i. On Angels and Aliens.

In the thirtieth year on the fifth day of the fourth month, as I was among the captives by the River of Che-bar, the heavens were opened… and I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also out of midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl; and the four had the same form, their construction being something like a wheel within a wheel. When they moved, they moved in any of the four directions without veering as they moved. Their rims were tall and awesome, for the rims of all four were full of eyes all around. When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

— Ezekiel 1:15

The passage above could have easily been taken from the pages of a UFO report. But it is an excerpt from the Book of Ezekiel, in which the prophet himself claims to have a spiritual encounter with four wheels in the sky, from which stepped figures with the likeness of men. Through the eyes of a modern-day American scholar, the occupants can be interpreted as extraterrestrials, but for Ezekiel, and for centuries of biblical researchers, these were not aliens, they were angels. Cherubim, the messengers of God, sent down upon holy chariots to carry His word.

If the content of a biblical story can be interpreted in such a way, that is to say, if one can look back to ancient myths and draw from them parallels with contemporary UFO reports, this not only suggests a rather scary take on old stories, but also the mythical nature of the Unidentified Flying Object. The flying saucer becomes the contemporary icon of the human mythic imagination. What antiquity considered elves, fairies, and demons are transformed into little green men with mysterious agendas, strange visitors in the night speaking of breeding plans and the future of humanity, warning against the annihilation of our planet and our own species.

Both angels and aliens can be seen as messengers, as entities visible more in the effects of their actions rather than as any physical essence. Both have been said to exist between mind and matter, capable of changing their forms and appearances at will before select witnesses at select locations. The miraculous events of Fatima, Portugal, witnessed by over 70,000 people in 1917 suddenly become parallels to the nature of the UFO phenomenon. One supposed abductee, Shona Bear Clark, stated under hypnosis that the beings by whom she was taken and angels were in fact one and the same. In light of such comparisons, UFOs and their inhabitants become the modern representations of centuries-old mythological iconography, both religious and otherwise.

As a means by which to more closely study the physical realization of these modern representations in religious form, attention is here specifically given to the Aetherius Society. In this group, perhaps the best example of a religious group incorporating the UFO as a modern myth into its belief system, the role of God has been diminished. He doesn’t have the same emphasis that He receives in Christianity, as this emphasis has instead been transferred to aliens who can essentially be seen as angels. God is not completely absent: He’s acknowledged as the original creator, and the most important law in their belief system is known as “His”- the Law of Karma. However, He has no governing role of any sort, nor protective or educational. The aliens take over these roles, as modern-day angels.

The aliens are what the Aetherians call “Cosmic Masters”, which derives from the Theosophical tradition. Jesus, Buddha and Krishna are among these extra-terrestrial Masters. They are highly evolved creatures from other planets, many years ahead of us. This allows them to assume the role of the benevolent authority figures, having lived many more lifetimes than us, and having thus developed special knowledge and powers. They assume the divine role by blessing us with their wisdom and their protection.

The Aetherius Society believes that aliens protect us against evil by preventing catastrophes such as natural disasters and cosmic warfare. They believe that “black magicians” from outer space are trying to enslave mankind and have caused a cosmic war. The Aetherius Society has set up a space hierarchy, which in conjunction with other aliens and Cosmic Masters have waged war on these “black magicians”. They believe that there is also an interplanetary parliament that is stationed on Saturn that meets on warfare issues and any other important cosmic issues (Melton 1999). They also receive protection from aliens that constantly hover their flying saucers around earth.  However, the flying saucers are invisible to us because they vibrate at a higher frequency than we are capable of seeing (Perdue 1998).

In addition to the protection that Aetherians believe aliens and Cosmic Masters provide us, Aetherians say that aliens periodically boost spiritual energy by sending large amount of positive healing energy toward earth (Perdue 1998). During these “spiritual pushes” as they call them, the Cosmic Masters bring into orbit a large satellite that’s invisible to our technology but radiates tremendous spiritual energy to Earth (The Aetherius Society, 1996).

For the Aetherius Society, one of the most important services the Cosmic Masters provide humanity is a guide in mankind’s evolution back to God. Cosmic Masters accomplish this through their teachings, for which the founder of the Aetherius Society, Sir George King, is responsible for transmitting.


In 1954, Sir George King

became the primary terrestrial mental channel, or “cosmic avatar.” Since that time he has received over 600 transmission from the Cosmic Masters and is even known to have channeled messages from Jesus. (Perdue 1998)


ii. On Jesus Christ.

From the transcript of the hypnosis session of Shona Bear Clark:

RF: What is the difference between the blonde beings and what people call angels?

S: There’s no difference.

RF: Is there anything you can tell us about Jesus?

S: He flies in ships, too. He lives on another world… the first world…

RF: How do we get to [his] world?

S: He’s coming to take you.

RF: What about when Jesus came here?

S: He came in a tube… like a pill… a capsule. (Lewels 1997: 204)

Apply to the story of Jesus the elements of a UFO story, and the entire basis of the Christian belief system is put into question. The angelic visitation and virgin impregnation of Mary bears striking resemblance to the incredibly common reports of women who claim to be visited in the night by aliens, and awaken to find themselves carrying a child. Contemporary interpretations of the nativity suggest the possibility that the Star of Bethlehem itself was a spaceship, moving through the sky and guiding those who saw it to the birthplace of Jesus. The ascension into Heaven gets redrawn into ascension into a flying craft. 44-year-old Rebecca Grant of West Virginia claimed that, throughout her life, she had attributed frequent episodes of missing time to “guardian angels” or “spirit guides.” When she later claimed to realize the physical reality of her alien abductors, she relayed what one of them had told her, that they “believe in a Godhead, a physical manifestation of God who walks among them. This Being is their King, and he was known to us on Earth as Jesus Christ.” (Lewels 1997: 178) Jesus, as a product of otherworldly influence, is an alien, a messenger carrying with him the word of God, the word of those who seek to save the doomed human race from its own shortsightedness.

The Aetherius Society holds that Jesus Christ was in fact an alien Master, and now resides on Venus. This obviously is radically different to the classical theistic idea of Christ. He still preaches in order to help humans on earth; in fact he continued, by channeling through George King, an extension of his famous Sermon on the Mount. It’s called “The Twelve Blessings”, and describes an exercise whereby we can send out our energy to twelve different points, and through the workings of God’s Law of Karma, we in turn receive back harmonious and inspiring energies.

iii. On Revelation and the Next Cosmic Master.

It is in the last book of the Bible, in the Book of Revelation, that the mysterious Cherubim, the creatures seen by the prophet Ezekiel, reappear. They are described in precisely the same way, as beings with four faces in one, those of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. They ride upon the same chariots, carrying with them the throne of God, and the Second Coming of Christ. God Itself comes down to Earth to judge the living and the dead, to sift out the worthy from the unworthy, and take the chosen ones with him to Paradise. In the process, Armageddon ensues in the form of an apocalyptic war between God and Satan, between Good and Evil. If God is Good, and Good is an archetype, then it follows that God is also an archetype. And if God is a mythological archetype, then it would also follow that the modern representation of God, the extraterrestrial Cosmic Master, must itself be a mythological icon, or at least the modern-day manifestation of one. Ancient symbols are cast in a new light, and Judgment Day arrives with an alien face.

The sneaky part, though, is that “Revelation,” professor Joe Lewels writes, “comes at a time when the Earth and its inhabitants are on the brink of a disaster of cataclysmic proportions: human overpopulation is threatening all other species on the planet (and ultimately our own); humanity’s failure to accept responsibility as custodians of the Earth’s resources has caused worldwide environmental disaster; religious, racial, and ethnic intolerance continues to threaten world peace at a time when nuclear and biological weapons are capable of destroying all living things on Earth; and a lack of understanding or even a total denial of our spiritual nature has doomed much of humankind to the world of the physical, totally separated from God.” (Lewels 1997: 48)

Into this picture steps both God and the alien. The irony of mankind’s self-destruction is that it comes at a time that should be humanity’s finest hour. Both God and the alien then take on two roles:

                        • scapegoat for planet-wide destruction at the hands of humans.

                        • symbols of hope to whom humanity turns at the last moment.

Mankind turns to the archetype here as a source of salvation, as a lifeboat sent to rescue it from its own problems. The inevitable lesson to be learned is that which abductees claim aliens consistently make clear: humans must change their ways or face obliteration at their own hands.

            From A Lord of Karma, November 23, 1958:

There will shortly come Another among you.

He will stand tall among men with a shining countenance. This One will be attired in a single garment of the type now known to you. His shoes will be soft-topped, yet not made of the skin of animals.

He will approach the Earth leaders. They will ask of Him, His credentials. He will produce these.

His magic will be greater than any upon Earth - greater than the combined materialistic might of all the armies. And they who heed not His words, shall be removed from the Earth.

This Rock is now Holy - and will remain so for as long as the World exists.

Go ye forth and spread My Word throughout the World, so that all men of pure heart may prepare for His coming.

Members of the Aetherius Society believe the Next Cosmic Master will openly arrive on Earth in a spacecraft and unlike other Cosmic Masters such as Jesus, he will be able to use his great powers.  This will be a pivotal point in the new age because those who are not ready to go forward into the new age and who do not understand the teachings of the Cosmic Masters will be removed from Earth by him and sent to a less evolved planet.  People who are ready to stay on Earth will join together, merge spiritual power, and get ready for the coming of the new age (The Aetherius Society, Avatar 1998).

The Next Cosmic Master will form an age, which is very much different from what we are all accustomed to.  This Aetherian belief is a millenarian view and is somewhat of a new age version of Judgement day as seen in classical theism.  In both belief systems, only those who truly believe in their religious teachings will remain on Earth.  The Aetherians do not believe in completely getting rid of the non-believers however, they merely want to move them to another place, a foreign planet, to teach them and help them evolve.

iv. On the Nature of Death.

As a suggestion of the greater philosophical implications of death, what follows is taken from the hypnosis transcript of alien abductee Rita Perregrino:

RP: They were taking me to all these places, and they always took good care of me. We went to this place… and they left me alone… They had to go do something… and these animals came over and they started eating me… They attacked me! They started biting me! The beings came back and saw what was going on, but they didn’t stop it. I died. They killed me!… The bugs ate me! They tore me to pieces! I went up [out of my body] and I could see the bugs eating my body… The beings, the ugly things… they came up, but as they came up they changed. They look like ghosts—whitish color—they’re not bodies anymore. If I didn’t know better I would think that they’re angels… They changed their physical bodies into transparent bodies… There seems to be love there. I tell them I’m angry with them because they didn’t protect me. They’re trying to explain that nothing really happened. I said, “Yes, the bugs ate me!” I want my body back! I’m just a child. I don’t know about this stuff. They told me they could make me “me” again. I said, “This is too crazy. I don’t understand.” They said “Don’t worry, we’re going to make you ‘you’ again, and then we’re going to take you home.”… They said they have duplicates, spares of everybody—that they do that to everybody—that a person isn’t just one person. You can be many people… and you can be in different places at the same time! And that I should not be concerned [about my old body] and that they can get me a new body. They ask me if I want anything special in this new body and I said “No, I want the old body.” They said, “Okay.” (Lewels 1997: 192-193)

What this suggests is precisely what philosopher René Descartes proposed in his Meditations: that content exists independent of form, and that a soul exists independent of its body. The archetypal aliens then appear to have an advanced understanding of this relationship, and possess a refined knowledge of how to exploit it. Heaven is irrelevant, Hell is irrelevant, for God Itself is simply content without form. A soul without a body.

As is common among the new religious groups in the book New Religions, by Mary Farrell Bednarowski, the Aetherius Society sees a spirit / body separation. They believe that spirit evolves and the body is something to be cast aside. At death, the spirit rises, separating from the physical body, which remains on earth. They believe in re-incarnation, and so after death the spirit will inhabit a new body and live life again. This process allows their spirit to evolve over time, slowly improving itself, till there comes a time when they are ready to move on.

The Aetherians believe that when a person dies, his/her soul ventures to the astral plane where it waits to receive a new long lasting body. While it is there, it may choose to either go back to earth or move on to other planets. If the soul decides to go back to earth in its new body, it will become a part of the Spiritual Hierarchy of Earth, known as the Great White Brotherhood, named after the white magic that they perform. As a member of the Great White Brotherhood the new person will help their fellow brothers with the knowledge they’ve learned form their previous lives and aid in the cosmic war against the “black magicians”. If the soul decides to move on to other planets, the new being will learn advanced spiritual lessons and help others in the galaxy evolve. They believe that as the soul evolves it becomes closer and closer to the Divine (The Aetherius Society, cosmic 1996). However, if we possess any negative Karma it will slow our spiritual rebirth and evolution (Thompson 1997).

The Aetherians also believe that the Moon, Sun and Stars are alive and are advanced conscious life streams, millions of years ahead of us in evolution and are therefore divine. At some point in the distant future, they believe that they will merge with other lifestreams and actually become moons, planets and stars themselves (The Aetherius Society, Cosmic 1996).

v. Conclusion: On Earth as Goddess and the Nature of Humanity.

As possessors of a distinct mythic imagination that manifests itself in legend, religion, and modern mythology, Humankind is shown to be a species unique in that it exists on the same plane as its mythic symbols. If there is anything to distinguish us from the observable animal kingdom, this is it. We create our symbols, and we interact with them. We pray to them, we fear them, we are physically affected by them, and ultimately we are saved by them. There is no other species that creates a myth, let alone one that coexists with that myth. This is what makes us Human.

In the eyes of the Aetherians, we are here on Earth to gain experience and evolve, and the best way to do this is through service. To quote their motto, “Service is the Jewel in the rock of attainment.” Keeping in line with the New Age tradition and their belief in service, it’s not surprising then that the Aetherius Society aims to help out mankind. They aim to help in several ways, firstly, by spreading the word of the Cosmic Masters. The Masters, being wiser than us, know what is best for us, and so in spreading their word we are passing the gift of knowledge along to others. Related to this is their aim to help New Ageists achieve spiritual development.

The other major aim is to help all of mankind so as to allow for actual alien contact. This contact can only be achieved when the Karma of the earth is balanced, and mankind through faulty use of technology and ignorance has upset the Karma. The Aliens will come only when humans deserve them to come, and only then will we receive the obvious blessings that the advanced aliens could bestow. The way that George King, the founder of the Aetherius Society, saw to achieve this, or at least help, was through missions. These were organized attempts to manipulate energies for the benefit and betterment of man and earth. The three famous missions were Operation Prayer Power, Operation Starlight, and Operation Sunbeam.


Operation Prayer Power

involved using radionics devices designed by George King to store prayer energies into batteries, which could then be released at times of world trouble – like wars or earthquakes – to help out mankind.

Operation Starlight had King climbing 19 mountains where he entered a special state and charged the mountain with spiritual energy. Others can now climb these mountains and develop different parts of themselves, and help the world. And Operation Sunbeam was a token of thanks for all the help that Mother Earth has given us. King found a way to use radionics to collect energy and greatly concentrate it to give back to the Earth. This doesn’t help the earth too much, but it is the token that we appreciate her.

The Aetherius Society sees Mother Earth in a very divine light and even believes Earth to be a Goddess.  The holiest day of the year for Aetherians is July 8, because on July 8, 1964, Earth received more energy than she ever had before, allowing her to advance into higher, more spiritual "spheres".  Earth is very important for several reasons.  Aetherians believe they gain experience from her and most importantly evolve, readying themselves for the next cycle of life.  They believe Earth has universal love for us all and that she nurtures and protects mankind from the perils of outer space.  However, they believe Earth is currently suffering from mankind’s destruction and that one day she will rise to her rightful level and when she does, only those people who know of her true nature as a Goddess and readily treat her with respect will be able to live on her.  At this time, a New Age will emerge in which everyone on Earth will know of her sacrifice, love and compassion (The Aetherius Society, earth 1996).  This idea is similar to the Next Cosmic Master theory and also has a New Age, Judgement Day type theme.

Whether or not UFOs exist is irrelevant. As a physical reality, they can as of yet neither be proved nor disproved. But this doesn’t matter. The truly interesting, and ultimately most important, question regarding flying saucers and extraterrestrials is what they tell us about ourselves. The Aetherius Group is one specific example of the marriage between New Age concepts and classical theism in the form of modern mythology. As both a product of and mirror to a society dense with contemporary religious and aboriginal mythological iconography, this group is indeed a perfect specimen by which to study the idea of UFOs as modern representations of mythological symbols. In the end, the entire concept of this study can be summed up by the man who first proposed it, Carl Jung: “We have here a golden opportunity of seeing how a legend is formed.”


Sources Cited / Consulted

Bednarowski, Mary Farrell. New Religions & The Theological Imagination in America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 1989

Descartes, René. Meditations on First Philosophy. Great Britain: Cambridge University Press. 1996

Hesemann, Michael. UFOs: The Secret History. New York: Marlowe & Company. 1998

Hopkins, Budd. Intruders. New York: Ballantine. 1987

Jung, Carl Gustav. Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 1978

Jung, Carl Gustav. The Essential Jung. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 1983

Lewels, Joe. The God Hypothesis: Extraterrestrial Life and its Implications for Science and Religion. Mill Spring: Wild Flower Press. 1997

Peters, Ted. UFOs: God’s Chariots? Atlanta: John Knox Press. 1977

Strieber, Whitley. Transformation: The Breakthrough. New York: Beach Tree Books. 1988

Thompson, Keith. Angels and Aliens: UFOs and the Mythic Imagination. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc. 1991

von Däniken, Erich. Gods from Outer Space. New York: Bantam. 1968

von Däniken, Erich. Chariots of the Gods? New York: Bantam. 1969