Sunday, April 24, 2016

The man who created AFU

The title of this blog entry may come as a surprise to the old guard Swedish ufologists who know that we were three young men who formally founded AFU in 1973. But the truth is that AFU as a library and archive was from the beginning actually the idea and work of only one of us - Kjell Jonsson (1952-1986). As a tribute to our old friend and UFO colleague the story behind the founding of AFU as an archive should be preserved for posterity.
Kjell Jonsson in 1977

Kjell Jonsson and I became good friends in our early teens as we were schoolmates and both of us worked part time, Saturdays and evenings, at the local public library in Södertälje. We were also in some respect outsiders, Kjell because of his almost constant physical illness. He suffered a.o. from severe asthma and had stopped growing. I was a frail and sensitive teenager with low self-esteem. Probably because of this life situation we both became bookish and some time around 1970 I introduced Kjell to UFO literature found in my parents library. He immediately became very fascinated by the subject and an avid reader of UFO books.

Kjell Jonsson as a young UFO enthusiast in 1971. Notice the flying saucer button.

In the Autumn of 1970 we started contacting local UFO groups and were introduced to the national organization UFO-Sweden that had been founded in 1970. As a result of this contact Kjell and I founded a local group, UFO-Södertälje, in November 1970. After a few years of operating this group our interest became more and more research oriented, which was also the view shared by our common friend Anders Liljegren in Norrköping. Inspired by Jacques Vallee and John Keel the three of us founded Arbetsgruppen för ufologi (AFU) on March 17, 1973, as a small informal working group.

Our aim was building a foundation for serious UFO research in Sweden but in 1974 both Anders Liljegren and I were occupied with personal and practical problems. Our magazine Ufologen was folded in the Spring of 1974 and in the Autumn I moved to Stockholm and began my studies at Stockholms University. The day to day work of keeping AFU alive then for a time rested on the shoulders of Kjell Jonsson. And it was in the beginning of 1974 that he got the brilliant idea of starting a UFO library. In a letter written February 12, 1974 to a Swedish ufologist  he tries to explain the situation: "I am now the only active AFU representative. AFU has closed down all former activities, our magazine Ufologen and field investigations. Instead I am presently engaged in planning a lending library of books and magazines and will also serve ufologists with copies of magazine articles." 

Kjell with the first two AFU bookshelves 1977

In the Spring of 1974 Lennart Johansson, Stockholms UFO-Center donated his entire collection, around 200 UFO books, to AFU. In an interview I did with Kjell in 1977 he said that this donation further inspired him to continue building a UFO library. As he planned to become a librarian he felt that it was in this way he could benefit ufology. From the beginning in 1974 the library was housed in his very small, one room apartment and it only consisted of two bookshelves. Between 1974-1980 Kjell operated the lending library as a one man enterprice. With his gallant idealism he spent a lot of time and his own money to run AFU. 

The "UFO librarian" in 1978

We both chose to become librarians as profession and we entered The Swedish School of Library and Information Science in Borås, but not at the same time. We did get one term together though in the Spring of 1977. As his subject for a thesis Kjell decided to write the first Swedish UFO bibliography. He spent a tremendous amount of work on this thesis, visiting and interviewing ufologists and it was subsequently published by AFU in 1977, Svensk UFO-bibliografi 1946-1975.

Kjell working on his UFO bibliography in the Spring of 1977

When AFU moved to new premises in Norrköping in 1980 Kjell´s interest in UFO and the library waned and his visits to Norrköping ended some time in 1981-82. His health problems increased as did his difficulty in finding a steady job as librarian. The last years of his life he spent as an activist for gay rights, always an idealist. He died during a heavy fit of asthma on April 30, 1986. 

Today AFU is the worlds largest UFO and Fortean archive and library. My thoughts sometimes goes to my old friend and AFU colleague, Kjell Jonsson, who made this dream possible with his pioneering hard work and idealism. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Selma Lagerlöf and the Esoteric Tradition

There are and have been many brilliant authors, excellent authors in world literature and then once in a while history gives us an author that is "divinely" gifted, truly inspired by "The Gods". In this last category I would like to position the Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940), my absolute favourite in the World Parnassus. She was born in the Swedish province Värmland, the province per excellence of poets, artists and mystics. Her life, philosophy and writings are a monument of and reflect the eternal aspiration of the esotericist to contribute to the good, the true and the beautiful in this world.

Selma Lagerlöf in 1906

Selma Lagerlöf was the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature 1909 and in 1914 she was elected to be the first woman in the Swedish Academy. She wrote many novels and short stories that have become classics in world literature. The Academy mentioned "the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings." The more than 40.000 letters she received during her lifetime reveal the tremendous amount of joy, hope and consolation readers found in the works coming from her pen. Mårbacka, the home of Selma Lagerlöf, is preserved as a museum and has become a place of pilgrimmage for thousands of visitors every year.

Visiting Mårbacka July 10, 2014

Selma Lagerlöf has also been honored in a somewhat unusual fashion by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) who in 1985 named a crater on Venus the Lagerlof Crater. On September 10, 1991 German astronomer Freimut Börngen discovered a new asteroid. This planetary body was named 11061 Lagerlof.

Her first novel, The Story of Gösta Berling, was published in 1891 and initiated a new trend in Swedish literature. The 1880s had been dominated by realism and naturalism but Lagerlöf favoured fantasy, beauty, "magical realism" and the folklore stories of her native province Värmland. Later several Swedish authors adopted her ideas on literature which altered the trend in Swedish literary history. The novels and short stories of Selma Lagerlöf are often filled with magic and mystery, encounters with nature spirits and invisible powers greater than Man. Some of her stories can best be described as Gothic fiction, a.o. Körkarlen (1912), Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness. But there is always an ethical message and a lifeview of hope in spite of the grim reality in some of her works. Selma Lagerlöf was never a naive idealist. She was very well aware of the human tragedy, with its ingredients of pain and sorrow.

There are thousands of articles on Selma Lagerlöf, her life and writings, several doctoral thesis and many biographies. Large collections of her correspondence have been also published that give a more detailed and personal view of her inner life and world view. Still many biographers find it difficult to understand Selma Lagerlöf´s lifeview. The reason for this bewilderment can be traced to the basic general lack of knowledge of the Esoteric Tradition among scholars and writers. This situation will probably be remedied in future generations because of the renaissance of academic interest in "Western Esotericism".

A recent example of this renaissance in Sweden is the book Förborgade tecken. Esoterism i västerländsk litteratur, (2010), (Hidden Signs. Esoterism in Western Literature).  A study by fifteen scholars from various academic disciplines; History of Religions, History of Ideas, Art History, Literary Science a.o. One of the essays, Esoterism i Selma Lagerlöfs En herrgårdssägen (Esoterism in Selma Lagerlöf´s The Tale of a Manor) is written by Mattias Fyhr, Assistant Professor in Literary Criticism at Stockholm University. Fyhr emphasize that his essay is the first study of The Tale of a Manor from an academic esoteric viewpoint and present ample documentation of  Selma Lagerlöf´s deep influence from the Esoteric Tradition. Her library at Mårbacka include a fairly large collection of books by Theosophists and Spiritualists, a.o. Charles Leadbeater.

On October 2, 2013 I had the pleasure of interviewing Mattias Fyhr in connection with his lecture at Norrköping Public Library. We also visited AFU and he expressed his appreciation of our extensive collections of Esoterica.

Mattias Fyhr at AFU

Interviewing Mattias Fyhr at Norrköping Public Library October 2, 2013

After the death of Selma Lagerlöf in March 1940 there have been many attempts to research and document her lifeview and worldview in popular articles and academic studies. Already in 1945 orthodox Christian author and journalist Sven Stolpe noted in his article Selma Lagerlöfs mystik (Selma Lagerlöf´s Mystique) (BLM, February 1945) that she could not be regarded as Christian in the ordinary sense. Commenting on Christianity in a letter to a friend in 1925 she said: "I wish instead that they (people) could feel secure with reincarnation, but it will probably take a long time before this is the general belief."

One of many doctoral thesis on Selma Lagerlöf

In 1951 a detailed study, Om Selma Lagerlöf och teosofin, (On Selma Lagerlöf and Theosophy) where the author, Erik Eliasson, presented extensive documentation of Lagerlöf´s contact with Theosophy. For many years she corresponded with Theosophist Stella Rydholm and also subscribed to Theosophical journals, but she was never a formal member of the society. In a letter to Stella Rydholm August 3, 1920 she declared: "I enjoy reading these books but I don´t wish to become a member of a Theosophical society, because I can´t be entirely sure of the teaching".

In a letter to her friend Henriette Coyet, 1931, Selma Lagerlöf summarized her search for a tenable worldview: "I have not found any religion to affiliate with among the many offered... I rather wait until we can scientifically prove existence after death. I think this can be done and I wish that we shall never have to believe as now in old folktales. We must know what is behind the visible world. There will probably come a religious genius solving this riddle, in the way it has to be solved for our time."

Selma Lagerlöf

To my knowledge there is no documentation that Selma Lagerlöf ever read or was aware of the books by Alice Bailey. But she was well aquanted with the older Theosophical and Spiritualist books, including works on paranormal phenomena and research. Because of personal clairvoyant experiences she was convinced that we live in a multiverse but her approach to these issues was in many ways rational and scientific. She had the mind of a true esotericist and also an innate understanding of the laws that govern consciousness and its evolution. Her novels and short stories testify to a deep understanding of life. Like her comtemporary Swedish poet Gustaf Fröding she was profoundly inspired by the Esoteric Tradition. Commenting on her book Körkarlen, (Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness) she stated: "In Körkarlen I am above all bringing a message. I felt like a medium. That is why this book appeals so much to me."

Monday, April 18, 2016

Paranormal phenomena and the academic scholar

During my 40+ years of investigation and study of UFO and paranormal phenomena I have talked to many kinds of witnesses, with a wide variety in profession and education. One of the most regular comments after an interview has been - don´t mention my name. That so many witnesses to UFO and paranormal phenomena prefer anonymity is a problem in research as the credibility factor is reduced, especially when witnesses only wish to talk to one investigator. I have been in this situation many times and lamented it. But witness integrity is very important. There is a social stigma in mentioning experiences and encounters that mainstream science regard as impossible or mythic. I well remember the words of a Swedish woman who went public with her UFO close encounter: "If I had known the public reaction to our observation I would never have talked to the media."

This is probably the prime reason why so few academic scholars go public when encountering unusual phenomena. To mention telepathy or intuition may be acceptable in academic circles but if you recount materializations, levitations, UFO close encounters or observations of little people, fairies (leprechauns) you are usually in for trouble. This is probably why active scientists and academic scholars loathe to disclose their personal experiences. It could also be the end of their academic career or work if the organized skeptics enter a campaign against this "irrational pseudoscientist" who has entered the domain of Forbidden Science. "Science is the pursuit of the unknown", wrote biologist and Fortean researcher Ivan T. Sanderson. Or at least it should be!

An interesting effort that may somewhat remedy this situation is a website called the PK-Collection by Marcus Heymann. It is a collection of documented reports and statements from well-known scientists and academics who have publicly told of their observation of phenomena like materialization and levitation. Marcus Heymann gives this interesting explanation for his project:
"I brought this collection into life, because once I was even an involuntary witness of a floating object. A table had risen, remained in the air and fell slowly to the floor again, as if it was held by invisible hands. You can probably imagine that such an experience is not pleasant. One believes to have went mad and is afraid. Fortunately, there were other observers present with the same horrified look. That helped to reassure me, because I have never heard of sudden-onset group insanity. For the particularly clever of you, no, it was not a magic show!... So I went on a search for other witnesses of these types experiences, that’s called psychokinetic phenomena (pk phenomena). It seemed that there are many but only a few had the courage to describe what they witnessed using their real name. Most people use a synonym. For me, it´s interesting, to get a confirmation from someone who had an academic background and was (is) willing to use their real name. That´s why I went looking for academics who had seen something like this. I was amazed when I discovered that well-known scientists and Nobel Prize laureates had witnessed such events and written about it. That was the beginning of the collection."

Maybe we are now witnessing a more open attitude to paranormal phenomena among leading scientists? American science journalist John Horgan in his book Rational Mysticism (2003) noted the increased academic interest in the interface between science, mysticism and religion. Hogan use the term "rational mysticism". In his article in Scientific American, July 2012 with the provocative title Brilliant Scientists Are Open-Minded about Paranormal Stuff, So Why Are Not You? he concludes: "... the discovery of telepathy or telekinesis would blow centuries of accumulated scientific dogma sky high. What could be more thrilling!" Another scientist who challenges the materialist and reductionist worldview is Dr. Jeffrey J. Kripal, professor of religious studies at Rice University, Houston, Texas.

From an esoteric viewpoint one of the most audacious theories regarding 19th century paranormal phenomena formulated by an academic scholar is the Hidden Hand Theory presented by Theosophical scholar Dr. Joscelyn Godwin, Colgate University, New York. In a four part series of articles, The Hidden Hand, 1990-1991 in the academic journal Theosophical History, Godwin presents impressive documentation indicating that a secret society created the first wave of very physical materialization phenomena in the United States: "The suggestion is that the Hydesville phenomena were not a spontaneous manifestation, but something provoked by living persons, acting with no lesser intent than that of changing the worldview of Western civilisation." (Theosophical History, vol. 3:2, April 1990, p. 38.) Joscelyn Godwin is very much aware of the problem of presenting such a theory as an academic scholar. In a position statement he states: " "My own mind is open to the possibility of events for which materialistic science, and the historical scholarship modeled on it, has no place; consequently, I do not automatically dismiss the idea of immaterial influences, such as were suggested byt many writers on the Hydesville incident... I would suggest that there was another Hierohistorical event in the early 1870s; another move to affect public opinion, mainly by working from within the Spiritualist movement." (Theosophical History, vol. 3:3, July 1990, p. 72-73).

This is also the view of history as given in the Esoteric Tradition and mentioned by writers such as Charles Leadbeater, Constance Wachmeister, Annie Besant, Alice Bailey and Henry T. Laurency. In his book The Astral Plane (1898) Charles Leadbeater mention a secret lodge he personally knew, The Yucatan Brotherhood: "The Chiefs of this Lodge, though they have always kept themselves and their society strictly in the background, have nevertheless done what they could from time to time to assist the progress of truth in the world.  Nearly a century ago, in despair at the rampant materialism which seemed to be stifling all spirituality in Europe and America, they determined to make an attempt to combat it by somewhat novel methods – in point of fact to offer opportunities by which any reasonable man could acquire absolute proof of that life apart from the physical body which it was the tendency of science to deny. The phenomena exhibited were not in themselves absolutely new, since in some form or other we may hear of them all through history; but their definite organization – their production as it were to order – these were features distinctly new to the modern world. The movement which they thus set on foot gradually grew into the vast fabric of modern Spiritualism, and though it would perhaps be unfair to hold the originators of the scheme directly responsible for many of the results which have followed, we must admit that they have achieved their purpose to the extent of converting vast numbers of people from a belief in nothing in particular to a firm faith in at any rate some kind of future life. This is undoubtedly a magnificent result, though there are those who think that it has been attained at too great a cost."

In esotericism this secret lodge is regarded as a subsidiary branch of the planetary hierarchy, the planetary guardians, custodians of the science of the multiverse. This is the branch or department of this global organization especially concerned with the development of science. Alice Bailey mention their work in Esoteric Psychology I: "The rise of modern spiritualism is no doubt due to the seventh subray influence, and it may also be a foreshadowing of the great seventh ray still to come. It is interesting to note chat this movement was started by a secret society which has existed in the world since the last period of seventh ray dominance in Atlantean times." (p. 166-167, clothbound ed.) 

There is an interesting Swedish connection to the Yucatan Brotherhood. Swedish esotericist Henry T. Laurency mentioned in a letter to a friend that he was aquainted with a Norwegian man who was a member of this secret lodge. This man travelled around the world in the 1920s visiting various spiritualist groups, but was not impressed by their activities. (Letter April 12, 1964). According to my understanding Henry T. Laurency worked together with, or was inspired by, a member of the planetary guardians who is referred to as Hilarion, responsible for the branch of adepts involved with concrete knowledge and scientific development. Regarding his work we find this reference by Alice Bailey: "... He (Hilarion-HB) controls and transmutes the great movements that tend to strip the veil from the unseen. His is the energy which, through his disciples, is stimulating the Psychical Research groups everywhere, and He it was Who initiated, through various pupils of His, the Spiritualistic movement." (Initiation, Human and Solar, p. 59, clothbound ed.)

Experiencing a UFO close encounter or a very concrete and physical paranormal phenomenon can be traumatic or inspiring, whether you are an academic scholar or ordinary citizen. People all over the world are changed by these experiences so the impact on our culture is deep and lasting. As a ufologist I can only sympathize with the education by astonishment agenda of the Yucatan Brotherhood. Perhaps they also use the UFO phenomenon in this way? On September 1, 1984 I interviewed Peggy Robert, who had a close encounter with a UFO that became a turning point in her life. Before this incident she was a typical ego-tripping materialist. During the interview she tried to explain her new life after the UFO encounter: "Now I knew there was something else in other dimensions, life that is different and more evolved... After this contact with the UFO I couldn´t accept Christianity as presented in the churches. Now I started an intensive period of searching." Peggy Robert later studied alternative medicine, Reflexology, Acupressure and nutrition. The rest of her life she dedicated to helping people with psychological and physical healing, working at various health resorts. 

Peggy Robert

If we imagine that members of the Yucatan Brotherhood initiated the UFO incident I guess they could say - Mission Accomplished. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Cyril Scott as esotericist

In the 1920s and 30s three books excited enormous interest, especially among Theosophists and those interested in the Esoteric Tradition. They were first published pseudonymously, "by his pupil", but later editions gave the actual name of the author, Cyril Scott (1879-1970), English composer, writer and poet. The trilogy was named in sequence The Initiate. Some Impressions of a Great Soul (1920), The Initiate in the New World (1927) and The Initiate in the Dark Cycle (1932). These books still exert a far-reaching influence and are constantly published in new editions, aviable on-line. There is also a website dedicated to Cyril Scott.

These three books have for many years been among my favourite esoteric works and I use to recommend them to new students of esotericism as valuable alternatives to the standard textbooks by Blavatsky, Leadbeater, Bailey and Laurency. Names and places in the story have been changed to preserve the "wall of silence". An expression used by the famous Italian psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli, founder of the psychological school known as Psychosynthesis. Only a few of his closest associates knew of his connection with an adept of the Inner Government, the Planetary Guardians. The "wall of silence" is an unfortunate necessity on this planetary Alcatraz and Cyril Scott has done his best to preserve the integrity of his secret teacher.

Cyril Scott

Cyril Scott was a prolific writer. In addition the his Initiate trilogy he wrote several books on health, philosophy and psychology. Among his esoteric works Music: Its Secret Influence throughout the Ages, has become something of a classic. There are also a two autobiographical works: My Years of Indescretion (1924) and Bone of Contention (1969). Theosophical scholar Jean Overton Fuller spent several years of research trying to document the life and various ideological influences on Scott, using some of the novels written by his two wives. Although Jean Overton Fuller has doubts regarding some of Scott´s sources she states that he was definitely "on the side of the angels" (p. 53). Fuller´s monograph Cyril Scott and A Hidden School: Towards the Peeling of an Onion, was published by the independent scholarly journal Theosophical History - Theosophical History Occasional Papers, vol. VII (1998).

The Initiate trilogy is the life story of Charles Broadbent (Cyril Scott) and his involvement with a man, Justin Morewood Haig, to whom he is introduced in wordly London. Haig seems as first to be as other men but Broadbent soon comes to realize he is an initiate and accepts to be his pupil. The books combine the personal life history of Broadbent with the teachings given by Haig. The Initiate trilogy is a treasure trove of esoteric wisdom and sound psychological insights and advice, presented in a somewhat unusual context but easy and fascinating to read.

In his introduction to The Initiate Cyril Scott wrote: "THE story, if so it can be called, of Justin Moreward Haig is a true one, in so far that such a person does exist, although, as explained later, I have been compelled for many reasons to conceal his identity. And I emphasise the fact of his existence because there are a number of people who may doubt the possibility of attaining to that degree of perfection which he undubitably manifested, thus crediting me with writing romance instead of fact... Although I am aware that two such Masters (or Mahatmas, as they are often called) reside in the far distant fastnesses of Thibet, yet to suppose they all follow this example is to suppose a fallacy; for I know there are several such Masters living in England at the present moment, as well as in America and in almost all countries of the world. "

To normalise themselves himself in the eyes of the world Justin Morewood Haig and his fellow adepts sometimes affect some harmless vice or idiosyncracy, such as smoking. Haig also like to shock people with unexpected assertions, "casting conversational bombs into the arid chatter of conventional society". His views and advice, when it comes to psychological problems, can be very frank and down to earth. A woman who because of fear and vanity is afraid of emotions and has locked herself in an inner prison, can, according to Haig, only be cured by " a very deep and passionate love affair".

One of the most common mistakes made by clairvoyants and beginners in esotericism is misinterpreting inner visions and voices. With great conviction students excitely relate their contacts with masters, angels, space people or other exalted beings without realizing they have perceived thought-creations, astral automata, believing they represent real beings. Astral clairvoyance can be a real trap unless you have been trained to recognize how this part of the multiverse appears and functions. Referring to this phenomenon Morewood Haig mention an amusing episode: "Level - headedness and good sound common sense are what I try to instill into my pupils before I encourage them to peep into the hidden realms. A thorough grounding in philosophy is the first thing to be acquired- otherwise one’s up against hysteria and imagination of a wrong type, and all the other evils we know so well. I know of women who come down to breakfast every morning with the story of some wonderful vision they’ve had in the night, in which some supposed ‘Master’ has appeared and given them ‘teaching’, it turns out to be sheer nonsense or some moral platitude. Well, well- it is fortunate we gurus have a sense of humour.” (The Initiate in the New World, p. 48, 1991 ed.)

In my view, one of the great riddles of the Theosophical movement is why so many theosophists promote and endorse the teachings of Krishnamurti. I can well understand the frustration of Geoffrey Hodson when he was confronted with the peculiar form of advaita mysticism of Krishnamurti. An intellectual quicksand that gets you nowhere and with no relation to esoteric science. Blavatsky with her forthright manner and vulcanic temperament would probably have given him a harsh reprimand if they had lived during the same age. And Henry  T. Laurency, with his Blavatskyan temperament, is very critical and clear in his analysis of Krishnamurti. The Krishnamurti problem is given a forthright and lucid presentation in The Initiate in the Dark Cycle: "...Krishnamurti not only destroys the path - or paths - but the goal itself... he cut himself adrift from the White Lodge, and repudiated all of us." (pp. 66, 136, 1991 ed.)

The cultural influence of Theosophy worldwide has been impressive and generally beneficient when it comes to an understanding of the multiverse. But today the movement is more of historical interest, a society very much consisting of devotional mystics lost in the advaita world of Krishnamurti. Theosophists and the Theosophical movement receive some critical comments in The Initiate in the New World: "...latterly there has arisen a movement which, on the assumption that Madame Blavatsky said the last word on occult wisdom, condemns all never teaching as a sign of disloyalty to her memory.” “Why, I thought,” was my comment, “that even while she was still alive the Masters pointed out that as yet they had only ‘lifted a corner of the veil,’ and admitted that with all her qualities she wasn’t entirely reliable in some respects.”... Altogether I am sorry to see an attitude of dogmatism among Theosophical members - some of them go so far as to think that they as Theosophists have the exclusive right to attention from the Masters. They’d doubtless get a shock if you told them that there is many an atheist and even a harlot more receptive to the teachings of the Masters than they are." (pp. 125, 129, 1991 ed.)

In the introduction to the last book in his trilogy Cyril Scott writes a summing-up of his thoughts and experiences concerning the adepts and their philosophy: " The reason why I have been selected to write of such weighty matters as will be dealt with in the following pages, is that my life is so constituted that I am in the enviable position of being able to devote the greater part of it to the requirements of the Adepts. Indeed, I find Their activities--such of them as I am permitted to follow--the most absorbing and romantic interest of my present incarnation, and I can imagine no employment so inspiring and stimulation as that of being Their metaphorical “errand boy.”

Monday, April 4, 2016

Guides and mentors: Henry T. Laurency

To keep the chronology of guides and mentors in my life the relevant name here should have been Jacques Vallee. His writings and ideas have greatly influenced me personally in my research and he was also an important inspiration in the founding of AFU in 1973. But as I have presented Vallee and his theories many times before I refer readers to these blog entries. When reviewing the guides and mentors in my life I find it difficult to arrange them in some sort of order of importance. They have all meant much to me during different time periods. Still, there is one individual that stand out as unparalleled and transcendent – the Swedish esotericist Henry T. Laurency.

Laurency presented in the Swedish daily Morgon-Tidningen July 9, 1947

Henry T. Laurency (Henrik von Zeipel, 1882-1971) was an exceptional intellectual who studied philosophy at Uppsala University. His teachers were the famous Swedish philosophers Axel Hägerström and Karl Hedvall. For most of his life Laurency also studied the basic tomes of the esoteric tradition, especially Helena P. Blavatsky, Charles Leadbeater and Alice Bailey. He wrote several books presenting the Ancient Wisdom with a modern och scientific terminology, most of which can be found in English translations at the official website of the Henry T. Laurency Publishing Foundation. As an academic philosopher Laurency especially addressed the basic scientific, ontological and epistemological issues and problems confronting students of esotericism. He often pointed out that the only scientifically and intellectually tenable attitude to the esoteric worldview is to regard it as a working hypothesis: "To scientists without experience of other worlds than the physical, hylozoics can, of course, be only a working hypothesis" (The Way of Man, p. 39, online version).

To the esotericist the Laurency writings represent an invaluable treasure trove of data, a presentation of the Ancient Wisdom in a completely new way that can appeal to academics and non-conformist scholars. His criticism of other authors and writing style can be a stumbling block for the more emotional new age mystics but his books are not for the general public. Laurency is addressing the intellectual and cultural elite, His comments on science, philosophy, religion and cultural issues reveal a profound and penetrating knowledge. We also get to understand that his works have been inspired by one of the adepts of the Inner Government. "The Knowledge of Reality is not my work, even though I was the instrument holding the pen that wrote it, and was made to rewrite every page until the content was approved as being correctly perceived." (Knowledge of Life. Four. Online version, p. 17). That is why I presume the Alice Bailey reference to a "disciple of rare capability in Sweden" is actually Laurency. (A Treatise on White Magic, orig. 1934, p. 79. clothbound ed). If ever there was an esotericist of rare capability Laurency fits the description.

Swedish edition of the Philosopher´s Stone

In the biographical chapters Laurency gives a short summary of what information is new and unique in his presentation of esotericism:
"Philosopher´s Stone contains four revolutionary new teachings that were never given out even in the esoteric knowledge orders.
The first one is the solution of the mystery of “trinity”, the three equivalent aspects of existence, the basic idea of the absolute knowledge system, the foundation of the philosophy and science of the future. (Matter, energy, consciousness - HB)
The second one is the assertion that matter (the atoms) is the carrier of consciousness, that the meaning of existence is consciousness development, that this consists in the monad’s continuous self-activation of consciousness in ever higher kinds of molecules and atoms, that these molecular and atomic kinds indicate the limits of the different kinds of consciousness, that not having this understanding the self, or monad, will drown in the ocean of consciousness there is between worlds 48 and 46, as raja yogis do.
The third one is the objective criteria of the different stages of development indicated.
The fourth one is the formulation of the “laws of life”, particularly emphasizing those which are essential to our times as introducing the Aquarian epoch, the epoch of law." Knowledge of Life Four, p. 17, online version)

I have written many articles and blog entries about Laurency and his books, also with some critical remarks. As a ufologist I have naturally been trying to gain a deeper understanding of UFOs and life on other planets from an esoteric viewpoint. There is no reference to UFOs in his books but in a letter to a friend who asked his opinion Laurency writes: "Regarding the "saucers" I have no knowledge and I have never taken an interest in any type of "phenomena". Actually the idea itself is not preposterous. The inhabitants of Venus have in addition to an etheric envelop a dense aggregate envelop confusingly similar to an organism. They are far ahead of us in consciousness development and have solved their "physical" problems. They know all about us so the visits could be a way to give humans something to ponder on" (Letter, October 12, 1965).

This is an interesting assertion that I have never found  mentioned in the books by Alice Bailey or other esoteric writings. The esoteric tradition is on the side of mainstream astronomy in the opinion that no higher organic life is possible on our neighbouring planets. Esotericists assert that highly developed civilisations exist on the other planets in our solar system but at the next multiverse level, the etheric, normally invisible to our eyes. According to Laurency the people of our neighbouring planets do have dense physical bodies consisting of atoms and molecules held together electromagnetically. This means they can be formed and dissolved instantly if the individual so chose. Interestingly this is exactly what many of the first generation contactees reported to have witnessed, a.o. Howard Menger. But would they be normally visible or invisible to us on their own planets? According to Menger they would be invisible. Unfortunately Laurency never gave an answer to this riddle.

An American contactee with whom I have been corresponding for several years told me of his first experience of this phenomenon: "Before I had my first "visits", I was a total unbelieving skeptic. And I said to them at one point, "give me proof, personally", and I need never ask that again, that´s for sure. When you get proof my friend, you will feel like the world as you knew it has ended.... I remember the first time there was about 5 space people in xx (name withheld) house talking with her as I quietly watched, and then suddenly one of the men turned, looked directly at me, smiled gently, and then very slowly turned to the kitchen room wall and walked right through the wall! I watched this very closely as he then  came back in... Let me tell you, those kind of incidents have a very deep and troubling affect on our minds because we cannot comprehend it." (Mail conversation February 25-26, 2012).

We find the same type of materialization phenomena often mentioned in the Theosophical literature. But then performed by the adepts or the planetary guardians. There is a charming episode described in Charles Leadbeater´s biography How Theosophy Came To Me: "It was in Madame Blavatsky’s room in that hotel that I first saw one of the members of the Brotherhood. While sitting on the floor at her feet, sorting out some papers for her, I was startled to see standing between us a man who had certainly not entered by the door, which was straight before me the whole time, and had not opened. I jumped up uttering a sharp exclamation of surprise, which caused Madame to laugh inordinately. She said banteringly: “You will not go far on the path of occultism if you are so easily startled at a little thing like that.” Then she presented me to the visitor, who proved to be he who is now the Master Djwal Kul, although he had not then taken the Initiation which made him an Adept." (p. 68).

Charles W. Leadbeater

Most mainstream scientifically oriented ufologists would probably regard these type of studies and discussions as irrational, meaningless or new age nonsense. But I have noticed how several investigators of UFO and paranormal phenomena after years of research come to realize that the materialist, reductionist worldview is untenable. Like John Keel they turn from phenomena to philosophy in their search for answers. Ufologist Aime Michel expressed it this way to his friend Jacques Vallee: "Ufology is not a science but a process of initiation. One starts with field investigation and ends up studying Arab mystics". I agree with Michel but would change Arab mystics to the Esoteric Tradition.