The following piece was written as an "abstract" for a lecture on orbs and other odd phenomena that I will be giving at the upcoming Prophets Conference in Glastonbury, UK, titled "Orbs: Interacting with Other Realms", from July 11 – 13. Information about attending this conference, along with other essays by presenters, can be found at .


Whether the
subject is crop circles, orbs, alien abductions, UFOs, miraculous appearances
of the Virgin, spirit encounters in psychedelic states, and so on, we face the
question of the existence of "the Other," of entities or energies
that seem to have intention, and to exist largely beyond the current range of
our perceptions, while they touch upon our world. Philosophers would agree that
we don't know "things in themselves," but only those aspects of a
thing that can be perceived by our senses and cognized by our mind. It is also
clear that perception involves a tremendous amount of choice, and that choice
is based upon our psychological disposition. We don't see the world as it is, but
to a large extent we see the world as we are.

I think
this is true with all phenomena, but it is especially true with phenomena that
linger on the outer edge of the cultural imagination, such as otherworldly
apparitions. It is almost as if we require a multisensory approach to these
areas, as ordinary sense itself — logic or rationality — seems too limited.
Rudolf Steiner defined higher modes of cognition as intuition, imagination, and
inspiration. We can seek to make use of the faculty of "intellectual
intuition" as a tool for exploration, taking care not to confuse thinking
about something from believing in it, or feeling something from thinking we
have knowledge about it. Making sure to keep thinking, feeling, believing, and
willing separate requires intellectual discipline, and is the only way to
approach what Steiner described as "the spiritual world" without
getting lost in our own projections.

In my
personal explorations of shamanism and my study of extraterrestrials, spirits,
and so on, I have developed the hypothesis that these phenomena are neither real
or imaginary. What seems to be happening is something subtler and harder to
define: the alien "Other" is coming to presence within the human
Psyche. This appears to be happening in phases and stages, or gradations, and
it is a co-creative initiatory process for human consciousness, which has to go
beyond dualistic or "either-or" logic in order to participate in the
unfolding of this plot.

Carl Jung
recognized that the flying saucer as an archetype represented a development in
the collective Psyche — and the round shape of the UFO, like the circular form
of most crop circles, made it a symbol of psychic wholeness. Even in its form,
the apparently tangible object was a symbolic representation of the movement
toward conscious integration of unconscious forces. Since the 1940s, the
"flying saucer myth" has developed into a vast Wagnerian narrative,
featuring shadowy meetings between ETs and US Presidents, Faustian bargains,
underground (or Underworld) bases, and diabolical activities designed to create
terror in abducted victims. This new myth seems to be about, in part, the
failure of conventional science and the collapse of traditional authority
structures, when faced with the Other as a revealed aspect or projection of the

At this
point in our evolution, the aliens that have come closest to revealing
themselves do not seem to have our best interests at heart. However, if the
encounter with the "Other" is a co-creative process and mutual
coming-to-presencing, then this makes perfect sense: Rather than meeting the
alien in any objective terms, we are attracting the alien we deserve, one that
fits our cultural narrative of dominator control and predatory technology. When
we shift our frequency of awareness and our level of resonance, we may attract,
invite, or co-create a different level of alien presence within our world.
Therefore, the personal work of developing our consciousness and initiating
ourselves in a nondual frame of reference may have critical effects on a
planetary scale.

As for the
orbs, those floating willow wisps that continue to make startling appearances
on thousands of digital images, I must admit that I do not yet have a
conceptual container in which to place them. I look forward to the Orbs
Conference to develop my own perspective on this phenomenon. They may be one
other way that an intelligent "Other" is sneaking its way into our
mind-frame at this point in time, or they may be plasma particles that collect
like dust on a lens.

One way I
have developed of studying any abstruse area is to observe, not just the
phenomenon itself, but what happens to the people who find themselves
fascinated, and sometimes transfixed, by the subject. Are they becoming more
presently aware, socially active, and open-hearted? Or is the phenomenon leading
them out of themselves (into what Steiner saw as Luciferic diversions from
humanity's proper path)? At a time when we are faced with accelerating climate
change, global famine and water shortages based on our civilization's systemic
use of resources, any spiritual path or esoteric study only has value if it
leads us back to active engagement with our political, material, and social
reality — that is, increasingly, my opinion, in any case.

Image by susurrus-sparks, courtesy of Creative Commons license.