Religion and Revolution
On one level, it's quite natural for occultists to feel apprehension toward all religious establishments. Our whole traditional literature is full of accounts of witch-burning and other persecution.
I've always been aware that such things could happen right here in Twentieth-century America if the New Right and other political factions controlled by Fundamentalists ever achieved control of the government, or even if the majority of American Christians again became Fundamentalists, as they were in past centuries. That fear has been in the back of my mind all my life, but it was never really a rational fear.
They simply dropped those aspects of the traditional doctrine they found incompatible with their beliefs as members of the counterculture, and incorporated the rest into their new lifestyle.
For example, they'd quote verses from the New Testament that supported the peace and love doctrine of the counterculture, and make statements like "Jesus was the original hippy." (Jews in this category sometimes expressed regret that Jesus had been persecuted by the Jewish establishment of his day instead of being recognized as a divinely appointed prophet and reformer.)
Most of these people assert that their religious beliefs are what motivate them into political activism, and quote scripture to support their ideologies.
The same applies to a lot of people who call themselves Gnostics, Magdalenian Christians, Christian Magicians, Cabalists, etc. I've always got along as easily with people in this category as with occultists, Pagans, Witches, and New Agers.
At first, I couldn't identify exactly what turned me off about these longhaired Christians who proselytized from storefront churches in counterculture areas. Then a few of my Christian friends in the counterculture became Jesus Freaks. They went from saying "Jesus was a hippy. He drank wine, so why should he mind if I smoke dope?" to "Get high on Jesus instead of pot."
As a psychic, I had to admit that spiritual experiences are just as efficient at altering consciousness as drugs are; but the longer my friends stayed in the Jesus Movement, the less they seemed to act high at all. They also started arguing with me and preaching to me. Eventually, they all either dropped out of the Jesus Movement or stopped speaking to people like me.
Then the guy shook his shoulder-length hair and fingered his paisley shirt and continued,
I was frightened of black militants who preached a fanatical Islamic doctrine that included anti-Semitism, and of Palestinian Arabs who condoned terrorism.
However, I was just as disturbed that some militant Zionists condemned all Palestinians for the acts of a few, or asserted that Moslems did not deserve the full rights of Israeli citizenship.
And even though I had spent several years studying Vedanta, I felt an instinctive dislike for the Hare Krishnas as well.
When people asked me why, I'd say,
I didn't realize till I'd made the breakthrough that all these people (Jesus Freaks, Zionists, and Hare Krishnas) had one thing in common.
For now, I'll call it Fundamentalism, but I'll have another name for it in Part Two.
However, they call this right-wing radical ideology "conservative" to project a respectable public image.
The Founding Fathers included some of the most famous liberal political philosophers of all time: Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and others. History also shows that American social and political institutions have been moving steadily toward the left during the country's whole history.
It's an extremely ancient and powerful ideological system based on a profound knowledge of human psychology and the nature of psychic and spiritual reality; it's also the source of most of the evil in this world, as I will describe in Part Two.
For example, a number of occult, Pagan, and New Age groups in the San Francisco Bay Area have rented space and held their meetings in various non-Fundamentalist Christian churches since the Sixties and enjoyed friendly relations with their clergy and congregations.
Leaders of some of these Aquarian Age groups have even belonged to local Councils of Churches and participated in their charitable and public service work. This has also occurred in other large cities all over the country.
Fundamentalist propaganda also frequently made the news with claims that rock musicians brainwash young people with subliminal messages about Satanism.
Even the ultimate lie about occultists and Pagans was mentioned occasionally: that they practice human sacrifice, especially of babies. And the harassment wasn't all verbal: several groves in Bay Area regional parks where Pagans hold outdoor services were routinely vandalized with crosses carved on trees and "Jesus Saves" painted on rocks.
Most readers will be familiar with the trouble Islamic Fundamentalists have caused over the last twenty years. The kidnapping of American diplomats by Iranian revolutionaries was partly responsible for Ronald Reagan's victory over Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election.
President Anwar Sadat of Egypt was assassinated by Moslem Fundamentalists because he had made a serious effort to work with Israel and bring peace to the Middle East. Perhaps the most glaring example has been the virtual destruction of Lebanon, which used to be one of the most advanced and progressive countries in the Islamic world.
This movement has received much less publicity in the United States than the various left-wing Catholic movements that have formed in reaction to it among the impoverished majority of the population in the same countries, but it is definitely a significant political force in South America right now.
All of this has caused minor problems for the Aquarian spiritual movement in this country, because too many Americans don't realize the Moonies have nothing to do with this movement at all.
However, the Moonies and several similar Fundamentalist groups have a major influence on South Korean politics and are one reason why that country has swung so far to the totalitarian right.
Fundamentalism is responsible for much of the repression and totalitarianism in the Black African nations; Islam, Christianity, Vedanta, and various tribal religions are all involved. There's also a Fundamentalist movement within Judaism, which pressures the Israeli government into aggressive military and expansionist policies and makes achieving peace in the Middle East just that much more difficult.
The most significant thing about them is that it is very difficult to see how their activities could serve anyone's self-interest. Until I made my breakthrough, I attributed such activity to a form of insanity: religious fanatics become so obsessed with "pleasing God" in hopes of achieving "eternal bliss" or some other benefit after death that they completely lose contact with earthly reality.
However, I was never able to determine why religious fanaticism should do this to people.
The majority of Christians in this country were liberal or moderate in both their political and religious views, but they were also rather conservative about trying to convert others.
There are now urban Protestant congregations that raise just as much psychic power as the Fundamentalists do, but are definitely liberal. The same churches often have female clergy and racially mixed congregations. Many make an effort to proselytize among homosexuals, feminists, psychedelic drug-users, political radicals, and other types of people whom the Fundamentalists bar from membership in their churches unless they first agree to totally change their philosophy and life-style.
I usually described myself as a Pagan, because I felt vague psychic perceptions that there are beings on the astral plane that seem to be superior to the spirits of ordinary deceased humans.
I assumed that these are what all the organized religions have called "gods" and "devils," and that they've had a significant effect on the course of human history by communicating telepathically with living people.
Some of the entities I've had as spirit guides have told me that their previous incarnations were on worlds other than Earth, but they still say they are people, not gods.
My relationship with my spirit guides has been extremely important to me since I first started becoming aware of it in childhood, but it's very different from the relationship between deists and their gods. What I have is a friendship between equals that doesn't violate my individual sovereignty.
It's based mostly on the mutual exchange of information, and on working to achieve shared political or ethical goals, and I've never believed my spirit guides would or could do any harm to me for disagreeing with them.
This automatically puts me in disagreement with Judeo-Christian doctrine, which is based on the concept that people live only one life on Earth and then spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. (Some individual Christians and Jews believe in reincarnation, and a few minor sects of both religions have worked it into their doctrines, but it still contradicts the mainstream of Judeo-Christian belief.)
Many Westerners fail to realize this because their knowledge of the Eastern religions is based on books that confuse Eastern occultism with the mainstream of Eastern religious doctrine itself.
Eastern occultists, like their counterparts in the West, have always been a small minority alienated from the majority of the population.
In the West, occultists were persecuted quite openly and their activities made illegal by governments. This did not happen to nearly the same extent in the East; in fact, the leaders of many Eastern religious sects often preach that monks and nuns who specialize in practices that many Westerners would call occultism are especially devout and worthy of veneration.
Such disciplines as Yoga, Tantra, Zen Meditation, etc., are intended to strengthen and enlighten the soul, much as a person gains strength and learns motor skills through physical training and exercise.
Traditional Western occultism teaches exactly the same things under different names: i.e. divination, spiritual healing, ritual magic, alchemy, etc.
In other words, the basic postulate is that an individual can become an adept or saint by his or her own efforts, as one would learn athletic or professional skills. This is a purely humanistic concept: the application of the "doctrine of human perfectibility" to spiritual and psychic development.
Exactly what people must do to receive this favor varies from sect to sect in both East and West, but it usually involves attending religious services regularly and performing various ritual acts.