There are new religious movements that have been called occult, new age, neopaganism, and esotericism, but they have the same obscure and arcane reasonless revelations and prophecies. Generally, the word “occult” is associated with secret knowledge and practices that deal with the supernatural or “psychic” phenomena and often, with the purpose of obtaining personal power. Some occult practices rely on good or evil “spirits” or “deities” to achieve their goals. Interest in the occult has been promoted by the new age, neopaganism, and esotericism. Can a hoax/hoaxer or an esoteric con be the basis for a religion? Do not we see this in the religions of thelema, scientology, wicca, and eckankar? Yes, but this is nothing new and even if they are under the class of new religious movements, they have the same old reasonless revelations and prophecies that all religions enjoy. These new religious movements still have to work harder, need more followers, and more time to increase their respected status where the other more traditional but still mythic bullshit religions enjoy.

All religion, whether old or new, are reality hoaxes and mythological frauds that act as bearers of truth which are esoteric or special knowledge folklore cons. Well, all religions had a beginning point and a point when someone started telling lies. One of the new religious movements’ highly influential liars of reasonless revelations, prophecies, or predictions was Aleister Crowley, an esoteric conman who influenced scientology, eckankar, and wicca, which was created as a hoax. A hoax tries to make you believe in something that is not true or compatible with reality such as creationism, prayer, or magic for examples. Really, how is any religion different from a hoax religion? To me there is little to no difference. Aleister Crowley was a hoaxer, occult delusionary, and esoteric conman extraordinaire who inspired others like him directly or to a much lesser second hand sense such as L. Ron Hubbard (scientology 1952-1954), Gerald Gardner (wicca 1954) and Paul Twitchell (eckankar 1965).

Aleister Crowley, the continual hoaxer who once faked his own death by leaving a sad note about heartbreak at the top of this dangerous rock formation and the implication being that he had jumped to his death. The papers ran with it and announced Crowley’s suicide much to the amusement of Crowley. Some weeks later, Crowley arrived unannounced at an exhibit of some of his paintings in Berlin and showed that his death was a hoax. L. Ron Hubbard was a hoaxer, occult delusionary, and esoteric conman as well, even though he lacked any real contact with Aleister Crowley, that did not stop him from that Aleister Crowley was his “very good friend,” but then comments that Crowley is “Very, very, something or other.” Aleister Crowley did have some knowledge of L. Ron Hubbard by learning of Hubbard’s friendship with Jack Parsons, who at the time was master of agapé Lodge No. 2, one of the American lodges of Aleister Crowley’s ordo templi orientis. Hubbard and Parsons had started a business together and began the ridiculous babalon working which the business partnership ultimately ended in shambles, Hubbard ran off with Parsons’ boat, and went on to start his sci-fi religion called scientology. Gerald Gardner was a hoaxer, occult delusionary and esoteric conman who took a bunch of Aleister Crowley’s writings and material from liber al vel legis, and sort of cut and paste them with a few words changed and added into his creation of initiation rituals, the charge of the goddess, the drawing down the moon ritual, and more. Another aspect to consider is that Aleister Crowley had influence on Ron Hubbard’s scientology and on Paul Twitchell’s eckankar. In fact, it is interesting to know that Aleister Crowley’s religion of thelema and Paul Twitchell’s religion of eckankar share elements with Egypt religion. Coincidence? Moreover, the teachings of eckankar have something by the name of “The nine silent ones.” Could this be Paul Twitchell’s hidden version of “the nine” that links the council of nine and esotericists such as Aleister Crowley had already brought together as far back as the 1930s which surrounds ideas in the schismatic golden dawn order called the stella matutina and appeared in two books, Light-Bearers of Darkness (1935) and The Trail of the Serpent (1936).

Aleister Crowley was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, and novelist, responsible for founding the religion and philosophy of thelema, in which role he identified himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the aeon of horus. Crowley claimed to have been contacted by a supernatural entity named aiwass, who provided him with the book of the law, a sacred text that served as the basis for thelema. Crowley was influenced from a variety of sources, ranging from Eastern religious movements and practices like hindu, yoga, and buddhism, scientific naturalism, and various currents within Western esotericism, among them ceremonial magic, alchemy, astrology, rosicrucianism, kabbalah, and the tarot. Several Western esoteric traditions other than thelema were also influenced by Crowley. Gerald Gardner, founder of gardnerian wicca, made use of much of Crowley’s published material when composing the gardnerian ritual liturgy, and L. Ron Hubbard, the American founder of scientology, was involved in thelema in the early 1940s with Jack Parsons, and Crowley influenced some of his early work.

Anton LaVey and Michael Aquino, who are two prominent figures in religious satanism were also aware of Crowley’s work and had conflicting thoughts on it. It is not uncommon to read the name Aleister Crowley and it linked to satanism or devil worship. There have been various statements made by Crowley or attributed to him that were used as proof that he was the archetypal satanist. However, many occultists reject the belief of Crowley-the-Satanist as well. Many of these occultists, even some of these are satanists and followers of Crowley’s magical system of thelema believed he was a satanist; however, there are some satanic groups who also reject the idea of Crowley being a satanist. Many of the people claiming that Crowley was a satanist based their assumptions on the literal interpretations of his writings. It is clear that some of Crowley’s writings were extremely anti-christian. However, to be anti-christian does not make someone a satanist per se and does not indicate that the person identifies with the popular conceptions of satanists. Crowley wrote of being the servant of satan, “the devil, our lord whose number of magic is 666, the seal of his servant the beast” in his ritual for the attainment of knowledge and conversation of his holy guardian angel, shaitan-aiwaz. Kenneth Grant, another student of Crowley, wrote, “This whole ritual is an invocation of shaitan (satan) or set.” It is easy to see how Crowley, the great beast 666, gained the reputation as a satanist and hardcore anti-christian. The simple answer to the question of Aleister Crowley of having been a satanist is that there is no definitive answer. The religion of satanism is stupid and is just like all religions. I do care and am against satanism, even though it is not real, it is still a religion or a form of religious thinking, all of which I reject just like all other religions or pseudo-religions.

Exposing Scientology, Eckankar, and Wicca

Ron Hubbard, who founded the religion of scientology, was a liar by telling his followers that he was Nuclear Physicist, educated in advanced physics and higher mathematics, a student of Sigmund Freud and others, and researched years ago at George Washington University. In fact, Hubbard had no scientific degrees. In 1979, Hubbard was a criminal, found guilty of fraud, and sentenced to four years in prison. Scientology is not above using ethically questionable tactics and the worst of these is called Fair Game. The scientology organization claims to have ceased using fair game but many people have experienced harassment since that claim was made. What is fair game? As part of this fair game, scientology members have created and distributed pamphlets that are full of lies and slander against people who have publicly protested against them. In fair game, scientology members may be tricked, sued, lied to, deprived of property, injured, or destroyed by any means by any scientologist without any discipline of the scientologist. You think this an exaggeration well scientology has killed Lisa McPherson (February 10, 1959 – December 5, 1995), who was a scientologist and died of a pulmonary embolism while under the care of the flag service organization (FSO), a branch of the church of scientology. When Lisa died, scientology was indicted on two felony charges of “abuse and/or neglect of a disabled adult and practicing medicine without a license,” which put the nature of scientology beliefs and practices under trial. The heated controversy included regular pickets outside the scientology offices on or around the anniversary of her death until the year 2000. The charges against the church of scientology were dropped after the state’s medical examiner changed the cause of death from “undetermined” to an “accident” on June 13, 2000. A civil suit brought by her family against the church was settled on May 28, 2004.

However, one of the real systemic harms promoted by scientology is that it is anti-psychiatry. A number of psychiatrists have strongly spoken out against the church of scientology. After Hubbard’s book, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health was published, the American Psychological Association advised its members against using Hubbard’s techniques with their patients. Hubbard came to believe that psychiatrists were behind a worldwide conspiracy to attack scientology and create a “world government” run by psychiatrists on behalf of the USSR. Hubbard also decided that psychiatrists were an ancient evil that had been a problem for billions of years. He cast them in the role of assisting xenu’s genocide 75 million years ago. So it seems that scientology is indeed, if you have not already guessed, unscientific. Scientology is entirely a manmade invention of one man: L Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer. Scientology, through its narconon organization which promotes Hubbard’s theories on substance abuse treatment and addiction, tricks people into believing that they are getting help. They instruct people not to take psychiatric medicine and even in the case of sufferers of schizophrenia or other physically based mental disorders.

Among scientologists, the prime belief is that man is a spiritual entity or “thetan,” and capable of feats beyond those, which they will normally, envisage. Scientologists claim they are able to unlock these abilities through processes known as “dianetics.” Scientology teaches that all of the “mental image pictures” you accumulate through your life are known as your “time track.” Certain types of particularly vivid “mental image pictures” are called “engrams.” Dianetics explains engrams clearly via the following equation: “A=A=A=A=A”. Scientologists’ processes attempt to erase false engrams in followers by resulting in a state of mind known as “clear.” Scientologists would like to “clear the planet.” Just like christians, jews, and other religionists, scientologists have their own special symbol. It comprises the letter “S” and a double triangle. Unlike other religions, which are primarily based around books and stupid statues, scientologists claim to use advanced, futuristic technology to “audit” its members. Auditing is the process whereby scientology ministers cure spiritual upset; the stupidity just keeps going and going. It gets better or worse depending on how you look at it. According to Hubbard, the planet Earth was once part of a galactic federation along with 76 other planets. However, 95 million years ago, the Federation was suffering from overpopulation and its evil ruler, xenu, captured billions of alien species, transported them to Earth, killed them all by detonating the planet’s volcanoes using hydrogen bombs, and then harvested their spirits. The stupid goes on more but I am sure you get the picture.

Paul Twitchell and Harold Klemp, who founded the religion of eckankar, which claim you, can learn to prove spiritual truths to yourself through your own experiences. In 1960s Paul Twitchell joined the “church” of scientology, was soon branded a Suppressive Person which is scientology speak for excommunication, moved on and later created eckankar in 1965. Eckankar is a new religious movement based on a 19th-century Indian tradition called sant mat, which centers around surat shabd yoga, which is a synthesis of hinduism and sikhism and focuses on spiritual exercises that enable practitioners to experience “the light and sound of god.” Some core ideas of eckankar seem to be watered down buddhism with some new age special effects.

Paul Twitchell founded eckankar, by dropping the Indian cultural elements from what he had learned and offered practitioners a means of “soul transcendence” through techniques that placed them in contact with the divine light and sound. The spiritual laws taught in eckankar are the law of cause and effect (karma) or past lives, dreams, and soul travel. In eckankar, they think colors and sounds are magical too, for instance, the color pink is from the astral plane and the source of emotions and many problems. Eckankar teaching is considered an advanced form of surat sabd yoga, “sound current,” which concentrates on physical and spiritual techniques that enable the soul to travel beyond the physical limitations of the body to the higher spiritual realms of the “sugmad,” the formless, all-embracing, impersonal, and infinite equivalent of god in theistic religions. Eckankar teaches that the universe was created by a series of sound waves coming from the divine, in the course of which the divine sound current became imprisoned in the realm of matter. Humans are sparks of god trapped in a cycle of reincarnation who nonetheless can return to god by listening to the divine sound and repeating the divine names: mantras.

The leader of eckankar, Harold Klemp, is regarded as a living eck master, who has “made the journey into the heart of god but has returned to help us on our way home.” Members of eckankar worship many deities, but their chief deity is called sugmad. Eckists believe sugmad is the endless source from which all forms were created and that the eck, the sound current, flows out of sugmad and into lower dimensions. This word is an amalgam of the names of three Egyptian deities or occult expressions called saa, hu, and maa, which figure prominently in Egyptian occult practices. In ancient Egyptian metaphysics, the material body: the spirits of touch was saa, the spirits of taste was hu, and the spirits of sight was maa. The astral or inner self: saa was the perception, knowledge, and understanding, hu, was command and divine utterance, and maa, was justice and the ability to perceive rightly. Practitioners chant ‘hu’ constantly, unaware that in doing so they are supposedly invoking an Egyptian god.

Harold Klemp calls all who do not practice eckankar, “weeds,” similar to what scientologists call “wogs,” a derogatory term that implies non-practioners are only worthy to be stepped on and ground into the dirt. Klemp has said in some of his lectures that “each of those who are eckists must come to the realization that they each belong to the chosen race of the superior being, All others are aliens, that is those who have not yet voluntarily taken up the path of eckankar. These aliens, as we speak of them, who do not practice eckankar, “weeds,” are in a way heathens or pagans who have not yet found truth. They are the agents of the kal, the god of the lower worlds, the devil, and the enemy of those who are the followers of the path of eckankar.” Most ex-eckists are able to pick themselves up after a period of grieving, however, they have extreme difficulty breaking free of the fear and bad karma threats that are strewn throughout the writings. They have been conditioned to believe that if one walks away from the “master,” they will lose all spiritual status and must begin their journey in the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms again, and for some people, these fear implants have led to terrible suicidal depressions that can last for years.

Paul Twitchell has said, “Who so ever shall divulge the secrets of the path of eckankar shall be deprived of his sight and tongue in order to never say anything about the degrees of initiation in eckankar.” Harold Klemp has said, “But once the chela, a member of eckankar, has become a member of the inner circle, HE cannot resign… Those who fell have found that spiritual decay sets in immediately, affecting the health, material life, and spiritual life, and brings death more swiftly.” Harold Klemp further states, “The wrath of the eck crashes down upon anybody who is still a slave to the ego and deserts the master. Not once will he see the connection between his betrayal of the eck and the horrendous troubles that strike him down like a plague on every hand. And thus he goes downward on the spiral of awareness until he leaves this body in hopeless despair, still wondering why the fates have treated him so cruelly.” There have been a few instances of eckankar suicides and usually from people in the upper levels of training. One of them committed suicide in his garage with the car running and a picture of eckankar plastered on the inside of his windshield. Many more practioners have had psychotic breaks on the upper levels and are usually escorted out the back door with admonishments to keep silent about their experiences or suffer the consequences. Also as in all religions, there is a certain fanatical core group and with such ones around, anything could happen such as the sea org in scientology. Paul Twitchell once wrote, “The eck not only condones warfare, but has used it on occasion.” These are dangerously inflammatory words from a so-called spiritual teacher. If history is any guide, fanatics of all stripes latch onto such irresponsible words and use them to justify the most horrible treatment of others. So eckankar can be considered somewhat dangerous.

Gerald Gardner, who founded the religion of wicca and put it together in the middle 1950s using blatant rip-offs of Aleister Crowley, Freemasonry, Egyptian ideologies and Celtic lore. Wiccans or neo-pagan witches are not satanists nor do they worship devils or consort with demons. Let us address the satanic ritual abuse and used to describe the actions of “pseudo-satanists” or those who sexually abuse children and use the trappings of so-called satanic rituals and claims of magical powers to coerce and terrify victims, but do not actually believe in the official organized satanic rituals. In the first place, there has never been any consensus on what actually constituted satanic ritual abuse and it was actually used more a catchall fear motivated term. This lack of a single definition, as well as confusion between the meanings of the term “ritual” (religious versus psychological), allowed a wide range of allegations and evidence to be claimed as a demonstration of the reality of satanic ritual abuse claims, irrespective of which “definition” the evidence supported.

A survey of more than 12,000 satanic ritual abuse allegations has found no substantiating evidence for an intergenerational conspiracy, but did document several examples of abuse by pseudo-satanists. Despite allegations appearing in the United States, Holland, Sweden, New Zealand, and Australia, no real material evidence has been found to verify allegations of organized cult-based abuse that practices human sacrifice and cannibalism. Satanic ritual abuse is considered a moral panic and no more credible to the historical witch-hunts. Anthropologists, sociologists, and journalists performed the initial investigations of satanic ritual abuse, which failed to find evidence of satanic ritual abuse actually occurring. However, they concluded that satanic ritual abuse was a result of rumors and folk legends that were spread by the media hype, christian fundamentalism, and some evangelical activists and groups were using claims of satanic ritual abuse to further their religious and political goals.

Now back to wicca, which is the largest category of neopaganism. Wicca, no matter how it would like, it is not historically accurate and not part of or a continuation of a Stone Age religion. Wiccan expressions are essentially esoteric, not exoteric. Wicca is a decentralized religion, which mostly involves witchcraft as a spiritual system, and though many share this common name, many wiccans develop their own beliefs, rituals, and other practices. As a result, they place their emphasis on a subjective religious experience and not on historically verifiable facts. Originally, wicca’s founder Gerald Gardner claimed the rituals in the book of shadows were the original rituals used by British wiccans for centuries; it becomes quite obvious when reading it that the material comes from several sources. The writings of Aleister Crowley were a major source of material and without question; there were no sources from British wiccans as historically there is no such thing as British wicca since it was created in the 1950’s. If wicca is the survival of an ancient tradition, there would be a record of those beliefs somewhere and yet, there is not. There is an old saying that if you ask any ten wiccans about their religion, you will get at least fifteen different answers. Margot Adler a wiccan author states, “The most authentic and hallowed wiccan tradition is stealing from any source that didn’t run away too fast.”

The truth is all too clear and not a single culture from pre-christian Europe held beliefs, even remotely similar to those of wicca. There are literally thousands of inscriptions to Celtic deities, most of them appearing only once, and many tied to small areas of population. The surviving Celtic myths speak of their gods as behaving as individual beings unto themselves and not pieces of one super-god. The druids, often cited by new agers as being monotheistic, were actually of little importance to Celtic religion. After the Romans outlawed the druids, the Celtic religious practice continued uninterrupted. The druids are often viewed as something of a mystical brotherhood of priests and wizards. Upon closer examination, one finds they were more akin to a guild of bards and lawyers who acted as priests from time to time. Wicca instead relatively a mix of witch cult, ceremonial magic, Victorian ideas and British legend about nature worship, some old esoteric knowledge into his original tradition, including eastern mysticism, kabballah, a sprinkling of hinduism and spiritualism all put together by Gerald Gardner created and founded wicca with possibly some additional help and wicca is relatively a mix of witch cult, ceremonial magic, Victorian ideas and British legend about nature worship, some old esoteric knowledge into Gardner’s original tradition that includes eastern mysticism, kabballah, and a sprinkling of hinduism and spiritualism.

The claims of a surviving Stone Age cult appears to me as an attempt to validate wicca by making it appear older and to give it the popular appeal of “ancient and powerful mysteries.” Many wiccans criticize or deny the division of an ultimate deity into a purely good god and another into purely evil. For wiccans, the ultimate deity divides into a male god and female goddess. Since this division does not correspond to a division between good and evil, it follows that the male god and female goddess must be mixtures of good and evil or is mixtures of positive and negative values. However, as stated before, wiccan views on theology are numerous and varied and there is no universally agreed-upon religious canon. Traditionally, wicca is a duotheistic religion that venerates both a triple goddess associated with the moon, stars, and often the earth, and a horned god associated with the sun, forests, and animals. These two deities are variously understood through the frameworks of pantheism as being dual aspects of a single godhead, duotheism as being two polar opposites, hard polytheism as being two distinct deities in a larger pantheon which includes other pagan gods, or soft polytheism as being composed of many lesser deities. In some pantheistic conceptions, found within the wicca and including monotheism, the concept that there is just one deity, which is seen by some such as dianic wiccans as being the goddess, whilst by others, like the church and school of wicca as being genderless.

There are other wiccans, who are atheists or agnostics and do not believe in any actual deity, but instead view the gods as psychological archetypes of the human mind, which can be evoked and interacted with. Many wiccans believe that the god and goddess are merely two aspects of the same godhead, often viewed as a pantheistic deity, thereby encompassing everything in the universe within its divinity. Many wiccans believe in magic, a manipulative force exercised through the practice of witchcraft or sorcery. Several wiccans agree with the definition of magic offered by ceremonial magicians such as Aleister Crowley, who declared that magic was “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.” Many wiccans believe magic to be a law of nature, yet misunderstood or disregarded by contemporary science, and as such, they do not view it as being supernatural, but a part of super powers that reside in the natural.

Some wiccans believe that magic is simply making full use of the five senses in order to achieve surprising results, whilst other wiccans do not claim to know how magic works and merely believing that it does because they have observed it to be so. Some spell it “magick,” a variation coined by the influential occultist Aleister Crowley, though this spelling is more commonly associated with Crowley’s religion of thelema than with wicca. If wicca really is nature-based, then it is contradictory to the present theory of nature and is so deeply inconsistent with natural science. Therefore, if wicca really does demand empirical testing, then it is contradictory for wiccans to make claims that are obviously empirically false. Skeptics and rationalists ought to put pressure on wiccans to naturalize their beliefs. Wiccan texts are full of woo and just plain irrational thinking. It is precisely because wicca has naturalism that it seems it can very easily become naturalized and de-mythologized. As long as our brain structures remain the same, religion is here to stay. The question is whether religion can be changed so that it becomes more rational.

By Damien Marie AtHope

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