Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Glastonbury Psychogeography

My first public event of 2016 is a presentation entitled

 The Psychogeography of the Wirral Park Roundabout.

It takes place in Glastonbury on Wednesday February 3rd at
 the Red Brick Building, Morland Enterprise Park, Morland Road, Glastonbury, BA6 9FT.

Entry is £5.00 with doors opening at 7:00 for a 7:30 start.

I will feature material that has been percolating in my head for decades.

John Cowper Powys meets JG Ballard. Psychogeography is a literary mythopoetic mode of understanding the effects of environment on human consciousness. Powys portrayed a conflict between two different levels of Glastonbury, the realm of the Grail and the domain of worldly concerns, business and industry, in his great novel Glastonbury Romance. This tension is played out in modern times with extraordinary intensity in one of the most powerful and generally unacknowledged zones in Glastonbury, the area centred on the Wirral Park (B&Q) Roundabout and its megalithic standing stone. 

Wearyall Hill and Beckery are the gestation points of the modern Glastonbury mythology, being the sites of the Joseph of Arimathea story and Blue Glass Bowl event respectively. John of Glastonbury also links the two places with a nebulous story of a convent of nuns on the hill and the strange journey of Arthur to a Grail chapel at Beckery where he received a crystal cross from the Virgin Mary. This brought the motif of the Chapel Perilous to a locale which in modern times became the location of a veritable wasteland of industrial decay.

View of mythic Glastonbury from decapitated Holy Thorn.

View from behind Holy Thorn to Glastonbury non-places (B&Q, Tescos etc).

JG Ballard expressed alienated post-modern sensibilities whereby the road and the car carry isolated people from one indistinct all-but-identical place to another and strange extremes of events and behaviour result. The Wirral Park Roundabout has a multitude of modern non-places clustering around it: two chain hotels, a supermarket, fast-food outlets, a petrol station, garden centre, and so on. An A Road takes innumerable people past it every day. 

Glastonbury non-places.

It is as if a strange membrane exists between mythic Glastonbury and the relentless spread of non-places that attempt to impinge upon it. In this unique area, conflagration and death have  resulted. I will discuss the outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease, the McDonalds arson, the Holy Thorn decapitation and much else.  

Maybe I might see some of you there. It is possible that a short book might manifest from the material one day ---

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Sleepwalking into War: Gurdjieff and Ouspensky.


Whenever this country gets involved in a war, I exhale wearily with the recognition that sleepwalking humanity is at it again. I am thankful to have encountered the ideas of Gurdjieff, expressed to the brilliant mind of PD Ouspensky, in the perfect circumstances of the Great War and Russian Revolution. They have provided me with a grim understanding of these situations for some decades now. I first read Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous in 1982. It became my most-read book of the decade. Here is some material adapted from my Avalonian Aeon on the subject.
Gurdjieff’s critique of the general state of humanity seemed pessimistic at first. He stated that most of us can be said to be asleep in a trance of distraction. Each of us believes in a unique individuality but, on closer examination, most cannot demonstrate any real unity of functioning. We are full of small separate personalities. One part may proudly proclaim the intention to stop smoking, take up a regime of exercise, follow some idealised spiritual path etc. The “I” that likes to smoke or overeat or take drugs, be sexually deranged and so on, will later on assert its own claims and the lofty talk will be worthless. We have many I’s. They can all be “caliph for an hour”. Work on oneself involves the conscious cultivation of a “magnetic centre”. It is the responsibility of this aspect of oneself to seek out those influences conducive to the maintaining and expansion of its function.
What does that mean in the real world? The feeling of it can be better grasped by looking at it alongside another of Gurdjieff’s teaching ideas. Ouspensky discusses the concept of “food.” He takes it beyond the usual definitions. As well as what we eat in the normal sense, the case is made for regarding air as food. If anyone thinks it isn’t, try living without it for a while. Most stimulating of all was the classification of “impressions” as food. What we input through our senses can nourish or poison us. To take an extreme example, a person feasting everyday on splatter movies, hardcore porn and horror, someone who regularly read the literature of hate, racism etc, would be thoroughly poisoning themselves. Contrariwise, a person who immersed themselves in great art, literature, music, and the religious classics of the world, with a view to changing themselves for the better, would be getting some kind of higher food vitamins and protein. Although just what constitutes appropriate input is hugely debatable and variable, the basic principle is a call to some sort of conscious awakening. Gurdjieff suggested that once this process was really in motion, somehow one magnetically attracted to oneself the necessary higher influences. The world was full of them, but to the average tranced-out sleepwalking person they were all but invisible. 
The historical situation in Russia during the period that the two worked together was a perfect backdrop for the demonstration of the power of Gurdjieff’s ideas. It began with the archaic Romanoff dynasty still in place as the First World War broke out. Gradually, insane chaos emerged. Russia’s badly led, ill-equipped forces were trashed by the German war-machine. Morale nosedived. The rumblings of the revolution were heard. Before long, a whole dynasty and culture was swept away and Ouspensky faced exile or death. For people with a feeling for history those events in Russia are amongst the most mind-blowing of the twentieth century. 
Ideas that may have seemed outlandish or pessimistic were revealed by the events of the time to be spine-tinglingly insightful. Ouspensky resisted at first but the horror of the situation helped him to understand. Gurdjieff had said that we are machines, slaves to certain natural laws and processes that are as mechanical as a motor car. If people were remotely awake they would never submit to going off to war and likely death. The leaders of great nations are likewise sleepwalkers through the strange workings of unknown dynamics. 
Ouspensky had difficulties with these ideas until an event he witnessed brought them to life. He saw a truck loaded with artificial limbs on its way to the front. They were for legs that had not yet been blown off but it could be calculated that they would be. There was something so mechanical about this process, something so lacking in conscious awareness, that the insanity of the situation was revealed in all its ludicrous horror. If those legs hadn’t been blown off yet then why on earth did they have to be? The process was surely stoppable. On one occasion, when Gurdjieff was discussing the horror of the war and the hollowness of the ideals it was being fought for, someone asked him what he thought of the pacifists? “They’re even worse,” was his classic reply.
There was a particular function of the mass sleepwalking mind that helped perpetuate the trance that enabled the world-historical madness to continue. Gurdjieff called it “Formatory Thinking”. It is basically that process whereby people are compelled to think and feel in terms of opposites such as black and white, wrong or right, left and right, and so on. This manifests in rigidity in one’s personal life and in the greater horrors of religious conflicts and wars between rival political systems. I could see it being played out all around me. It had turned British political life into a vulgar cartoon. On the larger stage Ronnie “Rapture” Reagan stood against the evil empire of the Godless Commies and megadeath was a possible outcome. 
PD Ouspensky.
When the first Gulf War was imminent I turned to In Search of the Miraculous again. It had never felt more potent. The 1990 equivalent of those trucks full of artificial limbs that had awakened Ouspensky to the horror of the situation were on their way to the front once more. This time it was helicopters loaded with body-bags. Casualty calculations were being made. All sorts of jargon masked the terrifying reality. It was gratifying when seeing Robert Anton Wilson lecture in London whilst the war was actually being fought also mention the very same point, Ouspensky’s trucks and the 1990 body bags.
And so it goes on. Our responsibility is to cultivate a centre of gravity beyond the pull of formatory thinking and to actually become part of the conscious circle of humanity.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Crowley and Jung. The Book of the Law and the Seven Sermons. Video with Music.

A year ago today I spoke on Crowley and Jung at The Visible College conference in Glastonbury. A video of that presentation is available and I have posted it here before but I repeat here for the sake of completeness.

I had some good visuals that the video didn't show to their best advantage and I wondered about re-purposing the material as a video in its own right.

The result I post today. It is considerably adjusted and expanded. Text was obviously needed. I have added an early Tangerine Dream soundtrack and am very happy with the outcome. It's just over half and hour long and is obviously intended to promote the book from which it came.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Cornwall UFO Conference October 2015

I will be repeating my presentation from the Glastonbury Symposium back in July for the Cornwall UFO Conference on October 10th in Truro.

This will be an account of sixties and seventies UFOlogy with particular reference to Glastonbury as featured in my current book.

For further details, click the link.   Cornwall UFO Conference 2015

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Promo Video for The Glastonbury Zodiac and Earth Mysteries UFOlogy

Landscape zodiac? Ancient Astronauts? UFO contact? Visions and quests. From Glastonbury to Giza. A sympathetic look at wild ideas. Experience the mood of my new book through vivid visuals and soothing sounds. 

I expanded a powerpoint presentation I recently gave to include more explanatory text and imagery and then added a soundtrack.

Video is 20 mins long and features the track Four Ever Rainbow from Rainbow Dome Musick by Steve Hillage.

Monday, 27 July 2015

New Book. The Glastonbury Zodiac and Earth Mysteries UFOlogy

Buy the book on Amazon UK

Buy the book on Amazon USA 

After a long convoluted process, I have manifested a new book. Just over a month ago, the idea to do so was not even in my head.

Some of you may be aware that 2 years ago I was invited to write an extended introduction to a projected new edition of the classic seventies anthology, Glastonbury: Ancient Avalon, New Jerusalem. It was conceived as a joint enterprise with another party. I also commissioned Yuri Leitch to create the cover art-work to my design, a Glastonbury version of the Crowley/Harris Sun tarot card that recalled the original anthology cover.

1977 edition.

New cover design

Time passed and my collaborator stalled on the project. At the start of 2015 I arranged to give a presentation at the Glastonbury Symposium conference (still often known as the Crop Circle conference) on the contents of my introduction. I felt this still gave enough time to get the new edition published. By the time of the summer solstice it was obvious it wasn't going to happen. I suddenly wondered if it might be possible to expand my intro and get a small book out in time for the Symposium. My graphics man and the publisher gave me the thumbs-up leaving me about two weeks to do it.

I decided to pump-up the text with some material drawn from my other books but presented in a distinct new chronological context. The centre of gravity of the book was always going to be unique material concerning a profound UFO experience of Anthony Roberts (editor of the original anthology) and a huge wild ancient astronaut Atlantean Glastonbury tome that he was inspired to write soon afterwards. His wife Jan had given me access to the work and I was the first person outside the Roberts' household to read it in 40 years.

Anthony Roberts near his beloved Glastonbury Tor where he died of a heart attack in 1990.

It was an amazing experience to initiate and complete this new project so quickly after spending two years in limbo with its original form.

Here is the back cover blurb.

The Glastonbury Zodiac and Earth Mysteries UFOlogy
is a unique exploration of a visionary realm that helped to shape the modern development of the mystical capital of Britain. It shows the influence of ideas concerning Atlantis and Ancient Astronauts during the heady days of the sixties and seventies and places them alongside ley lines and the landscape zodiac.

remarkable previously untold UFO experience of author Anthony Roberts and the huge unpublished book it inspired.

Atlantis of the Heart. From Dion Fortune to space migration.

Psychedelic sixties UFOlogy. Flying Saucer Vision and Warminster, David Bowie’s Free Festival.

Andrew Collins journey from Glastonbury to a Giza cave discovery and the Morphian mystery.

Complete survey of work of American visionary Robert Coon relating to the Glastonbury Zodiac, global chakra sites, the Omega Point, and the 1987 Mesoamerican calendar events.

The Contact conundrum, aliens and entities, Secret Chiefs and beams of light, Fairies and Ultraterrestrials, Dark Gods, and Virgin Mary apparitions.

UFOlogical theorists and eccentrics:
John Foster Forbes,  Meade Layne , Desmond Leslie, George Adamski, Trevor James Constable, Brinsley le Poer Trench, Tony Wedd, Jacques Vallee, John Keel, Elizabeth Van Buren.

The Glastonbury Temple of the Stars:
Katharine Maltwood, Mary Caine, Oliver Reiser:  from Blavatsky to Arthur’s Round Table, wandering Sumerians, Atlanteans and aliens, the head of Christ, and the morphogenetic field pattern for the embryogenesis of the World Sensorium!

Every thing possible to be believ'd is an image of truth.’
William Blake.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Crowley and Jung lecture video

My presentation on Crowley and Jung, comparing The Book of the Law and Seven Sermons to the Dead is now available to watch on You Tube.

I also discuss the kind of strange things that happen when engaging in such studies.

It's just over an hour long.

I consider it to be one of my very best lectures.

A number of other presentations from the same Visible College conference are likewise available.

Most of the material in the lecture is taken from my Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus.