Ascended masters ~ higher truth or composite fantasy?

I first came across the Ascended Master teachings in the I AM Activity in which my father was involved.  Within that group their existence was accepted as Truth.  The people I knew who were involved in the Activity seemed honourable so I accepted this teaching as Fact.  Besides, I was a young girl at the time and they wouldn't tell me anything that wasn't true.  Would they?

The masters had special names and special duties on a higher level overseeing certain aspects of developments on Earth, and it all seemed very proper.  Those who followed these teachings were exhorted to live and study in a prescribed way to speed their development, so that they too might clear their karmic debts and impurities and then be fit to also ascend into this select and rarefied setting.  The art works depicting the masters were beautiful, or at least I thought so.  Very colourful - light pouring forth and all the special regalia depicted as jewels and sacred forms.

The inclusion of Jesus in their ranks made the scheme seem both safe and acceptable.  St Germain was another prominent character, said to be at the head of the new spiritual dispensation for the Earth which would come into being with the New Age, the post-millennium world.

The fact of their existence was supported by other writers who told of their experiences of being with them in remote places in the Middle East or in North America.  Baird Spalding was one of these writers. 

When I was in my thirties I looked for more contemporary literature about them and found references in a number of places: in the Aurasoma collection of healing oils and essences there is a full line up of a whole group that I knew about, and I found studies of them in other books as well.

They were becoming more well known.  But no one I knew seemed ever to have seen them, not directly in the physical, which was a little surprising since they were said to be able to appear (and disappear) anywhere at will.  Maybe it was because people I knew were not advanced enough.  Or maybe it was because the Masters chose to work only on the inner levels and not to reveal themselves at this time.  Hmmm...

It wasn't until years later that I looked into this more critically.  I wanted to find out more about where these beliefs originated.  From the little I knew about Buddhism I was familiar with the concept of bodhisattvas: those people who had graduated from the schoolroom of earthly existence and could have been reunited with God, but who chose to remain in some kind of contact with humanity in order to assist others on their paths to enlightenment.  That seemed a respectable enough tradition. 

I wondered if there was more to it than that.  Some of the accounts I came across read better than others, some seemed more believable than others.  But it all seemed rather regimented, like an upstairs bureaucracy peopled by a somewhat rigid and formidable set of characters.  There was an undercurrent of fear in me about this, about being looked into and found not good enough. 

I began to wonder if perhaps at least a portion of this thinking was made up, fabricated: the product of lively minds and idealistic thinking, and maybe something else.  After my split with Teri, I looked into this more closely using a divining technique in which I had a degree of confidence.  The result was as I somewhat gloomily suspected.  It was mostly made up, the result of many people imagining similar things.  I've described the way these sorts of things can seem real in my previous article about channelling.

Did my divining technique simply reflect back to me what was already in my own mind, or in my need to move away from this way of thinking, or did it have some validity in itself?  I don't know, who can say?  I do know that setting these 'truths' aside, indeed of exploding them out of my belief system was a necessary and healthy turn of events.  It was distressing to do so, but necessary. They had been a glittering thorn in my psyche for far too long.

I still felt the need to look further.  I had the good fortune to come across John Michael Greer's book "The new encyclopedia of the occult", a gold mine of information about the history of many people and groups.  It is written in a conversational style so is easy to read and explore.

What I found is that we come back to Theosophy, established by the vigorous personality of Helena Blavatsky, who was the originator of most of its foundation writings.  These were considerable and set out a vast cosmology and 'occult history' in great detail.  John Greer writes:
...she rejected materialistic science and orthodox religion with equal force.  As an alternative, she built up a vision of the world that combined very nearly everything  that had been rejected by official science and scholarship of her time.  Lost continents, secret societies, the claim that the works of William Shakespeare were actually written by Francis Bacon, theories of evolution in which animals were descended from man rather than vice versa, and much more along with a great deal of lore from the Western magical traditions and Eastern mysticism.  Blavatsky's version of occult history swept all before it....
 He goes on to say:
Ironically, [in the last quarter of the twentieth century] as large elements of the occult community were moving away from the Theosophical version of occult history, that version found a new audience in the burgeoning New Age community.  Nearly all the "secrets of the past" that were the stock in trade of occultists in the early twentieth century have been revamped and put back to work as elements of modern New Age ideology.  (page 339 - Entry for Occult History)
In his entry about Theosophy (page 483) he says
The entire New Age movement has been characterized as "Theosophy plus Therapy," and although this is an oversimplification it contains a good deal of truth.
It certainly looks like it to me. 

In his entry about the 'Masters' (page 300) he closes with this remark: with apparently real entities who have teachings to impart is a fairly common experience for students of many spiritual paths, and this experience is probably the core of the entire complex.  That these teachings cover the spectrum from brilliant insights to gibberish is part of the mystery.  
One of the references he gives for further reading is the work of K. Paul Johnson, a historian of Theosophy.

I have followed this article with one written some time ago about Greer's encyclopaedia, with particular focus on the historical character of Saint-Germain.

So what do I think now?  
While I don't discount the possible existence of beings of greater stature than ourselves, more 'advanced' than ourselves, I have closed the door on material originating from or connected to Theosophy.  It's roots are shaky and there is too much room for the imaginative creation of things that may or may not exist - whole masses of inter-connected idea-constructs which have little to do with getting on with life's practicalities, helping others and making the world a better place.  And I've got other things I'd rather do.  Good bye, ascended masters, good bye I AM Activity, good bye all you self-important people in your individual pulpits prosing on about how we each should live and die so that we can become more worthy.  Good bye, and please close the door quietly as you go.  I reserve for myself the privilege of slamming it.  ...There, that feels better!

And that, dear readers, is what I think of that!

Later note - June 2013: I now see the line-up of ascended masters, so called, as archetypes of a particular type.  If they are more than that I am sure they do not depend on me or anyone else to believe in their existence, and as I've said before I have other things I'd rather think about and do. 

Book shop links for interested NZ readers:
The New Encyclopedia of the Occult

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stargate153 said...

Despite alleged connections to Theosophy, the ascended masters really were the brain children of Guy and Edna Ballard in the early 1930s. Drawing inspiration from tales of mystic figures already depicted in occult literature, the Ballards fabricated a composite character they named the ascended master Saint Germain. Soon a host of other masters showed up to fill out the ranks of a fanciful brotherhood of masters.

The Ballards were exposed as frauds in a book entitled 'Psychic Dictatorship in America' not long after the Ballard's seminal book, 'Unveiled Mysteries', was originally published. But the students of the I AM were never told. Instead they were instructed to purchase and burn all copies of 'Psychic Dictatorship' and to hurl blasting and death decrees against the author.

Notice that the 'ascended master' Morya is quite a different character than Blavatsky's Morya (also a fabrication). Blavatsky's Morya was a staunch esoteric Buddhist who often complained about having to deal with people who still believed in a personal God. But decades later, Morya had changed his tune and was pushing a new-age version of the Bible God. Even the Buddha himself had been converted in the afterlife and was now working hand-in-hand with Jesus, Mother Mary, name it.

The bottom line is this: There is absolutely no credible evidence that ascended masters exist anywhere but in the imagination of gullible believers.

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Thanks for your contribution Stargate153. I hadn't come across the book you mention and am pleased to hear of it.

I find deceit particularly offensive in the realm of supposed spiritual authority. I'll be generous and say that it is possible that the Ballards believed that what they wrote and taught was true. However, to actively block others from carrying out their own evaluations and speaking openly on the subject shows them to be a Bad Lot.

As I have written in the previous article, "channelled information is likely to contain grains of truth, which will make it seem more convincing - we recognise parts of it as being true to what we already accept as true and so accept the whole bowlful. I think this is probably the bulk of it. Caution needs to be emphasised. I think Rudolph Steiner was quite right to give precedence to moral development over the development of spiritual faculties".

stargate153 said...

"channeled information is likely to contain grains of truth, which will make it seem more convincing..." Yes. If there was one good thing that can be said of the Ballards, they were able to research and collate a lot of lofty metaphysical ideas from many different sources, pulling it all together under one banner. But this does not excuse their deceit.

It is likely that Mrs. Ballard was the real author of those original 'green books'. This was made evident when students attending conferences would ask Guy Ballard questions about his experiences. Edna would always chime in with the details. She seemed to know more about Guy's experiences with the masters than he did.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a popular literary form called 'fictional autobiography'. The author would compose a very interesting life story, but it was all known to be make-believe. But Guy Ballard was claiming that his alleged experiences actually happened in real life! Liar, Liar!

Unfortunately, the delusion of ascended masters continues to the present day. After the I AM activity faded into obscurity, a number of splinter groups came along with new messengers. First there was the 'Bridge to Freedom'. Then there was the 'Summit Lighthouse'. Then there was the 'Temple of the Presence'. Then...on and on it goes. It's very sad.

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Thank you for your further comments, Stargate153. It *is* sad, sad that this sort of thing traps peoples minds.

It is a very difficult subject to evaluate as anything connected with 'psychic' realities is very malleable - which is what motivated me to write this set of articles in the first place. There is not much at all written about it, and in the wake of my crushing disillusionment I found that thinking about it in any way that made sense was close to impossible.

It is years since I read those 'green books' (since burnt) but I seem to recall Guy Ballard writing that he saw what he wrote in flaming words which appeared before his eyes - presumably meaning his inner vision, and that he simply wrote this down. Exactly which text this supposedly referred to I don't recall, but I do remember being very impressed by it at the time. (Sigh!)

Further to this, I am aware that 'channeled' material tends to be expressed immediately without first being evaluated by the person conveying it, which can leave them without much idea at all of what they have said. If this was the case with Guy, it could possibly explain his gappy response to enquiry. But...

The first two books had quite a different character and tone to those which followed; they were much gentler and more accessible - quite romantic really. From Book 3 onwards the tone became strident and unreservedly dictatorial which I didn't like them at all.

One thing that caught my critical attention at a very early age was the dispensation granted to one of the men mentioned in those books who was a cattle rancher. The I AM lot were rigorously vegetarian, and to me as a sensitive child who was raised as a vegetarian, that dispensation showed strange inconsistency. Engagement in the slaughter of harmless animals who have no way of defending themselves seemed quite wrong to me then and indeed still does.

I am still a vegetarian. Far from seeing animals as inferior to ourselves - as suggested by the I AMers, I see them a having a far worthier place on this planet than humans, who in ecological terms are unarguably the greatest plague this planet has ever seen. I find it pitiful that humans seem to have to make up a whole lot of 'spiritual truths' in order to justify their place at the top of the ecological pecking order. Our planetary home could be said to be delivering some home truths on the subject with increasing force. You can't mess with Mother Nature to the extent that we have done and continue to evade the consequences.

Given your interest in the subject I wonder if you have had direct contact with the I AM Activity yourself? No need to respond if you don't feel inclined to do so. I appreciate the thought you have put into your contributions here.

stargate153 said...

I came into contact with the I AM teachings indirectly by way of a successor group. But to understand how this fits in, we need first to look at what happened with the I AM activity.

As the group grew in popularity in the mid to late 1930s, and to match the grandiose nature of the ascended masters, the claims coming from the Ballards became more and more outrageous. Among other things, they started to tell the students that certain individuals attending the next conference would attain their ascensions. Of course these claims never materialized.

Almost at the height of their popularity, Guy Ballard went and died from a liver ailment in 1939. But this appeared to be in direct contradiction to Ballard's earlier claim this his body had been made indestructible and impervious to any negative karmas after he ate those magic brownies that Saint Germain had given him.

At first, Mrs. Ballard tried to cover it up, saying that Mr. Ballard was away on an assignment from the masters. But then realizing that his obituary would be printed in the newspaper, she quickly told the students that he had decided to take his ascension without raising his physical body. Of course, this was in direct contradiction to a teaching from the ascended master Jesus who had stated that such a thing was impossible.

As a consequence of this turn of events, many followers lost faith and fell away from the activity. From this point on, Mrs. Ballard would deliver the dictations which she did well into the late 1970s.

One sincere student of the I AM in the early 1950s was a young woman by the name of Geraldine Innocente. She and her mother were very devoted to the I AM teachings. Geraldine believed so strongly in the masters that she began to see and hear them talking directly to her. She felt that the masters wanted to dictate certain teachings through her that for some reason were not being revealed directly through Mrs. Ballard.

But when Mrs. Ballard found out, she was furious and booted Geraldine and her followers out of the activity. But this was the beginning of 'The Bridge to Freedom'(now The Ascended Master Teaching Foundation).

Unfortunately by the early 1960s, Geraldine began to become confused, questioning whether her contacts with the masters were real. Some say she died from an accidental overdose of medication. Others say she was depressed and committed suicide. In either case, a believer might be led to ask 'Where were the ascended masters when this happened?'

But never to fret, the masters always have a back-up plan. According to the popular lore, Master Morya had been preparing Mark Prophet (that was his real name) to lead the next valiant effort under the sponsorship of the 'Great White Brotherhood'.

Mark Prophet, who had discovered the ascended master teachings by way of The Bridge to Freedom, founded his own activity, 'The Summit Lighthouse', in 1958. Mark took dictations and began to build his organization and to gather a following. A few years later he met and married Elizabeth Wolf who later would take the reins of the organization as 'messenger' after Mark died in 1973.

This is where I came in. Of course I knew nothing of the history that I just told you. I learned these things over many years of involvement with The Summit Lighthouse. I had been a staff member in the late 1970s to the mid 1980s. And believe me, I got a full dose of what it was like to be a student of the ascended masters under the stern tutelage of their chosen representative on Earth.

But it's getting very late and I will have to close for now. I will come back with other installments. Please feel free to ask any questions you like.

stargate153 said...

I couldn't resist..More ascended master enlightenment - The curious saga of the Sindelar portraits.

In the early days of the I AM, Charles Sindelar, the artist known for his famous portrait of the Quaker Oats man, was an active member of the I AM activity. He claimed that both the ascended masters Jesus and Saint Germain appeared to him in a vision and posed for his portraits. The Ballards praised the paintings as the most accurate depictions of these masters ever produced.

But years later in the early 1960s, when Mrs. Ballard learned that Mark Prophet was also using the paintings (they had not been copyrighted), she commissioned another artist to paint a new set of portraits. When the new portraits were unveiled to the students, Mrs. Ballard said that the old paintings no longer carried the 'radiation' of the masters and that all copies should be destroyed. I wonder how Charles Sindelar would have felt had he still been alive at the time (He died in 1947).

I raise these points just to highlight what a mess of absurdities the whole business of ascended masters is. In the Summit Lighthouse, we were taught that the first three 'green books' retained the purity of the masters intent, but somewhere along the line, Mrs. Ballard had gotten off the track and the subsequent materials produced by her were not reliable.

Of course Mrs. Ballard maintained that this was complete rubbish and together with her students continued to send blasting decrees against Mark Prophet and all other impostors. The only question then for the believers in this 'passing of the torch' theory, a theory which recognized Geraldine and the Prophets as genuine messengers continuing in the traditions started in the original I AM activity was this: Why couldn't Saint Germain have told Mrs. Ballard?? Perhaps the master's 'light and sound ray' equipment was not functioning at the time.

Of course I'm being very sarcastic. But perhaps sarcasm is what is needed to shake people out of their infatuation with ascended masters.

stargate153 said...

If this is just too much material to absorb, I will stop. Let me know.

These days it's hard to find a forum where this topic can be discussed critically. Sure, there are Christian websites that express their dislike of ascended masters. However, those folks suffer from Bible-on-the-brain syndrome which distorts their perception of reality and effectively discredits their criticism.

One by one, the core tenets of ascended master preachings fall by the wayside when they are examined closely. A good example is the decrees. Supposedly, a spoken command in the name of the I AM could compel the entire host of heaven into action to fulfill a desired result. Decrees set to rhyme and rhythm were said to be even more effective.

There were decrees for protection, for health, for prosperity, for wisdom, for purification...The only problem was that they didn't work! Even after decades of sincere application, students were on average no more healthy, wealthy, enlightened, protected from accidents, etc..than folks who knew absolutely nothing about decrees.

Then there was this 'tube of light' that was supposed to emanate from the I AM presence hovering somewhere above you in the ethers. No credible explanation was given as to why the mighty I AM needed to be reminded daily to re-establish this invisible (imaginary) protective shield. I remember that Mark Prophet claimed that the tube of light could stop bullets. I don't recall anyone ever volunteering to test out this theory.

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Hello again Stargate, I am fine in publishing our exchanges thus far, and can understand your wish to express the points your have made. Reading what you say does bring up old stuff for me as I can identify with what you say and also I have other things going, so if I take a while to respond it is due to this, not lack of interest.

For me the question of the existence of ascended masters, or whatever you want to call them, has ceased to trouble me. They either exist or not, like other things that aren't within range of our usual sensory perception. What I do find troubling are the claims made about them, interpretations of supposed contact and strictures about how this should be applied in our lives. If people want to believe that sort of thing that's their own affair, but they had better not attempt to foist it onto me!

I must say though, that I find the gross distortions that show up in statements connected with the I Am 'teachings' offensive, like the business about the bullet-proof shields - really dangerous advice which could have far reaching and disastrous results. However, I do think it possible that fear attracts danger - in the form of aggression, whereas an attitude of confidence can deflect it - to some degree - in an interpersonal situation for example. Let's not test this against one person standing in front of a speeding train! These sorts of points need rigorous discussion and working out and for individuals to then make up their own minds. as the German dramatist, Gotthold Lessing said: "Think wrongly if you please, but in all cases, think for yourself".

The basic tenet that lies at the core of much New Age philosophy is that we make our own reality, therefore, the suffering we experience, as everyone experiences, is entirely of our own making, either in this or other lives - supposing that we have lived through previous incarnations. Taking this belief at face value ended up being traumatizing for me and deeply harmful. It is also complete and utter rubbish. I have written on this subject at some length in my article "Positive thinking pitfalls and medical prognosis":

"...My view is that taken by itself this attitude of total control shows a vastly inflated assumption of our own self-importance and abilities. I now see this as a rather infantile attitude, one we are likely to have had when very young before the reality of further life experience set in. While there are things in our lives that we can influence and control there is much that is dependent on a myriad of other factors which are well outside of that, like chronic illness and disability, for instance.

Life is unpredictable: good things happen, but so do disasters, accidents and illness. Those who don't have these experiences are likely to be fortunate both in having strong constitutions and exceptionally good luck.

Anyone who disagrees can open any history book at any place and see the wreck of suffering and disaster which occur all over the world all the time, impacting as much if not more so on very ordinary people, going quietly about their own business, while the tyrants of the world often rampage around unimpeded by what should be the immediate consequence of their bad behaviour."...

I'll write my next comment in a separate 'box'.

Leigh Christina Russell said...

What you relate about Geraldine Innocente is sad. I hadn't heard of her before. It sounds as though she was a well-intentioned and devout person with high ideals.

I am sure that what we know about the nature of reality is only partial and who knows what the truth of the matter was - whether she was in touch with 'higher' entities or not, or for some of the time and at others not - who knows! Here again channeled information should always be rigorously examined for its efficacy.

I do think that the minds, even the brains of people who have this capacity are likely to be vulnerable to mental illness, as their very openness to this sort of thing leaves them open to all sorts of other things as well.

It is my view that in the same way that manual labour can cause occupational overuse syndrome from physical over-exertion, so too can mental exertion: channellers who engage in too much of their own sort of activity can very likely become subject to what I think of as fire on the brain.

From discussions I have had with a man who spent decades on the fringes of the New Age movement I gather that it's not that unusual for spiritual leaders to develop mental illness, which of course their followers make every effort to conceal.

At such a point these people may need to cease work in that role and perhaps go into seclusion, but, and this is a big 'but', if they then realise that there have been elements of delusion in the past this may be too upsetting to cope with - without a great deal of independent support. Also, their followers may become very angry and turn on them.

It is no surprise to me that the astrological planetary ruler of spirituality, which is Neptune, is also the ruler of illusion and theatre and glamour.

Disillusionment and attendant loss of faith can crush beyond measure as I well know. People who haven't experienced this can have no idea of just how catastrophic this can be to one's inner world. It certainly was of mine. If Geraldine experienced something of this sort I can see how it could have proved ultimately destructive.

With all candour I do say that if that is Enlightenment, don't pray for it - it is *way* too difficult.

Leigh Christina Russell said...

What I must make clear is that when I was a child the adults I knew who were associated with the I Am activity were among the best, gentlest and most generous people I have ever come across, and although all of them have since died I still rank them as the best mentors and helpmates I have ever had. They may have died but their influence lives on. For two of them their involvement with the Activity was a passing phase of some years; the third stayed with it. They would never have harmed a family pet or wished anyone ill. When I was young I understandably wove some of the the strands of their (passing) beliefs in with their integrity and friendship with me.

Their innate goodness made me susceptible when in my adult life I met another who identified herself with those teachings who was less scrupulous and whom I have latterly come to regard as an unsound person.

I've talked about this over a range of articles at the beginning of this section of the Wasteland in which I look at how to identify teachers who are genuinely wise, kindly and helpful from those who are not. Then of course, there are those who are a mixture of both...

...There are some very straightforward ways of making an assessment which I wish I had known about earlier on: The first and most important one is to say 'No' at least some of the time, to decline to be controlled, and to engage in debate. The second it to take a long look at how what they say is reflected in their own lives - health, friendships, etc. The third is to ask your friends what they think. Fourthly, listen to your gut instinct - some people just don't seem quite genuine, seem too good to be true, or one feels somehow uneasy - if so, you had better take note of that. It's more complex than that of course, but these points are a good start. If you get chucked out for disagreeing with the 'wise one' you have your answer right there on a platter, and it will without doubt save you from a great deal of trouble, possibly from ruin. It may be upsetting at the time, but in the long run worth it.

Stargate, I wonder what your experience was in this respect?

stargate153 said...

I don't doubt that many of the devotees of the I AM activity were some of the nicest, kindest folks you would ever want to meet. But the same could be said of the people involved in the Summit Lighthouse activity. I know, because I was there. But the error we make (perhaps even subconsciously as you indicated) is accepting this as supporting evidence that the belief system must be true.

When you again mentioned Ms. Innocente, I took a quick look over at the Ascended Master Teaching Foundation website to refresh some of my memory. Evidently, Geraldine had been in direct contact with the masters in the 1940s (at least according to the popular lore). Somehow the date 1951 stuck in my head. I guess this was the date when her Bridge to Freedom activity was officially founded.

You can tell just by looking at her picture that she was a sweet and devoted person. I can understand how she attracted a following. Even her name indicated an inner purity. But perhaps she was an innocent victim of a delusion perpetrated by others who came before her.

Reading through some of the info at their website, I was again struck by the erroneous nature of the beliefs. They think that the tilt of the Earth's axis was caused by the burden of mankind's negative karma and somehow by the efforts of their prayers and decrees, it can be righted once again.

Of course this is complete nonsense. According to our best scientific knowledge, the tilt of the Earth's axis was caused by violent collisions when our solar system was in its formative stages several billion years before human beings ever showed up.

If the Earth was not tilted, there would be no seasons. All life on Earth has evolved to be in sync with these planetary cycles. A change in the tilt of the Earth would likely cause mass extinctions. If the fruits of these alleged contacts with ascended masters produce such absurd doctrines, how are we supposed to trust anything they say?

I agree with the methods you describe in determining the credibility of self-proclaimed spiritual teachers. As you mentioned elsewhere, caution is always the best approach.

I myself was not cautious. I embraced the whole 'bowl'. But that was many years ago. I was young, idealistic and trusting. And of course I did not have access to all of the information that later became available on the internet.

I still don't know what to make of the Ballards for absolute certain. It seems unlikely that they couldn't have known that the stories they told were not true. Does that make them outright con artists, or were they just delusional? As I indicated in my posts here, I lean more towards the former.

stargate153 said...

I hope that our exchange will be helpful to future readers of your blog. As you said in one of your blog posts (I don't remember which one), there is not a great deal written about this subject, unless of course we count the mountains of channeled material pushing one or another particular version of ascended masters.

Concerning poor Ms. Innocente, we were told that she had committed suicide. So the story goes that the very day this happened, young Elizabeth (later to be Elizabeth Prophet) was walking through the Boston Commons central park when she spotted a tall bearded man wearing a turban and a long robe. She thought she was seeing things and proceeded to walk right though him. She turned around and he was still there glaring at her with those intense eyes.

Allegedly, this was good old ascended master El Morya who then instructed her to go and find Mark Prophet because they had an important mission to accomplish together.

Sounds very interesting but again, if Morya could appear at will to Elizabeth, why couldn't he have been there to prevent Geraldine from taking that overdose of medication, whether it was accidental or intentional?

Speaking of spiritual channels who develop mental illness, Elizabeth never was mentally ill (unless we count the whole ascended master channeling business as a mental illness) but towards the end of her career, she was stricken with Alzheimer's disease. It got so bad towards the end of her life that she didn't even recognize her own children.

The question again is 'How can this kind of thing happen?' She was supposed to be the chosen representative of the entire hierarchy of heaven. Couldn't at least one of those ascended masters have touched and healed her?

To me, it is just more evidence that the whole business is a delusion.

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Hello again Stargate, I share your hope that what is offered here may be helpful to those looking for different views of the ascended master themes than those that are commonly touted.

I can understand your wholehearted embracing of the group you were with. I don't know how it compares with the I Am activity but do know that the latter demanded '100 percent' dedication, which excluded the reading of literature outside of their own. Of course this is absurd, but it's easy to see this in hindsight, and there are other religious groups which have similar prohibitions - most unhealthy in my view.

Examples of how this thinking can crop up can readily be found if one is not healed through prayer: "You can't have fully opened your heart to [insert 'Jesus' or other figure of divinity]". In my view this is a *very silly* and harmful distortion.

One thing that can be said in favour of the Bible, whatever one's private views about it may be, is that it has been debated and refined over the centuries, and the practices of spiritual disciplines that have evolved with it do have some proved value. In contrast the New Age paradigm was seeded very recently and has undergone very little critical evaluation, each phase declaring in turn that it is the Truth. Their literature is almost uniformly made in the form of direct statements and declarations of this sort.

Now, I know what I believe to be true in my own life, and I am confident about saying what my experiences have been - what I have found to be true from that, but I would not be so arrogant as to suppose that I knew what was true or would work for others.

I completely agree with your comment that good people don't necessarily have sound beliefs or ideas we agree with. Indeed, healthy friendships have lots of room for different points of view and give and take.

Finally, my point of departure from all this crystallized into a commitment to do what I can to help in the physical world, and I realised I didn't need a whole lot of beliefs in unseen beings in order to do so! Caring for others and living a wholesome life is something everyone can grasp and get on with and isn't dependent on religious beliefs or divine dispensations.

stargate153 said...

You mentioned that the I AM activity expected 100% dedication, and that the students were not allowed to read other materials. In fact some books were strictly forbidden. Gerald Bryon, in his book 'Psychic Dictatorship..' explained that there was a reason for this. He showed that much of the Ballard material had been taken from other sources.

People who knew the Ballards in those early days of the I AM said that Edna would quietly pack a box of special metaphysical books in the trunk of the car whenever they would go on tour. The students were not allowed to read those books, but the Ballards were. If the students had been permitted to read those books, they might, according to Bryon, have realized that the Ballards were frauds.

Concerning the Bible: I've been looking at something called Astrotheology of late. In a nut shell, the Biblical tale of Christ is just an allegory of what is happening with the heavenly bodies in their cyclic dance across the sky. I do not believe that the Jesus figure was a real historical person. What then can be said of an ascended master Jesus? There might as well have been an ascended master Sherlock Holmes. I shouldn't jest. Someone might start taking dictations from the ascended master Sherlock Holmes.

The star of Bethlehem is simply the star Sirius which lines up (somewhat) with the three stars in the belt of Orion (the three wise men who followed the star in the east) and points to the place on the horizon where the sun rises at winter solstice (in the northern hemisphere).

It's a very fascinating subject. It made me think a bit. I realized that the motion of the stars, the sun and the moon in relation to the Earth, has been the most exhaustively studied subject in the history of human beings. It would make sense that our concepts of God would be intrinsically interwoven with them.

'Caring for others and living a wholesome life is something everyone can grasp and get on with and isn't dependent on religious beliefs or divine dispensations.' The Buddha himself couldn't have said it better (if there was a Buddha).

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Hi Stargate, just a line here to say that I haven't overlooked your last comment and mean to reply - when I can.

Leigh Christina Russell said...

And in the meantime, just in case you haven't come across this which is in one of my 'Beyond Belief' articles, you might enjoy Mark Day's video:

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Hello again Stargate, and thank you for your further contribution.

Interesting what you say about how the study of the stars and other celestial bodies has been interwoven with our concepts of God. It seems likely to me that the gospel stories of the New Testament have been adapted to show the life of Jesus in certain ways, which have either have formed or conform to an archetype of the sort you describe in relation to Astrotheology. If this is so the maxim 'As above, so below' has been well and truly pegged!

This angle on the Biblical stories is imaginatively and very eloquently explored by novelist Philip Pullman in his novel "The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ", which I highly recommend. Although I found myself uncomfortable with the opening passages of the book I soon got over that and became very absorbed by it, finishing it the same day that I picked it up! Whether you are a Believer of not, this is a fascinating and very readable book.

Setting aside the question of the divinity of Jesus the teachings expounded in the New Testament are universal: they are about love, kindness, generosity, forgiveness and the care of others - very much the same as those at the core of other world religions.

Because my cultural background is Christian that is what I go back to to re-examine what I think in terms of my spiritual orientation.

I really can't find the divinity of Jesus relevant any more. Whether it is true of not doesn't change my requirement of myself, as I have said above, to care for others and to live a wholesome life. In fact I think the life of Jesus as related in the New Testament is stronger without it.

It has been a relief to find that there are branches of Christian thinking which have dispensed with this, which in this part of the world are described as Presbytarian Progressives. I saw an excellent interview on tele of Australian theologian Dr Val Webb by Noel Cheer a couple of years back, in which she talked about it which put it in quite a different light. Intellectual discussion was to the fore! It was such a relief. I could join in with them if I choose to and feel quite comfortable. Her website is here:

Also good is this site of St Matthews in the City, an Auckland church which has lots of thought provoking content:

Stargate, I am aware this may not be your cup of tea. I have expanded on these points for the interest of readers in general.

stargate153 said...


I have to check back at your site every now and again to see if there are any further posts. I don't receive any e-mail notices.

Concerning the divinity of 'Jesus': I feel this is a very important issue because so many millions of people are ignorantly devoting their lives to a mythological being and focusing their hopes on an afterlife that in all likelihood does not exist.

It would make sense that Jesus said some wise things as the authors of the gospel tales had a great wealth of material to draw from when fabricating him. The way I see it, the Jesus figure was an amalgamation, a composite character drawing together what they thought would be the best attributes for an ideal messiah figure. It should not be surprising to see that the Romans called their church 'Catholic' or 'universal'.

Concerning the 'Secret': I have a close friend who is interested in these things. I have to bite my lip so as not to come down too hard on it. The whole business is based on false claims and popular misunderstandings of quantum theory. I'll have to check the other websites you mentioned when I get the chance.

It seems that in my own search for spiritual truth, one by one, the so-called authorities on the subject have come crashing down. Whether it's the Bible, Jesus, the ascended masters, eastern gurus,..speaking of which...

Years ago I was impressed by an alleged miracle working guru called Sai Baba, mostly from the stories that were told about him. It turned out that he was a slight-of-hand con artist who had deceived his followers into thinking he was an incarnation of God. Then when the allegations of sexual misconduct with young boys surfaced he was completely disgraced.

But what about Paramahansa Yogananda, the highly respected spiritual teacher who had helped bring yoga philosophy to America in the early 20th century? The story is told that one day he realized that his life's mission was complete. He sat down and consciously decided to exit his body in a state of meditative bliss. But eyewitnesses who were there said that after giving a talk he suddenly fell over and died of a heart attack.

So much for folklore.

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Hi Stargate, I completely understand where you are coming from about searching for teachers in relation to spiritual truths.

What you relate about Yogananda's death illustrates just how much followers interpret what they think was meant, for surely the man himself did not say as much, and even if he did, what of it?

When he was an elderly man Jung said something a little similar - about having reached a place of near-completion. That seems eminently reasonable to me - one would hope to have arrived at something of the sort after a lifetime of hard and creative work.

One thing that does annoy me is people quoting texts who go on to say things like: 'What the Buddha (really) meant was...' How do they know, and did he ever say it? What I think they probably mean is that the meaning that they themselves found in the text, and which makes sense to them, is [*fill this space*]. That is just fine, and everyone is then free to make up their own minds, draw their own conclusions, or simply walk on by. Good.

But for those of us who have been steeped in religious / spiritual teachings for many years getting distance from questions of divinity can be a painful and difficult process. It certainly has been for me.

Indeed it was traumatic. And even after all these years I still have residues in my depths of midnight panics: it feels like fighting to get out of a thick inky-black toxic cloud in which there is a sense of threatening images being concealed.

This is not something one can simply 'get over' or walk away from. And for the record I've never touched mind altering substances, nor is my mind unstable, so don't think it.

Only recently I had a very sleep-deprived night with a recurrence of this trouble. In a hyper-alert state it is difficult to get any sleep as one is constantly waking oneself up just as one sufficiently relaxes. None of this is reasonable, but in the small hours anxieties of many sorts can surface, become magnified and distorted.

Prayer is quite useless in such situations as it is these very (supposed) entities that one is attempting to get away from. Leaving the bedside light on helps somewhat.

This has been part of my journey. I want readers to get some idea of just how deep and long-lasting an impact this sort of thing can have. Those of us who are sensitive, serious-minded, and have been dedicated to spiritual paths over the years can be very damaged by disillusionment and the uncovering of deception and abuse. It can be deeply shocking especially in relation to supposed divinities as well as the very ordinary mortals with strong personalities who have set themselves up as gatekeepers to God. Shame on them.

So, coming back to the clear light of day, when I'm reading 'spiritual' books now I keep a wary distance.

None the less I do look for the companionship and helpful thoughts of others. The practicalities of ordinary life can be very troublesome and dispiriting at times, and the companionship of others who have a degree of insight and who care can provide solace.

I am not looking for people who believe what I believe - that is my own affair, but for those who are also thinking rigorously for themselves - and who make it work for them - in a way that includes others and welcomes different points of view.

As I've said before, I am comfortable for the secrets of life and death to remain a mystery, to disclose themselves in their own time and fashion. I have my own notions and musings on the subject which may or may not prove to be relevant, and in the meantime I have to get on with life as I find it.

Stargate, once again, thank you for your sharing your thoughts. I've been pleased to have had these exchanges.

stargate153 said...

I hope that our exchange has not brought you added anxiety. I certainly don't know everything. I can only see things from a particular vantage point, through the lens of my own experiences.

I wanted to know the truth, even if the truth meant that my long cherished beliefs about God were wrong. When I prayed for enlightenment, I certainly was not expecting what I later discovered.

As you indicated, a sincere spiritual seeker can be deeply hurt, devastated upon discovering deception or some form of abuse that defiles our sacred trust. It can take many years to heal.

In my own case, the hurt was not so much related to a betrayal by particular people, but in discovering that the head honcho, God Almighty, had let me down in a big way. - He didn't exist.

The practicalities of ordinary life can be very troublesome and dispiriting because this is the way it has always been. Human beings, like all animated creatures on this Earth have had to struggle against the odds to survive. No human being has ever been able to avoid suffering along life's way.

To help us cope with these things, we invented gods to give us hope and reassurance that in the end, there was meaning and purpose to it all.

The way I see it, even if we are just an accident of nature, an unplanned outcropping of evolutionary processes on a particular tiny planet in a remote corner of a vast and frightening universe, the human species still has enormous value and is worthy of preservation.

Think of the great achievements of mankind in our relatively brief history. Whether it be music, literature, art, architecture mathematics, science, invention, philosophy,..even religious thought... Humanity should think about these things and dump its' wars and petty tribal squabbles into the nearest trash can.

I think it was Voltaire who remarked that if God did not exist, we humans would have need to invent Him. This may not be far off the mark. Should it be thought blasphemy to consider that humanity (barring natural disaster or self-annihilation) may one day progress to the point where we will have the knowledge and the means to create a new world, perhaps even a new universe to ensure our survival after this one has run its' course. If this is what is meant by 'God', then it will come from the bottom-up, not from the top-down.

But whatever the outcome, I hope they will have plenty of rose bushes there in paradise.

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Hi Stargate,thank you for your caring thoughts. Discussions of this sort can revivify old experiences, which isn't a bad thing necessarily. There are times when I slow right down or back off if I find myself getting too wound up about things. But an over-sensitised state often has its own cycles and reflexes which can crop up 'out of left field' without warning, so one does ones best at addressing life with moderate behaviour and expectations!

Responding to what you say about disillusionment in relation to 'God Almighty' I can understand that that would be a painful realisation.

If taken literally a belief in divine intervention can be catastrophic. After one of our exchanges I got out an old folder of news items which I clipped from newspapers when I was struggling through my most difficult time. I've nearly thrown this away a number of times but not yet done so, and it still serves as a reality check of sorts. One article is about a man who with others formed a prayer circle for his sick child, an undiagnosed diabetic, rather than seeking medical assistance. The child died, and the man was convicted of "second degree reckless homicide". His feelings can only be imagined. Other 'believers' may have deemed that the prayer did not carry sufficent faith - complete nonsense of course. In another case, this one in New Zealand, a young woman was accidentally drowned during a lengthy process in which her family attempted an exorcism. There again she needed medical attention.

[Continued below...]

Leigh Christina Russell said...

'Self development' courses can also be similarly foolish and have equally dire effects: in Australia the suicide of a previously normal woman who became psychotic was directly linked to her attendance at a self-help course which was described as a "journey to the core of the human spirit". The article goes on to say that 'The coroner recommended legal restrictions be introduced in the state for those practising under the title of psychotherapist or counsellor.' Amen and hooray to that!

Opening that file again just now I found I was trembling. This is not a conscious thing; rather, it's a reflexive reaction.

In amongst all those tales of suffering and disaster I came across a stray one about the number plastic bags New Zealander use each year. This article was written in 2006, and includes this information: 'The Ministry of the Environment says New Zealanders use over 22 million plastic bags each week - most of which will take about 500 years to break down in landfill.' There are 4 million of us living here. This is an utter disgrace. I mention this here as a contrast with the other things we have been talking about as this is something practical that each of us can do a great deal about, unlike a lot of other things in life! I've written on the topic a number of times in my At Home Chronicle giving practical suggestions.

Coming back to what you say about your disillusionment my response is that it sounds like a *concept* of God that has been found wanting:

I like what Jung said about God in the following excerpt, which I have quoted in an article which comes later in this series:
"When I say that I don't need to believe in God because I "know", I mean I know of the existence of God-images in general and in particular. I know it is a matter of a universal experience and, in so far as I am no exception, I know that I have such experience also, which I call God. It is the experience of my will over against another and very often stronger will, crossing my path often with seeming disastrous results, putting strange ideas into my head and manoeuvring my fate sometimes into most undesirable corners or giving it unexpected favourable twists, outside my knowledge and my intention. The strange force against or for my conscious tendencies is well known to me. So I say: "I know Him." But why should you call this something "God"? I would ask: "Why not?" It has always been called "God"." (page 200, of Claire Dunne's excellent biography of him, from a letter written in 1959)

In my current world view I find that the word "God" can be spelt L-I-F-E, and be perfectly satisfactory! Thus, the story of poor old Job can be read as a source of comforting companionship rather than one judgement and warring divinities :-)

stargate153 said...

You mentioned a problem with plastic bags in landfills. We have the same problem here in the United States. About a decade or so ago there was push to replace the plastic bags with old fashioned paper bags but it didn't seem to go anywhere. Nearly all of the the grocery chain stores still use the plastic bags.

People unfortunately are blinded by their own immediate needs and don't have much awareness of the harm that we inflict on the environment. It is frightening what goes into landfills - old refrigerators, washing machines, television sets..Perhaps in a more ideal world, the manufacturers of these products would be compelled to figure out how to properly recycle them at the end of the useful lives. But this might hurt their bottom line - money. Let someone else worry about that.

Here in the US we have our share of religious fanatics. The south-east has come to be known as the 'Bible belt'. There is a concerted effort on the part of some of these religious groups to undermine science education in America, particularly on the subject of evolution. Evolution is of the devil. It can't be true because it contradicts the scenario depicted in the Bible which appears to indicate that the Earth and all of life was created by God less than ten thousand years ago.

In the 19th century, particularly after the Civil War, a lot of new religious sects popped up, mostly in the northeast. There was the Mormons, the Seventh Day Adventists, the Christian Scientists, the Jehovah's Witnesses,..even Blavatsky's Theosophy emerged during this period.

I recall a case similar to the ones you mentioned where some Jehovah's Witnesses came under fire. A young girl died because her parents would not allow her to receive of blood transfusion which would have saved her life.

To me, it's just a matter of education. Strict Bible faith can blind people to reality..something I referred to as Bible-on-the-brain syndrome. Pondering the meaning of faith several years ago, I put together the following definitions,.. probably needs some modification, but it goes something like this..

Reasoned Faith: Accepting a proposition as true in the light of credible supporting evidence.

Blind Faith: Accepting a proposition as true in the absence of credible supporting evidence.

Stupid Faith: Accepting a proposition as true in the face of credible evidence that insists that the proposition is false.

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Hi Stargate, that seems reasonable!

I have read the Dalai Lama's statement that if science proves Buddhism wrong that Buddhism will have to change. What a refreshing attitude!

Plastic bags and other unnecessary waste are a terrible problem, but one we can do something about, which was the main reason I mentioned it.

It is a pity that humans seem to need rules to shape their behaviour, but if this is what it takes in this matter I'm all for it. Germany has rigorous recycling ground rules which have greatly reduced waste:
...The tiny African nation, Rwanda, does not permit the use of 'single-use non-biodegradable' plastic bags full stop!

The responsibility rests with us - to clean up our act and stop being environmental vandals.

Belief in divine beings of whatever sort can carry with it the unconscious expectation that ultimately God / Jesus / the ascended masters will fix everything, a similar expectation to that of children in relation to the adults in their lives.

Whether or not such an eventuality occurs I want to be able to say I did what I could, which is the dictate of my own conscience.

YOu mention that hope that there would be plenty of roses in Paradise. Like you, I love roses. I would also hope for Hibiscus bushes! And I can think of many other favourites as well. :-)

I am inclined to suspect that Paradise isn't somewhere else - it's actually here and we are wrecking it. It would be truly awful to discover that this was so once it was too late, when we had always expected it to be somewhere else, or in some kind of afterlife.

stargate153 said...

It seems that our conversation has drifted a bit from the theme of ascended masters, but that's OK.

On the Buddha (if there was such a person): At least he had the courage to admit that there was no God. And even if there was a God or gods, they had displayed absolutely no effort to alleviate earthly suffering. They might as well not exist.

As far as I understand, Nirvana is not heaven, but a state of 'nothingness'. It is peculiar that the most devout Buddhist monks strive their whole lives to essentially erase their own existence. I guess that's one way to put a stop to suffering.

I spotted a documentary on youtube about a new 'Jesus' cult in Queensland, Australia. The young man at the head has convinced his followers (and himself) that he is the reincarnation of Jesus and that his girlfriend is the reincarnation of Mary Magdalene. They have been purchasing land to set up a compound. It has all the earmarks of a disaster waiting to happen. I guess this fellow doesn't know that there was no Jesus.

On aliens: It appears that our discovery of nuclear energy and the detonation of atomic bombs starting in the 1940s stirred up a hornets nest of flying saucer activity. The site of the most famous alleged crashed spaceship (1947) was not far from the 509th nuclear bomber headquarters near Roswell, New Mexico. Despite decades of denial from the military and the government, citizens in America and around the world are demanding that our governments come clean about what they know about an alien presence on Earth. As if we didn't already have enough to worry about.

Then there is this 'New World Order'. Certain degenerate humans who have weaseled their way into positions of great wealth (stolen), power and influence have diabolical designs on the whole world. They want a one-world dictatorship controlled by them behind the scenes. They consider the bulk of humanity to be little more than a herd a cattle that needs to be managed and eventually eliminated when they are no longer needed. What insanity!

Can 'God' fix all of this? Unless there is a worldwide revolution against these scoundrels, the future of the human race does not look very good.

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Hi Stargate, yes, our exchanges have wandered somewhat from the topic of the article, and while interesting I need to give my attention to other things, so I will rule off after this response, but before I do so I want to reply to your comments above:

In the movie "A serious man" one of the rabbis says unequivocally that God has no obligation to humanity at all, that the obligation is entirely from the other direction - from us. This is a very different point of view from what we are familiar with in Christian teachings. I enjoyed entertaining that concept. However, whether that is right or not, and whether I agree with it or not doesn't change the facts of the matter, whatever they may be! Life is full of mysteries!

Personally I don't doubt the existence of Jesus of Nazareth. He is recognised as a teacher and prophet of considerable stature in both Judaism as well Islam, a very broad group. They simply don't see him as being more than that. I am inclined to agree. And while it seems highly likely that the stories that have come down to us about him have become idealised over the centuries, they still have considerable value.

Be that as it may, we all have the freedom of our own beliefs and have to make our own way.

The Australian man proclaiming himself to be an incarnation of Jesus gives me the creeps. If he really is, which I completely disbelieve, then this should be self-evident and he would have no need whatsoever to say so. I find his attempt to 'borrow' such an identity completely ridiculous. What he is setting up has all the hallmarks of a cult. There have been many such. As you say, a disaster in the making.

Leigh Christina Russell said...

On the subject of aliens I've written my own thoughts in my article "Of aliens and star races" which you have probably read so I won't repeat that here, other than to say that I found Nick Cook's televison documentary "An alien history of Planet Earth" very helpful, and the best commentary I've come across on this troubling topic. His conclusion was that most evidence of aliens could be traced to human shenanigans, while some could not.

Regarding Eastern spirituality, Jung had an interesting perspective which I appreciate. In Claire Dunne's excellent book about him she includes the following direct quote:

"The Indian's goal is not moral perfection, but the condition of nirvana [liberation from the opposites and the ten thousand things]. He wishes to free himself from nature; in keeping with this aim, he seeks in meditation the condition of imagelessness and emptiness. I, on the other hand, wish to persist in the state of lively contemplation of nature and of the psychic images. I want to be freed neither from human beings, nor from myself, nor from nature; for all these appear to me the greatest of miracles. Nature, the psyche, and life appear to me like divinity unfolded - and what more could I wish for? To me the supreme meaning of Being can consist only in the fact that it *is*, not that is not or is no longer...."

However, as I said above, we are all different, and have to make our own way. Clearly this aspect of the Buddhist way makes sense to those who embrace it. But it is only one part of their outlook and practice.

I do agree that we all need to stand up against world domination by a few. The greatest threat in the world today as I see it is not aggression but complacency. That and boredom - cardinal sins both! :-)
Thanks again for an interesting series of exchanges,

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Hi Stargate153, if you happen to write anything futher on your own site I'd be pleased to know of it.

lilly38 said...

Dear Leigh Christina Russell ive been suffering from post traumatic stress nit eating nit skeeping after being expised to stuff bt a shaman in line wuth asencuin beliefs. Wondered how you shut the door on those brliefs and if yiy coukd help me in any way? Im terrified

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Hi Lilly38, I'm sorry to read of your distress. With the degree of anxiety you describe it is important to get professional help. A trusted family doctor can be a good start. I put off getting help myself for far too long because I was so frightened. It was a huge relief to discover that health professionals accepted my distinction of spiritual beliefs and distress caused by them and psychotic episodes. There is a difference although this is not always clear. I'll write further in a separate comment box below.

Leigh Christina Russell said...

... continued... However, if your experience has caused a psychotic episode it is even more important to get professional help. Properly qualified therapists may be able to assess what is happening and provide appropriate help.

In the immediate short term, make sure you have people with you that you trust.

Stay in touch with nature. When I was most distressed and unable to rest, I used to sit looking out a sliding door at trees and the nearby trees. I derived comfort from watching the ducks who visited from a nearby stream and working in the garden, often on my hands and knees. These troubles are in the mind world, so engagement with the natural physical world can help us re-orient ourselves. Continued below...

Leigh Christina Russell said...

... Once more I strongly recommend you seek medical help.

It may be helpful to hold the thought that the disturbances you are experiencing may well be the result of the workings of an overwrought brain and nervous system, and to firmly set aside considering any other cause or other level of reality. Thinking about possible other levels of reality is not helpful right now - not in any way.

You describe panic. Panic attacks can be medically treated.

Without knowing more about what has happened to you I can't comment further, other than to say that the crisis you describe is not unknown. In exploring the fringes of our known world one can experience terrifying fright at the enormity of what we don't know of what lies beyond. But as humans we have our physical bodies and known place in the natural order of things. Recognizing this can help us get re-oriented.

You are welcome to let me know how you get on. My e-mail address is in the right-hand side bar - if you want it.
All the best,

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Back again: Lilly, you ask how to close the door on beliefs. What I found worked best for me was this: I realised that the beliefs that I had had were not only upsetting me but harming me, so I decided that whether they held any truth or not was irrelevant and that I simply had to turn my back on them and occupy myself with things that I could see and deal with that were wholesome and helped me (as well as others). This helped me occupy my mind with other matters, which was the most important thing... and gradually the intrusiveness of the other faded. It took quite some time though. Bear in mind that a time of crisis is not the time to try to understand deeper issues; far better to focus on what is very ordinary and possibly even dull. I found reading and re-reading favourite novels very helpful. I slept with the light on a lot, and coaxed my appetite along with comfort food such as mashed potatoes and baked beans, or nice pasta with gooey sauce; anything really that was even vaguely nourishing that helped me feel good.
Go gently with yourself,

Leigh Christina Russell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lilly38 said...

I would really like to speak to you im derply traumatised as the shaman purposefully did it to open my consciousness and noe I ferl like there is no way backk!

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Hi Lilly, there is a way back. I know how impossible this can *seem*, which is characteristic of the difficulties you are experiencing. There are therapists who specialize in this area which I have mentioned in my article "Evaluating teachers and healers"

It is very important that you get the right help and support, as I have outlined in the early passages of this chronicle. I am not a health professional, and am not available on the phone, sorry, just offering the sum of my own experiences and the insight gleaned from them. I will keep an eye on the comments here and you are welcome to write to me if you wish.

The person who caused this problem for you did something very silly and I hope they bitterly regret it. I very much doubt that they were a genuine shaman. In any case I strenuously advise you have nothing further to do with them and seek help from formally trained and registered professionals.

It sounds to me quite possible that you have experienced severe shock and need help recovering from it and reorienting in the physical world.

Hope this helps.

lilly38 said...

What kind of therapist would you suggest? I am seeing a clinical psychologist. Im so scared of seeing other dimensions or ascending etc

lilly38 said...

Thanks so much for your advice. What type of therapist would you recommend?

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Dear Lilly, hang in there! I am relieved to know that you are in the care of a clinical psychologist.

As I see it there are two important factors in the therapy and medical support you choose: the first is that they have recognized mainstream qualifications and registration as I have already mentioned; the second is that you feel comfortable with them.

The first therapist I went to I was not comfortable with, so I took my courage in both hands and stopped seeing her and was very fortunate to find another with whom I am very comfortable - whom I still regularly see. She is a Jungian therapist, so is comfortable with hearing me out and discussing some of the more spiritual issues I have had and needed to talk about as well as the more practical issues.

The work of these professionals is to be on your side and to help you regain your health and well-being. I should think that they will undoubtedly disapprove of the sort of treatment you have received from the person who caused you all this harm.

I encourage you to dismiss the possibility of ascension as a complete fabrication. There is quite a bit of literature about supposed ascensions but from my own wide and comprehensive experience and acquaintanceship I have never heard so much as a whisper of it. People who tout it are in my view complete fraudsters or deluded idiots. They may seem very 'enlightened', intelligent and spiritually 'advanced' but don't for heavens sake allow them any credibility whatsoever. My strong feelings on this subject are more politely worded elsewhere in this chronicle than I am tempted to write here! I *really, really, really* don't think you have anything to worry about in the ascension arena.

Fear of losing control? We all have that to some degree, and can get help for addressing that.

Fear of visions? We are all different. I don't see the unseen with my physical eyes but I do sometimes sense things in my inner vision and get unexpected impressions of things I don't always understand. Perhaps the important thing here may be to just sit back and observe? These things can be like the weather: first one sort and then another... It's good to be able to talk about it with those you trust. Who knows what it is.

One of the problems I identified about my own state when I was most ill was that what seemed so real, especially in terms of all-pervading nightmares, was actually the product of my deeply over-strained brain, which felt as if it was on fire. Once I realized that I calmed down about it somewhat. I was able to see it as the result of a physiological state rather than a manifestation of The Underworld.

I really do think that the devastating effect that profound shock can have can be overlooked by health professionals. Mine was.

All strength to you,

lilly38 said...

But I actually saw a UFO other dimension with this shaman and he said he is changing my spiritual dna and I will become a light body. I don't wqnt tp be enlightened just be a normal grounded girl. How can ypu ever get over aeeing that. Apparently they use that to shock you into changing consciousness. Maybe mine is irreversible

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Dear Lilly, you poor thing, no wonder you have been so upset. I have come across this sort of concept and it is serious freak-out territory. Indeed, I used to be very frightened about it myself. I wonder if you have read the article I wrote about it? Seeing David Cook's documentary about it helped me put things in perspective.

It may be useful to examine what happened to you in parts. Okay, so you did have a vision of some sort, let's accept that. Now, the person who was with you at the time put a construction on it as to what it was and what it meant.

I would be inclined to stop the movie right there and separate the two. I imagine that it would be very difficult to do this given that your state of mind at the time would very likely have been wide open and in shock and what he said would have registered in you at a deep level.

It is, however, his interpretation of events only. There is no reason to give that interpretation head-space.

I am upset on your behalf that you have been so badly messed up by this meddling idiot, and my own experiences of the damage done by similar suggestions make it hard for me to talk about calmly!

Those with actual spiritual maturity and insight do NOT get into this sort of thing at all. Genuine awakening of consciousness is a matter of natural progression and very lengthy preparation and is not something to 'put' on anyone. It is dangerous to attempt any such thing. Unfortunately there is a lot of it about, so don't for heaven's sake blame yourself.

The woman who had such a strong and disastrous influence over me in similar respects said similar things about herself. I now believe she was mentally disturbed.

She encouraged me to believe that I was not fully human. For a lonely and unusual person this is a very disturbing point of view. One of the things I did to come to terms with my own personality was to explore, at length, my genealogy. I have a *large* extended family. What I discovered was that my personality traits were entirely traceable in other parts of the family... The particular mix of traits that shows up in me makes for a lot of challenges, but I am fully human!

At the time that I was struggling with all of that I wrote a piece to comfort myself which began: "Whatever else I am, I am of the Earth..."

Hope this helps. Keep talking - to those you feel you can trust and rely on. It can be helpful to externalize these experiences so that they can be seen more clearly.

lilly38 said...

Thanks so much for taking the time. I just dont know what will happen to me. I was such a loving caring girl and now i am deeply traumatised and not sure how will cope with all of this

lilly38 said...

But in your article you have the link to Edgar Mitchell which says that UFOs are real are even more scared about disclosure etc, Im just terrified

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Dear Lilly, when I wrote the article about aliens and star races I made a point of examining everything I could find on the topic. The interview with Edgar Mitchell was part of that.

I agree with David Cook's conclusion in the television documentary series, that while by far the greatest amount of reported 'alien' activity has been found to be human, mostly the work of the military or of criminals, some of it *is* unexplained. It would be arrogant to suppose that our own species is the most intelligent and mobile in the known universe, which leaves open the obvious possibility that other beings exist.

It may be helpful to observe that Mr Mitchell did not seem at all anxious about that possibility, and from the tone in which he spoke, seemed to regard it as just one more aspect of the universe about which we have much to learn. I like that attitude - although I much prefer to leave it to others to do that exploration. But then I have never aspired to be an astronaut either!

The documentary "In the shadow of the Moon" in which the astronauts were interviewed about their experiences is one I rank at the very top of the best I have come across! It doesn't include that particular set of observations however - you can't include everything in a single documentary!

In relation to your own experiences the only person's word you have to go on about aliens,etc, is the supposed shaman who was with you. Why should you take his word for it or accord him any authority on the topic? I wouldn't accord him Any At All.

In my article "Of psychic phenomenon and miracles" I outline some of the more complex elements of supposed miracles and the way these can be interpreted in the most improbable fashion and seem convincing. In my articles about channelled material and clairvoyance I offer some other thoughts on this troublesome and very easily deceptive area.

When one is in a state of panic, as you describe yourself as being, it is quite impossible to think clearly. Really, the vital thing for you now is to have help in addressing the state of panic. Medical help - that's what it's there for. Once you have achieved a calmer state things are likely to become clearer.

How do you get though it? One minute at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time... Keep on doing ordinary, routine and comforting small activities - and let he people you trust help you. Give them your credibility - not this loser who messed you up.

And I should think that disclosing the content of what he put you through will bring your true supporters rushing to your side, not thinking you are complete nuts. These ideas have been put in your head by someone else, not thought up by yourself. Also, many others have been messed up in similar ways, as can be read on the site of the International Cultic Studies Association:

In my own situation it was this very difficulty that stopped me getting the help I desperately needed: the strange taboo I felt about disclosing what had happened to me effectively shielded the abuser and meant that her influence over me continued for years longer than it should have, despite no contact.

Disclosure may seem more painful than what you are suffering, so make sure you let those you trust back you up firmly.

Please, what I say here is only by way of encouragement. It's always up to you what you choose to do.
Best wishes,

lilly38 said...

Thanks I hope I can have a life with a family im only 33 too young to be in this state so lost and confused and terrified

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Dear Lilly, no reason why you shouldn't! In terms of recovery you have youth on your side. Getting adequate medical help sooner rather than later will also make things way better than attempting to tough it out alone.

That is a mistake I made and it intensified the wear and tear on my whole system disastrously - and became one of the big motivators in writing this chronicle: I wanted other people to have more insight and resources than I did.

You don't have to work it all out on your own and it is better not to try to do so.

I hope, indeed I expect, that one day you will look back on this episode and see it as a deeply distressing period in your life, and one that you have moved on from, and no more than that. If other people want to have batty ideas about light bodies then that is their affair; it need not have anything to do with you.
Deep shock can take a long time to get over, so measurement of improvement is likely to be in small increments over a period of time.

How about you write to me in a week or so and let me know how you are getting on?

Wishing you strength,

lilly38 said...

But why do I believe thr asencion theory so much why cant I let it go its killing me yet I can't let ot go. Im terrified of spiritually awakening or a global shift in consciousness or a higher consciousness. I havesevere neurological disurbances really severe thsy ferl irrepearanle as a result of tjis im so terrifird ill never be able to let goof this belief anf if I believe it it will becomea tealiyy. As we create our own reality and all of that. Idont trust my own subconscious or my own soul as tjrysaid if its in mysoul contract yhere is nothing I can do. Healso said he changed my spiritual dna

lilly38 said...

I'm really bad I don't know why my subconscious is believing that stuff I feel like I don't trust myself its awful. I can't let go of that belief. Why???

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Hi Lilly, I've been away and am now catching up on my e-mails.

Things are really dire for you - I fully understand that. I've thought about it some more since our last exchange and why it is that beliefs can have such a grip on us even when we know that they are untrue, or at least, *very unlikely* to be true...

In my view, in the case of trauma, the mind seems to get stuck in the time and situation in which the trauma has occurred, therefore no amount of persuading is going to have much of an effect on it, so what you say sounds quite understandable.

It took me years to unhook from the stuff I had been steeped in which was so harmful to me.

Just as a traumatised war veteran continues to experience the war zone long after he or she has returned home, so it is with those in your situation. Although it's in the past it continues to intrude on the present in a disabling way. This is typical of PTSD. That level of response is reflexive and part of the condition. This is where therapy and medical treatments can help, and indeed be vital.

Beliefs are very powerful things, arguably even more difficult to address in a trauma situation as they are not part of our physical world the way warfare, death, accidents and injury are.

In your comments you are judging yourself as inadequate, which is unfair and unhelpful.

The man who put all these ideas into your mind deserves to be relegeted to a snake pit - look at the effect he has had on you!

When the repetitive and distressing beliefs keep intruding, let them play for a bit, since they are going to anyway, and then you might like to say "No" and remind yourself that these thoughts have messed you up and you are choosing to replace them with others - or just occupy yourself with something else.

If you need some counter-thoughts to the concept that we make our own reality you may find some useful points outlined in my article "Positive thinking pitfalls and medical prognosis". All kinds of things happen in the world, both good and bad. Some of that is in our control, but most of it isn't.

The beliefs and experience that have caused you so much distress seem so very real, I know. Recovery can take a long time, but it is possible. You are not alone either in the type of trauma you have experienced or the subsequent pain. One day you will look back on it and it will be in the past.

In my own life I choose compassion. There has been a great deal rage and unpleasantness along with way, but at the back of it Compassion holds the centre of things in the right place. Compassion means to suffer with, so I know it well.
I send you a hug,

lilly38 said...

Dear Leigh, Is there anyway we can chat via email or skype messaging or something. It would really help me to chat to someone who has been through my exact situation. Im scared of things like 'ego death' 'enlightenment' life being an illusion. Everyone beind one, the universal energy. All of that stuff. Everything has become so confused in my head and i have such conflicts. I feel like I resonate with a belief that makes me so sad. I dont know what is true anymore. Maybe you could help me untangle some of it. I would really appreciate some support.

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Dear Lilly,
I'm glad to hear from you as I had been wondering how you were getting on. Let's shift from this forum into a private one - and at least do e-mail for a start. My e-mail address, which is shown on the right hand sidebar by the way, is leruschrATgmailDOTcom.
You'll know how to interpret the 'at' and 'dot' into an actual address.