course, the foot-washing is performed by Jesus at the Last Supper -- but note that another version of the foot-washing pattern is also found in the gospels in a few different formats, in different scenes in which a woman with an alabaster container of precious ointment uses it to anoint the feet of Jesus (under different circumstances in different gospel accounts). I believe that these examples show us that we are not dealing with literal events that happened to take on the same pattern over and over, but rather with stories that encode specific constellations, but which do so in different forms in different myths and sacred stories. The fact that the incomplete baptism of Achilles was described as being performed in a fire in some ancient Greek myths, and as being performed in the River Styx in other ancient Greek myths, is another point which shows that it is probably based upon celestial metaphor (with the Milky Way playing the role of the fire or the river in either case), rather than upon eyewitness accounts of the actions of extraterrestrials, as reported by our ancient ancestors.

3. Much of the mythology which is referenced by proponents of the ancient aliens hypothesis comes from ancient Mesopotamia, and is almost certainly based upon celestial metaphor rather than literal historical events. The most-recent volume (Volume Three) in my multi-volume series Star Myths of the World, and how to interpret them, which deals with the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, provides some evidence to believe that the story of the Annunaki who are described as coming to earth and interacting with mortal men and women, and who are later imprisoned in the underworld, probably fits into the same pattern as the story of the Titans in the mythology of ancient Greece who also overstep their bounds and are imprisoned in Tartarus, as well as the account of the beings described in Genesis 6 who famously overstep their bounds and are described as being partly responsible for bringing on the Genesis Flood. Volume Three provides extended discussion that this "overstepping of boundaries" is celestial in nature (and points to some evidence provided in Hamlet's Mill which also argues the same). There are many other parallels in the myths of ancient Mesopotamia with myths in other cultures, myths which I have shown to be based on celestial metaphor in other volumes in the series -- for example, the story of Marduk slaying Tiamat with a bow (which is later suspended in the heavens) has parallels in the slaying of Python by Apollo, and the Kali Naga by Krishna. The story of Apollo and Python is discussed at some length in Star Myths of the World, Volume Two (which deals almost exclusively with the Greek myths). There are many other similar parallels to myths in other cultures, which can also be shown to have their foundations in celestial metaphor (and therefore, I would argue, to be much less likely to be describing literal, historical events).

4. Artwork -- much of it very ancient -- which depicts the gods and goddesses and familiar stories of mythology can be shown to use specific constellational characteristics in the depiction of the various mythical figures, and to do so over and over across the centuries and across cultures, with tremendous consistency. This fact argues very strongly that the ancient myths are based upon a system of celestial metaphor, and that their basis in celestial metaphor may well have been understood in ancient times. I have provided literally hundreds of visual examples of such artwork in the Star Myths of the World series, as well as showing several in previous discussions and blog posts. Some examples of ancient artwork which points directly to constellational outlines can be seen here, here, here, herehere, and here. The fact that the ancient artists themselves depict gods and goddesses and heroes and demigods with outlines that appear to refer to very specific constellations argues that these stories were understood to be metaphorical and celestial, and that the artists were not attempting to record the appearance of extraterrestrials that they or other men and women had witnessed with their own eyes.

5. The myths and sacred stories can be shown to use the celestial realm and the celestial cycles as a way of depicting the reality of the Spirit World, the Invisible Realm, the Other Realm. This system is discussed at length in my books, based in part on the extensive insights of Alvin Boyd Kuhn on this subject (here is one previous blog post discussing some aspects of this connection). The narrator and the proponents of the "ancient aliens" hypothesis in the above video are constantly asking, "But what if the ancient myths were true?" as if the only way that they could be "true" is if they were describing literal events which took place in terrestrial history. But I believe that the precious myths, scriptures, and sacred stories given to humanity in ancient times are most certainly true, in that they are describing a reality which we cannot see but which is nonetheless very much real. In fact, I believe it is very possible that the stories describing specific characteristics of gods and goddesses which remain consistent across cultures and centuries may very well be true descriptions of supernatural powers or supernatural beings who inhabit the Unseen Realm, the Invisible Realm, the realm of pure potentiality: the realm of the gods. In fact, I believe it may be very misleading to reduce the stories which tell us about the Unseen World to "primitive attempts to describe extraterrestrial visitors with advanced technology, weapons and spacecraft." Doing so is actually a form of "literalism" or "literalistic interpretation" -- based on the assumption that the myths and sacred stories of humanity were intended to be understood and interpreted as if recounting literal, terrestrial events. But I believe the stories can be shown to be celestial and metaphorical in nature, rather than terrestrial and literal -- and in some cases they simply do not make any sense if we attempt to interpret them as literal and terrestrial. For example, the description of the journey of the Magi who come to worship and give gifts to the newborn Christ does not make any sense, geographically speaking, if we attempt to read it as literal and terrestrial. Even if the Magi had spacecraft, it would not make sense for them to come from the east and follow a star that they see in the east, if they are traveling over the surface of our planet to arrive in Bethlehem. However, the story makes perfect sense if it is describing a metaphorical scene based upon the motions of constellations as viewed from the earth (see discussion with diagrams here).

It is this final point that makes me slightly suspicious of the "ancient aliens" theory, if there are indeed proponents who did not or do not actually sincerely believe it (I do not know that to be the case, but it is always a possibility that must be admitted to be within the realm of human behavior).

The authors of Hamlet's Mill, for example, published their groundbreaking study in 1969, complete with hundreds of footnotes and citations of scholarly work from previous decades and centuries (as well as dozens of diagrams and illustrations), showing fairly conclusively that the myths and scriptures of humanity appear to be based upon celestial metaphor in some way. While they did not specifically argue that the purpose of the myths was to convey actual truths about an Invisible Realm which does indeed intertwine with and powerfully interact with this more familiar Visible Realm or Material Realm which we consider "ordinary reality," they did show extensive connection of these myths with their celestial system to the initiations and practices of shamanic cultures across the centuries and around the globe.

If the ancient myths and sacred stories are actually intended to convey understanding and awareness of the Other Realm, as well as the importance of interacting with that Other Realm in this life, and if someone did not want people to know that information, then one way to prevent that knowledge from becoming too widely understood might be to propose other forms of literalistic interpretation which steer people away from what we might call a "shamanic" or "spiritual" interpretation.

For centuries, literalistic interpretations of the scriptures of the Bible have served that purpose (and continue to do so for some). However, it may be that new forms of literalism are occasionally brought forth to appeal to people for whom the more traditional forms of literalism are not attractive, by those who wish to keep the "shamanic" knowledge from empowering people whom this knowledge could actually help.

I have no doubt that many people who subscribe to some form of the "ancient aliens" theory are sincere in their belief (and I know for a fact that some of them are extremely devout in their adherence to that theory as the only possible alternative, and will not give you the time of day if you don't also express your faith in it).

But it is also possible that, either by accident or intentionally, this hypothesis serves to obscure the celestial metaphor behind the ancient wisdom of the human race, and thus to obscure the truths about the Invisible Realm which the myths may be trying to teach us.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Esquire "disproves" 9/11 conspiracies, completely fails to mention Building 7

When investigating a mystery, a crime scene, or any other complicated situation involving large amounts of data for which many different possible explanations have been offered, the general understanding of the "scientific method" involves constructing a hypothesis which could explain the data or evidence which has been observed, and then to conduct a series of experiments or other observations which can assess how well the data observed appears to fit into the framework offered by that hypothesis.

If enough major data points do not fit into the framework of the hypothesis, then that hypothesis may need to be modified or rejected altogether, and a new framework constructed. It is often the case that when the correct framework is adopted, details which previously caused a major problem for incorrect theories will be found to fit very nicely into the new framework -- the "missing pieces" which didn't seem to fit before will suddenly be found to "have a home."

A metaphor for this process which might resonate with some readers could be the process of doing a major repair on your car (such as replacing the clutch). 

If, after hours of work, you get everything put back together and find a few important parts and a handful of bolts and nuts still lying around on the floor of the workshop, and you can't figure out where they could possibly fit (but they were not lying around without a home before you started your transmission work), then you may not have put everything together correctly! Your "framework" for re-assembly might have been faulty.

In such a case, it is probably advisable to take everything apart and try to put it back together again. Not exactly pleasant, but probably advisable. It may even be "less unpleasant" than the results of trying to drive that car at full speed down the highway, if you decide that putting it together correctly is just "too hard" and not worth the effort.

If one of the parts that is lying around after the first clutch re-assembly is a major part, then you would be even more likely to realize that you need to re-assess and try it again.

When you do figure out what you did wrong, there will probably be an "a-ha moment" in which the parts that previously did not seem to fit suddenly all fit together perfectly, and you realize how your previous attempt was slightly off, which led to flawed results. The correct "framework" often seems to "suddenly resolve" the outlying pieces (the outlying evidence, in the case of a crime scene or chemistry problem) that the incorrect framework left stranded.

Another visual illustration of this principle which I have written about on these pages in the past is the example of the old "nine-dots" puzzle, in which we are challenged to use only four straight lines to connect nine dots arrayed on a page in a "tic-tac-toe" pattern of three rows of dots stacked on top of each other. 

If you don't know the correct "shape" or "framework" to use, you will almost certainly "leave out" one or more dots during your first several attempts (here's a link to the previous blog post on this subject, from December of last year).  These "stranded dots" will be analogous to the "left out parts" in the clutch re-assembly described above. 

In terms of a scientific hypothesis or other attempt to explain a mystery (including mysteries of history), they represent evidence or "data points" that just don't seem to fit when a flawed hypothesis or faulty "framework" is tried out. 

If the dots (or data) that is left out is important enough, then (like the illustration of the automobile), we would usually be well-advised to back up and look for a better solution, rather than to just "ignore them" and hope that "everything turns out ok" when we go driving down the freeway at high rates of speed.

In light of the above discussion, the recent decision by a major American magazine to publish a story entitled "Disproving 9 of the Biggest 9/11 Conspiracy Theories" is remarkable in that it completely fails to mention (even in passing) one of the biggest sources of "data points" that conventional hypotheses have difficulty in explaining: the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7, a 47-story modern-steel skyscraper which also collapsed in dramatic fashion several hours after the Twin Towers fell, even though it was never hit by any aircraft.

That a major American magazine, purporting to publish a story "debunking" alternative hypotheses for what happened on that awful day, would completely ignore the entire question of Building 7, is extremely disturbing and is difficult to attribute to merely "overlooking" that datapoint by mistake. 

Building 7 is not really just "one datapoint" but a host of data points, but if we want to call it a "datapoint" for the sake of convenience, then it is an enormous datapoint and one that is so significant that we might want to revisit any hypothesis which leaves it out (it's like leaving the entire transmission on the floor after you are finished putting your car back together, and deciding you'll just ignore that little detail).

If one were not suspicious of the conventional explanations before reading the story, the fact that a major American magazine would publish an article on an extremely sensitive subject, a few days prior to the fifteenth anniversary of that horrendous day in which thousands of citizens lost their lives, and completely ignore the collapse of Building 7 as if it never happened, would seem to be sufficient to arouse suspicion. 

If you don't understand the significance of Building 7's collapse, the talk above by David Ray Griffin explains its significance at length, as do other lectures available on the internet. Another even more detailed video which discusses the significance of the collapse of Building 7 can be seen here.

The fact that Building 7 did indeed collapse (again, it was a 47-story skyscraper constructed with massive steel beams using modern construction techniques, which was not struck by any airplanes and yet collapsed entirely, supposedly due to a few fires which can be seen on just a few floors through just a few windows, not even engulfing the building at all) is not in dispute by anybody. In other words, the actual collapse of that 47-story modern steel building is not a "conspiracy theory." It did indeed collapse (you can see the reports by NIST, which are referenced in Professor Griffin's presentation above, and which is a federal agency responsible for investigation into the technological standards including those that govern the safety of buildings, right here on the internet).

The story published in Esquire magazine, for the record, chose to address the following nine questions (as captioned in bold print at the head of each sub-section): "Jet Fuel Can't Melt Steel Beams," "Controlled Demolitions," "Insider Trading," "The Stand-Down Order," "The Holes Were Simply Too Small," "The Inevitable Anti-Semitism," "No Debris at the Pentagon," and "The Hijackers are Still Alive."

The importance of the evidence at the Pentagon is discussed in another full-length video by Barbara Honegger which is included below and available to watch in its entirety on the internet here.

The "data points" which are presented in those two videos are not addressed at all in Esquire's 9-point "disproving" article.

If the framework being offered does not address serious outlying information, then it is possible that another framework or hypothesis should be constructed. Deliberately ignoring evidence of such massive size, and then adopting a tone ridiculing those who point out the massive outliers, would appear to be counter-productive, if we are really trying to arrive at a correct understanding of an issue of extraordinary importance. 

Note that the article accuses those who question the conventional story (entertaining the possibility the attacks "did not happen the way the government or our media claim") of possible anti-Semitism, and also of "cheapening" the suffering of those who were killed in those attacks and the suffering of their friends, family and loved ones.

However, it must also be argued that, if the attacks did not happen the way the government and the media claim, then to accept explanations that leave out glaring pieces of outlying evidence, is an even worse "cheapening" of their murders. Those people were obviously murdered -- to ignore evidence that the "wrong murder suspect" is being convicted in the court of public opinion, and to refuse to examine evidence that someone else could be involved in the murder, is obviously reprehensible.

There is also the additional fact that the murders that took place on that day were used as justification to launch a war in which literally millions have been killed -- not just American citizens, of course, although there have been thousands of Americans who have died in the subsequent conflicts, but also literally millions of people in the countries where invasions have been launched, using 9/11 as at least partial justification.

There is also the fact that the atrocity of 9/11 has been used and continues to be used to justify enormous changes which affect our daily lives, in the form of increased surveillance and restriction on travel, and restrictions on anonymity in almost any transaction between individual citizens -- increases in surveillance which continue to grow and which can be argued completely upend the rights described in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. 

The same can be said for the massive proliferation of war making equipment and tactics which have been foisted upon police departments in the fifteen years since that day in 2001 and which can be argued to have an extremely deleterious effect on liberty, as well as to violate the Bill of Rights.

Having the wrong framework can lead to huge problems. If you leave huge parts lying on the floor of your workshop before you drive off in your car, ridiculing those who point them out may not be the best way to proceed. Driving still faster and just ignoring the problem might not be a terrific idea either.

In fact, in a famous sermon entitled "But If Not" delivered only five months before he was murdered, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. explained that ignoring moral issues of great magnitude is absolutely self-destructive -- and everyone has a moral obligation to involve themselves in matters of moral principle. He declares that "looking the other way" causes us to die inside.

I am not telling anyone what he or she should conclude about the events of that horrible day. But I am saying that the evidence demands to be looked at seriously, and not "papered over."

Obviously, anyone who has taken an oath and sworn to support and defend the Constitution, as I myself have, has an obligation to look into these questions, and not be put off by articles claiming to "disprove" what they call "conspiracy theories" and casting aspersions on the morality of those who examine evidence which indicates that the "official" framework may be fatally flawed.

But as Dr. King explains, each and every man and woman actually has this duty as well.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Less than "one moon" until this year's Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge!

Waxing crescent, September 04, 2016 (looking west).

The moon is now waxing, from the very thin crescent first visible on Friday and growing thicker each night and trailing behind the sun [or moving eastwards : ) across the night sky] a little more each night.

The tenth Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge will commence at the next new moon, on Friday the 30th of September. So, as you watch the moon grow towards full moon and then wane towards new moon, we'll be that much closer to the conference, if you are able to attend that in southern California this year.

Either way, I hope that if at all possible you are able to observe the dazzling array of stars in our night sky in the hours after sunset and again in the hours before sunrise.

This is a special time of year when you can enjoy the lineup of Scorpio and Sagittarius and friends after sunset, and then see Orion and Taurus and friends prior to sunrise. And, the best time to do so is when the moon is still relatively less bright (the moon of course will be brightening significantly as we move towards full moon).

Below is a star chart showing the night sky after sunset, with the outlines of Scorpio and Sagittarius labeled, and the glorious band of the Milky Way rising up between them (the brightest portion of the Milky Way is found between Scorpio and Sagittarius).

These charts are depicted for a viewer in the northern hemisphere, at about latitude 35.6 north:

The stars shown above are from the free open-source planetarium app Due to the way the program depicts the sky, constellations in the center and bottom of the screen seem "farthest away" and are thus shown smaller relatively-speaking to the others -- in reality, you will see that Scorpio and Sagittarius and Aquila are much larger in the night sky than they appear in the above image.

Note the planets Saturn and Mars forming a bright triangle with the red giant Antares in the heart of the Scorpion (at the point where the "delta fan" of Scorpio's "multiple heads" branch out from the sinuous serpentine body of Scorpio). This triangle will widen over the course of the month.

If at all possible, rising early to see the pre-dawn lineup of stars is well worth the effort required. You will see the breathtaking form of the giant Orion rising well above the horizon in the east by 5 am (if you can get up by 5 am or just before, you should get a fantastic display of stars). Below is the star chart showing the most noticeable constellations in the pre-dawn lineup:

I hope to see you at this year's Conference on Precession and Ancient Wisdom at the start of the next new moon!

Either way, if at all possible, I hope you have an opportunity to enjoy the dazzling panoply of constellations presently visible in the sky after sunset, and again before sunrise.