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Alan Moore's Voice of the Fire
Published by Top Shelf Productions
Review by Marshall O'Keeffe

"We are all, each of us, the stinging, bloody fragments of a God that was torn into pieces by the birth-wail of Eternity."
-- Alan Moore, Voice of the Fire p. 239

"This doctrine, that plurality is mere illusory, and that in all the individuals of this world...there is made manifest only one, single, truly existent Being, present and ever the same in all, was known to the world, even ages before Kant...if plurality and distinction belong only to this world of appearances, and if one and the same being is what is beheld in all thse living things, well then, the experience that dissolves the distinction between the I and the Not-I cannot be false...That experience, therefore, must be the metaphysical ground of ethics and consist simply in this: that one individual should recognize in another, himself in his own true being."
-- Schopenhauer, Uber die Grundlage der Moral, Vol. 7, pp290-294, section 22 (abridged)

"'I' is just a word."
--Aldo Vogelfrei, after extended meditation

Voice of the Fire by Alan Moore is a very special kind of book.

It is not commonly understood that peoples of different eras had completely different ways of relating to their universe: in other words, they inhabited a different reality than we do today, lived in a completely different world, and that their thought processes were almost completely alien to our own.

This is the world that Alan Moore starts from in his book, and so faces what is prob'ly one of the most difficult tasks any writer could set himself: namely, how does one convey a difference of such magnitude yet at the same time remain intelligible to the "general reader"? For the general reader, whose conciousness is determined by a language which is never (or rarely) questioned, any more than a fish questions the water in which it swims, is not likely to comprehend that the tool of consciousness that he uses every day without thought is indeed just that: a TOOL, an artifact of human language and behaviour, and a (relatively) recent tool, at that.

This is something which would not even occur to most people.

To present an alien thought in its entirety is incomprehensible: too much new information becomes unintelligible without some familiar patterns which help to frame it for the reader. Too little new information however and you have failed of yr purpose, or worse "succeed" in conveying that the Ancient Peoples were "just like us". The Movie "Land of the Pharoahs" by Howard Hawks is a good example of the latter, where the concerns of a mid-twentieth century American-type "alpha male" are transposed to Ancient Egypt to provide a set of motivations for an Egyptian king of the dynastic period. One could readily envision Hawks' pharoah as being a 20th century "Captain of Industry" or a hard line master of "nuclear brinkmanship". The haircuts are especially revealing of where the filmaker's head was at.

If the peoples that have preceeded us are so different from us, then how can we relate to them? How can we understand them without projecting our own fears, hopes and ambitions onto them and thus giving us not the knowledge of the past but a dim, distorted reflection of our own dismal selves? How did the consciousness of the Ancients differ from our own?

Before seeking knowledge of the Ancients, we must ask ourselves "What is the nature and origin of consciousness?". We must seek to understand a consciousness that is so different from our own that it could be said not to exist as such.

The process of conscious, causal thought is dependent upon the blocks from which it is built up, that is to say, the words of the language used by the thinker. Before language developed, there was no consciousness.

Language, itself a metaphorical tool, determines to a great extent the content of thought, itself of a second order of metaphor. (A metametaphor?) I will quote the Harvard and Yale educated Princeton psychologist Professor Dr. Julian Jaynes at length, both because I feel that his work is important in understanding this point, and also because his work is probably unfamiliar to the general reader. All quotes are excerpted from a lecture given at the Canadian Psychological Association Symposium on Consciousness in Halifax, 1985 e.v.

"Subjective conscious mind is an analog of what we call the real world. It is built up with a vocabulary or lexical field whose terms are all metaphors or analogs of behavior in the physical world. Its reality is of the same order as mathematics. It allows us to short-cut behavioral processes and arrive at more adequate decisions. Like mathematics, it is an operator rather than a thing or a repository. And it is intimately bound with volition and decision."
-- Julian Jaynes

Dr. Jaynes points out that our consciousness of the world is an really an analog of the physical world. The words we use to describe our thought processes (and is not consciousness an observation of the mind, by the mind? A kind of "feedback", as 'twere? A reflexive reflection?) invariably are drawn from the physical world and our interactions with it: terms are thus related to the physical senses: "I see the problem." "I have grasped the solution." "Take an idea and run with it" "Let's run this idea up the parapet and see who tugs their forelock", et c., so that physical interaction with the world is antecedant to our consciousness of it. To further quote Jaynes:

"Consider the language we use to describe conscious processes...These words are all metaphors, and the mind-space to which they apply is generated by metaphors of actual space...

Every word we use to refer to mental events is a metaphor or analog of something in the behavioral world. And the adjectives that we use to describe physical behavior in real space are analogically taken over to describe mental behavior in mind-space...

The essential rule here is that no operation goes on in consciousness that was not in behavior first. All of these are learned analogs of external behavior."

and again:

"Saying that consciousness is developed out of language means that everybody from Darwin on, including myself in earlier years, was wrong in trying to trace out the origin of consciousness biologically or neurophysiologically. It means we have to look at human history after language has evolved and ask when in history did an analog I narratizing in a mind-space begin...."

Thus seen, consciousness is an epiphenomenon of language and behaviour (which are in their turn modified by consciousness, of course) rather than their originator.

First came behaviour, then the language to describe it, then consciousness, awareness of the word "I" (an "analog 'I' narratizing in a mind-space") , a word which continues to cause much trouble amongst us all. It is a late arrival on the scene of human history, and indeed has been many different things to different peoples, not just those seperated by space but by time as well. The "feedback" between consciousness and behaviour ("I must and yet I cannot!") that so tormented Hamlet and which many see as the defining term of the West's angst & anomie which we of the European tradition consider a "perennial" nightmare of the human spirit is really a new development that, view'd with the right focus, is much more amenable to change than not.

The point is of course that as long as one is unaware of the basic strucure of consciousness one is unable to awaken oneself from the nightmares and visions which our mind can supply us with: one is, as it were, "asleep", moving about as if in a dream. Illusions and feedback games fill our lives whilst the present moment is all but ignored by the mind, although it is the only place where we can live and function.

Human consciousness is much more recent, and has undergone more and greater change, and more recently, than most people realize. With this is of course the implication that human consciousness is capable of future change and of greater change than most people can conceive of.

That this change is to take place comfortably far in the future, as the secular religion of Evolution (and its hand-maid Uniformitarianism) would reassure us, is not to be counted upon, either. Consciousness evolves in the space of the mind, it does not simply "emerge" when the physical structure of an organism reaches a certain level of complexity. Thus the speed at which it evolves varies from time to time, from place to place, and from individual to individual.

Since the state of an individual's consciousness determines that person's reality, we see that the world in which we live is a far more varied and confusing place than most would admit. Since most people are easily manipulated by manipulating the words around them, it is relatively easy to manufacture a consensus by means of applied semantical engineering, or "reality editing". (A definition of a magician might be someone who edits his or her own reality.)

Of course, most of the people manipulating others are themselves as locked into their behaviour patterns as the people whom they work upon via television et c. The victimizers are also victims, victims of their own "nightmare which is history", which they attempt to persuade as many others as it is possible to share in.

The fact that any communication is possible at all between humans each of whom is so uniquely aware of their own reality argues a common underlying ground of being, from which consensus is possible and communication takes place. This is the reason why we can begin to understand each other at all, despite all of our manifest differences.

So we return to the task that Alan Moore has set himself in Voice of the Fire.


"As I was walking among the fires of Hell, delighted with the enjoyments of Genius, which to Angels look like torment and insanity..."
--Wm. Blake Marriage of Heaven & Hell

"But if you take the generally accepted oldest parts of the Iliad and ask, 'Is there evidence of consciousness?' the answer, I think, is no. People are not sitting down and making decisions. No one is. No one is introspecting. No one is even reminiscing. It is a very different kind of world. Then, who makes the decisions? Whenever a significant choice is to be made, a voice comes in telling people what to do. These voices are always and immediately obeyed. These voices are called gods. To me this is the origin of gods. I regard them as auditory hallucinations similar to, although not precisely the same as, the voices heard by Joan of Arc or William Blake. Or similar to the voices that modern schizophrenics hear. Similar perhaps to the voices that some of you may have heard."
--Julian Jaynes, lecture given at the Canadian Psychological Association Symposium on Consciousness in Halifax,1985 e.v.

"In the beginning, the power of words must have seemed magical, and, indeed, the miracles which verbal thinking has wrought have justified the impression. What a marvel it must have been to...summon a friend simply by making a short noise-his name! It is no wonder that names have been considered uncanny manifestations of supernatural power...

"The power of words has gone to man's head in more than one way. To define has come to mean almost the same thing as to understand. More important still, words have enabled man to define himself-to label a certain part of his experince 'I'. This is, perhaps, the meaning of the ancient belief that the name is the soul. For to define is to isolate, to separate some complex of forms from the stream of life and say, 'This is I.' When man can name and define himself, he feels that he has an identity...he begins to feel, like the word, separate and static, as over against the real, fluid world of nature. Feeling separate, the sense of conflict between man, on the one hand, and nature, on the other, begins. Language and thought grapple with the conflict, and the magic which can summon a man by naming him is applied to the universe. Its powers are named, personalized, and invoked..."
--Alan W. Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity pp.45-46 (abridged)

In the first chapter of Voice of the Fire we meet an oucast, an outsider, driven from his tribe of nomadic hunter-gatherers who have themselves by this stage of history been forced onto the more marginal areas by the settled cattle herding peoples who were the inhabitants of Northhampton at that time: the boy is an outcast from amongst outcasts, doubly an outsider. His conciousness is different from ours, and his interpretations of his world are coloured by the fact that he is developmentaly disabled by the standards of his society. Language for him is not something that can be used to tell a lie: his understanding of it is not that sophisticated. The thought that he will be turned into a pig if he is called a pig is echoed in the religious theories of the Ancient Egyptians, whose traditions date back to pre-consciousness and proto-consciousness (the latter called "bi-cameral consciousness" by Dr. Jaynes). To name a thing is to control it: who changes the name, changes the thing.

Indeed, Hob's Hog becomes just that by the end of his chapter in this strange and terrible history, and his archaic world-view is vindicated in a new light. When a culture "borrows" a symbol or emblem or myth from another time and/or from another people, then the old image is imbued with a new sense, one that is unique to the adopting culture. Thus symbols strange and alien have a bridge with which to reach us. Hob's Hog is a means to show us a stepping off point, from the archaic toward the modern. His mind and experiences are a borderland for us even as Northampton is a bordertown, a town on the marches of new and yet old realities. We are aware of a different way of seeing things, different from anything our culture has prepared us for.

This different view is perhaps the glimpse of what was once the universal mental state of man, a view that was multi-level because unconstrained by the language of the first person singular.

For Hob's Hog, the turning point however has been passed: he uses the word "I". The boy is self aware, just. These are the first steps from proto-conscious thought and awareness. The fact that he is from an earlier people reinforces the message that his is an archaic form of thought, one already on the wane in the face of a more effective technology (metallurgy, animal husbandry et c.). The fact that his own, archaic, people cast him out shows that, even for THEM, his thought is a tad too archaic.

Shamans know that it is usually the trauma of death or near-death which opens up this expanded vision of the world, but often those who suffer some mental "abnormality" are intrinsically able to more easily see a different reality, a reality not more true than our consensual reality, but certainly not less true. This is the reality that lies close atop the common ground of all being, and although we are perhaps "the stinging, bloody fragments of a God that was torn into pieces" we can still achieve "the experience that dissolves the distinction between the I and the Not-I" and so bridge the gap.

Because the characters are intrinsically different, like Hob's Hog and John Clare, or because the characters are forced by the events around them to become different, like the trauma of the "Great" War effecting an awakening in Alfie Rouse, they are able to see a different world than most of us. He who sees the analogous character of reality can never take seriously again the "sacred" strictures which society uses to protect itself; he is no longer blind to the fact that all of society is no more than an illusion: he is able to see differently, to see things that are different. He moves about in a whole new world, an invisible world illuminated by that fire which the Buddha and Heracleitus told us of.

In this world all are connected, and space and time are mere conventions. We discover that nothing is true, all is permitted, and the tale of a neolithic outcaste and a Bronze Age shaman can only be understood in terms of a Templar ritual and a twentieth century accidental illuminate and devotee of Eros. And the story is not over, is never over. It is the same fire, the same story even as it rages in the head of a twenty-first century occultist.

Today many who, without preparation or training, experience the invisible world tend to interpret it in terms of the popular religion of the day, science. It is only natural that people turn to their deepest , most ingrained beliefs to create the mask through which the fire speaks.

Scientific gods, in the form of "space aliens", manipulate and interact with humans the way daemons, spirits (holy or otherwise), apparitions of the dead, fairies et c. used to in ages past. Belief is molded by the semantic conditioning imposed by the television. An interaction with a fellow human, with whom one has common background of consensual reality, based on a collective unconscious or underlying ground of being or even just the fact that all humans are related, (as indeed all life is related on this planet) posits a certain ability to interact in a relatively "objective" manner. This despite the fact that after any event witnessed by two people, upon being asked to describe what had happened both people will recall different things.

When however one is in contact with a praeterhuman intelligence, what common ground can there be? Indeed, the task of "filling in the blanks" caused by the fact that the human mind in such a case has to deal with an entity so absolutely unrelated to consensual reality as to be truly "alien", becomes greatly magnified. Individual accounts of interactions with such beings and events are bound to differ, even amongst people who interact with these beings at the "same" time.(Time is consistently one of the factors that seems affected by these encounters.)

Human words will always be insufficient to describe some experiences..and these experiences are thus by Jaynes' definition of a praeter-conscious nature: A praeter-conscious experience!

When Ivalde, Bruning and Alfgiva in Voice of the Fire experience the same moment of contact together in the church, each experiences something different. Although Alfgiva sees that the apparition is "scarcely solid", it leaves behind physical traces. The events in the church are clearly both subjective and at the same time are objective enough to affect the physical and mental worlds of the three, though each takes something different from the experience. This is reminiscent of the "Miracle" of Fatima as well as of more recent "UFO" encounters, such as the Betty and Barney Hill abduction.

The Fatima sighting has been very well documented and widely discussed, but few people know about some of the details of the Hill case, details kept out of the mainstream media because they do not support the Secular Religion of Science or the agendas of those who market the new faith. Whilst certain particulars of the duo's experiences are told and retold (and sometimes amalgamated!) since they fit so well with the paradigms that American UFOlogists are comfortable with, certain other particulars are usually ignored.

Like the fact that Barney reported seeing a Nazi on board the craft that abducted him and his wife.

What are we to make of this?

Was Hitler really in touch with the saucer aryans...er, aliens?

I doubt it. If it were so, he probably would have won the war. (Of course, after the facts of Project:Paperclip came to light, one wonders if he didn't, in some way...) No, this clearly points to an interaction with something so alien to the Hills' mindset that they COULD NOT SEE IT. If you don't have a word for something, then you will not be able to see it. That DOESN'T MEAN IT IS NOT THERE. You just are not able to see what it is because it is beyond your words, and thus your consciousness. Your mind will supply something to fill the gap, whether it is Greys with slit mouths and hairless domes and small noses, or malevolent Brownies in Brownshirts. These are attempts by the mind to grow into new facts, using old facts as camoflague. Another metaphor might be that of a lampshade: the direct light would be dazzling, so we filter it, dimming the light but rendering it less damaging to our sight.

Our culture equates reality with visibility, and this is crippling to us if we are trying to see what we cannot name.

We must strive to break out of our own definitions of consciousness if we are going to establish meaningful communication with anyone else in this arm of the galaxy.

Apparently, Alan Moore already has.


"Of course along with this new tecnology are its concomitant effects on the consciousness of those who employ it. New technology (or more effective uses of old technology) means that there will be new attitudes, or old attitudes that have been re-engineered (as 'twere) to meet the new needs of a new style of consciousness...This was something a lot deeper than a mere Nazi Invasion from Outer Space. This was something that humans have interacted with since we have had records of humans, something that Voice of the Fire comes closer to describing than most books do (although human words will always be insufficient to describe some experiences)..."
-- Discarded from First Draft of Review of Alan Moore's Voice of the Fire

"If the world around us is a world of informational events...if we regard the physical world as an associative universe of informational events, consciousness is no longer simply a local function in the human brain. Instead, I propose to define consciousness as the process by which informational associations are retrieved and traversed. The illusion of time and space would be merely a side effect of consciousness as it traverses associations. In such a theory, apparently paranormal phenomena like remote viewing and precognition would be expected, even common, and UFOs would lose much of their bizarre quality. These phenomena would be natural aspects of the reality of human consciousness. I submit that reports of alien "contact" must be studied at this level, even if we are a long, long way from being able to channel our speculations into the formal equations of a new physics...

"Is it possible to promote coincidences and peculiar effects of apparently paranormal nature by creating physical structures shielded from everyday noise and serving as informational singularities?"
--Jacques Vallee Dimensions (much abridged)

"BAH! The United Earth Government foil our plans to enslave the world of today! Let us board our Chrono Cruisers and go to conquer the world of Yesterday! "
-- "Miracleman" #1

Not everyone will like Voice of the Fire, or even get past the first chapter.

It was for me an interesting book on many levels, and as a piece of historical fiction stands as one of those works which give us a fresh perspective on information we already had, illuminating for us yet another corner of that great edifice that is history, a corner which mainstream historians have passed over in silence and unawareness: The city as an application of occult knowledge.

In his book Dimensions (and elsewhere) Jacques Vallee talks about "informational singularities". These, he seems to think, will provide us with a means of promoting "paranormal" events.

Is Northampton an informational singularity? I think it is. Certainly the forbidden underground world of Northampton as described in Voice of the Fire fits Vallee's description of a "physical structure shielded from everday noise." The city as a whole generates, and is generated by, a science which is unknown, forbidden, hidden: "occult", by definition.

Northampton is then by this definition something that cannot be explained without the introduction of a new physics, dimly echoed in the old Lovecraftian concept of the "Non-Euclidean" city of R'lyeh.

Like the man said, today's supernaturalism is tomorrow's science, and the stuff that they call "Physics", they used to call "Magick".

Northampton can thus be viewed as an exercise in occult technology, with the purpose of focusing informational singularities into an area in order to concentrate the resulting effects.

This is, of course, something done by every designer of a church or city. Chris Wren, the astronomer who could take the spleen out of dog before you could say "Shemhamphoresch", certainly had something like this in mind for London, as did Nero for Rome when he rebuilt that city after Christian arsonists attempted to hasten the "Second Coming" of their god through mass murder and the destruction of property, two techniques Christianity continued to use (after it became apparent that their scriptures claiming an almost immediate second coming of Christ were wrong)* quite effectively to force the worship of their god on Europe.

(The current attempt to hasten the "Second Coming" is in the hands of the Extreme Right-Wing Christian "leadership" of the Republican Party of the United States of America, who are planning to start a thermonuclear war in order to induce this "Second Coming" of their "Prince of Peace": arson on a grander scale this time, but not surprising in light of the history of their "religion"**.)

Who was it that planned and carried out this exercise?

The answer to that may lie in certain ideas current about spontaneous self-organization of sufficiently chaotic systems. "Who" is perhaps not the best way to ask this question, and this is something that Alan Moore understands.

Voice of the Fire certainly is an attempt to partially map this zone of consciousness by a master storyteller who has held us enthralled before. He now uses his skill to try to convey us to a new level, a sphere trying to communicated the 3d dimension to a bunch of "square" Flatlanders. It is not an easy task he has taken upon himself.

Alan Moore has very clearly written a "serious" novel, as well as an ambitious one. I do detect a certain amount of self-consciousness about the book, as if Moore is quite aware of what he is doing and is a little breathless because of it. He does not let this daunt him, however, nor keep him from employing those authorial skills for which he is so widely praised. It is the application of these skills to a subject which few would care to undertake to write about, in a style that maintains itself throughout and which demonstrates that here is a writer, a storyteller. This was not, I imagine, an easy book for him to write. The author no doubt had to take care that it did not begin to write HIM!

Voice of the Fire is a book that manages to explore many levels of human interaction with their surroundings, levels of which most people are almost completely unaware. An anonymous writer said in the Book of the XXIV Philosophers that the deity is an intelligible sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere, or words to that effect. With his history of Northampton Moore conveys precisely this insight. By understanding that you cannot be anywhere but HERE, Alan Moore started off from right where he was sitting, and demonstrated that the longest journey begins by not taking a single step...

--Marshall R. O'Keeffe

NOTES: * Yes, yes, I know all the rationalizations and appeals to "metaphor" that modern Christians use to explain this away, but the fact remains that these scriptures were written and delivered to people as LITERALLY TRUE: that is how they were understood AT THE TIME THEY WERE WRITTEN AND RECEIVED. The idea that when Jesus (or the amalgamation of various mythological and religious figures which were gathered together around 190-200 e.v. and called "Jesus Christ" ) said one thing (for example that his generation wouldn't die away before the "Second Coming" occurred) he really meant another (which is called either "LYING" or, if he believed it when he said it, "BEING DELUSIONAL" or possibly "BEING IGNORANT " where I come from) was only introduced when it became apparent that Christian expectation of a second coming within a few years, or a decade or two at the most, was simply not going to happen, no matter how they tried to trigger it through arson and murderous attacks. The book When Prophecy Fails gives a good idea of the evolution a religion goes through at such times, and is most instructive about this period in the history of the Christian religion.

See Alvarez's The Savage God for Christians attacking and killing people and burning down libraries and temples. They often commited offenses meriting the death penalty so that they could be executed and thus made "martyrs". So called persecutions of Christians by Pagans was VASTLY exagerated, amounting during the entire history of the Empire to no more than two thousands prosecuted, condemned and executed criminals, not even one ten-thousandth the number of people (whose crime was that they did not share their persecuters' "religion") lynched by Christians once they took power in Europe.(cf Smith, Man and His Gods; Gibbon, The Decline and Fall...; Acharya S., The Christ Conspiracy.)

In order to guarantee an execution, Christians often committed arson and other acts punishable by death, so they could be "martyrs". I call them "deeply disturbed criminal arsonists and murderers", and such took over Europe and created the Dark Ages. 'Tis is a fact that never can be forgotten, and never should be forgotten. This was Europe's first, and worst, holocaust. It extended over many many years.There was nothing like it up to that point in European history, but many subsequent to it. Thus was the tone set for a history culminating in the death-camps of Hitler as the logical outcome and development of Western Christian Civilization. Or so the SS thought, and who are we to say they are entirely wrong? Germany, the land of Goethe, Nietszche, Beethoven: a country that epitomizes the European Christian tradition, is very easily made to take that next step, which did not seem so very out of order with their culture, because it was NOT out of order with their culture: this is the boogy-man that most people do not want to recognize. Although much has been made of the "pagan" roots of Nazism, not least by the Nazis themselves, it is a fact that the Papacy supported Hitler (and Mussolini), that SA men marched to church in formation, that Hitler's background was firmly Roman Catholic, and that the "paganism" of the Nazis was a creation of Romantic imagination based on or in reaction to the Christian readings of such as remained of the pagan culture that the Christians worked so hard to extirpate. They were so successful that there was no way any of the Nazis' "paganism" could be more than the wishful thinking of a bunch of post-adolescent fantasists. With guns.

(cf Jos. Campbell, The Masks of God: Creative Mythology; The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology; Myths to Live By; also Gibbon, Smith, and Acharya S. as above)

The excuse given for such actions was because usually the Pagan authorities did not seriously enforce Imperial bans on Christianity, these themselves being the result of the Christians' behaviour in disrupting society. The local authorities did not want to execute people for their religious beliefs & would usually leave the cell doors of Christian prisoners' open all night before the executions: thus these martyrs are really suicides, and the "miraculous" escapes of early church leaders from prisons are explained. Of course the leaders of Christianity, who were no doubt at least slightly smarter than the "flocks" they "fleeced", would have no interest in dying themselves---they were however glad to take over the property of the "Suicides for Christ" (as I like to think and speak of them) for the "good of the cause"! ) (cf. Alvarez, The Savage God; Campbell, Myths to Live By.)

One should also always remember that no "gospel" dates from earlier than the time frame, 190-200 e.v., and seems to be based in large part on Hindu legends of Krisna, or Chrishna as the name was originally spelt in English. Every aspect of the Christian legend of Jesus is found thousands of years earlier, in the Hindu legend of Chrishna. It is kind of a "No-Brainer" to figure out that the one was copied from the other. Indeed, Hindus , when approached by Christian missionaries, are not interested in converting as they recognize Christianity as a corrupt form of Chrishna worship. Why convert to the debased caricature of the religion they have followed for several thousands of years already? (personal interview with Hindu religionist from Uttar Pradesh, India; also cf. Acharya S., Christ Conspiracy; Suns of God.)

To the myth of Chrishna add some Alexandrian Judaeo-Gnosticism (from which the name "Jesus" was derived), along with some Graeco-Roman astroltheology and mystery religiousity and then later a dash of Roman Imperialism and Authoritarianism, and BEHOLD! Christianity as we know it today!

** "Shamanic ecstasy is the real 'Old Time Religion', of which modern churches are but pallid evocations. Shamanic, visionary ecstasy, the mysterium tremendum, the unio mystica, the eternally delightful experience of the universe as energy, is a sine qua non of religion, it is what religion is for! There is no need for faith, it is the ecstatic experience itself that gives one faith in the intrinsic unity and integrity of the universe, in ourselves as integral parts of the whole; that reveals to us the sublime majesty of our universe, and the fluctuant, scintillant, alchemical miracle that is quotidian consciousness. Any religion that requires faith and gives none, that defends against religious experiences, that promulgates the bizarre superstition that humankind is in some way separate, divorced from the rest of creation, that heals not the gaping wound between Body and Soul, but would tear them asunder... is no religion at all!"
--Jonathan Ott


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