Thursday, April 18, 2019

Notre Dame - Apocalypse Now!

Our thoughts and prayers are with all Parisians who have been repeatedly traumatized over the past few years. The horrific burning of the majestic, medieval Notre Dame Cathedral is an immeasurable loss to the cultural heritage of Paris… of France… and all those who treasure the great architectural masterpieces of the middle ages. More than being perhaps the greatest Catholic Cathedral, Notre Dame represented the unbroken lineage of human endeavor.

We take heart in the amazingly resilient people of Paris… those who amidst the horror… raised their voices in song… a true testament to the inextinguishable human spirit. Vive!

The fire, as of this writing, has not been determined to have been caused by any nefarious act. With that said, the blaze that decimated two-thirds of the Cathedral… occurring just before the holy week of Easter… raises the connotation of more than a mere accident. The French call such acts a Force Majeure, or an act of God. If so, such an act would be of a Demiurgic nature. For those of us who entertain synchro-mystic information streams… something deeper and perhaps darker is afoot.

Accordingly, one cannot help but speculate on the symbolic significance of the burning of Notre Dame. As a major edifice of the Catholic Church, mysteriously catching fire when it did, Notre Dame’s fiery demise elicits conspiratorial, even occult conjecture. It is as if this force majeure was wrought by a retributive intrusion of some awakened power… some, as yet, unknown countermeasure. 

The Catholic Church continues to be visited by an onslaught of catastrophe that threatens its very existence. First and foremost, have been the continued pedophilia allegations. Cases of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, and other members of religious orders in the 20th and 21st centuries have been widespread and have led to many allegations, investigations, trials and convictions as well as revelations about decades of attempts by the Church to cover up reported incidents.

Recent allegations of the rape and in some cases the impregnation of Nuns, a longstanding Church scandal, has re-emerged… adding to the Church’s long list of transgressions. The cases of sexual abuse of nuns and religious women by Catholic priests and bishops… and the abortions that have sometimes resulted, have for years been overshadowed by other scandals in the Roman Catholic Church. 

From 2001 to 2010, the Holy See, the central governing body of the Catholic Church, considered sex abuse allegations involving about 3,000 priests dating back fifty years. Between February 21st and 24th, 2019, a summit was held in the Vatican to discuss how to counter sex abuse. On March 29th, one month after the summit was held, Pope Francis issued a new Vatican City law requiring Vatican City officials, including those in the Roman Curia, and foreign nuncios affiliated with the Vatican government, to report sex abuse. The Pope’s progressive stance on the Church’s trespasses has infuriated ultra-conservative factions within the Church.

These outages alone taint any vestige of moral authority the Church may have aspired to in the past. As we have indicated, not only the Catholic Church but essentially all of the “Desert Religions” have failed us in any spiritual and ethical leadership. 

As if these allegations were not enough, a Vatican controversy was recently reignited when a long-time personal aide to Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI suggested that the papacy has been redefined and that there are now two popes in the Roman Catholic Church. Two Popes? The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI occurred on 28 February 2013. His decision to retire shook the Church to its very foundations. Shortly thereafter, the College of Cardinals elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, who took the name of Francis.

Strange details of Benedict’s continued presence sparks rumors of inter-papal intrigues. Why does Benedict continue to wear the papal white? Under normal circumstances, such attire is solely reserved for the Pope. Why did Benedict select the title: Pope Emeritus? He either is, or isn’t a Pope. It is also rumored that Benedict is unhappy with Pope Francis’ liberal tendencies. The ecclesiology of Pope Francis is strikingly divergent from that of Benedict. For example, many inside the Vatican feel that Benedict believes that Francis is taking a very dangerous risk by encouraging liberal Catholics who want to change the rules governing reception of the Eucharist.

Again, if these controversies were not enough… Pope Francis has recently come under fire from none other than the “great beast” of the Alt-Right, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. In recent interviews, Bannon attacked the Pope for criticizing populist movements and even went so far as to sensationally claim the Catholic Church is on the verge of bankruptcy. “This is the problem” quotes Bannon… “He is constantly putting all the faults in the world on the populist nationalist movement.”

While Bannon claimed to have created a “platform for the alt-right” at Breitbart News, Francis has cautioned against the movement, warning two years ago that it could lead to the election of another Adolf Hitler. Such intrigue has brought much criticism from ultra-conservative and arch-nationalist circles, both religious and secular, upon the progressive Pope Francis and the Catholic Church that he heads. 

So it is with this backdrop, one pock-marked by pedophilia and Right Nationalist revolt, that the most revered Catholic Cathedral of all, the beloved Notre Dame is all but destroyed by fire. It is as if some demon from hell brought ruin upon the Catholic Church, for its sins. Catastrophic events such as this demand synchro-mystic speculation. What are the signs and portents pointing to? Does the disastrous loss of Norte Dame indicate that on some cosmic, karmic level... the Church is being punished for its corruption?  Is this a Trial by Fire?

For now, we will leave such occultic speculations to you, dear intrepid readers. In closing, from our perspective, we hold at least some acquiescence to the suspicion that some cosmic comeuppance is at play. So it was that, while the ancient cathedral burned, Parisians gathered, perhaps… not to gawk at the spectacle… but to sing mournful hymns and bear witness to the Catholic Church’s funeral pyre.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Psychedelia Update - Psychedelic Precognition

“Psychedelic drugs open the door to the Magic Theater”

- Timothy Leary

Just in time for the Tek-Gnostics High Holy Day known as Bicycle Day (April 19th)... the prolific chronicler of the fringe, Red Pill Junkie... has posted an intriguing article, exploring the precognitive properties of psychedelics. The article can be found on the Mysterious Universe site (link to the article below). Here are a couple of excerpts from RPJ's article... 

In time scientists would come to understand the altered states of consciousness triggered by psychoactive compounds such a LSD, mescaline or ketamine had less to do with schizoid behavior, and more to do with the visionary trances of religious mystics – transcendent experiences which could not only reveal to the mind the esoteric symbols of the subconscious (hence the name “psychedelic” which means “mind-manifesting”) but perhaps even offer glimpses of events with validity in consensual reality…

Psychedelics can open the human mind to the reception of valuable information that is not mere trickery of the ‘Magic Theater’. Maybe not just any mind, but one properly prepared to receive the information via high education and a special set of circumstances (the fact that Stanley was vomiting the night prior to his psilocybin trip is particularly interesting, because it resembles the ‘purging’ of Ayahuasca ceremonies); and maybe not just any kind of information, but in the case of ‘future events’ those that have such cultural and social impacts they have a higher chance to create a powerful ‘ripple effect’ in the fabric of Space/Time...

“When the light turns green, you go. When the light turns red, you stop. But what do you do when the light turns blue with orange and lavender spots?”

- Shel Silverstein 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Ralph Metzner - In Memoriam

On March 14th, 2019, the renowned Psychologist and pioneering psychonaut, Ralph Metzner, passed through the veil to the great psychedelic beyond... 

As many of you are aware, Metzner was one of the notorious Cambridge Three, participating in psychedelic research at Harvard University in the early 1960s with fellow psychedelic perpetrators Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later named Ram Dass). Metzner was a psychotherapist, and Professor Emeritus of psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where he was formerly the Academic Dean and Academic Vice-president.

In 1964, Leary, Alpert, and Metzner would co-author and publish: The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. This collaborative work was intended to be an instruction manual for guiding participants and facilitators during psychedelic drug sessions or “trips” (especially the harrowing psychedelic experience of what has been called "ego-death"). Also known as the Bardo Thodol, the Tibetan Book of the Dead is an ancient Buddhist manual on death and dying. It guides one through the stages of death and subsequent rebirth.

(In synchronistic respect, we send our best wishes to Agent 87, as he is utilizing the Tibetan Book of the Dead, as a roadmap to the great beyond, with his ailing mother, who is not long for this world.) 
"A psychedelic experience is a journey to new realms of consciousness. The scope and content of the experience is limitless, but its characteristic features are the transcendence of verbal concepts, of spacetime dimensions, and of the ego or identity. Such experiences of enlarged consciousness can occur in a variety of ways: sensory deprivation, yoga exercises, disciplined meditation, religious or aesthetic ecstasies, or spontaneously. Most recently they have become available to anyone through the ingestion of psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, DMT, etc. Of course, the drug does not produce the transcendent experience. It merely acts as a chemical key — it opens the mind, frees the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and structures."
- The Psychedelic Experience

The good doctor Metzner will be dearly missed on this plane of existence... we trust that he is having a grand time in his reunion with Tim Leary... across the great river, beyond the veil. 

Ralph Metzner (May 18, 1936 – March 14, 2019) - rest in peace, dear man!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Tek-Gnostics Renovations

The Tek-Gnostics Algorithmic Gremlins and Machine Elves have been up to some Sirius mischief, of late. They have been hard at work, knocking out shiny new "synchronistic shoes" while the proverbial cosmic cobbler dozes... asleep at the wheel, as it were. Say what you will... those little rascals have soul. Consequently, the Tek-Gnostics Website has taken a distinct turn toward the strange, in this, the 20th year of the 21st Century... amidst our Brave Noö World.

As you recall, all this mysterious mischief began in late 2017, with a recalibration of the website toward what can only be described as "High Weirdness." 2018 saw the rise of Psychedelia at Tek-Gnostics, with a significant Terence McKenna archive that had been gleaned from the defunct website: E=±mc²=Thé Ðëòxÿríßøñµçlëìç HÿÞêrdïmèñsîøñ. We think that it was during this time that our site was infested with those infernal machine elves... thanks a lot, McKenna!

Then, in April of 2018... more strangeness, with a decidedly conspiratorial bent. Once we added the Conspiracy Central section... all was lost in terms of normalcy. Late in 2018, we initiated the Apocalypse Now Series, chronicling the Earth Changes taking place across our planet. However, we know better than to look back... as something might be gaining on us.

To date, we have added some interesting content on our public archive site. A lot of the updates are cosmetic... new formatting, pictures, etc. Of note is the updated Annotated Edition Section. Here, we pursue in-depth investigations into iconic manifestations of Pop Culture. You will find a link on the home page, in the "by department" section. Also of note is the expanded Pop Future page, along with the updated Eight Circuits of Consciousness page.

However, the real action has occurred within our Premium Membership site, which we refer to as the Invisible College. Our members portal has undergone extensive renovations. The gremlins just finished reworking the layout... dividing content between our TEK data streams and our GNOSIS data streams. We further differentiated the curricula between "Tek-Gnostics Theory" and "Applied Tek-Gnostics." Significant content additions, including Advanced Consciousness Hacking material and Advanced Mind Magick material, have been added.

We recently published the second edition of our "First Year Manual" with expanded content, available for download to all new members. Interestingly, we have also seen a significant uptick in membership, since the first of the year. Currently, our membership spans 24 States and 15 Countries, worldwide. It is with the Highest regard that we thank our entire membership. It is through your support that we are able to keep our virtual doors open. THANK YOU!

Book two of the Tek-Gnostics trilogy... "Applied Tek-Gnostics - A Field Guide for the Collective Conscious" will be available in June 2019. We hope to showcase it at this year's upcoming AlienCon, in Los Angeles, CA - June 21st through 23rd. We will keep you posted on publication dates, as well as additional info on AlienCon 2019.

Finally, a shout-out to our esteemed colleague, Agent 87 over at Synchrodelic Atmosphere. Check his sight out! That's all for now, as far as updates and renovations at Tek-Gnostics... this is Jack Heart, your humble servant... signing out.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

That ole’ Black Magic down in New Orleans

Once again, the tekgnostic High Holy Day of Fat Tuesday is upon us. This year, it is being observed on Tuesday, March 5th. Even as we speak,  the American bayou version of Mardi Gras is in full swing and being celebrated by our creole brothers and sisters, with all the pageantry and debauchery that our Krewes can muster. In celebration of these festivities, we have uncovered and present to you, the discerning heretics of the digital age, an obscure history of New Orleans Voodoo, adapted from the writings of Alison Brouillette... Please enjoy, and as we have said many times before...

 Laissez les bons temps rouler!

And now, on to the writings of Alison Brouillette...

In recent years, that infamous old Creole city of New Orleans has become more Americanized than ever. At the risk of complete homogenization with the rest of the nation, there are some things the Crescent City tenaciously holds on to as its own. Cuisine, music, lifestyle, and especially its irreplaceable take on the ancient festival: Carnival. Carnival is a Western Christian and Greek Orthodox festive season that occurs before the liturgical season of Lent. 

The main events typically occur during February or early March, during the period historically known as Shrovetide (Pre-Lent). Carnival typically involves public celebrations, including events such as parades, public street parties and other entertainments, combining some elements of a circus. Elaborate costumes and masks allow people to set aside their everyday individuality and experience a heightened sense of social debauchery. As can be expected, participants often indulge in excessive consumption of alcohol, meat, and other foods that will be forgone during upcoming Lent.

Some of the more macabre New Orleans institutions, however, have flourished in the Big Easy’s dark underbelly. As its esoteric history is more deeply examined, New Orleans has brewed its own flavor of the occult. Voodoo, the spiritual folkways developed from the traditions of the African diaspora, was a volatile force throughout most of the city's long history. Such a thing is hard to imagine in this digitized age of ours… but there is no doubt among those obscure circles who still practice Voodoo… as well as those who have been brought up under its influences.

For almost two centuries, the lives of most Louisianans were influenced by the activities of a myriad of Voodoo cults. The arrival of slaves from the West Indies in New Orleans in the 1700’s was the beginning of voodoo in Louisiana. These were ancestor-worshipping tribes who had been captured during the raids on the African coast. The word "voodoo" is a derivative of their polytheistic religion's name, "Vodu." By the last decade of the century, the religion had degenerated into numerous small sects and the word had been corrupted to "hoodoo."

Although voodoo had existed in Louisiana since the arrival of the first slaves in the early 1700s, it first appeared in colonial annals in 1773 in a strange litigation known as the "Gris-Gris" Case. The word "gris-gris" refers to the placement of an evil spell upon someone through-charms and incantations. For the matter to be thus entitled suggests that this must have been a familiar term in colonial Louisiana. The matter involved a Guinean slave named Carlos, owned by a planter on the German coast, who was tried along with two other slaves for plotting to kill their overseer. Carlos was accused of having concocted the gris-gris to magically achieve this. The mixture in question had been discovered and reported by another slave and was believed to be the cause of an illness which had afflicted the overseer for some months. Specialists examining the gris-gris concluded that, although nauseating, it was doubtful that it was life-threatening and the charges against the three were dropped.

With the signing of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and the establishment of American authority, the superstitious attitude toward voodoo, became less severe. This growing liberality created a climate in which voodoo flourished and the sect gained a significant number of converts. An abandoned brickyard on Dumaine Street is purported to have been the first voodoo gathering place, from which the worshippers were soon driven by the police. They moved further from the city and began the notorious celebrations along Bayou St. John and the shores of Lake Pontchartrain.

However, with the rise of Louisiana voodoo, there was a growing concern among whites that such meetings were used to target black magic against them, if not to plot an eventual revolution. For this reason, the city issued a municipal ordinance in 1817 which forbade the gathering of slaves for dancing or any other purpose except on Sundays and then only in places designated by the mayor. Congo Square, located on North Rampart Street in the heart of the city (presently the site of the Municipal Auditorium) was one such designated area. Here were held the "legitimate" voodoo dances, the ones which were frequently and indulgently observed by white society. 

The more authentic voodoo rites were still conducted in secret along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain and Bayou St. John. The erotic dances typical of these ceremonies were replaced at Congo Square by the more innocuous Calinda or Bamboula.  The voodoo queen, the most elaborate and uninhibited figurehead of these proceedings was invariably a free black woman. An active participant, she alone could display a veritable wantonness as she was subject to none of the restrictions then applicable to slaves. The dancing was supposed to end at dusk, but seldom did. At nine o'clock a cannon in the center of the Square was fired and any black found on the streets after that hour without his master or a permit was thrown into prison. Eventually, the Congo Square dances were banned because of their overt sensuality which was offensive to some prudish whites. Unless they had followed the group out to the lakefront some St. John's Eve, however, they didn't know what they were missing.

Despite the cultists' efforts at secrecy, many whites were drawn to the voodoo sect. This had been true almost since its arrival in the city. By 1846 nearly a third of the sect's membership was reportedly white. The cultists of New Orleans had caught the interest of their white overlords and by the early 1870s it was not uncommon for the aristocratic Creoles to form search parties desiring to witness the St. John Eve celebrations. Roads leading to Lake Pontchartrain and along the bayou were frequently lined with carriages.

Marie Laveau, the legendary yellow woman, was a subject of wonder and terror for many generations, and remains to this day the embodiment of all that is New Orleans voodoo. Known to most during the period of the 1820s to the 1880s as the Widow Paris, Laveau dominated the voodoo world. Molding it to her advantage, she created the perfect panorama in which she could shine. The Marie Laveau story is a complex legend, almost as encompassing a subject as the religion of which she was the hallmark.

"In her youth, she was a woman of fine physique," writes Henri Castellanos in his book: “New Orleans As It Was.” It is not clear whether he is here referring to Marie, the mother or Marie, the daughter, for there were two Marie Laveaus. Archives at the St. Louis Cathedral reveal that Marie Laveau was married to Jacques Paris in 1819 by Pere Antoine. Paris disappeared shortly after the wedding and Marie began calling herself the Widow Paris. There is no verification of his death, however, until some five years following his marriage to Marie.

There is little evidence to suggest that Marie was interested in voodoo at this time; she was employed as a hairdresser, a common occupation for a free black woman. The voodoo cult lacked organization and none of the reigning queens had proven to be a unifying force. By her intelligence and shrewdness, Marie recognized the opportunity which had presented itself. By the 1830s she had assumed her historic role, due in large part to the application of her business and showmanship talents. She was the first to establish black magic as a saleable commodity.

She retained the mysticism and sensuality of the cult as well as the spectacle. There were still the snake, the black cat, the rooster, the blood-drinking and the sex, yet she established her own brand of voodoo, through the syncretism of Catholic and Francophone culture, lacing voodoo with Roman Catholic influences, introducing statues of saints, prayer, and holy water into the ceremonies. This was an interesting transition for a sect which had its origins in (perceived) devil worship. Marie denied such a connection, insisting her followers were devoted Christians.

To the St. John's Eve affairs held at the lake or along the bayou she would invite numerous guests, perhaps in an attempt to prove she had nothing to hide. These included the police, the press and any interested party willing to donate a small admission fee. There were, of course, other secretive meetings open only to the serious Zombi worshippers. Here was most likely revealed that facet of the Laveau character which she would have hidden from the public, but of which there remains much conjecture.

Marie's most legendary work was perpetrated from her modest but famous cottage on St. Ann Street. Acquired about 1830, records specify that this was payment for the working of some gris-gris which prevented the son of a wealthy and prominent family from going to jail for a crime which he appeared quite likely to have committed.

Modern (commercial) Gris-Gris pouches

One of the dualities of the Laveau character is a "wicked witch/angel of mercy" contrast. Her association with voodoo gained her the reputation of an evil old conjuring woman, while others were impressed by her works of kindness. In the 1850s she began to visit prisoners on a regular basis, and she had also nursed victims of an earlier yellow fever epidemic.

A further duality of character lies in the fact that there were indeed two Marie Laveaus. As previously noted, the Widow Paris had a daughter by one Christophe Glapion, with whom she had many children. This second Marie was born on February 2, 1827, and many people have confused the two. The actual date the daughter assumed the role held by the mother is not known, as the transition seems to have been a gradual one. One might infer that such a change began around the 1850s because of references to Marie Laveau's youth and beauty at a time when the widow would have been in the autumn of her years.

This second Marie was more widely feared than the first. While much of her reputation was based on her mother's exploits, her personality still appears to have been more severe, according to Robert Tallant. None of the warmhearted-ness demonstrated by the elder Marie, who visited prisoners and nursed the sick, seems to have been passed on to her daughter. Like her mother, she was a shrewd businesswoman and maintained a lucrative practice, although she would not usually charge a client more than he could afford to pay. She distributed business cards on which were printed her name, address, and profession, not as voodooienne, but as "healer." 

Curiously, there is no further mention of the second Marie in any legal document following her mother's death. It must incidentally be mentioned that the Widow Paris underwent a startling conversion prior to her death in 1881. She returned to Catholicism, rejecting Zombi and all his associations and denying any involvement with the cult. The circumstances surrounding her daughter's fade from public view are largely speculative. The generally accepted theory is that another daughter of the Widow, one Madame Legendre. So abhorred the family association with voodooism that she booted her sister into the street, the quicker to set about removing the taint from the family tree.

Expulsion from St. Ann Street spelled trouble for the younger Marie Laveau. It proved debilitating to her career, as the cottage had so long been a veritable voodoo store, almost as legendary as the Laveaus themselves. No one knew where to find the voodoo queen; if they went to the cottage, her sister would shut the door in their faces. From the 1880s reports begin to grow fewer and farther between until Marie Laveau finally faded into history. Authorities do not agree on the date or circumstances surrounding her death as no records of the kind exist. From the glory of her early years she drifted into obscurity. But long after her death she is still remembered and often with keen interest. To her people and to most New Orleanians, besides being the Voodoo Queen, she was the very identity of the cult in New Orleans.

Improbable as it is today that anyone would find such a thing in the newspapers, there were often small paragraphs in the early 20th century newspapers which confirm that voodoo had not disappeared with Marie Laveau. Such accounts were sparse during the World War I because of the more critical issues to be reported. But in years following the war, reports of charms, curses and an occasional murder associated with the cult found its way into the news. The latter usually caused quite a stir.

Patients claiming to have been victims of gris-gris were not uncommon at Charity Hospital during the 1940s. These often had combative gris-gris of their own to work against that which they believed had been used on them. Many carried it with them even as they were put to bed. Among such paraphernalia found by hospital employees would be metal pieces shaped like devils' souls; metal pieces with "luck" signs upon them; plain metal pieces, coins, colored and knotted strings; straps with fish scales; bags filled with mystic stones and teeth; bones and mosquito bar rings. 

Although rumors abound much to the contrary, it is unlikely that the celebrations along Lake Pontchartrain and Bayou St. John continued more than a few years after the demise of the Widow Paris. Nearly all such ceremonies have since been conducted indoors; either in homes, churches, or temples disguised as housing for more orthodox religions. Twentieth-century New Orleans voodoo consists primarily of the use of gris-gris, placing and lifting curses and homeopathic magic. Gone are the orgiastic rituals of old.

For some reason, voodoo has always inspired more fear than European black magic and witchcraft. As Robert Tallant expresses it, "Voodoo is of ancient lineage, dark and strange and complex even to those who practice it." Much of the cult's impetus, however, is simply the power of suggestion, or Mind Magick. Half the potency of the gris-gris lies in the fear that it will be used against you. There are several ways in which Orleanians have traditionally warded off gris-gris. The old habit of scrubbing the front steps with brick dust is most common. To hang a horseshoe over the door is another… Roman Catholics often tack holy pictures above their doors. The most earnest in their efforts to ward off an evil spell, of course, will invariably seek the nearest voodoo dealer, from whom he will purchase a counter gris-gris charm or amulet. This he will wear either on his person or keep in his home.

Even if it has not always been so, mention of voodoo in this day and age will probably inspire more amusement than foreboding. However, it would be erroneous to assume it is a forgotten practice. Voodoo persists as a living force in Haiti where one may still witness the same practices which arrived here almost two centuries ago with the Santo Domingo blacks. But voodoo in America, at least in New Orleans, has not disappeared but appears to be enjoying a revival.

- adapted from the writings of Alison Brouillette