The Origins of Panspermia

This is a guest blog by Christian Orlic first published on January 9, 2013. (Edited by Toney Brooks)

panspermiaThe Earth is beaming with life and yet there is no consensus on how life arose or what life is. The origin of life is “one of the great unsolved mysteries of science” (Crick, F.Life Itself). While there is no accepted definition of life, most of us (humans) can easily discriminate the living from the non-living (Iris Fry’s Book is a good primer on ideas regarding the origins of life). Questions about the origin of life became more prevalent after Pasteur and others showed that life did not arise spontaneously.

The discovery that the raw components of life are present throughout the universe suggests that life could exist elsewhere, and that the origin of life as we know it may have depended on materials that arrived on Earth via inter-stellar travel. Some scientists have speculated that life itself originated elsewhere and made its way to earth.

In 2012 a movie called Prometheus was released. In this stunning movie human scholars find similarities between archaeological sites from ancient civilizations separated by centuries have drawn the same pictogram. The archaeologists conclude that the pictogram must be a map, an invitation, from the “engineers” who not only designed us but have intervened in our affairs. The movie is set in 2093 and researchers decide to go and find them in a quest to further understand the origins of mankind. Despite its several and severe scientific flaws, Prometheus is an interesting film because it addresses that ever mysterious quest to unveil not only how we came to be but how life began.

mars roverLife in space has been making the news, and on November 20th 2012, NPR reported that NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover had gathered important data. Mars holds a special place in our world. The principal Mars’ rover investigator, John Grotzinger claimed “This data is gonna be one for the history books. It’s looking really good.” He refused to give any more details because his team had to confirm their findings. In general, this is good practice because scientists want to avoid finding superfluous results and correlations; however, in this case, it heightened suspicion.

Shortly thereafter NASA tried to downplay Grotzinger’s statements, pointing out that it was the mission which was historic rather than a specific finding. Despite this backtracking some speculated that organic compounds had been found, some claimed that it was life that had been discovered. On December 3rd NASA confirmed, Curiosity had found Organic compounds but it was uncertain whether they were indigenous to Mars (or had been brought by Curiosity).

Most of the speculation had suggested that organic compounds were the “historical finding.” These are also important because they confirm that the stuff of life, the raw materials, are far more common than originally thought (as corroborated by the discovery of signs of water and organic molecules in mercury), or the finding of organic molecules in meteorites. Like the discovery of extremophiles which showed that once life got started it could be found in unexpected places; the advances in the search for extraterrestrial life suggest that the stuff of life, and hence life, could be commonly found throughout the universe.

Francis Crick (who co-discovered the structure of DNA with James Watson) and Leslie Orgel once proposed that life on Earth was the result of a deliberate infection, designed by aliens who had purposely fled mother nature’s seed to a new home in the sun. Crick repeatedly addressed the question of the origin of life between 1971 and 1988 (I am currently working on a historical study of Crick and Orgel’s theory of Directed Panspermia and its reception).

crick-and-orgelCrick and Orgel proposed their Directed Panspermia theory at a conference on Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence, organized by Carl Sagan and held at the Byuraka Observatory in Soviet Armenia in 1971. This theory which they described as an “highly unorthodox proposal” and “bold speculation” was presented as a plausible scientific hypothesis. Two years after the conference they published an article in Icarus on 1973.

Crick and Orgel were careful to point out that Directed Panspermia was not a certainty, but rather a plausible alternative that ought to be taken seriously. In the paper Crick and Orgel recognized that they “do not have any strong arguments of this kind, but there are two weak facts that could be relevant”. The 1973 paper focuses on the universality of the genetic code and the role that molybdenum plays in living organisms (I am likewise working on a history of molybdenum and the origins of life) which is more than one would expected given the abundance of molybdenum on the earth’s crust.

Crick and Orgel used the universality of the genetic code to support the theory of directed panspermia because if life had originated multiple times or evolved from a simpler genetic code one could expect living things to use a slew of genetic codes. Further, if there was only one code, Crick and Orgel reasoned that as organisms evolved they should evolve to use the same codons to code for different amino acids.

Molybdenum_crystaline_fragment_and_1cm3_cubeTheir most convincing argument was the importance of molybdenum in organic processes and its relative scarcity on Earth. They had argued that living organisms should bear the stamp of the environment in which they originated. Organisms, Crick and Orgel held, would be unlikely to develop a dependency on elements that were extremely rare as organisms that relied on elements which were more abundant would be favored by selection. An organisms that was able to substitute the rare element for one which has similar biochemical properties but is more frequent would have a clear advantage.

Crick and Orgel pointed out the “anomalous abundance of molybdenum” in organisms made it possible that life arose in an environment rich in molybdenum. The abundance of molybdenum in living organisms suggested that life started in a molybdenum rich environment and they found that the Earth is not sufficiently rich in molybdenum (this was later challenged as the amount of molybdenum found in the ocean is higher than in the Earth’s crust). Thus, they suggest that this difficulty could be resolved if life began in a molybdenum rich environment. Likewise, the fact that all organisms use the same codons for the same amino acids could be explained if life had arisen elsewhere and the organisms which were used to infect lifeless planets shared a language.

Crick and Orgel also suggest that the universe is sufficiently old that other intelligent civilizations could had arisen elsewhere. One of these other intelligent civilizations could have built a spaceship and seeded the universe with life. One can easily imagine a not too distant future where humans accept that our planet and all that lives within it will perish. In the unlikelihood that this is the only planet that harbors life in the universe its demise would leave a lifeless universe.

This is an illustration showing the cosmic epochs of the Universe.

The demise of our kind is hard enough to accept but the prospect of a lifeless universe, a universe that could never come to know itself, a universe so grand and yet with no one to admire it or even dwell in it could be too much to bear. In order to save our kind we can envision our zealous and hard working descendants endeavoring to colonize other worlds (by sending microbes through interstellar journeys). Microorganisms are easier to transport and could more readily adapt to new conditions; sending larger organisms would be too difficult (Crick and Orgel pointed out).

The origins of life remains an unresolved mystery. I argue that Crick and Orgel’s paper was meant both as a serious and plausible scientific alternative and as a means to criticize concurrent origins of life. Considering the life arose elsewhere could also free scientists studying the origin of life from trying to imitate the alleged conditions of a pre-biotic Earth.

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Persona

anima_and_animus_by_pockacho-I don’t want this piece to devolve into dry psychological theory, so I chose this lovely art by Madison Simpson to spruce it up. She goes by the persona Pockacho on Deviant Art and this piece is titled Anima and Animus.

The Anima, as you probably know, is the unconscious female aspect of Self inherent in men. Likewise, the Animus is the male aspect in women. Both are archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, upon which Chrysalis Tarot is based.

In other words, when we use Chrysalis, we communicate with other Collective Unconscious archetypes via these two. Chrysalis, somewhat intentionally, engenders this communication by redefining the unhelpful reputation tarot has acquired over the years away from a woo-woo contrivance akin to a Captain Midnight Decoding Ring toward honest, forthright, fun conversations with the Unseen World. Carl Jung, who defined the Collective Unconscious, calls such conversations active imagination. They are essential to enlightenment (self-awareness).

The Anima and Animus represent the persona, the public masks we wear when interacting with others; we see ourselves one way, others see us differently. Together, these two archetypal symbols, along with the everpresent shape-shifting shadow, formulate the archetype of Self.

Chrysalis, as I noted in a previous blog, was designed to increase self-awareness. Here’s an example of why that’s important.

patton-1970-george-c-scott-sicilyIn the movie Patton, the famous general’s aide (far right) reminded Patton that his subordinates (staff), who’d just been severely scolded by him, often did not know if he was acting or if he was serious. Patton replied, “It’s not important for them to know,  it’s only important for me to know.”

Patton was a great general, one of America’s greatest, for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that he was keenly self-aware: he held in his consciousness a clear demarcation between his persona and his true Self – a key to attaining one’s destiny (self-actualization).

Self-awareness is a rare commodity in today’s world. That’s because self-awareness creates existential anxiety, sometimes called the “trauma of non-being.” Non-being implies we no longer choose to hide behind the comfy mask(s) of persona.

15-bella-rosaOur politically correct pop-culture, as well as pop-psychology itself, promote self-esteem rather than self-knowledge. We are encouraged to avoid “negative” thoughts in favor of a delusional “feel good paradigm,” as author Neel Burton phrases it.

He adds, ” Facing up to non-being can bring a sense of calm, freedom, even nobility and—yes—it can also bring insecurity, loneliness, responsibility, and consequently anxiety. But far from being pathological, this anxiety is a sign of health, strength, and courage.”

Self-aware reality vs. self-deceptive delusion.

© Toney Brooks, 2018

Making the Unconscious Conscious

PapaLegba appThe main goal of Chrysalis is increased self-awareness. You’ve heard many times assurances that “all the answers are already inside us.” We just have to coax them out. Tarot is one of many modalities people employ to achieve this highly desirable goal.

Increased self-awareness = spiritual growth and higher consciousness. This is one reason Chrysalis is widely recognized as a “spiritual deck” – one that promotes “active imagination.”

I recently ran across a piece that speaks eloquently to the quest of making the unconscious conscious and I would like to share it. The author is Doug Hilton, a frequent contributor to Quora.

To the question of how to make the unconscious conscious Doug writes:

The unconscious does it for you. We are the subconscious/unconscious, which does the data processing, and has no awareness.

What is conscious? It helps to direct our senses, by constantly providing feedback to the subconscious.

Being able to remember the exact sequence of events, cause and effect, is vital to survival. In theory, every bit of long-term memory has a sequence code, or something that performs the same function. If you are not consciously aware of something, then it cannot have a sequence code, and cannot be stored long-term. That includes thoughts, decisions, everything ever imagined, and data from out senses.

How we cope, with an ever-changing world? We make predictions, in order to make choices.

How do we evaluate all things, in order to make choices? Emotional value, which is determined by a combination of our genes, knowledge, experience, the environment, our emotional and physical state, and more. Google brain chemical reward. To a great extent, these chemicals determine human behavior, by determining emotional values.

In order to make predictions, the subconscious must run simulations for every choice. That includes every physical movement. It calculates the best outcome (highest emotional value), or least negative outcome (pain, fear, shame, humiliation….etc), and decides. The decision is passed on to conscious. At times, other choices are included, which gives the illusion, that the conscious is making the decision.

The subconscious is capable of mixing and matches a million bits of memory. Imagination needs regular exercise. Search the web for subjects, that excite your brain, because you will remember more details.

Absorb as much information, as you can. You will eventually be able to ask intelligent questions. If you can’t find the answers, then press your brain. If possible, become obsessed, with discovering the answers. They should be the first thing on your mind, when you wake, and the last, before falling asleep.

Your brain will eventually deliver something. If you continue pressing it, your imagination will be “on” full time. You’ll have inspired thoughts, inspired dreams, and inspired questions. You’ll see connections, that others miss.

jung unconscious
© Toney Brooks, 2018

The Egregore

egregore_marki_by_magbhitu-d5b2k4h
John Haverkamp, for Deviant Art

The Egregore is often (incorrectly) referred to as an occult spirit, but in fact it’s simply another archetype, albeit a negative one. Chrysalis Tarot itself features only positive archetypes, but this distinctly evil fellow warrants a footnote because ‘praemonitus, praemunitus‘ – forewarned is forearmed.

Like people, archetypes have both positive and negative aspects; negative archetypes seek reflexive control¹ of the human condition. Kali, perhaps the most gloomy and least understood archetype in Chrysalis, for example, is a Hindu mother goddess of creative destruction. We therefore can assert that the Egregore has affinity with Kali’s more negative, destructive aspects. In doing so we can more easily fit the evil Egregore into the Chrysalis schema.

We often hear talk of spiritual warfare – the forces of light versus the forces of darkness; angels versus demons and so forth as an existential reality. This is a much favored subject in church sermons. While spiritual warfare may be real enough, the battles are fought not in the heavens but in the hearts and minds of everyday people.

Remember, we are all connected to each other and to all archetypal cosmic databases. For better or worse archetypal energy influences our lives on a daily basis.

martha-and-mary-william-hole

One of the recurring tenets of Chrysalis Tarot encourages us to listen to our own inner voice (Divine Child), which is always tranquil, rather than to a multitude of voices that are anything but tranquil – “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things.” (Luke 10:38-42) In the Gospel account, distracted Martha busily scurries about minding household chores while her sister Mary sits contemplatively at the feet of Jesus. Whether you’re a believer or not, there is great wisdom in this Biblical vignette.

Today, many political leaders encourage divisiveness, which they term “resistance.” It seems they actually want us to be “anxious and troubled by many things” and always at each other’s throats. They along with their lap-dog media (read: propaganda) outlets actively promote anger, discord and confrontation. They engender fear, the Egregore’s most important weapon: above all else, the Egregore is an archetype of fear mongering.

So what exactly are the other attributes of the Egregore entity? What is this grotesque looking archetype really about and why is he even important? In addition to fear mongering, the Egregore is the preeminent archetype of Group Think or Group Mind. When people are fearful they are easily controlled and manipulated; they think what they’re led to think by the Egregore’s unwitting minions. Lenin called these minions “Useful Idiots.”

useful idiot

It’s mostly these unwitting followers of the Egregore who are anesthetized by his powerful energy and heavy-handed tactics. They are stripped of all inclination and ability to hear their own “inner voice” because the Group Voice is so dominant; it becomes their god. It demands strict obedience (orthodoxy) and thereby drowns out tranquility!

To be forearmed against Group Think – and the Egregore – is to be willing and able to think for yourself – to think critically for yourself and eschew, or at least question, all dogma whether political or religious. To endure a little cognitive dissonance², if only for a little while. Anyone who marches in lockstep with the Egregore is not even capable of true enlightenment, although they might consider themselves the most enlightened beings among us (because that’s what they’re told).

The first step in becoming truly awakened – woke in urban parlance – is to renounce the Egregore’s group think in all its fetid forms. Strive to be like Mary (thoughtful) and not like Martha (anxious). Choose tranquility and critical thinking.

 

¹ Reflexive control is a “uniquely Russian” concept based on maskirovka, an old Soviet notion in which one “conveys to an opponent specifically prepared information to incline him/her to voluntarily make the predetermined decision desired by the initiator of the action”

² In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. This discomfort is triggered by a situation in which a belief of a person clashes with new evidence perceived by that person.

Addendum: A very interesting article on how global elites use black magic rituals to conjure up more power is here.

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From the Chrysalis Tarot App

© Toney Brooks, 2018

Hear What St. Paul Saith

StPaulInPrison
“St Paul in Prison” by Lars Justinen

A Chrysalis fan once asked, “Is Chrysalis anti-Catholic?”

The official Chrysalis position on this question is that our deck works perfectly well alongside all religious beliefs; it prefers no particular religion to another. We are, however, decidedly anti-dogma, which I’ll go on to explain.

However, the church’s position on tarot is worth noting: The Catholic church, as well as Christian fundamentalism in general, condemn not only Chrysalis, but all forms of what they pejoratively term divination or, even worse, New Age. The church has always feared what it fails to understand and then demonized it. But our minds are not mired in 15th century thought, are they? They shouldn’t be.

Chrysalis is tarot designed to help its users fulfill their personal destiny. Jung called it individuation. The Buddha called it the process of becoming. In other words, Chrysalis teaches how to listen to one’s Higher Self, which itself is divine. You are not able to accomplish this unless you can think critically for yourself, trust your inspiration and inner voice, develop your innate intuitive talents and reassess all dogma. Dogma, whether religious, political or cultural, instructs you specifically WHAT to believe; indeed, what you MUST believe in order to be a good ______ (e.g. Catholic, liberal, useful idiot).

5 - Divine ChildThere can be no enlightenment – no fulfillment of personal destiny – unless one refuses to become a marionette to some self-serving dogma. As Einstein said, “Question everything.” Dogma stifles free thought by depicting it as a bad thing. Dogma considers itself beyond question.

In the spiritual quest to align personal consciousness with Higher Self (or God, the gods or whatever else you wish to name that unseen metaphysical reality that is greater than the whole), certain religious doctrine, as opposed to dogma, can inform the spiritual journey. For example, Paul wrote to the Philippians (2:13) that God gives us the “desire and the accomplishment.” This is a beautiful spiritual lesson that implies several things.

First, that we must be our own spiritual directors: We ourselves, not priest, hierophant or politician, must intuit, interpret and discern the manifest desire that hails from beyond. This is the lesson of the Chrysalis Divine Child, which abides in us all. Second, we must sublimate the personal ego and surrender it so to be guided in the accomplishment. Paul’s ultimate teaching here is about accepting personal responsibility and exercising free will in the quest for spiritual growth and then NEVER relinquishing it, lest we lock up our minds with debilitating chains of weighty dogma.

Paul was literally chained to a member of the Roman Praetorian Guard for all hours of the day while imprisoned in his quarters awaiting a trial that, according to Christian tradition, led to his eventual execution – in this case in point, to his own personal destiny. Paul wrote his famous letter to friends in Philippi from prison, as well as letters to the Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon.

miro
Actually, the art pictured above is Joan Miro’s “Constellation Awakening at Dawn” (1941) not “Ciphers and Constellations in Love with a Woman” as stated in the graphic (also 1941).

© Toney Brooks, 2018

Mysticism II

butterfly-effectThe Butterfly Effect refers implicitly to chaos theory, although the phrase has become a popular metaphor. Basically, chaos theory states that small perturbations, such as a butterfly flapping its wings, can produce a significantly larger effect somewhere down the linear road of time.

While there may be no discernible patterns in a chaotic system, scientists have been able to squeeze predictions from chaos by using machine-learning algorithms, a “field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without having been explicitly programmed,” i.e. artificial intelligence. The term machine learning was coined in 1959 by one of the pioneers in artificial intelligence, Arthur Samuel.

“It is not the world that is mysterious. Rather it is the way we view it that makes it mysterious,” is a quote from George Sugihara, a theoretical biologist who has applied machine learning to the chaotic behavior of financial markets. You could call Sugihara a secular (non-religious) mystic like Edgar Cayce and many others. A mystic is someone who practices the apprehension of truth beyond the intellect, e.g. a psychic or shaman.

As I noted in the previous blog, the West never developed a strong tradition of mysticism because the Church lassoed the practice and branded it with a narrow, self-serving definition. Anything outside that definition was heresy. In religious-speak, mysticism meant “becoming holy” or attaining “Divine union,” which were the only acceptable means of predicting the future (divination, prophecy). That’s why religion has always frowned on fortune-telling, tarot and other avenues of divination as “work of the devil,” a thoroughly medieval and preposterously childish notion.

roads

To paraphrase Doc Brown’s famous quip in Back to the Future, “Where mystics go, we don’t need roads.” All information about the future now present in any chaotic system, such as our universe, is also available to the human mind’s own algorithm (Third Eye), although machine learning may be more efficient. That’s because most human minds are laced with biases, hopes, illusions, fears and dogmas that interfere with logic, reason and clear thinking. However, we humans are better than machines at complex pattern recognition, which fuels our unique intuition and perspicacity.

The human mind’s algorithm is capable of predicting chaos well into the future (clairvoyance). Although we might still think mostly in terms of classical causation (A→B→C), causation in the quantum world is often an illusion. We live in an indeterminate universe – some stuff just happens. While mystics can clearly discern future eventualities, and even prophecize them, the precise when of such events cannot be known. There are far too many variables, such as human free will. Yet mystics do perceive things others fail to see.

C58If you insist that you live in a deterministic universe and that someone somewhere up in the sky is pulling all the strings, you may be in for a rude awakening. Your worldview of a clockwork universe will need to shift dramatically if you are to gain any hope whatsoever of coping with the enormous changes that lie in the offing.

The gentleman at the left is Aeolus, master of the Four Winds, which symbolize the future. We placed him on the  Chrysalis Tarot companion book cover to underscore the necessity for perseverance during difficult times, especially times of change, the most difficult of all.

A helpful book is Path of the Novice Mystic, by Paul Dunion. Its theme is secular mysticism. Anyone can become a mystic, and should.

© Toney Brooks

Mysticism I

002-felicien-rops-the temptation of st anthony

I thought I’d begin a series of blogs about mysticism since the subject is vitally important to understanding almost all areas of anomalous psychology, which we often term the paranormal. It’s been a subject of great interest to me personally for many, many years.

First a word about the painting. It’s titled Temptation of St. Anthony by Felicien Rops (1878). I feature it in this opening piece about mysticism because of its archetypal significance to tarot. It invites contemplation. Let us consider this painting an exemplar of the archetype of repression, the primary mechanism the ego uses to ward off danger. The woman who has replaced Christ on the cross symbolizes the nature of Anthony’s temptation, which horrifies him. The pig, by the way, is one of St. Anthony’s attributes, his totem or spirit animal.

I should also mention that this particular St. Anthony is St. Anthony the Abbot, the Father of Monasticism. If you studied theology, you remember him as one of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, the ascetic monks and hermits who lived in the Egyptian desert in the third and fourth centuries. That’s significant because all mystics are necessarily reclusive, albeit these days not to such extreme degrees. All tarot enthusiasts are either mystics in some stage of spiritual development or frauds.

After Christianity hitched its wagon to Greek philosophy, it was never able to develop a strong tradition of mysticism – a dialog with the Otherworld. That’s because the word theoria in Greek means contemplation (meditation), a subjective process, whereas in the West the concept morphed into theory, something objective to be analyzed, measured and defined.

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Chrysalis Tarot art by Holly Sierra.

Inspiration we receive from the Otherworld, and tarot, should be contemplated. This may be why tarot shares far more in common with feathery Eastern thought and shamanic philosophies (Celtic, African, First Nations) than with weighty dogmatic monotheism.

One of Chrysalis’ built-in goals is to assist you in raising repressed and suppressed fears and memories into consciousness. In other words, Jungian shadow work. Becoming self-aware of your unconscious mind, by definition, will raise all kinds of flotsam and jetsam to consciousness. This act of will alone removes 99% of mind-clutter that skews effective communication with the Otherworld.

Rops penned these words about his painting, “Jupiter and Jesus did not carry off eternal Wisdom, nor Venus and Mary eternal Beauty! Even if the Gods are gone, Woman remains. The love of Woman remains and with it the abounding love of Life.”

© Toney Brooks

“Real Magic” with Dr. Dean Radin

(The following article first appeared in Psychology Today)

ions2

Dean Radin, Ph.D., has pursued the most mind-boggling fringes of science – ESP, telepathy and other wonders – earnestly and with excellence for decades. He is the chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (link is external) (IONS) in Petaluma, CA, a next-level research and educational organization founded by the late astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell. Dr. Radin also worked on the United States government’s top secret psychic espionage program known as Stargate.

His new book, Real Magic (link is external) (Harmony, April 10), is a triumph of an open mind over limitations. As his publisher points out – what was magic two thousand years ago is scientific fact today. No less than Brian Josephson, Nobel Laureate in Physics and Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge calls it,  “A thought-provoking book. The author makes a convincing case for the reality and significance of magic.”

His publisher states: “Radin has spent the last forty years conducting controlled experiments that demonstrate that thoughts are things, that we can sense others’ emotions and intentions from a distance, that intuition is more powerful than we thought, and that we can tap into the power of intention (think The Secret, only on a more realistic and scientific level). These dormant powers can help us to lead more interesting and fulfilling lives. ”

The book begins with a history of magic, continues on to a review of the scientific evidence for it and concludes that magic will play a key role in frontiers of science.

And he is a synesthete. This is our (edited) Q & A:

real magic

Please tell me about your new book.

DR: The unique aspect of Real Magic, which may end up in the occult, metaphysical or religious section of most bookstores, is that it’s really about science, and in particular what happens when science looks at the full nature of reality, including unusual subjective experience and consciousness. Because I want to promote it as a science book, I sought endorsements from my scientific colleagues, so I’m very grateful that it has been endorsed by two Nobel Laureates, a president of the American Statistical Association, a program director from the National Science Foundation, and etc. I could have asked historians, notables in the human potential arena, and ceremonial magicians for endorsements. But there are plenty of books available from those angles. This one is different.

Can you tell me about your early experiences with synesthesia? What forms did you have? When did you notice it?

DR: I didn’t realize that tuning my violin strings according to their colors was unusual. The E string was a clean silver, A was ​a pleasant blue, D was a rich orange, and G was an earthy green. When the string was at the right pitch, the color also carried a feeling tone, hence terms like clean, pleasant, rich, and earthy. I think I was always aware of this, but I noticed it as a “thing” when I learned in my late teens that not everyone experienced sounds this way. This combined sound-color-feeling sense was not always welcome. I recall practicing my violin one day and becoming aware of something intrusive and “off.” I tracked that feeling to my mother, who was in a room on the other side of house, quietly humming to herself. The just barely audible humming, blocked by multiple walls and closed doors, felt so “loud” to me that I couldn’t practice. To this day if I’m listening to music and there’s other music or just a rhythm beat playing somewhere else, even very far away, it drives me to distraction.

Do you think having synesthesia when you were young “opened you up” to unexpected experiences? 

DR: No, because I don’t recall having any of the classic psychic experiences​ when I was young, and nor did anyone else in my family. In hindsight, I suppose I was highly sensitive and empathic (as many young children are), but not in a way that today I would call psychic. I was attracted to parapsychology mainly out of curiosity. I was always curious about everything, and I’ve never found anything more curious than phenomena like psychic phenomena because they tell us that something about our common sense understanding of reality is missing something important. Of course, this is also what mystics have been trying to tell us throughout history, so I’ve learned to pay close attention to that literature as well.

Are we at a crossroads in science? Does your new book signal the death of materialism?

DR: Science is always advancing into new territories, so what I’m proposing in Real Magic is just part of that evolution. Today’s version of materialism is still quite robust, and it will likely remain so for a long time because it’s very effective for learning about certain objective aspects of reality. But materialism doesn’t cover the whole territory, and that’s where we’re seeing rising interest in expanding our scientific worldview to embrace what philosophers have called idealism.

Real Magic explores the challenges of fitting psychic, mystical, and magical experiences into the scientific worldview (which is only a few hundred years old) by carefully considering the wisdom of the esoteric traditions (which are many thousands of years old). It’s in that ancient lore, most of which is still vibrantly alive today, where we find clues about the next big advancements in science. Those advancements will entail a change in our basic assumptions about reality. Consciousness will be placed front and center, rather than relegated to the far fringe as a meaningless epiphenomenon, which until recently has been a basic tenet of academic psychology and the neurosciences.

Dr. Radin has conducted research at AT&T Bell Labs, Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, and SRI International. He is also the author or coauthor of over 250 technical and popular articles, three dozen book chapters, and three books including the best-selling The Conscious Universe (HarperOne, 1997), Entangled Minds (Simon & Schuster, 2006), and the 2014 Silver Nautilus Book Award winner, SUPERNORMAL (Random House, 2013).

Tarot and the All Seeing Eye

3rd eyeThe engraving pictured above is familiar to most everyone but few know what it’s about. Titled “The Flammarion Engraving,” the artist is unknown, but most likely was Camille Flammarion himself; the art was for a book he published in 1888. It depicts a missionary (a seeker of truth) who unexpectedly discovers where Earth and Heaven meet. More precisely, he came upon the liminal space (threshold) between them. That’s the stated objective of Chrysalis Tarot’s Papa Legba: to aid you in your discovery of liminality.

This blog is the third and final piece in a series about how tarot works. Many (quite wrongly) believe that tarot is something to be taught; that it is simply another decoding methodology, in this instance of randomly dealt cards. “This means that and if it’s next to that, then it means this and if it’s upside down, well then it means something entirely different.” Put bluntly, that’s just utter nonsense. It is, however, nonsense that quite a number of people successfully have turned into a profitable cottage industry constructed upon the twin pillars of medieval superstition and self-serving esoterica.

As long as tarot is identified primarily with woo-woo fortune-telling rather than with spiritual growth, it will never (and should never) earn anyone’s respect.

awaken-open-your-third-eye-and-see

This is not to suggest that tarot doesn’t work – it most certainly does, as we all know. We suggest only that this is not the way tarot works and that true cartomancy, as opposed to woo-woo fortune-telling, is not comparable to, say, a Captain Midnight Decoding Ring. Not in the least! True cartomancy involves psychical communication with an unseen realm.

To glean meaning from tarot – valuable, useful, spiritually nourishing meaning – you first need to develop your innate intuitive skills and sow a fertile field for human imagination. You must, like Flammarion’s awestruck missionary, peer through the firmament that separates the seen from the unseen, the finite from the infinite, the known from the unknown, and become truly awe inspired.

We accomplish such an awakening not by consorting with rote definitions and fanciful gimmicks but by raising our Third Eye into consciousness and trusting our inner voice; by allowing ourselves to embark upon an astral journey like the lady pictured above and by contemplating energy patterns (chakras) that twist around the backbone of our being like a coiled snake – kundalini energy, which is female. The Third Eye is also known as the sixth chakra or indigo chakra. A Third Eye mandala is pictured below between two Chrysalis cards that invoke Third Eye symbolism.

Tarot employs what we might call speculative metaphysics or meta-philosophy, which is nonsensicalism to most materialists. Only those willing to peer beyond the veil can begin to comprehend the true nature of reality. At Chrysalis, we urge you to contemplate (not analyze) Holly Sierra’s extraordinary artwork on each of our cards rather than aspire to decode it.

The human psyche interprets symbols and archetypes via its personal unconscious – a realm of female energy symbolized by the moon and the serpent; the masculine conscious realm is symbolized by the sun and the raven. Archetypal symbols often mean different things to different people but always represent an initial spark of understanding that becomes the kindling of enlightenment.

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Serpentine Apotheosis by Hakan Hisim

© Toney Brooks, 2018

 

 

 

CQ, CQ, Consciousness Calling; Come Back.

A statue of a Buddha head in the roots of a tree, Ayutthaya, Thailand

This Bing wallpaper image popped up on my computer the other day suggesting a direction for my second piece in a series on how Chrysalis Tarot works. You’ll recognize this Buddha art as the inspiration for Chrysalis’ Three of Spirals, “Contemplation.”

You may also notice that the blog’s title was inspired by the movie “Contact,” which starred Jodi Foster. I watch it at least twice a year. In shortwave radio communication, and communication in general, the term CQ identifies a “general call.” Anyone who hears the call can respond.

Chrysalis is based on the premise that consciousness is non-local, a term in physics used to denote “action at a distance.” Examples of non-locality are gravity, electromagnetism, and tarot, indeed any action not explained by one object’s physical interaction with another.

Action at a distance became weird, or as Einstein put it, spooky, when quantum physics and the strangeness of quantum entanglement were introduced. When two protons, for example, are entangled, they can be located at opposite ends of the universe yet still remain connected or correlated. If you spin one proton clockwise, the other will spin counterclockwise instantaneously, although the two are separated by gazillions of light years.

Chrysalis Tarot works because the entire universe is connected by whatever defines the ground state of the universe. In the terms of quantum physics, this ground state is known as the quantum vacuum or zero-point energy. In theology, the ground state is, obviously, God; Paul Tillich asserted that God was the “Ground of All Being.” In the metaphysics of Chrysalis Tarot, the ground state of the universe is consciousness. That’s right. The universe is conscious of itself and growing more conscious of itself by the second. And the speed of consciousness pays no heed to the speed of light.

consciousnessradioAnother metaphysical tenet of Chrysalis is panpsychism, which asserts everything is conscious. Such a view is not exactly groundbreaking news: panpsychism is one of the oldest philosophies around. Plato was a panpsychist. The Greek goddess Psyche was a panpsychist. As a Chrysalis archetype, Psyche represents personal transformation and the Universal Mind.

The human brain is analogous to a radio. It tunes to different frequencies. When tuned to its own frequency, it experiences self-awareness, a good thing (visualize a self-reflective Buddha under a bodhi tree staring at his or her belly). Well, it’s a good thing as long as it also tunes to other frequencies – other humans, intuition, dreams, ancestors and even protons on the other side of the universe. “Come back!”

Chrysalis encourages you to tune to and contemplate the frequencies of relevant archetypes as a means not only of increasing your own self-awareness, but also to better comprehend the true nature of reality. Your spiritual growth and wellbeing depend upon your willingness to soar beyond society’s imposed intellectual constraints, most notably its petrified dogmas and Earth-bound ideologies.

21 - Psyche

© Toney Brooks