- Aetherius Society
The Aetherius Society is an organization founded by Dr. George King (1919-1997) in London in 1955 as the result of what King claimed were contacts with advanced extraterrestrial intelligences. Its guiding principle is service to humanity, through the manipulation of subtle energies, through prayer, healing and other, technology-based, means. Its teachings combine the spiritual teachings of
yoga, with others received through the yogic mediumship of Dr. King in the channelingof advanced extraterrestrial beings. It has been characterised by some observersweasel-inline as a type of " UFO religion".
The group is international, but not very large. It has somewhere between 2,000-10,000 members. There are three principal levels from "Subscription Member" (known in America as "Friends") to "Full Member." Full Members may also be admitted into the Society's Temple Order and become "Member-Initiates".
The Society has headquarters in
Hollywood, California, which is the administration center for America and Australasia, and Fulham Road, London, England, which deals with affairs for the rest of the world. The Society has Branches around the world, as well as smaller official Groups (or Twelve BlessingsGroups, which meet for the purpose of holding services together).
The various activities of the Society are run worldwide by three bodies: the Board of International Directors takes all executive decisions; the Synod is responsible for the religious aspects of the Society's work; and the Senior Engineering Officers are responsible for the Missions of the Society.
The group's tax exempt status was recognized by the US in 1960. This was three decades before the recognition of the
Church of Scientologyand a decade before Raëlismexisted. Hence the Aetherians might be the oldest "extraterrestrial" based religion to be recognized in the US. Potentially older groups, like the Unarius Academy of Science, generally do not claim to be religions. In the UK the Society is an unincorporated association.
Aetherius Society's view
In 1954, George King, then in
London, England, said he was contacted by an extraterrestrial intelligence who used the pseudonym Aetherius and represented a Cosmic and Solar Hierarchy referred to in this contact as "Interplanetary Parliament." The contact is described as having taken the form of a loud and apparently physical voice.
George King also said he was contacted a week later, while he was attempting to enter a state of deep meditation in order to discover the truth about this mysterious contact, by a well known, though unnamed, Indian
Yogi. The Yogi entered by walking straight through a locked door, and proceeded to dispel any lingering doubts he harboured. He also initiated him into a Yogic exercise "the careful practice of which brings about an ability to travel from the physical body in such a way that full memories of all the experiences gained are retained by the traveller". He stated that a group of willing helpers would be brought into his orbit and that he would receive a letter from a school of Yoga in London which he should attend for some months and diligently practise the exercises he learned there.
King said the letter arrived as predicted and he spent hours practising the exercises and
pranayamaand as a result was able to tune and telepathically receive the kind of extraterrestrial communications the Society calls "Cosmic Transmissions." These are said to come from an extraterrestrial intelligence code-named Aetherius as well as other advanced intelligences from within this solar system.
Prior to receiving the Command, George King had had a varied career. During the war he had served with distinction in the National Fire Service. He subsequently threw himself into the practice of yoga, which he studied diligently for many hours a day. He held a number of jobs, including being a professional driver (for which he had a passion), though he was not, as sometimes reported a taxi driver.
Following the Command he decided to put his former life behind him and began to be used as a channel for "Transmissions" from the various communicators, often in public, in the Caxton Hall. Because of the sensitivity of the trance condition employed, George King said that this condition was a very dangerous one.
He founded the Aetherius Society in London in August 1955. It was to be a vehicle through which Cosmic Transmissions could be disseminated to the rest of humanity.
George King received various honours and awards. These included a Doctorate of Divinity awarded to him in the early 1960s when he reached America. Consequently he is often referred to as Doctor George King.
There is a scarcity of information in the mainstream media concerning their founding. It is known that George King was a London taxicab driver who practiced yoga. That he did claim to contact extraterrestrials who spoke of sacred mountains. [ [http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/276576901.html?dids=276576901:276576901&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Jan+12%2C+2003&author=Cecilia+Rasmussen&pub=Los+Angeles+Times&desc=L.A.+THEN+AND+NOW%3B+Flying+Saucer+Society+Sought+Peak+Experience+on+Baldy&pqatl=google LA Times] ] According to skeptic
James Randithe titles he later claimed are unverified. [ [http://www.randi.org/encyclopedia/Aetherius%20Society.html James Randi Educational Foundation] ]
The Society's beliefs are sometimes deemed to be similar to
Theosophy. They are similar, in that they both share, in part at least, the occult traditions of both East and West. The teachings of The Aetherius Society are, however, expressed in language that is much more straightforward and direct, and so are much easier to understand than many Theosophical writings.
Another point of major divergence from Theosophy and most other spiritual movements is that the Transmissions, which form the basis of the Society's teachings, show a marked concern with the dangers of atomic experimentation and of humanity's inability to monitor all of its effects or to control it. The energy contained within the atom is seen as the fundamental energy of creation, and humanity's meddling with it as a perversion of a holy energy, and very dangerous indeed - more so than we realise, since all radioactivity is said to exist on at least seven octaves of manifestation, all of which affect us, but are not, for the most part measurable. Atomic energy was a recurring theme in many of the early Transmissions. The Society claims that the atomic accident in the Urals in 1958 was reported in one of them. This Transmission was published in its journal Cosmic Voice at the time. Other than that, details of the accident remained secret until the publication of information in New Scientist in 1976, through an interview with the exiled Soviet scientist, Dr. Zhores Medvedev. The magazine, after reviewing evidence submitted to it by the Society, subsequently admitted in print that it had been "Scooped by a UFO!"
The Society also claims that approximately four hours before the
Chernobyl disasterin 1986, Dr. George King received from his extraterrestrial contacts advance warning of an imminent, major catastrophe. It is a matter of record that the Society activated its Spiritual Energy Radiatorsin order to radiate power to mitigate this disaster, four hours and 23 minutes before the event itself, and that this unprecedented period of such activity continued for three days. It was only after this activity ended that the catastrophe became public knowledge. Radioactive particles from the incident were detected on Swedish nuclear power workers on April 27, one day after the incident. [cite book | first = Richard Francis | last = Mould | title = Chernobyl Record: The Definitive History of the Chernobyl Catastrophe | isbn = 0-750-306-70X | publisher = CRC Press | year = 2000 | pages = p. 48]
Another major divergence from Theosophical and other spiritual teachings is the emphasis on the already mentioned extraterrestrial concerns, including life on other planets (including those within this Solar System), sightings of UFOs in the skies of Earth and the reason why extraterrestrial life should be concerning itself with this planet at this time.
The following is a list of core beliefs, drawn from the Society's literature:
* Probably the most important belief of the Society is that service to mankind is the most essential yoga or religion in these days. It is what a person does for others that counts, not what they profess to believe. This principle underpins most of the Society's activities, which are designed to radiate spiritual energy to the world in order to have a beneficial effect. The Society's motto, "Service is the Jewel in the Rock of Attainment" reflects this importance.
* Jesus, Buddha, Krishna and certain other great religious leaders were of extraterrestrial origin and came to Earth to help mankind.
* There is only one God. In this sense all major religions are similar in nature and all religious paths are leading towards the same ultimate end.
* Spiritual people should cooperate with each other, since they have a greater power when working together.
Karmaand reincarnation are considered two natural, all pervasive laws of God.
* That there is advanced, intelligent life on other planets.
* Unidentified Flying Objects really are intelligently controlled extraterrestrial spacecraft visiting this Earth. Unlike some UFO groups, their belief is that extraterrestrials are friendly and are here to help mankind in its development.
* A belief that man, and indeed all life, is a divine spark of the Creator, our God, and that Earth is a classroom on the evolutionary ladder of life back to the source from which all came.
* Mother Earth as a living breathing entity which is thousands of lives more evolved than we are.
* They consider
Yogaand meditation as very important. (cf. King 1955). The Society deems George King to be a "Master of Yoga", a very advanced and rare stage of attainment that he gained through bringing about conscious control over the power of kundalini, the promordial life force. In common with traditional yogic teachning, Aetherians deem meditation or Samadhi to be an experiential state of Adeptship "when the soul is bathed in the Light of pure Spirit and one becomes a knower of truth." Mantrasare also frequently repeated during services of the group.
Aims and Objects
The Spiritual Aims and Objects of The Aetherius Society include:
* To spread the teachings of The Master
Aetherius, the Master Jesus and other Cosmic Masters.
* To administer
* To prepare the way for the coming of the next Master.
* To tune in and radiate the Power transmitted during a Holy Time, or
Spiritual Push, in order to enhance all spiritual practices, irrespective of ones religious beliefs
* To form a brotherhood based on the Teachings and Knowledge of the Cosmic Masters.There are various Aims and Objects aimed at performing and promoting the various Missions of the Society, including Operation Prayer Power, Operation Sunbeam, Operation Starlight, and Operation Space Power.
This is not a comprehensive list.
As mentioned above, the Society is committed to service to humanity, through the radiation of spiritual energies. George King believed that such energies could be manipulated using physical equipment, using the principles of
shape powerand radionics.
Following his initial contact in 1954, King designed many items of equipment for this purpose. Probably the best known of these is the Spiritual Energy Battery. Its precise design and composition are not in the public domain. Its purpose is to hold a charge of spiritual energy for an indefinite period. When connected to a
Spiritual Energy Radiator(again designed by King), it can be discharged.
The principle behind this modus operandi is simple, but significant: it takes a lot longer to charge the Battery than it does to discharge it; consequently the spiritual power can be radiated in a stream that is much more concentrated, and hence more powerful, than it would otherwise be.
This is the basis of
Operation Prayer Power, in which spiritual energy is directed to help in world situations of war, disaster, etc. As an example, 1,000 Prayer Hours (basically, a Prayer Hour is the amount of prayer energy which one person could invoke during one hour of concentrated and directed dynamic prayer) could be released from the Battery in 100 minutes or possibly less. The Society believes that this can be directed to anywhere on the planet. Effectively this is healing prayer energy on a global scale, that alleviates suffering and hardship in stricken areas. The Aetherius Society believes that Operation Prayer Power and other such "missions" have averted, and helped to bring relief to, many disasters.
Their beliefs face criticism on two main fronts, the skeptics and the conservative Christians.
Many skeptics think the society's ideas peculiar and even more implausible than they would deem normal for new religions. It follows what most scientists would deem an irrationalist belief in UFOs. Historically this has led them to encourage governments to release information they feel they are hiding on UFOs. Added to that the group claims to use physical equipment for the manipulation of spiritual energy. Finally the group claims that most of the planets in this solar system, and the Sun itself, are inhabited by life forms that are much more advanced than life on Earth.Likewise conservative Christians are at times offended by its view of Jesus. The Aetherians say that Jesus is living on Venus. George King first announced this in the British press in the late 1950s. This caused the largest controversy in their history as Britain was still Christian enough at that time. The group was accused of blasphemy or being in service to Communists. Most Christians would have found the idea offensive at that time, especially as Dr. George King claimed to channel the voice of Jesus. Added to that some of the Aetherians statements on life on Mars or Venus are suspiciously like that found in
C. S. Lewis's Out of the Silent Planettrilogy. For example Jesus being on another planet and the beings on other worlds being invisible due to "living on higher vibratory planes." [cite web |url = http://www.nationalreview.com/stuttaford/stuttaford011703.asp |title = Spirits in the Sky - The unofficial NRO guide to UFO cults. |accessdate = 2007-06-28 |author = Stuttaford, Andrew |date = 2003-01-17]
Another issue is that the group deems "orthodox Christianity" to be unsatisfactory. The biography they give of their founder notes approvingly that he received an award from a Christian chivalry organization.
There are a few criticisms that conservative Christians and skeptics seem to share concerning them. One is that George King made elaborate claims, like having a doctorate or being a prince. The other would probably be that group's values are out of touch with reality.
The group has lasted fifty years without the controversies that often trouble new religious movements. Thus far the main controversies have been their view that governments keep UFOs secret and their belief Jesus is on Venus. At present most objective analyses of new religions indicates that, although these ideas are intensely eccentric to the point of arguably being bizarre, the Aetherians are an apparently harmless new religious movement. There is currently no evidence that this is likely to change. Although there might be some dishonesty in the recruiting methods as mentioned below.
Mission and recruitment
It has been stated that they recognize that their concept of George King having near divine status would likely be treated with skepticism by prospective converts. Therefore Mikael Rothstein (see references) wrote that the Society's mission strategy is such that it does not mention it at first.
George King never made such a claim in his writings or talks, but, on the contrary, publicly stated that he was "not a saint". He did, however, claim to be a Master of Yoga and asserted that there were very few people on Earth who were entitled to make such a claim. He also said that his radionic inventions and the Missions based on them were quite unique on Earth and things of tremendous importance and power. The Society's stated position since his death in 1997 is that it regards him as an Avatar - in other words the incarnation of a great soul, with a great purpose to fulfil.
The Society has been very active in seeking to promote its views through the media, especially in the United Kingdom, but does not actively proselytize or proactively encourage converts or members. As a result its membership has grown fairly slowly.
This recruitment policy has a corollary: the Society does encourage those people who join to be as active as possible, in terms of sending healing, radiating energy through prayer and attendance at the Society's activities, and actively supporting its Missions, which it believes are of vital importance for the world. In other words it prefers to have a committed, active membership rather than a large one.
Unarius Academy of Science
* [http://www.aetherius.org/ The Aetherius Society] - official website of the movement
* [http://www.innerpotential.org/ The Inner Potential Centre] - Workshops, retreats, discovery evenings and classes, inspired by the work of Dr George King and the Aetherius Society
* [http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/aetherius.html Page about the Aetherius Society at Religious Movements site]
* [http://www.uni-marburg.de/religionswissenschaft/journal/mjr/saliba.html A scholarly article by John A. Saliba of the Marburg Journal of Religious]
* [http://www.whyaretheydead.net/krasel/books/evans/jesus.html Relatively harsh evaluation]
*Baker, Alan, (1999) "The Encyclopedia of Alien Encounters", United Kingdom, Virgin.
*King, George, (1996) "Contacts With The Gods From Space", United States, The Aetherius Society.
*Rothstein, Mikael, (associate professor in the department of history of religions at the
University of Copenhagen) " Hagiographyand Text in the Aetherius Society: Aspects of the Social Construction of a Religious Leader", article that appeared in the book "New Religions in a Postmodern World" edited by Mikael Rothstein and Reender Kranenborg RENNER Studies in New religions Aarhus Universitypress, ISBN 87-7288-748-6
27 April 1976, interview with Dr. Zhores Medvedev
* cite web
title =Believers gather on 'holy mountain'
publisher =BBC News
date = 2003-07-26
* cite web
title ="Venus Unveiled"
publisher =NOVA (TV series)
* cite web
publisher =Time (magazine)
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