Moderns and Mythology: The UFO Gods

I first became acquainted with what I call the UFO religion when studying the Sumerian Gods. Starting in 1976, Zecharia Sitchin (Note 1) wrote a series of books detailing how humans are the slave species of these Gods. Sitchin said that he realized from reading the Sumerian myths that aliens had colonized the Earth. For him, the myths were not mere stories but actual history. According to Sitchin, the Annunaki (the Sumerian Gods) created people to mine gold for them.

Pondering Sitchin, I discovered a cottage industry of authors starting with Erich von Daniken (“The Chariots of the Gods”) who claim that ancient aliens are the Gods of humanity. Not only that, humans are a construct of these aliens. An example of this cottage industry is a recent title is “DNA of the Gods: The Annunaki, Creation of Eve and the Alien Battle for Humanity (2014)” by Chris Hardy. It would appear that ancient aliens (the UFO Gods) satisfy the sensibilities of post-modern people.

How did the UFO religions become so popular? To start with, modern industrial people regard the old myths as irrelevant and stale. They want new myths which are global in scope and value modern sensibilities. They also want myths to be scientifically true. This follows what Joseph Campbell wrote about myths in general. (Note 2) He said that they should be plausible and fit with the scientific awareness of the time.

Secondly, the old faiths represent the old world of restricted freedoms and ignorance. The replacement religions are rooted in corporate materialism, which gives a terrifying vision of decaying societies. Therefore, the new religions must embrace things beyond this world. UFOs and aliens are more accessible in this post-modern world than the Gods.

Today, the reverence that was allocated to the Gods is now for the Myth of Progress. In modern industrial society, the idea that literal Gods exist is scoffed at. The ancient myths have become fairy tales. If the Gods do exist, they are psychological constructs or archetypes that spring from the subconscious of humanity. In other words, humans are the creators of the Gods. However, this leaves an inner emptiness.

Believing in the UFO Gods allow people can stand in awe of the heavens. With aliens, people can experience the Divine under the blessings of science. Alien contact (and disclosure) is only a day away from official validation, thereby making that more credible. Technology as developed by aliens is an expression of the Divine. Science has melded with religion to satisfy the longings of post-modern people.

Hence to some, the ancient myths have become accurate histories of prehistory. The aliens with their technology encouraged primitive humans to believe that they were Gods. In the UFO religion, this means that one day, humans could meet the aliens on their own terms. Then humanity could be Gods thereby fulfilling the promise of the Myth of Progress.

The monoculture of the industrial world has homogenized diverse world cultures into one bland one. The monomyth of this culture encourages people to mix and match various myths into an uneasy whole. As the Gods and heroes are relics of the past, so the UFO mythology is for the future. It allows for the myths to be explained as alien interventions. Religious history then becomes the history of aliens on the Earth. Mysticism in the modern materialistic world is the belief in alien Gods.

Note 1. Zecharia Sitchin claimed to be able to read both Sumerian and Akkadian. According to Sitchin, these aliens came from the Twelfth Planet of Nibiru, which had collided with Tiamat, and formed the asteroid belt. (Nibiru and Tiamat are names of Mesopotamian Gods.) One of the last books he wrote was “The Lost Book of Enki: Memoirs and Prophecies of an Extraterrestrial God.” Another was “There were Giants Upon the Earth: Gods, Demi-Gods, and Human Ancestry, the Evidence of Alien DNA.”

Note 2. Joseph Campbell, noted mythologist, said that (1) “myths should awaken the ‘mystic function’.” (2) The image of the universe that the myth provides should be in tune with the scientific awareness and general knowledge of the actual world. (3) “Myths should validate the norms of society that have adopted it.” (4) “Myth can act as a guiding force for each person.” (5) In their original versions, myths are for the underdeveloped mind.

Further reading:
John Michael Greer, “The UFO Chronicles.”
Dr. Allan Hunter, “Spiritual Hunger: Integrating Myth and Ritual into Daily Life.”
Diana Walsh Pasulka, “American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology.”
Paul Wallis, “Escaping from Eden.” And “The Scars of Eden.”

Mythology and Moderns: Paul Wallis and “Escaping From Eden”

Originally an Archdeacon of the Anglican church in Australia, Paul Wallis now “researches the world’s mythologies for their insights on our origins as a species and potential as human beings.” He explores “our shamanic and mystical traditions, ET contact, and our place in the universe, and how we can be more conscious and more awake for a better human experience.” Wallis regards mythology to be a monomyth told through the prism of individual cultures. He says “as I joined the dots from one mythology to the next I could see that the very strangeness of the stories and the unlikely repetition of those strange motifs stand as evidence that in these mythologies lies a body of ancient collective memory.”

To Wallis, mythology is sacred storytelling. He writes that “it is the memory of us, who we are and where we have come from. Ancient stories survive for a reason because generations have connected with it. The stories tell us a recognizable truth about the world we live in.” This is the manner in which he approached reading the Bible.

As an Archdeacon, Wallis wrote extensively on Christian hermeneutics, which is the practice to find hidden meanings in texts. Biblical hermeneutics can be divided into four parts – literal, moral, allegorical, and anagogical. The literal is the physical dimension – “the thing is what it is.” The moral asks “what is the ethical intent of something.” The thing is evaluated by a set of abstract principles. Allegorical is the mirroring between the thing and what it represents. “Everything stands for something else.” Finally, there is the anagogical (metaphysical) – “What is the higher reason beyond the thing.”

Wallis grappled with the writings of Genesis, which for him held too many contradictions. Since he wanted to reconcile all of them, Wallis first looked at the names of Adam and Eve. The Adam (of the Earth) stories were about Earthlings. The Eve stories (the Living) were of the living. He could feel the current of the clarity and depth of those particular words.

Then the walls fell when Wallis tackled the word “Elohim.” This term could either mean “God,” “Gods,” or a special class of beings. If YHWH was referred to as Elohim, Wallis asked then what was being interpreted. Wallis decided that the word meant “Sky People,” (Note 1.) who were powerful but mortal beings. (In other words, they were extraterrestrials.) Reading the myths of Genesis, he became aghast at the violence against humanity as told in The Tower of Babel, the Flood, and the Fall. (Note 2.) (Note 3.) The myths of the Old Testament are therefore a history of aliens behaving badly according to Wallis.

Researching further, Wallis concluded that the world myths were describing extraterrestrials as Gods. His new understanding of the word “Elohim” made him question the nature of his reality. In “The Scars of Eden,” Wallis relates how the myths detail space aliens experimenting on humans.

Wallis claims that in organized religion, there is no such thing as an informed orthodoxy. Instead, there is a mainstream doctrine that defines and polices heterodox thought. This doctrine brushes away other interpretations. He concludes that there is a deliberate forgetting that happens in this process. Therefore, the fact that the Gods are aliens is forgotten, while the Gods as divine beings is enforced. Wallis believes that religion’s role was to have everyone toe the line.

Wallis uses the principles of the Enlightenment to apply to the interpretation of myths. The Enlightenment says that people should think for themselves, and base their beliefs on reason. Hence any beliefs derived from tradition should not displace a reasoned judgement. (What is left out is that tradition can be a source of truth.)

According to Wallis’ reasoning, the Gods were based on humanity’s contact with a technologically superior species. His personal gnosis of space aliens ruling humans is based on scientific literalism. He sought to find the literal truth of mythologies. Embracing freedom of thought, Wallis now sees alien Gods.

In my opinion, Wallis exchanged one orthodoxy for another. For many modern people, belief in aliens is possible, but not in Gods. He has embraced the new religion of UFO Gods. (Note 4) Wallis has simply displayed the biases of the modern industrial world. That world insists on a monoculture and a united theory of everything. Therefore, ancient myths are homogenized into one monomyth of human uniqueness.

Note 1. Wallis refers to “Elohim” as “Powerful Ones/ Sky People/ Engineers.”
Note 2. Wallis believes that the True God (his capitals) is the creative source of humanity with a vision of love and justice. The True God is the “harmonious source of all things.”
Note 3. According to Wallis, Jesus of the Gospels came to liberate people from hierarchies and from living in fear.
Note 4. The UFO religion has its doctrine and dogmas. The central one is that extraterrestrials have been a part of human affairs since prehistory.

Further reading:
John Michael Greer, “The UFO Chronicles.”
Diana Walsh Pasulka, “American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology.”
Paul Wallis, “Escaping from Eden.” And “The Scars of Eden.”

Myths and Modernity: Jordan Peterson and the Enuma Elish

In “Maps of Meanings (1999),” Peterson misreads the Enuma Elish. This particular myth describes how Marduk, the principal God of Babylon, becomes the head of the Gods of Mesopotamia. Peterson regards it as the creation myth for Mesopotamia. It is not since the Sumerians had their own creation stories. The Babylonians took all these older myths, combined them, and added their Gods to rule the rest. In the Enuma Elish, Marduk of Fifty Names slays Tiamat, the Mother of All Life. He does so after gaining the leadership of the other Gods of the region.

On the surface, the Enuma Elish fits Peterson’s perceptions of how to overcome chaos, which he regards as feminine. Marduk (male) restores order by defeating Tiamat (female) who created chaos in trying to defeat Him. Tiamat is the Great Mother (unexplored territory), while her Consort Apsu is the Great Father (explored territory). (Note 1) In the myth, the noise from the humans keeps Apsu from sleeping, so He decided to be rid of them. However, Enki, who created the humans, kills Apsu, thereby enraging Tiamat, who seeks revenge. With her many monsters, She defeats the various Gods until Marduk comes up with a plan. Marduk, the Divine Son (the Knower) is the Hero who creates order out of chaos. (Note 2.)

Peterson interpreted this Babylonian creation myth to support his ideas about Darwinism – the survival of the fittest. He claimed that the myth sanctioned his ideas of men (Note 3.) overcoming their instincts. Furthermore, the myth proved that his view of “consciousness” being male, while the “irrational” is female is the correct one. Peterson shoehorned the Enuma Elish into his narrow perspective that archetypes are the “eternal categories” of imagination. Like many people, he takes things out of context, and cherry picks the rest. In his mind, this myth presents cosmic truths that lines up with his politics.

Note 1. The Great Mother is also, chaos, which is feminine, the Great Father is order and masculine. The Divine Son replaces the Great Mother’s discord with clarity. These are Peterson’s own concepts in reading myths. He bases his ideas on Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. He agrees with their theory of the monomyth -All myths are variations of a single story.

Note 2. This is Peterson’s reading of the Enuma Elish.

Note 3. Peterson’s focus is on immature males, and turning them into mature men.

Modernity and Myths: Jordan Peterson and “Maps of Meaning”

One example of how modern people misunderstand myths is Dr. Jordan Peterson, psychologist and lifestyle guru. Unconsciously, he sees myths in terms of Western industrial culture, which is awash in monotheistic thought. That is myths are universal in themes or archetypes. (Note 1.) For Peterson, that means every culture has “The Great Mother (the unknown),” “The Great Father (the known),” and “The Divine Son (the knower).” (Note 2.)

Peterson, in his book, “Maps of Meaning (1999),” lays out this metaphysics. To Peterson, every myth is a map of meaning which guides people on how to act. Each story builds on what has been learned before. Therefore, religious beliefs are codified and refined over time.

According to Peterson, myths are the intermediaries between what and knowing how. They help people to move from unconscious actions to conscious understanding. The mythic imagination asks three questions: “what is,” “what should be,” and “how should we therefore act.” Answers to these questions form the basis of morality as well as philosophy.

However, the universality of myths is based on longstanding Christian thought. (Note 3.) Immersed in monotheistic cultures, many people assume that everyone shares the same beliefs such as one Supreme God. (All other Gods are really aspects of this One God.) Also, in every culture, the Mythic Redeemer saves his people from sin.

However, the Chinese do not have a tradition of the Heroic Son. Meanwhile, Roman mythology differs from the Greek, although people are taught that Roman Gods are Greek Gods with Latin names. The Romans have the two-headed God Janus, who guards thresholds. Instead of creation myths, they speak of the founding of the City of Rome.

As do other Christians, Peterson believes that myths (i.e. religion) are the source of morality. This is not the case. The Roman based their Public and Private Virtues on promoting good relations between the community, the Gods, and the family. Confucius stressed family and social harmony. The Greek Sallustius in his treatise (“On the Gods and the World”) said that virtue and vice depend on the Soul. He explained “When we are good, we are joined to the Gods by our likeness to Them, and when bad, we are separated from them by our unlikeness.”

Peterson does realize that modern people have no use for mythology, which is why he wrote “Maps of Meaning.” He laments “We have lost the mythic universe of the pre-experimental mind or have at least ceased to further its development. That loss has left our increased technological power more dangerously at the mercy of our still unconscious systems of valuation.”

Note 1. Peterson relies on Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell for his concepts about myths. Campbell built on Jung’s archetypes and the Great Unconscious. He believed that myths tell of “the oneness of all things and that all things are truly one.” Both promoted the idea of the Monomyth – there is one great story with cultural variations.

Note 2. These terms are from Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey.” The Hero receives the call to leave the Known and travels through the Unknown. He returns as the Knower.

Note 3. I know several Evangelical Christians who are trying to map Norse myths with the Bible. Other Christians are claiming that the myths of Mesopotamia and the Bible are exactly the same, instead of simply overlapping.

Modernity and Myths: Introduction

I am planning to write a series of posts over the year on myths and how modern people regard them.

In the 4th Century, Sallustius wrote one of the oldest known treatises on the Gods – called “On the Gods and the World.” According to Sallustius, myths were divine since they represent the Gods (Themselves) and their activities. He wrote “That myths are divine can be seen from those who have used them… But Why the myths are divine is the duty of philosophy to inquire.”

Sallustius asserts that the meaning of myths may not be apparent to everyone. Although the Gods do give commonsense to everyone, not all use it. “To teach the whole truth about the Gods to all produces contempt in the foolish and the lack of zeal in the good.” He explains that hiding the truth compels people to ponder it. Therefore, myths have revealed (clear) and unrevealed (hidden) aspects of the Gods. Sallustius does assure everyone that “the soul may immediately feel that words are veils to the truth which is a mystery.”

In his treatise, Sallustius divided myths into five categories. Theological myths speculate on the essences of the Gods. (These myths interest only philosophers.) Psychic ones discuss the Soul, while physical myths tell of the activities of the Gods in the world. (Both psychic and physical myths are for poets.) Material myths concern the archetypes of the Gods such as Apollo as the Sun (however the Gods are never archetypes). Mixed myths, the most common, aim at unifying the humans with the Cosmos and the Gods.

In contrast, people raised in industrial societies of the modern age have different ideas. They have many problematic assumptions of myths in general. For example, traditional myths today are regarded as stories to entertain. In contrast, history, which supposes what did happen, is the truth. Actually, history is selective in remembering certain events and deliberately forgetting others. In the minds of modern people, myths and histories have become fused to create a particular vision of reality. One example of this is the myth of progress, which is regarded by many people to be fact.

Moreover, time and memory are regarded differently. The Ancient Greeks viewed time as a block – past is future and future is past. Therefore, divination is prescience since it dips into the time stream. Modern people, in contrast, see time as an upward arrow – past is past, and future is future. Oral tradition is faulty, whereas the written word is true. The Greeks believed that the written word was suspect since the writer could change the myth. For them, oral tradition what was faithful to the truth.

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