Unidentified flying objects combine various paradoxes in a single, extremely complicated riddle, as elusive as it is explicit, as misdirectional as it is guileless, and as tantalizingly epiphenomenal as it is marginally phenomenal. While saucers cry out for a straightforward technological resolution, like at least one other inhabited planet somewhere in the cosmos, there is little chance anymore of an unequivocally conventional explanation. The problem is not only the objects’ and events’ refusal to fit snugly into either a metaphysical or a physical category; it is also that they have arisen sui generis and too “late” in human history, well after the religious-scientific partitioning of the entire universe, to have a position already assigned to them. So, instead, they prey on the spiritual-physical rift that imbues the modern world. In that sense, they are—because there is no other option—forerunners of a new paradigm. In UFOs, hyperspatial fields fuse with aerospace, not at one level but at all the levels on which they have been historically, conceptually, and proprioceptively conflated. Yet, finally, there is only one universe out there, so different versions of UFO identity and meaning must eventually coalesce into a single coherent phenomenon. A survey of possible interpretations reveals the wide range of indeterminate phenomena arising from an unsolved stellar field (needless to say, some of these speak to crop circles too):
- They are the spaceships of beings from another planet, around another sun or even in another galaxy. This hypothesis presumes that UFOs are mechanical objects propelled by nuclear energy or, more likely, some unknown form of energy; yet they are vehicles in the same general lineage as our own planes and rockets, only much more sophisticated. Their physical presence as such has been verified by numerous air traffic controllers, airline pilots, fighter pilots, and Air Force base commanders who know what they’re seeing and identify it as advanced technology, certainly not ghosts. The vehicles also register on radar, a plus for material existence.
Yet the universe is a zone of immeasurable vastness and widely separated suns. The distances between stars (and solar systems), if translated into thermodynamic equivalents for interstellar travel, exponentially exceed animal lifetimes.
If these ships are real, they come from beyond the Solar System, so their technology is off the charts. We have no energy source that can get us to other solar systems, nor can we attain anything close to speeds necessary to deliver people there in the frame of a terrestrial lifetime. The two Voyager satellites maxed out at around 38,600 miles per hour, while the speed of light, which is posted on all interstellar highways, is 186,000 miles per second. From here to any other star system is too far for physical relocation, even at the speed of light. With the best improvement of our present technology, it would still take at least ten thousand years to reach Alpha Centauri, the nearest star to Earth (more properly a double-star system—Alpha Centauri AB—with a third invisible partner, Proxima Centauri, our official closest neighbor). More generations of travel would need to elapse to reach any of those stars’ planets than from the first farmers to modern cities. Other stars are hundreds of thousands to billions of years away by the same parameter. You would have to go back beyond the birth of one-celled animals on Earth for the time-span it would take our present array of vehicles, even with breakthrough enhancements, to explore a Star Trek-like range of other solar systems in the Milky Way.
For ETs to propel themselves to this or another solar system by ordinary means, let alone have a menu of destinations, is far less likely than for a herd of snails to crawl from Iceland to Kansas. No Methuselah animal could prosper long enough to survive a journey between stars, let alone galaxies.
Even conceding the eventual attainment of the speed of light, most other solar systems are twenty to fifty to hundreds of years away. Of course, to approach the speed of light, you have to become light, but then you lose your integrity as matter—you can’t eat, breathe, or see anything. You would have to go into more than suspended animation; you would have to undergo suspended materialization (like the crew of Star Trek’s ship Enterprise when its members are beamed to and from the surfaces of planets by a so-called transponder). Of course, the Enterprise itself “dematerializes” at warp speed in order to cross interstellar space, but we have nothing remotely like even the clunkiest “real” starship on the drawing boards. Reality can’t come close to catching imagination.
If there were truly alien bodies in the wreck at Roswell, New Mexico (as per convincing claims), one still has to ask how those creatures hauled their intact asses across light-years to be dissectible (two hearts, green blood, six fingers, or whatever). How did they bloody cross that much real estate, bless their little cold hearts? I will state categorically: not only do aliens not travel here by imaginable technologies; if they come in the “flesh,” they bypass “speed” altogether.
This elusive trope has been played out with variations in numerous works of speculative fiction. In the 2001 film K-Pax, Kevin Spacey (as the alien Prot) explains to a group of astrophysicists that he traveled to the Earth on a beam of light (as you will soon see, he actually zipped here much faster than light). They smirk at his claim, not only on principle but because he has been locked up in a mental facility since his unexplained “arrival” in a crowd at Grand Central Station in New York. Humoring Prot, the scientists ask for a demonstration of his mode of transportation:
“Let’s start with this idea of light travel, shall we?” [they ask.] “What can you tell us about that?”
“Absolutely nothing. If I told you, you’d blow yourselves up. Or worse, someone else. You’d be surprised how much energy is in a beam of light.”
“Hmm. Well, then, maybe you could show us how this light travel works.”
“You mean a demonstration? That would be fine. Adios. Aloha.”
“Well, when are you gonna….”
“I’m already back.”
“See, where I come from, Prot, that’s called ‘the fastest gun in the West’ routine.”
“Well, I don’t come from where you come from, Dr. Becker.”1
No, none of the aliens do, and that, more than their “arrival” on Earth, is the whole point. Consider the implications for a moment: if they don’t come from where we come from, they don’t have to do things the way we do things.
Another take on this concept is viewing UFOs as the vehicles of technologically advanced beings whose ancestors long ago terraformed the Earth and crafted Homo sapiens, splicing and bioengineering their own DNA into the most promising animals they found prowling at large—arboreal hominoids. Then they left them to develop in their own lineage at their own pace.
Some “forbidden archaeologists” consider these palaeocontacts the basis of the biblical cherubim of Ezekiel 1:4–28 who, bursting out of immense clouds of flashing light, landed with the sound of rushing water and strode as mixed forms of human and beast. They spoke like thunder and left behind relics described as wheels intersecting wheels. In fact, that’s how our pre-technological ancestors might have viewed ETs: animal gods commanding fiery chariots. But that alone doesn’t mean that there were ETs, only that their possibilities blur with those of angels and giants at an animistic phase of human consciousness.
Given our genetic affinity with the other animals on this planet down to bacteria, we could not be the pure offspring of aliens, but it is possible that we are mongrels of an alien breeding experiment conducted with Pliocene primates (or Jurassic invertebrates if the intruders’ biotech was acute enough), an experiment apparently still in progress. Perhaps they selected a few promising hominoids and spliced in miR-941, a human controller that otherwise seemed to morph from nowhere—e.g., as random mutations. They could have introduced it directly into primate junk DNA where it became an epigenetic generator of neurons and stem cells that confer the prerequisites of language and decision-making.
This doesn’t explain why the aliens were primate-like to begin with (if in fact they were); that requires something like ancient lithopanspermia or archetypal seeds. There is also that “Sphinx” flanked by five-sided pyramids 500 naked million years ago on Mars. If it is artificial, it has to be accounted for too.
Perhaps alien breeders swung back periodically to check on their experiment. In that case they “visited” later ancient peoples, including the Dogon to whom they loquaciously described their base in the double-star system Sirius as well as the calendrics of their sun’s dark companion that circles it every fifty years. Centuries later, in the 1940s, these north African tribal people informed anthropologist Marcel Griaule of the orbital periods of Sirius A and B about each other and also “revealed” rings around Saturn and moons accompanying Jupiter. Astrophysicists had no tools to observe Sirius’s chaperone until 1970, so there is a mystery as to how the Dogon came by this information. It could be either a true alien teaching or a random conflation of a native myth with a subsequent scientific observation. Real contact, inexplicable synchronicity, or hoaxed anachronism? As usual, reader’s call.
The courses of the stars of the Sirius system and the Sirius system itself, from Germaine Dieterlen and Marcel Griaule
Hypothesizing that ancestors of the Dogon were visited by beings from the star system of Sirius sometime around 4500 BCE, astronomer Robert Temple reconstructs the aliens’ descent, drawing on interviews conducted by Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen with descendant African priests. The vehicle docking sounded like large stone blocks being struck inside a small cave near Lake Debo. “The ark landed on the Fox’s dry land and displaced a pile of dust raised by the whirlwind it caused. The violence of the impact roughened the ground.”2 A flame went out from the ark and singed the grass.
What emerged from the ship were amphibious beings, the so-called Nommo who, the Dogon say, founded their society, meaning, I suppose, their clans and totems and the myths behind their genesis. Temple imagines technologically advanced bionts resembling the Babylonian fish-tailed god Oannes (who himself may have been an earlier visitor from the same system): “a kind of cross between a man and a dolphin.”3 For whatever reason—perhaps for his own amusement, perhaps as a phase of interstellar initiation—this second “Oannes” gave Malian mask-dancers advanced astronomical knowledge, which they integrated into their official cosmology, in keeping with their phase of scientific intellect, that these unexpected visitors were, if not actual gods, “animals endowed with reason.”4
If that is anywhere near an accurate account of an ancient interplanetary exchange, and if such sessions were relatively common in olden times, then many narratives of formalized religions regarding deities and their teachings may be composites of exobiont transmissions and indigenous philosophies, i.e., an attempt to square temporal interplanetary interventions with cyclical myth-time. If ETs came to Earth in the Pleistocene or at the dawn of human history (or perhaps earlier), then their contributions almost certainly would have been incorporated in various civilizations as the deeds of celestial beings turned into wizardry of shamans and legacies of clan founders. On this basis Temple and others proceed to show how much of the esoteric knowledge of the Egyptians, which forms the basis of many hermetic and magical traditions in the West, has at least circumstantial connections with the Sirius material. The “gods” were super-technologists, nothing more.
Temple cites yet another possible landing in the Sumerian tale of Gilgamesh from the third millennium BCE as follows: “There appeared stars in the heavens. The host of heaven fell down toward me. I tried to lift it but it was too heavy for me; I tried to move it, but I could not move it.”5 According to him, versions of this event were passed through Near Eastern mystery cults into the European Middle Ages.6
Amateur archaeologist Erich von Däniken (he was a hotel manager in his day job) contends in his bestselling Chariots of the Gods? that Thor, Ra, Quetzalcoatl, and Rama were all ancient astronauts; that Ezekiel witnessed extraterrestrial machines, not divine orbs; that Enkidu (of Gilgamesh fame) was an hairy interloper rather than an autochthon formed of numinous spit and saliva. He cites “our human past which somehow is bound to become our human future some time or other.”7 He probably means that those guys are coming back (or something of the sort), but he could (unintentionally) mean that we will someday breach a hyperdimensional barrier from which enigmatic semblances rather than solid vessels seep onto this plane.
I find both Temple and von Däniken simplistically literal and linear for a nuanced, nonlinear universe, but that doesn’t mean that they are also wrong. It’s more that they have scrambled two hypothetical mysteries of different orders: sacred societies inaugurated by spirits crossing planes of consciousness and millenary cults propagated by macromolecular beings who long ago surpassed Einstein, got themselves across the space-time continuum, and landed in the flesh on another world orbiting its own sun.
Once you favor an “ancient astronaut” premise, you will find that the Earth abounds with previously unrecognized references to extraterrestrial visitors as well as signs of their tarriances: in stories written and oral, in petroglyphs of saucer-like objects, and in inexplicable archaic objects that resemble clocks and machine sprockets.
Yes, numerous outright anomalies have been excavated by archaeologists: a piece of toothed metal rail found in a chunk of coal from Vladivostok, Russia, and carbon-dated at 300 million years ago; multiple round interlocked machine gears imbedded in volcanic rock on the Kamchatka Peninsula, also in Russia and dated at 400 million years ago; a silver-zinc vase inlaid with silver found in a Massachusetts quarry in 1851 (an astonishing 534 million years old); an iron pot wedged into a coal deposit in Oklahoma in 1912 (312 million years old); and an old aluminum machined object resembling a spacecraft support leg quarried from a sandstone in Romania in 1974 (at least a million years old). These might all be bogus plants, Piltdown-like hoaxes, contaminated samples, or objects that got jacked by diastrophism into aberrant geological strata. Mainstream archaeologists challenge the dating methods used, but many noncontroversial tools and pots have been chronicled happily by the same methods. Nothing has surfaced yet that explicitly delegitimizes any of these finds or equivalently precocious objects. However, like crop circles, they are assumed to be frauds or mistakes because there is no acceptable alternative that does not open all four doors of the clown car.
Man is at most 6 million years old, and he didn’t make sophisticated tools until about 1.5 million years ago (and nothing as advanced as gears and metal rails until much later). I’m not proposing that this forbidden archaeology is “real”; I’m just saying…. And everyone loves a good mystery.
But gods exist for plenty of other reasons too, and if our ancestors somehow learned of their mistaken identification of the impressive flying strangers, they might ponder the new information for a shamanic minute, even reevaluate certain aspects of the situation, but their recognition would change only the proximal context of “Oannes’s” message, not its ultimate import or his status as an avatar. At a certain level, gods and aliens, angels and archetypes, overlap and fuse regardless of circumstances. If entities speak from beyond the stars, they still speak through the human psyche and must match its frequency as well as find empathy with its contents.
When various commentators claim that we were bred from aliens or are their children, this claim has no more meaning, even if true, than the mystery of DNA itself in the vortices of remote nebulae. We cannot be anything or anyone else. I would argue that this is true even if we are someone else’s experiment—and I will get right to the point on that one: even if we are the biotech-spliced product of a scientifically advanced race, it can only be a manipulation of already-existing life forms; it does not entail the invention of life or existential reality. Genes can be synthesized, or rearranged; biological frames can be altered—but meaning itself cannot be culled out of nothing by mere machinations. It is just as improbable for a planet’s biology to be generated purposefully (as opposed to discursively) from scratch by something that is itself an evolutionary product of another biology: Frank Herbert fashioned the genetic priesthood and Tleilaxu flesh tanks and wrote the whole Dune series to arrive at this single truth.
Genetic manipulation cannot invent or betray innate phenomenology. Our so-called “creators” are not going to be any more enlightened about our shared situation than we are. In that sense, they are glorified grease monkeys, big amphibians in Earth’s small-fry pond. Their missions and experiments do not locate us and our civilization in the meanings they give to them or the ostensible goals they set, any more than we can change the existential beingness or daily plans of a genetically altered rabbit. Even unenlightened, we live, experience wondrous things, breed more of our kind, and perish. We should not stand ready to cede that to aliens, to submit it to their accreditation or judgment, or to deem them automatically superior to us—not out of false pride but because we exist as the legitimate outcome of the agencies we express. I think that most old-time Sumerians, Egyptians, and Dogon would heartily agree. They would go to war with Stone or Bronze Age tools against laser rays to preserve their spiritual freedom. Even a sow bug has no choice but to be what it is and express that fully.
- UFOs are extradimensional not extraterrestrial or interstellar vehicles. They are transitional objects from other planes, vessels or creatures from a frequency interaccessible to ours and/or they are ultradimensional energies passing through our range. Such “saucers” do not come from outer space (NASA-style outer space, that is). I have tipped this hand already.
I would argue that, in principle, there is no interstellar travel in the universe divorced from interdimensional travel of one sort or another, be it wormhole-surfing or plane-hopping. In fact, it is possible that all extraterrestrial visitors to the Earth, no matter what star systems they identify as their home ports, are coming across Astral and higher vibrations rather than through interstellar space, which would make their capacities distinctly different from hypothetical beings who master faster-than-light travel in order to get here in a reasonable time frame. Bigfoot, as well as Loch Ness dragons, goat-eating, hairless, coyote-like chupacabras of Puerto Rico and Hood County, Texas, and other creatures of cryptid pedigree that similarly pop in and out of ordinary semblance could be plane-shifters too rather than holdouts from prehistory.
Interdimensional UFOs are operating at an unknown level of not only technology but cosmology. That’s why they look like solid objects, leave mineral debris, and disburse apparent exobiological entities but otherwise don’t perform like brick-and-mortar shuttles carrying field-workers and diplomats. Their sheddings are more like alchemical residues than lost mufflers or heat shields.
An interdimensional origin might also explain the metaphysical bent of their manifestations and messages. James Gilliland, a UFO contactee from the late nineties to the present (2013), reports that on one occasion three gold balls of energy lifted him out of his bathtub to a golden plasma ship. There he was greeted by beings resembling the human races combined. They identified themselves as the Orion Council of Light. One of them, offering her name as Melia, told him that her headdress held a technology by which all of his memories would be returned to him; then suddenly he felt its zap and at once recalled a string of past lives and experiences on other worlds.8 That could be a hyper-electromagnetic technology, but it could also be Reiki-like masters on high tour. It has the stoned “surfer” feel of David Milch’s John from Cincinnati (in which a mendicant wanders around a Southern California beach community, dispensing parables and resurrecting dead canaries). John is a thinly disguised Jesus Christ (the initials of his sobriquet are intentional).
Could Gilliland’s uninvited guests be barnstorming from the same bible as Sfath, Semjasse, Oannes, and the Nommo, likewise telling us what we cannot know in the only way they can transmit it (and we receive it)? Are they the folks responsible for the Mithraic mysteries, the Rosicrucian brotherhood, the Golden Dawn, Oahspe, and the Book of Mormon (per Temple and von Däniken)? It is also possible that their progression of guises on Earth is a sequence of our own progressive sublimations, from Elvis Presley Cold War clunkers to Saturday Night Fever kustom kars (see Jungian projection below).
As postmodern Pulp Fiction chariots power down above Gilliland’s Trout Lake, Washington, property, they morph into double and triple and quadruple gadgets and then fuse back up into singularities. Does that sound like your everyday, interstellar Cirque du Soleil? They make right-hand turns at ridiculous speeds. They explode in balls of light and then reappear. “One of the ships we’ve filmed is just beautiful,” Gilliland enthused. “It’s actually pink in the middle, has blue on the outside, turquoise at the top and the bottom. And you see these rotating fields on this ship and it’s pulsing like a heart.”9
More like Cirque du Freak. Nothing known to physics behaves in this manner except perhaps subatomic particles. So if these manifestations are based in sublunar molecules, they are (again) millions if not billions of years ahead of us in their technology. They don’t have to cross the unnavigably far distances between galaxies and solar systems; they appear when and where they choose by some sort of superposition or instantaneous information-transfer, stunts that fall into the ansible category.
Gilliland identifies his visitors explicitly as dimension-hoppers: “That’s one of those Andromedan ships! Look how you can see through the middle. That’s because it’s interdimensional. You hear that? The coyotes are going crazy. They always do that when the big ships fly over!”10
Is that because wild dogs have subtler ears (and noses) at the frequencies by which aliens space-hop?
Explanations related to interdimensionality include extrabodily entities made of energy and light; spirits with an unresolved hybrid existence; phantasms generated by human telekinesis; and higher-plane energies taking on the status of saucer-like alchemical manifestations as they power up with bursts of golden light and then step down, not into ordinary metals but something that responds like living material.
Another possibility is that UFOs are recently deceased people traveling in disembodied states before they convert their own remainder energy into its next stage. At the cessation of metabolism and breath, these beings wriggled up their spines and departed their torsos imperfectly or with agitation and unresolved karma, becoming makeshift orbs of plasma on the move under a greater law.
At least this draws on one of the largest confirmed proximal populations—the undead—in lieu of totally hypothetical exobionts. More skilled human practitioners would use phowa or some other reincarnational thoughtform to compose less erratic Rainbow Bodies and get on their chosen way.
- UFOs are orgone, the cosmic energy Wilhelm Reich discovered under other circumstances and whose malignant formations (so-called “bad guy” saucers) he tried to shoot out of the sky with guns drawing on the same cosmic source. WR identified all spacecraft-like appearances as energy flashes in the Earth’s orgone envelope.
- UFOs are collective projections of a form or event not yet categorized or integrated. “Unintegrated” does not mean “unreal” or “incapable of objective emanation or consensus status.” Just how collective and concretely objectified was demonstrated by flotillas of hundreds of individual ships parading unabashedly over Madrid, Beijing, and Mexico City, as if they belonged there. And everyone saw them.
But that doesn’t mean that there were actual modules cruising on high—palpable chunks of metal hurtling across the heavens. They could have been spontaneous group hallucinations. Are there such things in Hamlet’s and Horatio’s universe and, if so, how do they take on consistent or near consistent forms, both simultaneously and nonsimultaneously, i.e., in both mass and individual circumstances? On an investigative basis they fall into early twentieth-century researcher Charles Fort’s category of widely reported anomalous paranormal phenomena that include poltergeists, spontaneous fires, falling frogs, mermaids, giant wheels of light in the ocean, unaccountable explosions, cryptids like bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster, and animals spotted outside their ranges.
According to psychologist Carl Jung, each mind has a collective aspect, which is evident in the case of cultural movements, group hysteria, and sudden fads, but it can also take the form of a sighting or semi-materialization of an item that isn’t actually there, at least in the sense of a mass occupying Newtonian, Euclidean space. The former is a conscious, collective proprioception transmitted through integrated representations and symbols; the latter is an unconscious, collective projection transmitted by unknown means.
UFOs not only fit Jung’s definition of collective unconscious somaticization and conversion but his criteria for archetypes and psychoids (as defined in chapters 15 and 22). Psychoid actualizations assume a relationship of physical and metaphysical properties. While psychologists can handle mental distortions of physical events, physicists have no rubrics for materializations of psychological states. At academic and professional conferences, inter-subjective psychosomaticization is a nonstarter.
If unresolved objects can exist in states of incomplete materialization, then different individuals’ recognitions of them might share characteristics but differ radically in interpretation. (This happens with ordinary objects too: European ships in native American waters ran the gamut from animals and spirits to shadows and clouds.) In the case of UFOs, they may all be celestially manifesting levitating entities but, as their subconscious aspects mature in varying states of completeness in ego minds and cultural zeitgeists, they generate weirdly disparate perceptions. Remember, psychoids are incomplete molecularizations. As their deficit encounters the fundamental opposition between matter and psyche at our phase of evolution, it handles the discrepancy by fissioning into “objects” that are neither and both, integrations of matter with consciousness at each of their brinks, evading full concretization: flying saucers in one case, the Virgin Mary in another, leprechauns in another, pink and turquoise rotating fields in another. Yet they are always collective and seem absolutely real at roughly the same caliber to every witness. How UFOs choose their occasions and witnesses is totally up for grabs, but they are not like any other anomalous phenomenon, so members of different cultures explain their borderline objectifications according to their own beliefs and customs. For instance, during periods of epidemic UFO sightings elsewhere in the Southwest, indigenous Hopis observed increased numbers of Bluestar Kachinas dancing in the night above their mesas.
Other cryptids, crop mowers, haunters of houses, and off-body palpations that result in spontaneous healings are candidates for similar status as incomplete, inter-subjective semblances, semes fluctuating somewhere between physical consummation and phases of consciousness. If ape-like yetis do not occupy forests, escaping the gaze of science (and they are not interdimensional browsers), then psychoid symbols are masquerading as giant hominoids, somewhere between solid specimens and ghosts.
Don’t dismiss psychoids’ ambiguous molecularity out-of-hand. Yetis have given us DNA on bits of hair, while UFOs form photographic images and blips on radar and sometimes leave metallic spoors. Ted Serios’s thoughtforms and remote views have managed to crystalize onto silver bromide. Crop circles are obviously molecularized. Teleportation, telepathy, and telekinesis are the paraphysical analogues of thermodynamics, somatic neurology, and chemistry, clearly outside the endorsement of science.
A class of semi-telekinetic, physically sanctioned psychoids that scientists have endorsed but not come close to reifying or even wholly identifying is subatomic particles: electrons, neutrinos, bosons, etc., and their quarks and strings. These are no more or less real than UFOs, and for different reasons that add up to the same paradox (as per the Jung-Pauli correspondence cited in Chapter 22).
The organizational basis of biology is similarly up for grabs. How do you explain molecules being willing to combine as cells and then operate in concert with one another as fully motivated and operational creatures? Birds and bees are UFOs or cryptids too.
But UFOs are also archetypes—collectively inherited unconscious patterns of thought and images that are universally present in individual psyches. Arising with a fringe relationship to both psyche and physis, an archetype forms their essential bridge because each realm exists in its own right and seeks reification in the other. Stated differently, something must provide a mind-matter commons, so Jung called it an archetype at one level and a psychoid at another, and proceeded unchallenged (at least in his own system) from there. Semi-objectifications partake of the archetype’s changeling nature, as it transfers a portion of its latency into phases of emanation along some as-yet-unidentified psyche-physis threshold: they are predispositions to form in lieu of final, stabilized parameters:
I know from experience [Jung declared] that a constellated—i.e., activated—archetype may not be the cause but is certainly a condition of synchronistic phenomena.…. As yet there is no reliable evidence that [UFOs] are actually machines. They could just as easily be animals.… [Their] archetype forms an image that is both psychological and physical. This, of course, is the formula for synchronicity, albeit with the difference that, in the case of the latter, the psychological causal chain is accompanied by a physical chain of events with a similar meaning. The UFOs, however, seem to be occurrences that appear and disappear for no apparent reason, the only legitimation for their existence being their relationship to meaning in the psychic process.… The UFO legend shows clearly that the latent symbol is attempting to elevate the collective unconscious above the level of the conflict of opposites into an as-yet-unknown sphere, into a sort of world wholeness and development of the Self (individuation).11
When archetypes start to manifest, the subpersonalities and superpersonalities they encompass converge. At that juncture, the imaginal experiences that cluster around them do not have to be what they seem or elicit in us but can be replicas and semblances of experiences we need. Even when an archetype gets fully reified, say into a statue of Ganesh, a Kwakiutl shamanic mask, or a sand-painting of the Corn Mother, the reification incorporates multiple unresolved aspects of mind-matter uncertainty states, if not as the object itself, then as the network of symbols supporting the creation and use of the object. By that yardstick UFOs are spontaneous abridged or “defective” archetypes without a trail of proximal symbols, so instead they embody potential symbols. Emerging from human consciousness, they are independent of human acts conceiving their presence or understanding what they are. They deliver their semblance at the moment that they are projected by unsuspecting viewers onto a series of phenomena evolving beneath the level of their own consciousness.12
Though we are far from understanding the prerequisites of such appearances, Jung proposed that unidentified lights and forms in the post-War War II sky could be propensities projected from shadow realms of our scientistic civilization, synchronistic emanations of the psychoid archetype. Unable in modernity to return to a fully spiritual universe and just as unable to bring balance and order to our partially technologized one, we transpose our qualms into fabulous gadgets and agencies on high: armadas of cryptids hitting radar well above the speed of sound, balls of light dancing and fissioning and responding to prompts, supernatural creatures behaving now as a robot, now as a poltergeist.
It was probably no accident that a surge of extraterrestrial spacecraft closely followed World War II with its militarization of aerospace. As commanders looked into a new battlezone, they imagined supertechnologies of more advanced races, as the shadows of their own suppressed fear, grief, and guilt materialized into insidious weaponries. What deterrence could we have against gods wielding thunderbolts and saucers armed with city-annihilating rays, able to whisk citizens up into their chariots without a trace?
In sum, what people observe zipping across the sky or as “aliens” encountering or even abducting them is not the real thing but a projection onto another thing that is defective or incoherent in our range. If it is autonomous as well, it is also projecting something equally indeterminate of its own onto the observer. There is no real UFO, only a psychoid interference field, a mindlike charge becoming matterlike at each of its poles. The status of its differential breakthrough may present itself as a fairy or spirit in one context, a metallic-seeming spaceship in another—in either case, a leprechaun-like bleed-through with prankish or malicious implications. It may also appear as a beneficent angel or soothsaying kachina. It may even dent the ground, cause planes to crash or disappear, leave footprints, and shed alloys (the undiagonosed psychokinetic aspect again).
The most meaningful difference between a flying saucer and another, more conventional psychological hallucination is that, regardless of ultimate Newtonian determination, the saucer has some form of sovereign existence supporting its projection—and I do mean sovereign in the sense that a mountain is sovereign (but not in the same sense, if you get that distinction). Now that I think about it, it is not even so much that UFOs could have independent existence, it is that they must, the issue being only the basis of their independence. For instance, a ship full of aliens who claim to come from the Pleiades, seen by multiple Dogon villagers, is different from a flying ayahuasca spirit associated with the Pleiades, different in the way that it merges with the archetype but not different in its psychoid basis. In fact, ayahuasqueros are tailed regularly by “interior” UFOs; see the paintings of Pablo Amaringo (Luis Eduardo Luna and Pablo Amaringo: Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman, North Atlantic Books, 1993) for multi-decker celestial craft. I will return to the relationship of interior and exterior aliens later in this chapter.
Jung was taking a sanguine view when he proposed that the latent UFO symbol was involved with a dormant form of cosmic or higher human intelligence rather than a submaterial one. Insofar as the aeronautic saucers of the 1950s were associated with intelligent beings in an overseer or savior role, he correlated them to older angelic and divine visitations, common under Mediaeval skies especially during periods of widespread anxiety and millennial expectations such as around AD 1000. Before spaceflight, he pointed out, celestial archetypes resolved into gods, angels, or spirits—check out Homer’s Iliad for regular Olympian intercessions. Today these are more typically machines or poltergeists. “Ancient religious mythology,” Norman Davidson reminds us, “placed higher intelligences among the stars. Modern scientific mythology [likewise] places higher intelligences among the stars. The gods have become extraterrestrial civilizations.”13
Jung ultimately summarized flying saucers as “a modern myth of things seen in the skies,” thereby hedging his bets. He concluded, with misgivings, that the most important characteristic of UFOs was not their apparent physical existence but the nature of the human projection encountering their latency. He was inspired less by an historical arrival of ETs than by the conviction that some urgent event was taking place in the human psyche, which required Unidentifiable Celestial Objects. In fact, he was quite candid on his preference:
I would be happy, and it would be a load off my mind, if I could convincingly deny their objective existence. But for various reasons I find that impossible. There is more to this than just an interesting and conventionally explicable myth … The difficulty only begins when one takes into account the possibility that UFOs might be real.14
No kidding! That’s pretty much the whole ballgame now. It is hard to know how psychotherapist Jung would have treated irate witnesses claiming kidnapping and physical exams by aliens (if he had lived to that phase of the phenomenon), but I doubt that he would have regarded them as victims of flesh-and-blood crimes committed by individuated bionts from other planets.
While intending to support his colleague’s theory, Wolfgang Pauli stumbled into the same quicksand. Arriving from the other side of the mind-matter barrier, he coronated UFOs with all-too-avid and banal objectification:
But even this—that they are American or Russian secret rocket-propelled aircraft—would not detract from the Jungian concept, since they are clearly defined synchronistic causal chains, probably with psychological processes, perhaps the most remarkable fact being that the disk shape constellated by the unconscious is actually the most favorable one from the aerodynamic viewpoint.15
Equally from the psychospiritual standpoint.
Just because we have UFO-like archetypes doesn’t mean that there aren’t aliens too. If UFOs turn out to be metal ships with sentient passengers, we would still have to work out the conjunction of their arrival with our own projections, for we would be encountering an archetype expressing itself as interplanetary visitors at the same time as we were encountering those visitors as the resolution of an archetype.
- UFO appearances represent a medley of hallucinations, scams, misappropriations, mass hysterias, fads, “stopped clock” effects, and hoaxes. Short and sweet, and it’s the official mainstream imprimatur.
- UFOs are delegations assessing our spiritual progress and, conversely, our present danger to the universe. Nuclear war ending life here could well impact life forms in other dimensions.
A spate of psychics have independently claimed that UFO intervention headed off a third World War by manipulating details so obscure or abstruse as to be overlooked by just about anyone but outsiders and yet so fundamental that their alteration prevented a global cataclysm (for instance, during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis). Israeli spoon-bender Uri Geller alleged that a powerful thoughtform implanted by interstellars in the mind of Anwar Sadat during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War brought it to a non-apocalyptic conclusion. (I know, a guy who claims to melt spoons with thoughtforms is hardly a dependable or impartial source.) The targeted leader need not be a warmonger, and the suggestion need not be peaceful; it need only be a precisely sufficient trigger at the necessary fulcrum.
- UFOs are part of a complex system, realigning space, time, matter, consciousness, and egoity as we know them, and operating indirectly, perhaps telepathically, through our waking consciousness. This system only incidentally manifests as lights in the sky. It could also be a latent interstellar communication wave aimed at sentience throughout the universe in such a way that a sequence of signs and meanings ensues only as facilitated by cellular networks, ganglia, and other “stations” receiving it on various worlds and planes. The wave could be so generalized that it originates as a latitude of partially aligned outcomes, each of which nonetheless establishes subliminal recognition and contact across the space-time continuum and perhaps sets in motion some long-term plan outside our ken. That would affect the whole objective/subjective mind-matter grid from quantum physics to remote viewing and out-of-body travel.
1. K-Pax, directed by Iain Softley, 2001. See also www.metacafe.com/watch/an-_
2. Robert K. G. Temple, The Sirius Mystery (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1976), pp. 211–12; from Germaine Dieterlen and Marcel Griaule, “A Sudanese Sirius System,”Journal de la Société des Africanistes, Tome XX, Fasicule I, 1950, pp. 273–94.
3. Ibid., p. 207.
4. Ibid., p. 208.
5. The Gilgamesh Epic, translated from the Sumerian by Alexander Heidel, quoted in Robert K. G. Temple, The Sirius Mystery, p. 92.
6. Temple, The Sirius Mystery.
7. Erich von Däniken, quoted in Temple, The Sirius Mystery, back cover.
8. Contact Has Begun: A True Story, with James Gilliland, directed by Michael Knight, A Savage Documentary, DVD, 2012.
10. James Gilliland, quoted in Frank Bures (September 2001), “Aliens, Anomalies, and Absurdity at Mt. Adams,” The Portland [Oregon] Mercury, March 1, 2007.
11. Carl Jung, quoted in C. G. Jung, Wolfgang Pauli, C. A. Meier (editor), and David Roscoe (translator), Atom and Archetype: The Pauli-Jung Letters, 1932–1958 (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2001), p. 26.
12. Carl G. Jung, “Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky,” translated from the German by R. F. C. Hull, in Civilization in Transition (New York: Pantheon Books, 1964), pp. 307–33.
13. Norman Davidson, “Astronomical Aphorisms,” News from the Goetheanum, Sept./Oct. 1987, Dornach, Switzerland, p. 10.
14. Carl Jung, quoted in Jung et al., Atom and Archetype, pp. 167 and 169 (see n. 31).
15. Wolfgang Pauli, quoted in Jung et al., Atom and Archetype, p. 202.
Teaser image “Christchurch, New Zealand UFO Sighting of Giant Blue Glowing disc March 29, 2011” by DragonRal, courtesy of Creative Commons license.