The Starseed Signals
A Scientific-Occult Mystery

In which the author states his belief that the Dog Star has been beaming messages to earthly shamans, occultists and psyche­delic researchers for millenia. Surely, he can’t be serious …

Doubt, and work out your own enlightenment with diligence.
— Buddha

On July 22, 1973, I per­formed the Invocation of the Holy Guardian Angel (as given by Crowley in Magick, Gems from the Equinox, and other publications.) I had used this ritual many times before with various reactions ranging from the subjectively impressive to the objectively staggering-i.e., from totally personal illumina­tions to effects that were, to be cool about it, amazing co­incidences at least. ­

This time there was an ex­pansion of consciousness, a view of the universe, a cascade of stars, etc.-nothing particularly new or notable, and nothing immediately objective.

As I woke the following morning, July 23, I reached for my magick diary, where I record dreams as well as ex­periments, and jotted rapidly, “Sirius is very important.” There was more, just tantaliz­ingly beyond verbalization, but it drifted away as I tried to foc­us it. The unusual thing was that I felt a deep subjective conviction that this was a really important message from the Navigator in the Uncon­scious. The message was so trivial and ambiguous that this conviction indicated, either the birth of a delusion or the break­through of a new insight …

(Being both a skeptical magi­cian and an experimental mys­tic, I am never quite sure what I believe about anything.)

So strong was the subjective sense of import here that I put aside my writing projects for the day and spent the morning browsing through my occult library for references to Sirius. I found nothing of substantial value, aside from a dozen or so odd references in Kenneth Grant’s The Revival of Magick, which I had only skimmed in the past. Grant, it now appeared, was hinting, and hinting, and hinting, and never saying directly, that Crowley was, in some sense, involved with Sirius.

That afternoon I went to the town library and did some more research, in the astronomy section. I found that Sirius was nine light-years from Earth, had a Dark Companion, and had been an object of veneration to various groups, including the ancient Egyptians, the Zoroastrians, the Yezidi sect of Sufism and, of all things, the Australian bushmen. Then I found something that boggled my mind and
sent me into a spaced-out trance for the rest of the day. July 23, this very day on which my unconscious had transmitted-or-received the message “Sirius is very important,” was the day when, according to the Egyptians, the “occult link” between Earth and Sirius was most intense (through hyper-space?).

I felt transformed, transfigured, blown-out. Everything I passed on the streets looked different, more mysterious; I thought at times of incipient schizophrenia, and recalled Brad Steiger’s famous remark, “The lunatic asylums -are full of people who started out to study the occult.” A hypothesis was forming even more alien to my scientific background than all the weird experiences hitherto produced by my experiments in Magick. (And I do, always, regard them as experiments, in the context of Dr. Timothy Leary’s definition, “Ritual is to the internal sciences what experiment is to the external sciences.”)

In the following month (August, 1973) I had Leary on my mind again, in an odd way. During my evening yoga sessions (mantra yoga meditation) I was repeatedly distracted by images of Leary flying over the walls of Folsom Prison, where he was then confined. At first, I thought the good doctor was attempting a second jail-break, by levitation this time; later I got the distinct impression he was doing experiments in long-range ESP.

Another magician reported to me, still in August, that he had had similar sensations of almost-contact via ESP with Dr. Leary. I can at least document this part of my story, because I wrote a piece on Tantric Yoga in relation to Dr. Leary’s research that month and in it I mentioned that Timothy seemed to be doing ESP experiments in Folsom. “The vibe is strongest on Sunday evenings around 8 (Pacific Time),” I wrote to my readers. “Try tuning it.” This article was published in the Chicago Seed, October, 1973. Prison records will confirm that I was neither visiting nor communicating with Dr. Leary at the time; I hadn’t seen him since around 1967, actually.

In January, 1974, Dr. Leary and another convict, L. Wayne Benner, published Terra II, a detailed plan for a starship to be built in this generation. Included in this book was an account of experiments in interstellar ESP which Leary and Benner had attempted in July-August, 1973. They received 21 “transmissions,” which they carefully admitted might be hallucinations. They offered some suggestive arguments tending to indicate that the transmissions might not be hallucinations.

I immediately wrote to Leary, re-introduced myself (wondering if he’d remember me from our few meetings in the 1960s) and started a correspondence. Soon we were visiting often, writing regularly and collaborating on The Periodic Table of Energy, Dr. Leary’s new theory of evolution, which we hope will revolutionize all the sciences, profane and occult.

I found Timothy Leary to be a genial, humorous, kindly, totally sane man with an IQ level above genius. (The only other man I’ve met with an IQ that high is R. Buckminster Fuller.) Don’t take my word for it: Dr. Wesley Hiler, prison psychologist at Vacaville where Leary spent those months (January-May, 1974), says Tim is “totally, radiantly sane … His ability to stay happy despite all was an inspiration to everybody. The guards loved him as much as the convicts did.”

Dr. Leary told me, in several letters and conversations, that his researches (with drugs, yoga, hypnotism, Sufic magick, Cabala and virtually every other consciousness-expansion technique known) had often left him with the impression of contacting Higher Intelligences somewhere. He had various speculations about these High entities, and once suggested that they were Sufi adepts in a hidden commune somewhere in the Near East who had been the brains behind Crowley, Gurdjieff and Rasputin, among others.

His favorite theory at this time, however, was that They were interstellar in origin. I carefully avoided telling him my own experience relating to Sirius; I thought it would be a verification if he or Benner came on that source independently of me. (It would be a verification for us only, of course. Others could still say we cooked this up in conspiracy.)

In May, 1974, Dr. Leary was removed from Vacaville and has been incommunicado ever since. Dr. Carl Sagan of Cornell, a man determined to achieve interstellar contact in this generation by building a gigantic radio receiving station (Project Cyclops), visited Leary in Vacaville just before the disappearance, leading some to think Leary has been paroled into a secret government project. Rumors from other sources claim that Tim is a full-time government informer these days, and still others insist that he has been lobotomized or brainwashed.

All of this is the prologue. Now we come to the second, more mysterious part of this adventure.

He thought he saw a banker’s clerk descending from a bus; He looked again and saw it was a hippopotamus.
— Lewis Carroll

On Crowleymas, 1974, (October 12 – a day others celebrate in commemoration of the egregious mariner who introduced slavery to the New World and syphilis to the old), we had a gigantic Crowley party in our apartment house, where – by coincidence or synchronicity – the majority of tennants are witches, druids, magicians and wizards.

Two interesting things happened: I met Jacques Vallee and somebody reported to me the rumor that extra-terrestrials will broadcast on TV in Fall, 1975.

Dr. Vallee, a computer specialist who has worked for NASA and Stanford University and is now with the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California, got into a very stimulating discussion with Hymenaeus Alpha, Caliph of the Ordo Templi Orientis; Brian Hanlon, a San Francisco UFO researcher; Brother Eeyor, a witch who is also a computer-programmer; and myself. Dr. Vallee has spent ten years investigating UFOs and now believes (a) they exist and (b) they are not interstellar.

The UFOs, Dr. Vallee says, are being manifested by the same entities who created the religious miracles of the past. There is no more reason to believe their current science-fiction yarn (interstellar travel) than to believe their older religio-mythological yarns. They only tell us what they want us to believe, or what they think we can understand.

(This thesis is worked out, with mountains of evidence, in Dr. Vallee’s forthcoming book, The Invisible College: What A Group of Scientists Has Discovered About UFO Influences on the Human Race.)

Hymeneus Alpha of the O.T.O. volunteered that Crowley had never told him the interstellar yarns that Kenneth Grant, Head of the other O.T.O., puts forth.

Brother Eeyor contributed that the Higher Intelligences which manipulate human history and consciousness are in language and coding. He added that whenever he tries to explain this people think he is going schizo. We didn’t pursue the subject.

Then the Unknown Man made the remark about extraterrestrials appearing on TV in Fall, 1975. Like all important occult links, he shortly disappeared and I never did get his name. (Skeptics, rejoice!)

In the following months, I spent much of my time reading, researching, experimenting, enquiring and thinking about Higher Intelligences – interstellar, intraneural, or whatever.

I was very impressed by Dr. John Lilly’s discussion, in The Mind of the Dolphin, about the prerequisites of communication. One must believe there is another entity there, i.e., out of the “busy, buzzing confusion” of raw perception one must integrate a Gestalt and label it conscious. One must assume that it is intelligent enough to try to signal. One must assume that it is, indeed, trying to signal, and not just indulging in “mechanical” (allegedly “dead”) or “instinctive” (allegedly “stupid”) reaction. If we refuse all these separate acts of faith and empathy, the most intelligent being in the universe can signal to us forever and never be recognized.

All of which recalled my first communication with a tree, during a peyote ritual with an Indian friend-teacher, in 1962. I had strictly kept my mouth shut about the great Wilson-Tree dialogue, except with very intimately-known fellow occult-researchers, for about ten years. Only when the Backster effect became generally known, and Bird and Tompkin’s Secret Life of Plants was published, did I begin to speak of my leafy friend in public lectures.

Even more interesting to me was Dr. Lilly’s discussion, in Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer, of his experiences with Galactic Higher Intelligences while LSD-tripping in a submersion-isolation tank where all ordinary sensory input was cut to virtually zero. These beings assured Dr. Lilly that they were accelerating human evolution by inspiring such discoveries as atomic energy, DNA and LSD, and that “only limited choices” remained to us as a species. Dr. Lilly adds that he regards all these entities as projections outward from his own unconscious.

In The Center of the Cyclone, however, Dr. Lilly changes his mind, accepts the entities as unknowns, and theorizes that they might be “angels” in the traditional sense, time-travelers from the future, very advanced human adepts now on Earth (shades of Dr. Leary’s Sufi commune that directed Crowley, Gurdjieff and Rasputin!) or literal extra-terrestrials. Even more significantly, Lilly adds in his last chapter, speaking of very highly advanced adepts (Secret Chiefs?):

Such a network exists and functions beautifully with gentle effectiveness throughout this plant. I suspect it extends farther than our earth, but this is yet to be publically demonstrated unequivocally beyond the private experience of myself and others. (Italics added.)

I found more food for thought in a passage from A Study of Gurdjieff’s Teachings, by Dr. Kenneth Walker, a Fellow on the Royal College of Surgeons. Speaking of Gurdjieff’s step-diagram of intelligence, Dr. Walker says of the squares above mankind:

These squares represent higher entities than ourselves of which we have no knowledge at all, and we can call them angels and archangels if we like … Some members of the St. Petersburg group had agreed to equate “angels” with planets and “archangels” with suns.

In Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, Gurdjieff recounts the adventures of one of these beings, who happens to be the Christian Devil, although really a benign fellow misunderstood by Christian prejudice. He travels around in a space-ship, just like one of Von Danikan’s spacegods, and has intervened repeatedly to accelerate human evolution toward higher intelligence and greater emotional equilibrium (i.e., conquering the animal-reflexes which are the main bar to Enlightenment in the Gurdjieff system.) In J.G. Bennett’s Gurdjieff: Making a New World, there is the following very odd comment:

After Gurdjieff died I was asked by some of the old pupils to write a commentary of Beelzebub. When I had written a few chapters and sent them round for comment, almost all agreed with my view that it would be a mistake to publish them. If Gurdjieff had intended his meaning to be readily accessible to every reader, he would have written the book differently. He himself used to listen to chapters read aloud and if he found that the key passages were taken too easily – and therefore almost inevitably too superficially – he would rewrite them in order, as he put it, to “bury the dog deeper.” When people corrected him and said he surely meant “bury the bone deeper,” he would turn on them and say it was not “bones” but the “dog” that you have to find. The dog is Sirius the dog star, which stands for the spirit of wisdom in the Zoroastrian tradition.(Italics added.)

Sirius again. Coincidence, of course, of course, of course …

I recalled Charles Fort’s sensational Book of the Damned and its far-out attempt to prove that “some other world is not attempting but has been, for centuries, in communication with a sect, perhaps, or a secret society, or certain esoteric ones of this earth’s inhabitants.”

Kenneth Grant’s second book, Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God was published and I was struck by his discussion of Crowley in relation to Fort and horror-fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft:

Crowley was aware of the possibility of opening the spatial gateways and of admitting an extra-terrestrial Current into the human life-wave … It is an occult tradition – and Lovecraft gave it persistent utterance in his writings – that some transfinite and superhuman power is marshalling its forces with intent to invade and take possession of this planet … Crowley dispels the aura of evil with which (Fort and Lovecraft) invest the fact; he prefers to interpret it Thelemically, not as an attack upon human consciousness by an extra-terrestrial and alien entity but as an expansion of consciousness from within, to embrace other stars and to absorb their energies … The Order of the Silver Star is thus the Order of the Eye of Set, “the Son behind the Sun,” … The Silver Star (A.A.) is Sirius … Horus is the “son” of this God, and Sun (or Father) of our solar system …

We are all greater artists than we realize.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

A friend of mine, a psychiatrist whom I shall call Dr. H, had an odd experience after an Esalen Group Encounter seminar. A lot of energy had been raised (similar to witch-circles and Subud, he said, having experimented with both) and he was walking on a beach the next day to cool down and prepare for re-entry into our mad society. Suddenly a light appeared above him, sent a beam into his chest which caused acute pain and terror, then raised him to a pitch of “cosmic ecstasy,” and slowly faded.

If Dr. H had less scientific discipline and more imagination, he might well have “remembered” an encounter with a flying saucer – or an angel.

The human brain is often described as a magnificent instrument of perception (in books produced by the human brain) but it is an equally magnificent instrument of rejection. We experience what we are trained and ready to experience, no more. The world is full of Damned Things in Charles Fort’s sense- things we absolutely will not notice. Infant sexuality was such a Damned Thing in the Victorian Age, and when Freud “saw” it the overwhelming majority of M.D.’s and psychiatrists accused him of having a dirty (and hallucinatory) mind. ESP was also a Damned Thing in scientific circles for most of this century; those who “saw” it were again accused of hallucinating.

Dr. Vallee (in The Invisible College) has studied a large number of “airship” sightings clustering around 1890-1900. Where “contact” was made (and it was just as common as in modern UFOlogy), the “contactees” remembered being told that the pilots were inventors, usually from another country (one said, from Kansas), which is just what people in that era were capable of understanding / remembering. (Everybody knew that dozens of inventors were attempting to build such aircraft.)

“Contactees” of the 1940s-1950s were often told (or “remembered” being told) that the saucers came from Venus. When the impossibility of life (as we know it) on Venus was demonstrated, new “contactees” were told the craft came from the stars …

The Institute of General Semantics used to own a semi-abstract painting which they used at their Mexico City seminars. Mexicans all “recognized” it as a matador; Yanquis “saw” it as a baseball pitcher.

Now let us look at the Starseed Signals, as received by Dr. Leary and L. Wayne Benner, in Folsom Prison, July-August, 1973. Let us recall that, despite the sensational press. Dr. Leary was classified as sane by 3 psychiatrists at his last trial, one of whom added that Leary’s I.Q. was so high it went off the scale. Mr. Benner holds patents on nine aero-space inventions. The signals were hardly in English but were finally translated into very Learyesque English after a great deal of interpretation. This is the message:

It is time for life on Earth to leave the planetary womb and learn to walk through the stars.

Life was seeded on your planet billions of years ago by nucleotide templates which contained the blueprint for gradual evolution through a sequence of biomechanical stages.

The goal of evolution is to produce nervous systems capable of communicating with and returning to the Galactic Network where we, your interstellar parents, await you.

Life on planet Earth has now reached this halfway point, established itself, and evolved through larval mutations and metamorphoses to the seven brain stages.

At this time the voyage home is possible.

Assemble the most intelligent, advanced, courageous of your species, divided equally between men and women. Let every race, nationality, and religion be represented.

You are about to discover the key to immortality in the chemical structure of the genetic code, within which you will find the scripture of life. The time has come for you to accept the responsibility of immortality. It is not necessary for you to die.

You will discover the key to enhanced intelligence within the chemistry of the nervous system. Certain chemicals, used wisely, will enable your nervous system to decipher the genetic code.

All life on your planet is a unity. All life must come home.

Total freedom, responsibility and interspecies harmony will make the voyage possible. You must transcend larval identities of race, culture and nationality.

Your only allegiance is to life. The only way you will survive is to make the voyage home.

The Japanese people are the most advanced race on your planet and will give protection to the company.

We are sending a comet to your solar system as a sign that the time has come to look to the stars.

When you arrive back home you will be given new instructions and powers. Your sperm ship is the flower of terrestrial life. As soon as the company is formed and the voyage begun, war, poverty, hatred, fear will disappear from your planet and the most ancient prophecies and celestial visions will be realized.


Come home in glory.

The comet (Kahoutek) arrived on schedule, although it was less visibly impressive than astronomers expected.

The prediction of immortality blew my mind – until I started researching the matter. Without lengthy quotes, I refer the reader to R.C.W. Ettinger’s The Prospect of Immortality and Man Into Superman; G. Rattray Taylor’s The Biological Time Bomb; Alan Harrington’s The Immortalist; Jerome Tucille’s Here Comes Immortality; Osborne Segerberg’s The Immortality Factor; and the further works he will find in the bibliographies there listed. At minimum, a growing number of researchers in gerontology, molecular biology and genetics are enough convinced of the possibility of immortality to be working at it, in fierce competition with each other. As F.M. Esfaniary summarizes the astonishing possibilities emerging in the next two decades, in his Upwingers:

Today when we speak of immortality and of going to another world we no longer mean these in a theological or metaphysical sense. People are now striving for physical immortality. People are now traveling to other worlds. Transcendence has become reality.

For instance, my neighbor in Berkeley, Dr. Paul Segal, has been researching a longevity formula on experimental rats. If his work can be applied to humans (and he thinks it can) we might have the formula for life-extension to 500 years by the early 1980s. There are hundreds of others in the same field trying to beat Dr. Segal and produce the longevity-pill quicker.

Is star-flight possible in our generation? Most of the experts doubt it, but some are affirmative. Dr. Ted Taylor, for instance, who worked on Project Orion for the U.S. Government (a starship that was abandoned chiefly because it had no military application) insists that we could have an interstellar drive in three years if the funding is available.

Does the “Age of Aquarius” mean a total mutation- in biology, consciousness, everything? Increasing numbers of mystics and seers, in a dozen traditions, say so. Secular authorities in the physical sciences, from Einstein to Buckminster Fuller, have also been warning us, for decades now, that we will have to change our psyches or the magnification of our foul tempers by technology will destroy us.

There is nothing intrinsically impossible in the Starseed Signals, then, and much evidence to support the general validity of their claims. But do they come from the unconscious hopes, yearnings and Utopian fantasies of Dr. Leary and Wayne Benner? Or do they truly come from some sort of Higher Intelligence?

The aim of science is to devise simple explanations of complex phenomena … Seek simplicity and distrust it.
— Alfred North Whitehead

I was discussing this article with a friend outside the Shamballah Bookstore on Berkeley’s Telegraph Ave., when a boy nearby spoke up. His name was Kevin Riley, he said, and he came from San Diego. He’d been experimenting with an ouija board last Fall (1974) and received the message that extra-terrestrials will contact Earth via TV in Fall, 1975.

This was a very interesting reminder of the unknown guest at the Crowleymas party who’d made the same prediction. Intrigued, I called San Francisco UFOlogist Brian Hanlon and asked if he’d heard that prophecy before.

According to Hanlon, “several dozenUFO contactees in recent years have predicted some such mass media manifestation. These contactees, he added, are found not just in the U.S., but in Brazil and France also.

Somewhat bemused, I called One World Family, Berkeley’s most famous “contactee” commune. Their leader, Alan Noonan, had his first UFO ride many years ago and many members of the commune – “core members” they are called – are now in fairly regular contact with “Galactic Beings” via telepathy. Or so they allege.

I spoke to Thera, one of the “core members” and she confirmed that their astral sources predict massive contact in 1975 or 1976.

“When the vibration is right and people are prepared,” she said, “the Galactic Beings can contact the whole Earth. They already have the ability to take over TV and other media any time they choose, but they’re waiting for humanity to be ready. In ’75 or ’76 there will be massive non-violent resistance to the System, followed by spontaneous cooperation in building a more humane society for the New Age. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if the key signal comes over TV.”

Thera added that even the Establishment is beginning to prepare people for extra-terrestrial contact, and mentioned Disney’s new film, Escape to Witch Mountain, about two non-earthly children, as an effort to counteract old horrorfilm fears and standard paranoias on the subject.

A friend who dropped by told me that, the way he’d heard the rumor, at a Theosophical Convention, it was Satan who would broadcast on TV this Fall.

I tracked the origin of that one down (I think) to modern demonologist Willard Cantalon in his book The Day the Dollar Dies (Logos Books, Plainfield, N.J.) This is another of the right-wing sagas about the Bavarian Illuminati, that no-good clique of Zionists, Communists, Bankers and Satanists who run all governments from behind the scenes. According to Mr. Cantalon’s original research, the Illuminati will soon succeed in bankrupting all world finance, after which “contact with Higher Intelligences in Outer Space” will be demonstrated conclusively. (He doesn’t say via TV; that was added by somebody who read him, I assume.) These Higher Intelligences, Cantalon clais, are actually “Satan and His Angels,” who are up to no good, as usual.

Accepted as interstellar saviors, the Satanic saucerites will take over Earth and institute World Government (that perpetual terror of the rightwing.) They will also install a world computer-bank credit system to replace money. Everyone will be marked on wrist and forehead with credit number and those who resist or rebel will simply have all credit cut off at Computer Central, thereby starving them out. This fulfills Revelations 13: 16-17: “The Beast … causeth all, small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads: and no man might buy or sell save he that had the mark or the number.”

The reference to the Beast reminded me of dear old Uncle Aleister again and I sought out the nearest Crowleyites. Ayesha Sahet, who alleges that she is Magister Templi of the Argentum Astrum (Silver Star) and also the Scarlet Woman foretold in The Book of the Law, seemed a good place to start. After all, The Book says “and in his woman called the Scarlet Woman is all power given. They shall gather my children into their fold : they shall bring the glory of the stars into the hearts of men.”

Ayesha assured me that Quetzlcoatl, who had been her lover and magick teacher in another incarnation, recently revealed to her in an astral vision that he was, indeed, an astronaut (as Von Danikan claims) Quetzlcoatl also showed her a computer by which he scans affairs on every part of Earth any time he wishes. He concluded by assuring her he would return to Earth soon.

Ayesha added, as a good Crowleyite should, that she doesn’t believe in her own astral visions until they are objectively confirmed.

A disciple of Ayesha named Frater Einar, who is an electronics engineer by profession, added another interesting note. Quoting the Bible prophecy that all people will see the Second Coming of Jesus “in one instant,” Einar said , “That would have been physically impossible before TV and communication satellites. Now it is literally possible.”

I asked what he, as a Crowleyan, thought of Jesus. “Oh, Jesus and Quetzlcoatl and Krishna and lots of others were the same entity, in various manifestations,” he said.

The equations running through my mind were growing wilder, and my skepticism was staggering as it raced to keep up with the evolving Gestalt. Extra-terrestrials = Satan = Crowley’s Holy Guardian Angel = Gurdjieff’s Beelzebub = Jesus = Quetzlcoatl = Donald Duck shall we say? Crazy, man. I had once written Reich’s orgone = magick’s astral light = kundalini = Tao = Plains Indians‘ wakan = Polynesian mana, and thought I was becoming a rather whimsical and gullible fellow at the time, 1964, only to have hard-headed Marxian materialists in Russia writing the same general equation a few years later …

What was Aiwass, the Higher Intelligence that communicated through Aleister Crowley? Ahmed Al-Raschid a Din, Secretary-General of the Great Wild Beast Furtherment Society (the Left Wing of Bay Area Crowleyism) offered me his interpretation, smiling serenely.

“Aiwass,” he said, “was a place inside Crowley’s psyche, which may or may not be extra-terrestrial. It remains to be determined how inner space relates to outer space, you know. Mind may be a mobius strip, with the inside outside and the outside inside.”

A nice lady at Jehovah’s Witnesses Central Congregation kindly offered me another opinion. “1975 marks mankind’s 6000th year on this planet,” she said, with Fundamentalist contempt for profane science. “Armaggedon could start any time now.”

One of the oddest aspects of the whole emerging Signal is the role of Arthur C. Clarke, that epitome of straight Establishment science who has always scorned occultism, Tim Leary, LSD and all such wild matters. As everybody knows, Clarke somehow gave birth, (in collaboration with Stanley Kubrick) to the perfect artistic expression of the psychedelic and UFO mystiques, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Even earlier, and with even less intent of getting embroiled in myth and magick, Clarke wrote a novel (Childhood’s End) in which interstellar Higher Intelligences intervene on Earth to save us from self-destruction. To everybody’s horror, these UFO benefactors happen to look, by sheer coincidence, exactly like the Christian idea of the Devil: red skin, tails, horns and all …

In the chapter called “Mind and Brain” in his book, Intuition, R. Buckminster Fuller suggests that creative ideas (as distinquished from logical deductions) come to him, and to other creative persons, from galactic telepathic senders. Does Arthur Clarke’s skepticism prevent him from realizing where he gets his ideas?

For a final opinion, I tried the ever-quotable folks over at Anton Szandor Lavey’s Church of Satan. A friendly young lady laughed merrily and said “Fundamentalist Christians are always hoking-up devils to scare the marks. I wouldn’t put it past them to dress somebody up in a devil suit and try to frighten people back into their churches. Some sharp operator might just try it …”

Each new generation of searchers must re-discover each natural law, must re-write all the basic formulas, re-state all the general principles, re-word the great myths. Nothing can be taken as proven. Every great discovery must be re-experienced.
— Dr. Timothy Leary

July 23, 1973, when I received my dream-message, “Sirius is very important,” was the first of what the English still call “the dog days.” The term derives from the Greeks, who got it from the Egyptians. The period from July 23 (our calendar) to the end of August was the period of worship toward and psychic attunement with the Great Dog Star, Sirius; hence the name. Throughout the rest of the dog days of 1973, I had the frequent impression of psychic contact with Dr. Leary, and he and Wayne Benner had the impression of psychic contact with some Higher Intelligence in outer space.

This kind of correlation is bizarre enough to start with, but now we come to the really hairy part. I don’t believe the rest of this myself.

Flashback to 1965, The novelist William S. Burroughs, in his spartan loft on Center Street, told me that the number 23 had been haunting him for several years. It kept appearing in connection with everything that was important in his life, and he had started keeping records of it.

This is an example of what Arthur Koestler calls seriality, a seemingly-meaningful but rationally inexplicable Gestalt in time, as distinguished from Dr. Jung’s synchronicity, a seemingly-meaningful but rationally inexplicable Gestalt in space. Any working magician who has begun to accumulate power (in Don Juan’s sense) soon finds both seriality and synchronicity weaving patterns into his life.

I evidently “caught” Burroughs‘ Syndrome. 23 began to pop up in the damnedest imaginable contexts, until I deliberately took a hard-nosed, “reductionist” attitude. My mind was doing it all, I decided: I was noticing the 23s and ignoring other numbers. Sure. The damned 23s ignored my skepticism and began to insinuate themselves more intimately into my affairs.

A climax (of sorts) occured on May 23, 1968 – 34th anniversary of the bushwacking of Bonnie and Clyde by the Texas Rangers. I was discussing that, and other aspects of the 23 Mystery, with my good friend Gregory Hill (Rev. Dr. Occupant, in Discordian circles.) To illustrate how omnipresent the damned number was, I picked up a book I was about to start reading, and opened it at random. It was The Dillinger Days, by Toland, and I opened to a passage stating that “23 people died of heat prostration the day Dillinger was shot.” Burroughs‘ spirit drifted through the room chuckling (“Nova Heat moving in”). I tried another book, This Timeless Moment, by Laura Achera Huxley. I opened to a passage about her attempts to achieve communication with Aldous, after his death, through medium Keith Milton Rhinehart. The message was that she should consult a certain book in a room Rhinehart had never seen, to rule out the possibility that any message might be picked out of her mind by Rhinehart’s ESP, and thus support more powerfully the alternate that Aldous was indeed transmitting. The page was page 17, but the line was line 23 (again!). The sentence beginning there was

The richness of this communication is typical of Aldous Huxley’s sense of humor.

I got the cold sweats, sort of. Was the whole 23 Enigma a world-wide plot to discarnate Huxley to prove the survival of the individual?

There are a million-and-one more 23s I could tell you about, put the upshot is that I began to feel like Uri Geller when he complained, “I think a clown has escaped from a galactic circus and is playing with us!”

In Mexico, in 1971, I was experimenting with automatic writing; l’ve spent some time knocking at all the doors to higher consciousness, including the damnfool ones. I finally obtained, after about 3 weeks of forced drivel, a lovely and quite grand 3 pages in fine King James style, telling me I’d been specially selected by the Secret Chiefs, etc., and that I would discover the 23rd Atu of the Tarot.

This is quite typical of automatic writing, according to Martin Ebon, that fine occult writer, with whom I once discussed this. Most novices at automatic writing get King James rhythms together with assurances that they’ve been specially chosen, he said. I wasn’t surprised or disappointed. I have acute allergy to people who’ve been specially chosen, most of whom are (in my experience, at least) even more emotionally childish, intellectually naive, morally bankrupt and spiritually blind than the general run of the population. There appears to be a shady gang of low astrals who wait around for each new knocker-at-the-door and rush forward with that “You’ve been specially chosen” line – “The oldest con in the business,” Burroughs says – and the mark who falls for it never advances intellectually another step, although his ego usually advanced at an alarming, even cancerous rate.

However, the Transmitter in my automatic writing was partially honest. In The Periodic Table of Energy, Dr. Leary and I add a 23rd Atu to the Tarot (and a 24th); and, although this was Leary’s idea, my contributions make me at least co-discoverer of the 23rd Atu.

(And that sentence comes, appropriately enough, at the bottom of page 23 of the manuscript version of this article.)

Eventually I got to the point of being bemused, or at least making a note in my magick diary, when I discovered that Harpo Marx was born on November 23; that Aleister Crowley was initiated into the Golden Dawn at the age of 23; that the Tantraists say (according to Garrison’s Tantra: The Yoga of Sex) that, where the female sex cycle is 28 days, the male has a different cycle of 23 days; etc. Ultimately, I took official note that 1904 – the year when Crowley received The Book of the Law and Einstein intuited the mathematics of relativity-has the following odd property: 19 + 04 = 23.

Enough. Too much. Back to the hard-nosed approach. (Oh, well: one more. 2/3 = 0.666, Crowley’s magick number, the Number of the Beast, and a basic dimension in the Great Pyramid, Stonehenge and freemasonry, according to John Michell’s perhaps overly-ingenious View Over Atlantis.)

We have, at least, the following correlations:

Crowley did identify his Higher Intelligence, Aiwass, with Shaitan and Set, ancient divinities akin etymologically and otherwise with the Christian Satan. Kenneth Grant (whose claim to be Crowley’s magical heir is at least as plausible as any of the four or five others who make the same claim) alleges that Aiwass lives on, or near, or maybe is the Dog Star, Sirius.

Gurdjieff did write about extra-terrestrials and space-ships, did describe a Higher Intelligence named Beelzebub who, like Crowley’s Aiwass, was mistaken for a Devil by human prejudice, and did make at least one odd reference to Sirius among his intimates.

July 23, when I received my flash, is indeed the first of the dog days, when Egyptian priests once invoked the Great Dog Star, Sirius. The Starseed Signals were received by Leary and Benner in the following weeks of the “dog days.”

Increasing numbers of Fundamentalists are predicting the return of “Satan,” and many include the detail about His appearance on TV.

Increasing numbers of “contactees” predict massive contact soon, and some say via TV. These predictions come from France and Brazil as well as the U.S., according to UFOlogist Hanlon, and some are quoted in Dr. Vallee’s forthcoming Invisible College.

Now, consider again the semiabstract blob that looks like a baseball pitcher to yanquis and a matador to Mexicans. Consider the invisibility of infant sexuality to Freud’s contemporaries, and the equal invisibility of ESP to most trained and disciplined scientists from about the end of the 18th Century to the middle of the 20th. Consider the total revolution in neurology – in our way of forming Gestalts – that occured after the acceptance of Copernicus, of Pasteur’s microscopic entities, of Freud’s unconscious, of Einstein. The human community literally learned to live in (experience) a different universe after each of these breakthroughs in conceptualization.

And consider the old Sufi parable of the five blind men and the Elephant. We usually interpret this in the sense of cultural relativism, as in anthropology, or neurological relativism, as in General Semantics or Leary’s Neurologic. The Sufis, however, teach that “the Elephant” is really there and can be grasped as a whole by objective (non-egotistic) intelligence. We have conceived of gods and goddesses, devas and Boddhisattvas, fairy-folk and elementals, of Two Divinities locked in eternal embrace (as in Tantra or Crowleyism), of Three Gods, of One God, of Secret Chiefs in a hidden commune, and, lately, of extra-terrestrials. Can we take a jump above all these maps, look at the territory objectively, and finally see the Elephant?

Say the magic word and the duck will come down and pay you $100.
— Marx

On October 31 , 1975, every wiccan coven will be invoking the Homed God. The Lady will be in abbeyance for half a year – until May 1, 1976, which is “just coincidentally” the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Bavarian Illuminati, perpetual terror of conservative conspiracy-buffs. The Horned God will rule the Winter months, as He traditionally does; and Fundamentalists have never doubted that He is, indeed, the Christian Devil.

Pornography (real hard core stuff) has twice been shown on American TV “by accident.” That is, in each case, the engineers responsible insisted they thought they were only showing a videotape on closed circuit for friends in the studio. Students of Dr. Freud doubt this explanation. All of us have a strong drive, conscious or unconscious, to rebel against the Puritan ethos which still (after the Sexual Revolution, after Kinsey, after Masters-Johnson, after Women’s Liberation) continues to dominate orthodox churches, police-departments, judges, federal agencies, and the Establishment in general. Those who write Anglo-Saxon sentences on walls, or who exhibit their genitalia from the park bushes to passing women, are acting out the rebellion compulsively; others make inadvertent slips-of-the-tongue (“Hand up your sticks: this is a ……..”); others sit at TV controls and day-dream …

A few radio stations have, on recent October 31sts, rebroadcast Orson Welles‘ famous “documentary-style” invasion-from-Mars show of October 31, 1938. I heard one of those shows a few years ago, and the station was virtually paranoid in its fear of possible paranoia among listeners: every ten minutes, the drama was interrupted with a reminder that this was a dramatization and not a real news-cast. I assume others will try to re-broadcast again this October 31, and will take equal precautions-but how much panic can get rolling in ten minutes, if people are nervous enough to start with?

I wonder, too, if somebody at the networks has scored the real coup of getting TV rights for The Exorcist already, and will they be imaginative enough to premier it on Halloween …

And what would happen if some of the subliminals and subsanies in that film leaked through to some of the viewers/listeners?

I have discussed this with Dr. Robert Newport, San Francisco psychiatrist, who assures me that the circulation of rumors about Devils or Starpeople appearing on TV could be “a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the rumors keep growing, some people will hear or see something unearthly on their TV screens this Fall.”

Dr. Newport added that those who report extra-terrestrial contacts, both among his patients (he specializes in schizophrenics) and among more respectable contactees, often claim that the voices come from radios or TV sets. Uri Geller’s cosmic buddies, SPECTRA, for instance, have allegedly communicated with him and Dr. Pujarich via both of these media, and also through Pujarich’s tape recording machine.

By necessity, an article such as this comes to no climax (in print). Which signals are part of the Elephant and which are instead irrelevant? (Is anything irrelevant?) Shall I let the Sirius archetype lead me to an obvious re-reading of the famous question in The Book of the Law – “Is a god to live in a dog?” Shall I go even farther out and answer the Zen riddle, “Does a dog have the Buddha-Nature?” Shall I remind you that Sufis, and maybe some others, have hidden their work behind the mask of the clown, and direct your attention to the new Everything You Know Is Wrong, The Fire sign Theatre, which includes a grim warning that all the dogs on Earth “are actually invaders from the great Dog Star, Sirius?”

No, we’re getting into Harpo Marx’s birthday again, I fear.

I will continue with only two more points.

“The word of the Magus is a lie,” said Crowley, the Magus. This is a typical Empedoclean paradox, but easier than most. Every discovery is also a creation, according to super-Establishment scientist, Jacob Bronowsky, in The Common Sense of Science, Science and Human Values, and other books. The scientist is as much a creator, Bronowsky insists, as the poet or other artists; what she or he finds, in their scientific theory, is a new way of organizing signals in to Gestalts. If this is true in the sciences, it is obviously even more true in daily perception, and in that kind of „philosophy“ which becomes so ubiquitous that it gets to be called “common sense,” “the hard facts,” or “what everybody knows.”

Crowley, then, spoke lies and lies and more lies; and, by his creative genius, the lies are now all coming true. When he announced a new paganism, he lied; but the new paganism is here. The Orientalization of the West for which he worked is also proceeding on all fronts; hatha yoga classes, Zen centers, etc., can be found in even small towns, and Aleister’s beloved I Ching is as common as long hair these days. Woman shall appear “armed and militant,” no longer subordinate, he announced – and Women’s Liberation issued its first manifestoes on approximately the 20th anniversary of his death. The Sexual Revolution, the Psychedelic Revolution, and the collapse of the Christian churches, all parts of Crowley’s Big Lie, have “shaken the windows and rattled the walls” everywhere. “The method of science, the aim of religion” – Crowley’s neuristic mantra-is practiced daily in parapsychology labs on all continents, except (maybe) Antartica. What, then, are we to say of his continually-repeated prophecies that the existence of “praetor-human intelligences” would be proven soon after the beginning of the New Aeon and that the new magick Current he instigated would „bring the glory of the stars into the hearts of men”?

And my last datum: I called Brian Hanlon, the UFOlogist, to check some points in this article, and gleaned a new bit of information. A man named George Hunt Williamson claimed telepathic contact with Sirius in the early 1950s; Williamson later developed the “ancient astronaut” theory subsequently popularized by Von Danikan and other imitators, and spent much time in South America on archeological digs seeking evidence. In the early ’60s, Williamson created a Telonic Research Center in Prescott, Arizona, where disciples gathered and listened to voices from Sirius on a special radio Williamson had built.

Even assuming Williamson was a charlatan and his radio a hoax, this is another amazing coincidence; another part of the Elephant.

“It is dangerous to understand new things too quickly,” said Josiah Warren, the first anarchist (which didn’t prevent people from understanding anarchism too quickly.) If humanity is being programmed for some astonishing new collision with the Elephant-which is the conclusion of both Dr. Vallee and Dr. Leary, working from entirely different areas of investigation originally – we still need to ask, who is programming the programmers? If a new map of the Universe-Mind (or the Mind-Universe) is being prepared by those grand folks who gave us the Hindu map, the Christian map, the Materialistic Science map, etc., are we being gradually educated, or just being led on the Hunting of the Snark again? Who wrote the program, to start with? Who owns the Elephant?

I don’t know; but I doubt that the Fall TV season will be as dull as the Spring season was. I know this because every game becomes reality eventually – a process sociologists call self-fulfilling prophecy, semanticists call Identification, witches call glamour, and Crowley called Magick. In the simple language of Dr. John Lilly:

In the province of the mind, what is believed true is true or becomes true, within limits to be learned experientially and experimentally. These limits are further beliefs to be transcended. In the province of tbe mind there are no limits.

The Starseed Signals
A Scientific-Occult Mystery

by Robert Anton Wilson appeared in Gnostica, Volume 4, Issue 9 in July 1975.