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Aetherius Society
Formation August 1955
Purpose/focus Spiritual group
Headquarters Los Angeles, California and London, England
Membership circa 650[1]
Website http://www.aetherius.org/

The Aetherius Society is an organization founded by 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 King in the channelling of advanced extraterrestrial beings. It has been described as a UFO religion.[2][3 ][4]

Contents

Structure

The group's membership, although international in composition, is not very large consisting of approximately 650 members as of 1993.[1] 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 Blessings Groups, 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 Scientology and a decade before Raëlism existed. In the UK the Society is an unincorporated association.

Founding

Aetherius Society's view

In 1954, George King, then in London, England, claimed he was contacted by an extraterrestrial intelligence who used the pseudonym Aetherius and claimed to represent 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.

King maintained 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. King claimed that the yogi entered by walking straight through a locked door, and proceeded to dispel any lingering doubts he harboured. King indicated that the being 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 pranayama and 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 purportedly receiving the "Command", 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 his initiation he decided to put his former life behind him and claimed that he 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, 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.

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.

Other views

There is a scarcity of information in the mainstream media concerning their founding. It is known that King was a London taxicab driver who practiced yoga. That he did claim to contact extraterrestrials who spoke of sacred mountains.[5] According to skeptic James Randi the titles he later claimed are unverified.[6]

Beliefs

The society's beliefs are sometimes deemed to be similar to Theosophy and the Ascended Master Teachings. 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 disaster in 1986, 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 Radiators in 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.[7]

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.
  • Karma and reincarnation are considered two natural, all pervasive laws of God.
  • 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 yoga and 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 primordial life force. In common with traditional yogic teaching, 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." Mantras are also frequently repeated during services of the group.

Aims and Objects

The Spiritual Aims and Objects of The Aetherius Society include:[8]

  • To spread the teachings of The Master Aetherius, the Master Jesus and other Cosmic Masters.
  • To administer spiritual healing
  • 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.

Missions

As mentioned above, the society is committed to service to humanity, through the radiation of spiritual energies. King believed that such energies could be manipulated using physical equipment, using the principles of shape power and 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.

Criticism

Their beliefs face criticism on two main fronts: from skeptics and from conservative Christians.

Many skeptics think the society's ideas peculiar and even more implausible than the beliefs of many other new religions. It follows what most scientists would deem an irrational 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 the society's view of Jesus. The Aetherians say that Jesus is living on Venus. 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 King claimed to channel the voice of Jesus. Added to this, 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 Planet trilogy: for example, Jesus being on another planet and the beings on other worlds being invisible due to "living on higher vibratory planes" (the same belief is held by Theosophists—not that the Master Jesus lives on Venus, but that some beings on other planets, including Venus, are normally invisible, but they can appear to us if they so desire.[9]).[10]

Another issue is that the group deems "orthodox Christianity" to be unsatisfactory. The biography the society gives of its founder notes approvingly that he received an award from a Christian chivalry organization.

The group has lasted fifty years without the controversies that often trouble new religious movements. Thus far the main controversies have been its view that governments keep UFOs secret and the belief that Jesus is on Venus. At present, most objective analyses of new religions indicates that, although these ideas are intensely eccentric to the point of 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 members recognize that their concept of 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.

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 are held to be of vital importance for the world. In other words it prefers to have a committed, active membership rather than a large one.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "membership figure". adherents.com. http://www.adherents.com/Na/Na_2.html#25. Retrieved 2009-09-16.  
  2. ^ Partridge, Christopher Hugh (ed.) (2003) UFO Religions. Routledge. Chapter 4 Opening A Channel To The Stars: The Origins and Development of the Aetherius Society by Simon G. Smith Pgs: 84-102
  3. ^ James R. Lewis (ed.) (1995), The Gods have landed: new religions from other worlds (Albany: State University of New York Press),ISBN 0-7914-2330-1. pp.28
  4. ^ John A. Saliba‌ (2006). The Study of UFO Religions, Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, November 2006, Vol. 10, No. 2, Pgs. 103–123.
  5. ^ LA Times
  6. ^ James Randi Educational Foundation
  7. ^ Mould, Richard Francis (2000). Chernobyl Record: The Definitive History of the Chernobyl Catastrophe. CRC Press. p. 48. ISBN 0-750-306-70X.  
  8. ^ http://www.aetherius.org/index.cfm?app=content&SectionID=40&PageID=47
  9. ^ Creme, Benjamin The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of the Wisdom London:1980 Tara Press Page 205
  10. ^ Stuttaford, Andrew (2003-01-17). "Spirits in the Sky - The unofficial NRO guide to UFO cults.". http://www.nationalreview.com/stuttaford/stuttaford011703.asp. Retrieved 2007-06-28.  

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