Wednesday, 28 April 2010

John Cowper Powys full moon thought for the day.

From The Brazen Head, a novel written when he was in his eighties!

‘O great Goddess -- grant us, we beseech thee, an influence, a virtue, a secret, a touch, a mystery, from the heart of that which continueth forever! --- Heal us, therefore, O Goddess, of the hurts and wounds in our souls that ache and bleed today because of the false doctrines about gods and men that have been inflicted upon us, false doctrines about all things in heaven and earth! Have they not taken on themselves, these priests of pain, these ministers of blood, to invent signs and tokens and symbols and sacraments out of privation and deprivation, out of suppression and frustration, out of denial and negation? Have they not thus defied the revelations made by thy blessed mystery, and turned to nothing the secret of thy holy rapture, of thy sacred madness, of thy entranced, thy transporting ecstasy? Make them give us back the pulse of our life, great Goddess, give us back the beat of our heart, give us back the dance of our blood!’

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Super Psychics: tribute to Bernard G

Painting by Bernard depicting details of Glastonbury Zodiac quest.

This week saw the passing of a man whose psychic abilities were a legend to those that knew of him. Bernard G was of fundamental importance in the work of Andrew Collins, featuring in his cult classic work The Black Alchemist and inspiring the research that led to Beneath the Pyramids. I have been fortunate to have had access to enormous archive material of Andy's to use in the writing of my work in progress Avalonian Aeon that will feature an extensive treatment of Bernard's extraordinary work on the Glastonbury Zodiac and the Giza plateau.

In my book I introduce Bernard's abilities in a chapter called Super Psychics. I am posting the original version of this piece that includes some comparisons with material in Spear of Destiny which has been edited out but may still be of interest.


One of the things that had most impressed me about the Green Stone story was the way that accurate psychic information had been produced in abundance. I soon got to hear far more detailed versions of those events and realised that in fact the psychism was even more spectacular than at first appearance. The book suggested that Gaynor Sunderland had been the centre of gravity of the strange phenomenon. Her role was undoubtedly crucial but Graham Phillips had probably been the driving force. As things had got going he’d developed extraordinary abilities himself. The historical details he’d come out with, tracing the story from Akhenaten and megalithic Britain through to Victorian times, were full of names, dates, and places that were readily checkable. Many of the Victorian names were very obscure but eventually traced. Andy came to refer to this talent as Direct Information Psychism and those with the rare ability to manifest it as Super Psychics. After the Green Stone saga had played itself out, Andy had left the Midlands and returned to his original home of Essex. He set up an earlier version of Earthquest to see if it was possible to duplicate the kind of events that had happened around the Meonia group. He met a man named Bernard who soon demonstrated all the classic abilities of the Super Psychic.

I heard many accounts of Bernard’s prodigious talent. What really appealed to me was that he didn’t need any of the trappings of the Victorian medium or New Age channeler to get a result. Andy would meet up with him at a pub. They’d settle down with some beers and cigarettes and have a chat. As the conversation turned to esoteric matters, Bernard would begin to pick up information and start relaying it. A pub full of people and a juke-box didn’t make any difference. He didn’t even necessarily close his eyes. Andy would tape record or take written notes of each session.

To adequately convey the kind of information he produced I feel it’s necessary to give an extended example. On one evening, the subject turned to the Middle Ages. Bernard came up with 37 pieces of information in quick succession. They were all on a topic that had not been discussed before.

1) There is a medieval castle at a place called Coucy in France.
2) A family of the same name owned it.
3) Coucy was in an area called Picardy.
4) It’s not far from Paris.
5) The castle was constructed around the twelfth century.
6) It was built upon an earlier structure.
7) The land was once owned by Clovis, the French King.
8) It is large and positioned on a very significant strategic point.
9) It had five towers, four at the corners and one large central one.
10) Over the entrance to the castle was a base relief of a knight without armour fighting a lion.
11) In front of the entrance is a statue complex of four lions.
12) One of the lions is devouring a child.
13) Nearby is a standing cross.
14) A group of monks there performed a kind of ceremony there that involved circling the cross and then pouring the contents of a cup over the lions.
15) There is a complex of tunnels and chambers beneath the castle.
16) There is a central chamber beneath the central tower.
17) Thirty-seven steps lead down to the central chamber and three corridors lead away from it.
18) More steps lead up to the tower from the ground floor.
19) There is a large banqueting hall in the castle with a raised dias at one end.
20) Behind the dias are carved reliefs of the Nine Worthies (remember them from The Green Stone?)
21) Six of them are: Hector, Charlemagne, Alexander, Arthur, Godfrey de Bouillon, and Judas Maccabeus.
22) This hall contained battle standards to the left and right of the stage.
23) Servants with torches stood on either side of the hall during banquets.
24) There is also a smaller hall featuring female Worthies.
25) The banqueting hall was constructed during the fourteenth century.
26) Someone named Ingelram de Coucy had built it.
27) He built it to honour his wife.
28) Her name was Isabella and she came from a very important family.
29) Her family connected to previous questing work.
30) Bernard drew the family coat of arms and named the colours.
31) Ingelram de Coucy was tall, dark roundish face and bearded. Seemed a very powerful character.
32) He was strongly connected to the King, possibly an Ambassador.
33) The Germans occupied the castle during the war.
34) It was badly damaged then.
35) It is now just a ruin.
36) The Germans tried to locate treasure there.
37) Ingelram was the last of his dynasty.

The important thing about this kind of material is that it’s checkable. Andy’s later research revealed that the castle was built in the thirteenth century. Nothing could be found about the wartime German treasure hunt. Other than that, thirty five of the thirty seven points proved to be accurate. That’s a good batting average. Bernard was, like Frederick Bligh Bond, a suitably prepared vehicle. His strange experiences over the years had stimulated an interest in medieval history, heraldry and so on. This seemed to help an input of material that had never been present in his head in the first place. Of course, sceptics will simply never believe this. It would always be assumed that he had prior knowledge of the material.

The castle was only one of the topics covered that evening. A few minutes later, Bernard was pouring out the same quality of material about something else altogether. He’d been doing it every week for years. Direct Information Super Psychics can function that way. Compare this with the ramblings of most New Age channelers or even the successful psychic espionage of remote viewing experiments. The level of quality was outrageous. Bernard had made a major contribution to Andy’s Glastonbury Zodiac work. The saga of the Black Alchemist revealed his abilities functioning at their most intense level.

There was only one example of comparable psychism I was aware of. It was detailed in Trevor Ravenscrofts’ cult classic, The Spear of Destiny. The contents of this work, which deals at length with the alleged occultism of Hitler, are contentious to say the least. Large chunks of it have been rubbished over the years for various reasons. I’m aware of these controversies and they’re not relevant to my main concerns here.

The legend of the Spear of Destiny suggests that it is the very weapon that pierced the side of Christ on the cross. The Roman soldier responsible for this act supposedly held the fate of the world in his hand as his act prevented the legs of Christ from being broken to accelerate his death. If he had been thus injured it would have messed with a Jewish messianic prophecy telling about no bones being broken on the body of the chosen one. I wasn’t interested in whether or not that was really true. In order to believe that side of the story it would be necessary to fully endorse Christianity, to accept the Jesus drama as a unique world-redeeming event. I wasn’t ready to go that far.

What did seem plausible was that a spearhead believed to be that very artefact had indeed been in the possession of an impressive sequence of major historical game-players, at least from Charlemagne onwards, right through to Hitler. Somehow it had become magically spiritually powerful. That was the concept that really fascinated me. It seemed to serve as a potential portal to a kind of Time Spirit that could see history in its totality, the rise and fall of empires, monarchs, and messiahs. Extraordinary episodes in the inner life of the founder of Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner, and his follower Walter Johannes Stein had allegedly occurred in its physical proximity in a Vienna museum. This access to the Time Spirit or the Akashic records seemed to provoke the telling of previously hidden or neglected historical tales from a new perspective.

Stein is the main protagonist of Spear. His psychic awakening, as Ravenscroft recounts it, began in earnest when he was studying the famous Grail romance Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach. In a strange space between sleeping and waking, he found himself reciting words in the original old German dialect of its composition. Writing them down on waking, he was perplexed to discover their verbatim accuracy with the original text further on from where he had already read. This led him into a lifelong study of the Grail mysteries. A faculty of “Higher Memory” developed, whereby detailed visions of historical events unknown to him led to research that seemed to confirm their truth and unfold a coherent narrative. Being in the presence of the spear significantly moved the process along. Stein’s greatest achievement was his book The Ninth Century, which connected events of that time with the later composition and contents of the Grail romances.

A major aspect of this uncovering of the hidden spiritual dimension of the historical process was the tracing of strands of reincarnational identities across the millennia. The most dramatic example concerns Steins belief that Hitler had been one Llandulf of Capua, a notorious necromancer based in ninth century Sicily who had allegedly provided the model for the wicked sorcerer Klingsor in Parzival. According to Ravenscroft, Steiner and Stein also psychically picked up on hideous magical rites practised by Nazi occultists and tried to counteract them.

I cross-referenced what I’d read in Spear with the data I was now gathering concerning the Meonia saga. A huge historical narrative was being unfolded. It involved a mixture of famous and obscure figures in a spiritual drama that was working towards some kind of contemporary culmination. It had a sense of contending forces and high stakes. The modern Meonia players were conspicuously different from Steiners’ Anthroposophical circle though. I didn’t quite imagine Walter Johannes Stein getting fifteen cans of Guinness down his neck before a session of writing The Ninth Century. I rather think a jukebox might have disturbed Rudolf Steiners’ contemplations as well. What really blew my mind was realising that, in many ways, the Direct Information Psychism of the likes of Graham Phillips and Bernard was of a higher quality in terms of its minute historical details than what was recounted in Spear. It also wasn’t as flavoured by religious and metaphysical beliefs. The strong reincarnational theme was largely absent. Details of the occult workings of the opposition were more informed with credible knowledge and not as lurid. I pondered the two powerful “transmissions” in Spear and The Green Stone and wondered what guiding intelligence determined why and when such details were ready to release? What factors were involved in the selection of the human vehicles for this process?

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Cursing for Christ and Meta-Programming

During the creation of my ten-years-in-the-making autobiographical magical epic Avalonian Aeon an enormous amount of material simply has to be edited out. A number of interesting sections did not make it to the finished version. This 1989 snapshot is one of them. Only a few paragraphs introducing the newly forming psychic questing group of the time remained. I felt it was worth blogging up this original version as it records the bizarre events surrounding Andrew Collins promotion of his classic book The Black Alchemist and our interaction with Evangelical Christians which led to me discussing Crowley's Liber Astarte in a public lecture and then a group of us going to see a Billy Graham gig as a meta-programming experiment.I rather feel it is an educational and entertaining piece. Enjoy.


At the beginning of 1989 Andy Collins had begun to vigorously promote his self-published Black Alchemist. I could understand his concern to sell as many copies as possible as he had ten thousand of them in his flat and they took up quite a bit of space. Having worked as a journalist, he knew how to generate publicity. The book’s cover was a masterpiece. It was based on Salvador Dali’s famous Christ of St. John of the Cross. This iconic work, which had been known to produce strong emotions in people, depicted a crucified Christ in mid-air as seen from above. In Dali’s painting, the head is looking down. The version Andy commissioned from artist Rory Kee showed the same figure but with an upturned decidedly demonic face. We regularly went out fly-posting in South East Essex, using the image to advertise the book and associated lectures and events. It was no great surprise that some Christian groups weren’t very happy about it. Posters were defaced or removed. Andy’s public events were picketed. Local newspapers featured a long sequence of stories. Predictably enough, none of the vehement opponents of the book seemed to have actually read it. It was, after all, an account of a struggle against black magic. I had a feeling of familiarity about all this. It was territory I knew only too well from the burning squirrels episode.

When Andy put on a series of “Occult all-dayers” around Essex, I sometimes sat outside and engaged praying pickets in conversation to find out where their heads were at. I found some of the opinions they expressed to be a bit distressing. Apparently, the Ethiopian famine victims deserved their fate because they had rejected Christianity. Greenpeace was a front for Satanism because it worshipped the Earth in the manner of paganism. It didn’t matter if the world was poisoned and destroyed because the realm of the flesh is evil. And so on. These characters weren’t exactly into the creation spirituality of hip theologian Matthew Fox.

As Andy got more and more publicity, some of the manifestations of the “Christians” became increasingly sinister. An all-dayer was scheduled for a hotel function room. The venue received an anonymous phone call warning that it would be fire bombed if the event went ahead. Understandably, they cancelled the booking. Andy decided to move the event outdoors to Shenfield Common. I accompanied him one Sunday afternoon to find a large audience waiting. The local council however, had invoked some obscure byelaw and police were waiting to tell Andy he would be arrested if he began speaking! We were escorted away by them to make we sure we left town.

As the year went on, a group of regulars began turning up for all of Andy’s events and becoming part of Earthquest. Already in place was Alex Langstone, who had known Andy for a number of years and been part of an earlier Earthquest group. He had been a clubbing New Romantic Gothic mutant in the early eighties and was into wicca, Dion Fortune and Celtic Christianity. John Horrigan and his wife Kerry appeared at the start of 1989. John was a unique individual; an arm wrestling, rock climbing, shooting and fishing, all-purpose action-man ex-paratrooper and Freemason, to name just a few of his talents. He drank in one of the hardest pubs in Southend. It wasn’t long before he became an indispensable member of the group and began to show remarkable psychic abilities.

Kerry brought along her sister Lisa Mundy as well. They were both above-average psychics. Their childhood had been a bit unusual, in as much as the family home in a council flat in London could have been renamed Amytville. A catalogue of weirdness became normal. The foot of a bed levitated. A typewriter’s keys worked independently of any human agency (unfortunately there was no paper in it). There had been a spooky occasion when their father had been knocked over by an invisible force. He had spoken of his own childhood experiences of a poltergeist that had moved furniture into impossible positions. My own favourite of the spooky tales concerned the girls’ bedroom wallpaper. It displayed pictures of circus clowns. Sometimes it emanated unpleasant odours. Both sisters had recurring “am I dreaming or not?” experiences where a clown procession left the wallpaper to march around the room in a macabre manner. Grandmother told of seeing faeries when a child. Lisa and Kerry spoke of further joint memories that couldn’t be differentiated from a dream, when nan had spoken of matters ufological to them and something had been seen in the sky through a window, something they later recalled as having somehow “landed”.

Lisa’s partner Karl Dawkins also later joined us. He was another hard-man with a surprising psychic sensitivity. As this unusual collection of people assembled, none of us could remotely imagine what we were letting ourselves in for. For the time being, the assimilation of huge amounts of information against the backdrop of black questing (see Andy’s book The Second Coming for details) and Christian hostility was enough to be going on with.

There were some bizarrely humorous moments in all the weirdness. Andy was not in the phone directory and asked local newspapers not to reveal his address when writing about him. One piece breached this agreement and named the street where he lived. It soon became apparent why he was justified in wanting such secrecy. The details were unexpected. One weekend, I was on the door at an all-day event when a perplexed looking gentleman appeared asking to speak to Andy. It turned out that his name was also Andrew Collins and he lived in the same road. He was not ex-directory. Since the newspaper article appeared he had regularly come home from work to discover pages from the Bible pinned to his front door. They tended to feature fierce smiting and smoting episodes highlighted in red along with annotations suggestive of such a fate awaiting Andy. A further article had to follow to clear the matter up.

It was at this time that we came to hear of the disturbing practice of “cursing for Christ”. Some intense evangelical characters have been known to gather together and pray for the complete destruction of particular “enemies” of Christ. They will recite Old Testament passages where Yahweh gets a bit of a strop on, and then pray that all of that and a good dose of the Book of Revelation lands on the head of the perceived evildoer. This seemed like a long way from the Sermon on the Mount that I had once enjoyed studying in great depth at sixth-form-college and then had revitalised by Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and JG Bennett.

In early June, by way of a response to such a climate, I felt inspired to give a lecture on Crowley to the Earthquest group. It was a way of forcing myself to coherently summarise the material I’d assimilated. It would also encourage me to live out what I was advocating. I put it all within the framework of the eight circuits of Leary and Wilson, emphasising the importance of the psychological games and exercises.

When talking about the meta-programming circuit, I outlined one of my favourite Crowley strategies. It can be found in Liber Astarte, part of the magnum opus, Magick. Find a deity, a god/goddess or even a living guru, and cultivate a love bond. Fill your life up in every possible way with this figure. Do regular rituals to invoke it. Be totally one pointed. Devote yourself to it. Make shrines in your home. Put up pictures. Something will happen, one way or another. Catholics are like this with Jesus and Mary. The end result may be a stunning vision or experience. To most people that’s the result. If a Catholic sees JC or the BVM then that’s their whole life sorted. Not so Crowley and Robert Anton Wilson. The minute you get a result, stop. Choose another deity. Start again until a result comes and then again. After a while you find out things about how the mind works with archetypes of natural forces. That’s not to say there’s no “external” reality involved but it teaches one to be philosophical.

At that time the famous American evangelist Billy Graham was involved in a massively publicised British tour. Someone suggested putting the ideas to a practical test. Why not go to one of his gigs and suspend all judgement? Would it be possible to enter into the vibe of it and get some kind of result? At the end of his preaching he called on those people who felt the call to come down to the front and pray together with members of his team. It wasn’t exactly unknown that he had plants in the audience who would start moving to encourage others. That didn’t matter as far as I was concerned. What if we went along with them and got into a scrum-down with the born-agains, praying to Jesus, and meaning it? Could we do it? The whole thing would emphatically not be a piss-take. It would be an attempt to enter that reality. A few people were up for it.

It was a time when further global omens of change hung in the air as the potent iconic image of a young Chinese man standing in front of a tank dominated the psychic airwaves of the first part of the month. Graham’s nearest gig to us was at the hallowed shrine of Upton Park, home of West Ham United Football Club. A surprisingly high percentage of the hardcore questing group were supporters of the Hammers, myself included. If any sociologists want to try and work out some theories about that, I’d be most interested to see them. On Thursday June 15th, a party of us travelled down by train. As we entered Upton Park, I was inevitably drawn into a reality-check on the state of my life. On the corresponding Thursday in 1981, I’d been busted in Salisbury. If I’d been told by some mysterious voice, whilst driving along in the police car, that I’d be seeing Billy Graham at Upton Park in eight years time, and that Aleister Crowley would be the reason, I would have been somewhat perplexed.

It was a venue accustomed to enthusiastic singing. The sound of the Hammers anthem, I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles had filled the air there on innumerable occasions, along with that plaintive folk classic, You’re Gonna get your Fucking Heads Kicked in. The meeting began with a sustained dose of hymn singing. Song-sheets were in circulation and we soon joined in. It has to be said that modern hymns are crap. I’m sorry, they just are. Those old Victorian tunes could stir the blood. Okay, I was only about seven when I used to sing them at school, and I knew nothing of the Inquisition and the witch burnings then, but some of them can still get me going. Unfortunately none of the old corkers were in evidence. We were forced to endure a programme of mediocre dirges that gave the impression of having been composed by a committee of happy-clappy dorks.

Eventually the main man arrived. Billy Graham had played to huge crowds in Britain in the fifties. By 1989 he was getting on a bit but still had a chiselled Charlton Heston type gravitas about him. It was his Revelation tour. Despite the topic being one of the most intense and dangerous works in the world and us being involved in a potentially apocalypse linked quest, no strong feelings of interest and engagement arose within me. That was disappointing. I had actually quite looked forward to him warping my head out. I was able to get far more into the Revelation vibe by listening to Aphrodite’s Child’s masterpiece album 666 in the dark under the influence of drugs.

Time passed. Eventually the big moment came; the surge forward. There we were, me, Andy, Alex, John, Kerry, Lisa and Karl, along with some other Earthquest regulars, gathered in small scrum-downs, praying with the born-agains. Did we invite Jesus into our life? Yes. We got given a free copy of the gospel of Luke and some other promo stuff. We gave out names and addresses. John even went so far as to later allow one of them into his home. What happened as a result of all this? It’s difficult to separate one escapade from another. A cumulative effect was building though. We hardly had time to think about it. Two days later, most of the group were in Glastonbury.