Under the Gaze of the Mighty: Humanity's Unwelcome Watchers
By Scott Corrales
Music video enthusiasts might fondly remember a 1987 clip by British rocker David Bowie which portrayed angels filming all details of human existence--even the most sordid ones--with suitably "angelic" white-painted cameras. The concept of God's minions looking upon our every act is central to many religions, along with a belief in the existence of angels.
In the 1960's and '70s, a number of researchers and theorists began to examine the possibility that the UFO and attendant phenomena were merely a new or "retooled" version of the same old story mankind had been living since the caves. Although their findings were initially well received, the field became increasingly polarized between advocates of extraterrestrial technological intervention and believers in mundane solutions to the riddle. Suggestions that angels or non-physical beings could be involved in the UFO question were brushed aside by more material-minded investigators.
But when we put our own religious (and scientific) beliefs aside and consider the question dispassionately, we begin to consider if such beings could actually exist, their motivations, and the reason for their outright interference in human affairs, whether as mediators between humans and the Deity or merely invisible entities who have influenced humanity since the beginning of time.
From Ancient Persia to Modern Times
The Persian Empire under the Achaemenid Dynasty was one of the largest land empires of antiquity. Stretching from Macedonia to the Punjab and from Uzbekistan to Egypt, the Persians managed a far-flung realm that included most of the civilized world of its time. Between 486 and 465 B.C.E., one of its rulers, Xerxes--better known to posterity as biblical King Ahasuerus in Ezra 4:6 and in the book of Esther--contended with a number of wars and uprisings throughout his kingship and left detailed records of his response to each of these crises. One of them is particularly interesting:
"Speaks Xerxes the king: When I became king there were among these lands which are written above [some which rebelled]...by Ahuramazda's will such lands I defeated, and to their place I restored them. And among those lands were some where previously the Daivas were worshipped. Then by Ahuramazda's will of such temples of the Daivas I sapped the foundations, and I ordained: the Daivas shall not be worshipped. Where the Daivas had been worshipped before, there I worshipped Ahuramazda with Arta the exalted..."
If the Persian Daivas can be identified with the Indian Devas, perhaps the words of Xerxes predate the angel's admonition to Saint John about not worshipping such divine messengers: "I am thy fellowservant...and of thy brethren," which appears in the book of Revelation and has been quoted by other researchers on the subject.
Vedic mythology gives us the supernatural and beneficent Devas, whose existence is invisible to humans yet share the human characteristics of being doomed to an endless cycle of birth, maturation, death and reincarnation. The word to describe these entities comes from the Sanskrit term which means "beings of light" or "glowing ones". Living in a dimension adjacent to our own, the purpose of these etheric presences is to keep the physical universe which we inhabit running smoothly--roughly akin to a maintenance department, out of sight but ever present. The Devas are assigned to three distinct environments: the heavens, the upper atmosphere and the earth, and have control over the lesser nature spirits which exist in everything from clouds to trees to rocks.
Persian Zoroastrianism did not share such a sanguine view of these entities. The Devas became known as Daivas and were associated with the forces of evil--the semi-divine creatures who chose the path of druj (untruth) over the path of asha (truth). Zoroastrian teachings and the Vedas agree that this order of non-human creatures is often at war with another order of beings, and that their struggles often spill over into the mortal world.
These clearly non-human yet humanoid-looking entities have appeared before startled onlookers in guise of sylphs, undines and dozens of creatures of medieval and ancient legend. While trolling through folklore for evidence is hazardous work at best, we can readily find a number of traditions (Native American, Middle Eastern, Asian) in which a human mates with one of these "more than human" quantities and has offspring, or like the unfortunate hunter who spied on the goddess Artemis as she bathed, meets his or her doom.
Where Desire Holds Sway
Salvador Freixedo's La Granja Humana
(Posada, 1989) presents the high-strangeness story of a young Mexican named Jose Luis and his bizarre friendship with a small child/man known only as "Fair" due to his blond hair.
Jose Luis told Freixedo that he had first encountered his odd friend during a camping trip: a group of schoolboys had pitched their tents in the woods and encountered another boy their age (or so they thought) who led them to his own "tent" -- a rectangular, shiny affair resembling an excursion bus. From that moment on, "Fair"became a fixture in the lives of Jose Luis and his friends, visiting them at school to fill their heads with tales of space travel and the future, and making it a point of visiting Jose Luis at home on his birthday year after year. The strange little visitor earned the affection of Jose Luis' parents "because of the good advice he always imparted" to their son and his companions. In a manner worthy of an Outer Limits episode, people noticed that "Fair" never seemed to age with each subsequent birthday visit, but said nothing either out of fear or due to a belief that the small figure may be suffering from a glandular disorder. But his enigmatic visitor's apparent lack of development was the least of Jose Luis's problems.
"Fair"'s role in the Mexican youngster's life seemed to be, suggests Freixedo, to groom him for future greatness (whether this greatness has been achieved remains unclear) by clearing any and all obstacles. When Jose Luis took a humble job in an important corporation, a number of managers supposedly died of a variety of symptoms until Jose Luis found himself in a powerful position--all of this after consultation with "Fair". Something similar occurred when Jose Luis remarked that he was in love with a married woman:
The fact is that one day, when Jose Luis was feeling particularly depressed, "Fair" told him: "You're sad and I know why."
Jose Luis tried to deny that he was particularly sad about anything...but "Fair" insisted: "You're in love with a young woman who can't correspond your affections because she's married. You're saddened to see that achieving your wishes seems impossible [...] Don't worry. Within a year, when I come back to visit you, you'll not only be married to the young lady, but you'll also have a child by her--no matter how impossible it may seem."
And so it was. The method used to remove Jose Luis' "rival" from the picture isn't mentioned.
Freixedo elaborates further about the experiences of Jose Luis and his mysterious friend, but the above will suffice for our purposes. Did the diminutive and ageless "Fair" belong, as the author suggests, to the order of intermediary beings between humans and angels known in the Islamic world as the Djinn? Citing Gordon Creighton's work on this order of non-humans, whose reality is accepted in religious courts throughout the Middle East and North Africa, Freixedo discusses their capricious behavior toward humans, often selecting one of us as a protegé or even as a pet, and manifesting a fascination for human reproduction and human affairs (much like the abducting "Greys" our own time).
How far does this interest extend on the part of these powerful yet far from divine order of beings? Anthony Roberts suggests that the large-eyed, black-haired and pointed-faced Mesopotamian love goddess Ishtar was of their number (said physical traits being common to ultraterrestrials, in his opinion) along with other similar entities. Ancient myth had it that no mortal--understandably--was immune to the goddess of love. But what about today?
Some twenty years ago, a curious little book entitled UFO Encounters of the Fourth Kind (Zebra Books, 1978) explored the carnal obsessions evinced throughout history by these beings who appeared to us now in as "space people". Author Art Gatti made reference to a 1969 epidemic in Morocco having to do with "Aycha Kenaycha", described as a "dark demoness" or succubus who appeared to drug users undergoing astral experiences by summoning each of them in their mothers' voice. The drugged-out astral traveler would find himself facing an astral form capable of stealing their souls, not just their astral selves. Gatti states that the nationwide epidemic which filled insane asylums and jails to capacity ended in the 1970's, and that its end was brought about by the Islamic equivalent of exorcism rites...or a drastic reduction in hashish consumption.
War Games of the Gods?
That the Gods choose sides in mortal conflicts is hardly a new idea. A quick glance at the Iliad shows us the Olympian deities backing human contestants much like a human might favor a sports team, and even lending assistance to support their favorites. But when examples of supernatural intervention appear in our own wars, both in antiquity and in the recent past, this gives us reason to pause. Are warring human factions supported by non-human parties, or is this just a belief fostered by belligerent to hearten their own troops with the notion that "God is on our side"?
During the second Egyptian campaign lead by the Syrian monarch Antiochus, his troops were encouraged by an aerial display of "armed horsemen in golden armor" who charged at each other in the sky. Almost a thousand years later, beleaguered Spanish knights would be equally heartened by the apparition of the Virgin of Covadonga, spurring them on to win a major battle which marks the beginning of the reconquest of the Iberian peninsula from the Moors. The entities in this particular conflict didn't mind playing both ends against the middle--during the battle of Alarcos in 1195, the forces of Alfonso VIII claimed seeing a fully armed St.James on a white steed flying overhead, leading them into the melee, while Muslim chronicles tell us that the Moorish forces, who eventually won the encounter, saw above their numbers none other than Mohammed himself, astride his magical steed al-Borak.
The reader can dismiss all of the foregoing as little more than charming folklore that has percolated down to our times. But supernatural forces continued aiding and abetting different factions in conflict, especially during the European conquest of the Americas. Chronicler Pedro Cieza de León, whose writings describe the conquest of Peru and the Pacific coast of South America in general, mentions an odd situation experienced by conquistadores: when the Incas turned against Pizarro's invaders in the mountain city of Cuzco, the European forces numbered little over 180 horse and foot, while Manco Inca (sic) had more than two hundred thousand warriors at his command. But native sources told Cieza that the Inca defeat was attributable to a "heavenly figure" who appeared during battles and "caused the natives great harm" (Cieza, Ch.119).
Pedro de Valdivia, who conquered modern day Chile, wrote a letter to Charles V of Spain informing him of a strange event which occurred during a conflict with the natives in 1541, while Araucanian warriors besieged his makeshift fort: "[...] the native Indians say that the day they came to our fort, at the very same time that our horsemen rushed forth against them, an old man riding a white horse fell among their numbers, urging them: Flee, for these Christians shall slay thee! Such was their fright that they turned about and fled."
Valdivia's letter notes that three days earlier, a "beautiful lady clad in white" had appeared among the natives and given them as similar warning.
The Spanish conquistadores
were bold, brutal and vain. While attributing their success to divine intervention might ingratiate them with Church authorities, it also showed the direness of their predicament--something they would have normally been loath to admit. Again, the reader might chalk all of this up to the rantings of a soldier far from home, trying to make a good impression on his superiors. But what can we say when this "divine intervention", for want of a better term, occurs during our own century?
On August 26, 1914, the survivors of the British Expeditionary Force were retreating from the battle of Mons with the German cavalry in hot pursuit. Unable to make it to safety, the bedraggled force turned around to face the attackers and make a last stand. To the astonishment of the British "Tommies", a line of ghostly cavalry stood as a buffer between their position and the onrushing Germans. Contenders on both sides insisted that the spectral army had indeed been an angelic host, although official reports only indicate that the Germans refused to attack the retreating British due to the presence of a large body of troops in the area.
It has long been suggested that our earthly conflicts mirror the struggles of our planet's unseen "overlords". "It looks as if a long war has been fought in the immediate vicinity of this planet, and that this war is far from over," observes Anthony Roberts in his book The Dark Gods, further cautioning that "the purpose now must bee to see this long war in its more universal application...to reconcile the cosmic connection with the cosmic battleground in which the whole saga of existence takes place."
Roberts posits that these battles rage on the physical and spiritual levels much like a human war might take place on land and sea simultaneously. The spiritual dimension of the conflict, as suggested by Roberts, bears a resemblance to the premises of certain works of heroic fantasy in which the opposing sides are the forces of Law and Chaos, always striving to overcome each other.
The author cites the beliefs of certain religious traditions concerning Man's role as a tool or plaything in the hands of these vast forces, going as far as to cite the Theosophical belief that the lost continent of Atlantis was destroyed by the excesses of its black magicians (another idea brilliantly portrayed in fictional form by J.R.R. Tolkien, whose villainous Sauron corrupts the Numenoreans, leading to their downfall). At this point a slight digression may be in order: While scholars may be outraged by this notion, epigraphers working on deciphering Brazil's controversial Ingá Stone -- an intricately carved structure of dark stone located in northeastern Brazil -- claim to have deciphered a curious name. Epigrapher Francis Schauspelier has suggested that the word su-me
which appears repeatedly on the Ingá Stone translates as "black hand" in certain Indo European languages. Could the Sume have been one of these Atlantean black magicians?
Leaving Atlantis to rest in its watery grave, let us retake the thrust of our argument.
In the early 20th century, Charles Fort turned his keen intellect to the concept of struggles taking place at a level far beyond mortal ken. In his inimitable prose style, he suggested that a "vast, black, brooding vampire" large enough to "obscure a star or shove a comet" held sway over this world and perhaps others; perhaps even defending its fiefdom against other entities--space-scavengers who may have picked off entire terrestrial civilizations like that of the Mayas. "Something now has a legal right to us," wrote Fort. "by force or by having paid out analogues of beads to the former, more primitive owners of us..."
Decades later, his line of thought would be expanded by those who saw a similar relationship arising in the Scriptures. Was the biblical "war in heaven" merely the retelling of an event in which mighty non-humans fought for possession of our world, perhaps even our universe? Were the figures of Yahweh and Azazel mentioned in the Pentateuch simply the names of each ultraterrestrial or semi-divine faction? Which one was in control first? Again, Salvador Freixedo explores this issue in his book Defendámonos de los Dioses
(Quintá, 1985), suggesting that these ethereal forces struggled for the Earth with one party defeating the other, which has ever since struggled to reassert itself. While for all our external differences, notes Freixedo, we are all equally human. The same cannot be said for these non-human creatures, who do not appear to belong to a common order of beings, and are not even aware of other non-humans they may have encountered during incursions into our own reality. "The struggle which according to theology erupted between the angels before the creation of the world...is ongoing and the rivalry among spirits is not over, given their jealousy of rank and prerogatives."
This is all well and good, the reader may think, but what are they fighting over?
A number of authors have dared to suggest that these improbable beings are fighting over us -- lowly humans who are largely at their whim. But much like an actor needs an audience or a politician needs voters, these beings need the energy we appear to feed them through human wars, suffering, mass worship and other group activities. Freixedo, Keel, Creighton, Roberts and David Tansley all seem to be in agreement on this point, which echoes Charles Fort's only partially humorous assertion that these superbeings wanted us for "our greasy,shiny brains."
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