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Monthly Archives: November 2011


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A kid once threw a clod of earth at my dad, after my dad told the kid to stop throwing mud at the car. Dad had got out of the car and had his thunderous face on. The kid didn’t care, and got him on the side of the head. I wanted to kill that kid. I wanted to kill him dead. I feel the same when people take pops at Prince Charles.

You just know the Queen would rather die than relinquish the throne to Charles. She’ll hang on grimly to her handbag and her title until William psyches himself up. But do you know why? Not because Charles is potty, talks to plants and got a divorce. No, it’s because Charles is a menace to modern society. Just hunt out some of his lesser-known speeches.

In an introduction to the Sacred Web Conference at the University of Alberta in 2006, Charles sings his praises for the biannual magazine devoted to theosophy and the study of Tradition and modernity, Sacred Web, and then offers his theories on the same.

Watching a Royal – arranged, as ever, in front of a fireplace – speak in metaphysical terms is a surreal, slightly eerie experience. Charles talks of mystics, of the oneness of all life, and how it is only achieved by tapping into the Divine. I feel like I’m watching an alien invasion flick, in which the President is forced to address the nation about impending doom.

He warns that the human race is on the brink of extinction, and calls for a rejection of modernism, of an age where every man is an island, and a return to Traditionalism – in which perennial wisdom is handed down from generation to generation; kept alive and revered. He references royal astronomer Martin Reese, who wrote Our Final Hour: A Scientist’s Warning: How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind’s Future In This Century, On Earth and Beyond, but says in his more optimistic moments he hopes it may not be too late for a mass awakening that will allow mankind to take the planet into its next, transcendent cycle.

While Charles’s commitment to environmental causes and sustainability is well reported, his spiritual and philosophical side (he is is Patron of the Temenos Academy – ‘for education in the light of the spirit’) is not humoured in the media. Last year he published a book, Harmony, written with environmentalist Tony Juniper and BBC broadcaster Ian Skelly. There was an accompanying doco. Oh – you missed it?

True enough, some of his theories would make Dan Brown blush, but his dismissal in the British press was so thorough that The Guardian commissioned three reviews that made personal attacks. Giant lizards, much?

Guardian review 1) Discovering the same organic patterns everywhere you look is a familiar symptom of paranoia. In the prince’s case, however, it represents an insight into the fundamental rhythms of the universe. If you press your face on a large piece of paper on a wall, he tells us, and let your arms describe natural arcs with a couple of pencils, you would find yourself creating certain cosmically symbolic circles. He forgets to add that you would also look a complete prat.

Guardian review 2) If I’ve learned one thing in the more than 30 years I’ve been faffing around waiting to be king, it’s that we have to listen to Nature … So this book, which has been dictated to me by Tony Juniper-Berry, Peter Penstemon and Diana Daffodil, is Nature’s plea to us to save the world before it is too late.

Guardian review 3) He knew he was right all along.

In his speech for the Sacred Web Conference, Charles irritably acknowledges the ridicule he’s suffered for decades, but he might expect nothing more in an age of superficiality. He quotes TS Eliot: “Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

Did John Butler 12-step me?*

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I was locked in a Tarago with the John Butler Trio, concentrating fiercely. They were playing Newcastle; I was leeching along with my dictaphone. Beneath all the talk of new songs, uranium mines and the importance of cracking the States, I could hear an undercurrent of something – a hidden message of some sorts.

John talked about the importance of being fully present, about putting out his intention and handing over his will.

My ears pricked up. I’d recently started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and I recognised these patterns of speech. Up till that point I’d been about as spiritual as a sock; suddenly I was the empty vessel into which talk of ‘acceptance’, ‘handing it over’ and ‘living in the now’ poured – usually in the form of a rhyme or acronym. Now John was revealing he’d heard them too. I was possum eyed with excitement. He was one of us.

Veering wildly off the interview script, I started throwing in some unusual questions. “Do you have a few drinks before you go on stage?” I asked. “What about after?”

John frowned, perhaps presuming I’d run out of Wiki ammo and was about to ask him his favourite colour. He might, he said, perhaps have a few beers. It was my turn to frown. So that wasn’t it. He must be Narcotics Anonymous.

What I had failed to realise, being a wet-behind-the-ears newb, was that while the foundations of AA may be built upon Jungian theory and cognitive restructuring, in recent years it’s acquired plenty of Eckhart Tolle-isms, mindfulness, and an appreciation of pop spirituality, like The Secret.

As Jung himself wrote to AA founding father Bill Wilson, “‘alcohol’ in Latin is ‘spiritus’ and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as for the most depraving poison.” No wonder the same spiritual path that attracted John – who has often spoken of having an awakening, aged 20 – is adopted by reformed boozehounds who have both lost their religion and had an awakening themselves.

AA wound up being a crash course for me, as I decided to home school myself after being told I was spiritually sick and unlikely to get better… but I’ll never forget that illuminating moment of identification the day I interviewed John.

* No. I snuck a peek at JB’s rider when he was on stage. He’s definitely not a friend of Bill W, but he does read The Secret.


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Puzzlingly, Oprah has never embraced Icke.

I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle’s description of his awakening in The Power of Now, and it’s strikingly close to David Icke’s, minus the mountain accoutrements.

TOLLE (aged 29)

“I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. “Am I one or two?” If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”
I was so stunned by this strange realisation that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words “resist nothing”, as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It was as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that.

ICKE (aged 39)

There were magnets pulling my feet to the ground, and then I felt a drill going in the top of my head and through my body, through my feet, into the ground. And then another one coming the other way. And then my arms go out at 45 degrees, for the best part of an hour. This energy coming through me. My body started to shake with it, and I had two very powerful thought-forms pass through my head.

The first one said: They’ll be talking about this 100 years from now.” The other one was: “It will be over when you feel the rain.” This energy just kept coming through me. And I kept going in and out of, if you like, awareness, consciousness, like driving a car and you go: Crikey. Where did the last two miles go?

One of these times when I came back to kind of awareness, I noticed that over the distant mountains there was a light grey mist. It got darker and darker very quickly, pouring rain on the distant mountains.

I watched this storm come out of the mountains. The cloud was a straight line. It was like drawing the curtains across the sky. This thing’s coming towards me, and as it got closer, the sun’s gone. It’s been covered. All the clouds are billowing and I’m seeing faces in the clouds. It didn’t make sense to me, but I saw faces in the clouds.

And then it’s a wall of rain. I’m watching it coming towards me. By this time I’m hanging on, you know, with this energy coming through me. Eventually it hits me – torrential rain – and everything stopped. That’s when I staggered forward and my shoulders were agony and all the rest of it.

Winner: Icke.

Vibe me and help me get James Randi’s loot

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Like the great prophet David Icke says, we all emit vibrations and, similarly, we can tune into the vibrations of everything else – be it the Universe, another person, or that sandwich.

When I told my skepto mate Esther that I reckoned I could identify someone’s mood just by their vibes, she leapt onto it like a bloody terrier on a stick – and now she won’t let go.

“Oh really?” she uttered, in her broad Northern accent, already designed to sound 80 per cent more scathing than the Southern accent. “So you think you could tell someone’s emotion without looking at them? Just by the vibrations in the room?”

“Of course,” I said. “You can feel the energy worrying the air.”

“No, you can’t.”

We had a bit of a starey stand-off.

“But surely you tell if someone fancies you by the tension without anything being said?” I persisted, bringing it back to layman’s territory.

“Yes, but that’s my hormones, my blood pressure rising,” she said. “You, on the other hand, think you can identify a complete stranger as being sad, happy or angry without any visual cues.”


“So if I were to present three people with different moods to you, in a small enclosed room with a couple of cameras, while you were blindfolded, you would be able to correctly read their vibes?”

“They’d have to be fixed cameras. If you have camera operators in there you’ll throw me off the scent.”

“All right, then.”

And thus, what began as a minor knocking of horns over breakfast has turned into a bit of a worry, as Esther plots to utilise the resources of her TV production company to prove my theory to be ailing. She’s even recruiting a skeptics society to set up the ideal scientific scenario.

Anyway, I’ve decided this is doable, but I need to practise. You can’t tell me that, say, dogs can’t pick up on a mood. Look at Lassie. And just as dogs go spastic when a storm’s approaching, so do I. It’s all about electrical frequencies, says Sir Icke.

So next time you’re feeling something real bad, come and find me and focus that feeling at me. If I manage to identify it, I’ll split the James Randi loot with you – he’s the psychic investigator who’s offering a million bucks to anyone who can demonstrate psychic powers under controlled circumstances. Strictly speaking I’m merely tuning into molecular vibrations, but we can probably get away with calling it psychic. Plenty of others do.

Tune in soon for the experiment proper.

Bob Proctor: sensible uncle vs. sensationalist salesman

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The snake oil skeptometer goes through the roof at the merest mention of The Secret and the ‘law of attraction’ – see previous post – however, this here article by celeb psychic Greg Riley in the free paper An Alternative Voice, repeats some pretty sound advice from one of The Secret’s ‘Master Teachers’.

Bob Proctor (I’m guessing ‘Bob Proctor’ isn’t his real name – it sound suspiciously safe and dependable, unless you’ve got colon cancer) is a wealth mentor and personal development guru. Given that Greg Riley is a graduate of Bob Proctor’s Life Success Program, I feel like this shouldn’t be sound advice, but I’m prepared to roll over meekly and concede when something I investigate seems genuinely helpful. I’ve edited the points down to a line each.

Law of Attraction in everyday life

  1. What other people think of us is none of our business.
  2. Every day, visualise the same stretch objective [personal development speak for ‘ambition’] coming true.
  3. Life is a balance of mind, body and spirit. Establish what is important to you in each category.
  4. Set goals every six months.
  5. Create a gratitude card and look at it five times a day.
  6. Create a vision board of what you would like your life to be and look at it each day. Meditate each night on your dream and imagine you are already in that situation.
  7. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and make life changes.
  8. Take action.

I like these pointers because they’re basically about taking the time to assess and focus, instead of turning up the white noise in your brain by way of mindless telly, internet, consumerism and chemicals, and then realising you’re all out of time.
Number 1’s something your mother ought to tell you, instead of “they’re just jealous”. Numbers 2 and 6 – visualising – works a bit: sometimes I like to walk down the street as though I’ve just had great sex, and pretty much everyone smiles at me. Number 3, about mind, body and spirit, is even worth plotting out on paper, writing down your values in each area. If you haven’t already tried it, do list your values – it’s astounding the first time you discover you have some, particularly when you find you’re unfathomably moral about one issue and then completely amoral about the very next. Number 5 might just stop your next whinge in your throat. Number 7, going out on a limb, should be a no-brainer. I relish curve balls and rolling with the punches: okay, you’ve cut me off at that pass; now I’m going to take another road, quite possibly the low one. Number 8 – take action – ought to silence any of life’s armchair critics and complainers.

As well as The Secret, Bob hawks ‘The 11 Forgotten Laws’ – of which the law of attraction is just one. The others are the laws of: thinking, supply, receiving, increase, compensation, non-resistance, forgiveness, sacrifice, obedience and success. Just as Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret, attests vaguely that ‘the law of attraction’ has been known by and kept schtum by philosophers, artists and the wealthy throughout history, so also were the forgotten laws – but now they can be yours.
Put ‘Bob Proctor’ into Google and ‘bob proctor fraud’ and ‘bob proctor scam’ will be suggested. In a completely wily move, one pro-Bob website has the url of You may enter it a skeptic and come out completely converted – suck it and see.

The Secret: unfairly excludes infidels and the faithless

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Get them while they're young.

“Everything happens for a reason.” OOF.

“It is what it is.” OOH-YAY.

I’m as vague as the next old dear, but even I need a bit more direction than “throw it out to the universe” as a roadmap to run my life.

Still, according to the Oprah-endorsed The Secret by Australian Rhonda Byrne, everyone from Plato to Shakespeare to Beethoven to your next-door celebrity Scientologist is in on a magical formula to get everything you want, so I’d better jump onboard quick-smart.

The Secret is essentially the law of attraction: visualise brilliant things happening to you and those brilliant things will be helpless to resist speeding towards you, like “iron filings to a magnet”.

A quick email around the office instantly conjures up three copies of The Secret, although everyone groaningly insists their copy was pressed upon them by some chump. Sure. I take one down to the beach for a peruse – not for an extra spiritual experience, but so nobody catches me reading it.

Opening the book at random, P59 explains how to visualise yourself thin. Even though you may have stuffed yourself cross-eyed and giggling, “food cannot cause you to put on weight, unless you THINK it can.”

You can also think yourself well and think yourself a million bucks. Don’t be anti-something, be pro- its positive opposite. And don’t resist! I’m confused, though… how does ‘visualising’ what you want differ from ‘fantasising’, which I’m already doing every waking minute? All that’s brought me is a tendency to not hear a word you’re saying.

Look, maybe there’s something in this. A ‘positivity can’t hurt, and people around you seem to prefer it’ sort of something. When I was a child, home life was a cacophony of tuts: Dad’d get started with one of his epic to-be-followed-by-rumbling-storm-clouds-of-oaths tuts that would make your heart skip a beat with dread, then Mum would fall in with the empathetic, oh-dear-that’s-torn-it tuts, and eventually we were all at it. On trips away, tension would do a Mexican wave around the car at the bloody unfairness of it all, whatever that was. Heeding someone else’s sensitivity to tuts and forecastings of doom by being outwardly chipper was not considered.

So anyway, let’s see what we have here.

Funny – I’ve always been told I’m NOT the centre of the universe, yet here on p46, within a jolly metaphor about Aladdin’s lamp, it clearly says: “You are the Master of the Universe, and the Genie (that’s the law of attraction, or the Universe) is there to serve you.” I’m advised to “place an order” to the Universe by writing it out on a piece of paper in the present tense. (Fried chicken wings?)

Step two is to believe that it’s already mine. I guess I already do this when I go shopping. I look at a dress and imagine myself parading down the street wearing it, looking fine, with my hair bouncing around.

Of course, The Secret does have itself a get-out clause. You’re to believe with “complete and utter faith”. So I guess if you don’t get the dress you wanted, your faith was lacking. And if you live in a third-world country and are STILL starving to death, well, I guess you should have put it out to the Universe harder.

I come from here, Rhonda. Do you think the Universe can be arsed?

I like David Icke

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I can tell you how the World Trade Centre came down. I served in the Special Armed Forces, the Secret Service, I know all the world bankers. I know the cure to breast cancer. I could become a very wealthy man.”

The rant’s coming thick and fast, low and sexual, delivered with a prowling gait. It’s surprisingly succinct and coherent, with a bitter little twist.

No, it’s not David Icke, it’s a bloke on the 86 tram. Pacing up and down with straggly hair falling around his face like Jesus. Or Frank from Shameless. Once he’s jumped off, everybody breathes a sigh of relief – so presumably they’re not en route to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre like me.

Today Icke’s talking for nine hours on his The Lion Sleeps No More tour, brought out by a company called Positive Path. You know David Icke – the Pommy goalkeeper-turned-Green-Party-pollie-turned-New-Age-conspiracy-theorist. The one with the lizards. The giant, blood-sucking lizards that are running our governments, our media and our minds. Their number include George Bush, the Queen and Willie Nelson. Yes? Now?

I was expecting something slick and unnerving. like Tom Cruise in Magnolia. Instead I’ve got a pot-bellied, slightly peeved, nutty professor – albeit one with crazy eyes. Icke’s self-deprecating humour (in the sense that he’s decided to laugh at himself before you get a chance to) covers all his humiliations: his cruel dressing down on British talk show Wogan (YouTube it), his “turquoise period” (during which he moved his clairvoyant mistress into the family home, called himself the “son of the godhead” and would only wear turquoise in an effort to attract Universal positivity), his dabblings with psychoactive plants (could he be seeing the same giant lizards Hunter S Thompson saw?), and Richard Dawkins’ persistent poking fun at him. In fact, his motto is “Still crazy after all these years”. You can even get the T-shirt.

Icke in his turquoise phase on Wogan.

As the story goes, Icke lost his mind back in 1990, when a psychic told him he’d say things that would change the world as we knew it. He found himself called to Peru, where he had an awakening atop a mountain, so powerful that he found himself drilled into the ground in a Christ-like pose, with the elements rushing in to baptise him. Ever since, he’s been refining and refining his theory: that the human race is neck-deep in a triple conspiracy to keep us dumb, while giant reptilians from the star system Alpha Draconis manipulate our reality.

As allegories for modern society, some scholars point out, Icke’s theories are brilliant. But, the same scholars concede, he’s probably not talking allegories.

Or is he?

Or is he?

The first third of today’s proceedings, anyway, fucks us gently.

In a seamless flow of rhetoric, Icke pulls apart religion, the monarchy, the CIA, mindless television, the Lord Mayor’s reaction to Occupy in Melbourne and blind adhesion to a rat race existence, overseen by sinister, shadowy overlords. Icke has logical explanations for UFOs, astrology, palmistry, crystal therapy, chakras, numerology and all the New Agery I’m highly dubious about, but explains so fast I have no time to keep filtering back through his claims and cross-referencing. Still, learning physics at school also required a massive suspension of disbelief that I don’t even remember having to hoist. The ‘big bang theory’. Really? Icke laughs in the face of it.

Pre-head explosion.

Moving on, Icke paces the stage restlessly and talks of us using our senses to decode vibrations and electromagnetic energy, one minute painting us as computers living in a virtual reality not of our own making (cue plentiful references to The Matrix and examples of how 3D holographic images are increasingly used in the media – implying we can’t be sure of what’s real), the next as slaves to the left side of our brains (New Agers employ the right). “Don’t trust your thoughts; you are not your thoughts,” he’s saying; shouting, actually. But whereas that’s a mantra of modern-day psychologists and mindfulness practitioners, Icke means our thoughts are literally being inserted into our heads – by THEM.

As a slow drip feed of information, it all seems perfectly reasonable, whereas if he’d leapt from “while you’re watching Deal Or No Deal things are happening without your consent” to “we are all holograms projected from the edge of space” in one fell swoop, well, I’d have laughed.

So this is how mind control – the very type he warns us of – works: careful attrition of what you think you’re sure of. No wonder some extra-conspiratorial conspiracy theorists reckon Icke’s a double agent, a right-wing rube – he’s got the tactics down pat.

Three hours in, we broke for lunch and I kept on walking. I felt like I was betraying Icke – and I’ll never know for sure who THEY were – but sitting still for longer than this for any reason makes my head explode, Scanners-style.

And while he may approve of that actuality, I don’t think he’d want me for one of his lions.