The roots of coincidence and conspiracy in American politics, crime, and culture are investigated in this second volume of a three-part set that exposes new connections between religion, political conspiracy, terrorism, and occultism. Not a work of speculative history, this exposé is founded on primary source material and historical documents and provides strange parallels between supernatural forces such as shaminism, ritual magic, and cult practices and contemporary interrogation techniques such as those used by the CIA under the general rubric of MK-ULTRA. Fascinating details on Nixon and the "Dark Tower," the Assassin cult and more recent Islamic terrorism, and the bizarre themes that run through American history from its discovery by Columbus to the political assassinations of the 1960s are revealed.
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About the Author
Peter Levenda has researched the material for this book over the course of 25 years, visiting more than 40 countries and gaining access to temples, prisons, military installations, and government documents. He is the author of The Secret Temple, Stairway to Heaven, and Unholy Alliance. He lives in Miami. Dick Russell is the author of Black Genius: And the American Experience, Eye of the Whale, and The Man Who Knew Too Much. He is a former staff writer at the Hollywood Bureau of TV Guide Magazine and a former staff reporter for Sports Illustrated. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Family Health and the Village Voice. He splits his time between Boston and Los Angeles.
Read an Excerpt
Sinister Forces Book Two: A Warm Gun
A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft
By Peter Levenda
Trine Day LLCCopyright © 2011 Peter Levenda
All rights reserved.
For Rebellion Is As The Sin Of Witchcraft
For Rebellion Is As The Sin Of Witchcraft.
— 1 Samuel 15:23
[King] Unas devoureth men and liveth upon the gods, he is the lord of envoys, whom he sendeth forth on his missions. ... Khonsu the slayer of the wicked cutteth their throats and draweth out their intestines, for it is he whom Unas sendeth to slaughter; and Shesmu cutteth them in pieces and boileth their members in his blazing caldrons of the night. Unas eateth their magical powers, and he swalloweth their Spirit-souls. ... The old gods and the old goddesses become fuel for his furnace
— Pyramid Text
If the power of God comes into a person, don't we become like God?
— Sirhan Sirhan
By the conclusion of the first volume of Sinister Forces, The Nine, much had been made of political conspiracies, particularly those surrounding assassinations. There was also a focus on the Manson Family, as we walked with them through desert and canyon. But not so far as the Tate and La Bianca households. Not yet.
Furthermore, those events took place in a larger context. The pursuit of evil and the tracking of evil through the political and scientific machinations of intelligence agencies is ultimately unsatisfactory if we do not address an unspoken and normally unconscious assumption of our political leaders and particularly of our intelligence chiefs, and that is that their mission is in some way a divine one: that they represent the will of God.
The human assumption of divinity has been construed as evil — as a usurpation of the status of divine beings — for thousands of years. No organized religion of any size or amount of temporal power encourages or permits its followers direct access to divinity; the privilege of communicating directly to God has been reserved for the organized and socially approved priesthood. This is as true of ancient India as it is of modern Catholicism. Access to God is very tightly controlled, and is usually forbidden to certain elements of society, particularly women. Women may not become priests in the Roman Catholic Church, and are thus separated from the sacrament of ordination, a situation that calls into question the very nature of the soul. For it presupposes that the soul has a gender, since sacraments do not affect the body but only the soul. This is perhaps understandable in view of the etymology of the word "sacrament," which comes from the Latin and which originally meant a military oath, an oath of (male) soldiers. Women may not be ordained in the Eastern Orthodox churches, either.
In Orthodox Judaism, women may not become rabbis. Menstruating women, in fact, are considered unclean and may not enter the synagogue during their period. A man who touches a menstruating woman becomes unclean, and must bathe in the ritual bath — the mikvah — before going to worship himself. In the East, women are noticeably scarce in the lists of divine Hindu and Buddhist and Daoist figures.
Yet, in the West, it has traditionally been women who were charged with the practice of witchcraft, a phenomenon that has led some historians and anthropologists — such as Margaret Murray, Robert Graves and Erich Neumann — to develop the theory that witchcraft is the survival of an ancient goddess-oriented religion that was suppressed on a virtually global scale, from Europe to the Middle East, and to the borders of India. If this is true, and it was suppressed, then the reasons for the nearly perfect destruction of this religion had to be political.
Our most ancient artwork as a people has been that associated with magic and religion. The prehistoric cave paintings of Lescaux, for instance; the Venus of Willendorf; the many thousands of different varieties of goddess statues found all over the world. People did not venerate human leaders and etch their likenesses in stone and clay until civilization began to coalesce around villages and towns and away from field and forest. When they did, they did because their leaders partook of the divine essence, the divine nature; they were the representatives of the gods upon the earth.
And when this occurred, when state religions were established and associated with city-cults such as those of ancient Sumeria, Babylon and Egypt, then there grew up around them secret cults that worshipped older gods, the gods and goddesses that had been usurped by the newer, royally-linked deities. Even ancient Sumeria — arguably the oldest western civilization that has left any written record of itself — had its cult of witches, and various texts (such as the Maqlu or "Burning" Text) contain chants and prayers against the practice of witchcraft, some three thousand years before the birth of Christ. These witches were independent practitioners of ritual; in other words, they did not belong to the state cult, were not approved by the ruler (who was both secular and sacred ruler), and they worshipped beings that were not approved by the state cult. Thus, the Biblical phrase cited above, that witchcraft and rebellion were synonymous. Rebellion is a revolt against secular authority; the implication is therefore that witchcraft is a revolt against sacred authority. It puts access to God in the hands of the Great Unwashed. It creates an anti-church, just as rebellion creates an anti-government.
In a way, this is a logical extension of the Creation epics of all races. The Creation of the world (or the universe, or the cosmos, or just one race or nation) is always divine in nature. The First Man and the First Woman were created by God or Gods. Thus, society itself owes its existence to a deity of some kind. Following this chain of logic, then, the king — as the ruler of society — must have a special, sacred relationship with the divine. This is especially true in the West, where God is perceived as a King on a throne. (It may be argued therefore that the secularization of cosmology brought about by modern science could undercut any special claims to kingship, and render human rulers about as "special" as servers or routers on a computer network.)
The Cult of the Pharaoh in ancient Egypt was a religious as well as a secular cult. The Pharaoh was a representative of God; he was able to communicate directly with God, and after death he was guaranteed a continued existence as an Osiris, a resurrected god of the ancient Egyptians, after the performance of a long and complicated ritual which included mummification. The ancient Sumerian secular leaders would ascend to the top of their ziggurats and commune with their gods directly at certain times of the year. The Chinese Emperor was the "Son of Heaven" as was (and is) the Japanese Emperor; China was the "Middle Kingdom," at the center of the earth, and halfway between the earth and heaven. It is still called "Middle Kingdom" — Zhong Guo — to this day. The Dalai Lama is a political leader as well as a spiritual one; he is the incarnation of a god — Avalokitesvara, the God of Mercy — and when the Dalai Lama dies a search is undertaken to find his reincarnation. The leaders of the ancient Aztecs, Incas and Mayas had religious power. In Europe we had the Holy Roman Empire, and in England they talked of the "divine right of kings." Yet, in all of these cases, the composite religious-secular cult replaced an earlier one.
The older cults were buried, sometimes literally, and the new cults erected like shiny edifices on the bones of the old. In many cases, old cult centers were renovated and new cult centers built on their sites. This is true of Christian church construction in Europe, where many older sites of important pagan significance were co-opted by the new Christian leaders and turned into Christian shrines. The Gothic Cathedral at Chartres is a good example of this, but there are many more including St. Peter's Basilica itself, which was built on the site of the old Tauroboleum, a Mithraic cult center where bulls were sacrificed in honor of the god, Mithra. In fact, the name of the ceremonial headdress of Catholic bishops is still called a "mitre" seemingly in his honor, from the Latin mitra or "Mithra." This retention of ancient sites and ancient gods in the structure of their replacements may simply be a social strategy — to ensure greater and faster acceptance of the new cult by old cult members — or it may have an additional purpose, which would be to retain the particular powers of the older cults, those powers which their worshippers cultivate in secret ceremonies in the dead of night.
The ruthlessness with which new religions persecuted old ones was absolute. There is so little documentation left with which to appreciate and understand the older cults. Most of the documents we have on the ancient religions of Mexico and South America were written by Spanish Catholic priests and monks, for instance, and are therefore not necessarily wholly reliable. Tibetan Buddhism has all but eradicated the earlier Bon religion that it replaced, subsuming remnants of that shamanistic cult under its "Black Hat" Lamaistic branch, along with the Dalai Lama's "Yellow Hat" and the Gyalwa Karmapa's "Red Hat" sects. Of the old cults of pre-Dynastic Egypt we still know very little; the god Set — considered evil, on a par with the Christian "Satan," in Dynastic Egypt — was a god in his own right before the coming of the Pharaohs, as were Keb, Hathor and many others. The "God of the Witches" according to Margaret Murray in her controversial research was an ancient, horned deity whose worship was aggressively exterminated by the Church. Satan himself is an enigmatic figure, treated rather ambiguously in the Bible: sometimes as an adversary of God, sometimes as God's lieutenant (as in the Book of Job).
To worship the "old gods" was to commit heresy and, in the old days, treason. The political leadership and the religious leadership were one and the same. To go outside the system was to be cast into the outer darkness, to lose one's soul; to become a worshipper of devils, a word that comes from deva, the Sanskrit word for "god."
There is an interesting etymological puzzle that confronts the English speaker and the speaker of the Romance languages, and which compels us to draw some interesting and sobering conclusions about what we know and what we think we know. It is a puzzle that is at the heart of this study, and which will lead us into the Tunnels of Set, into the very bowels of Evil itself. And it may help us to understand Evil for the very first time.
Reality, What A Concept
The word "real" and the word "royal" are inextricably linked. Indeed, in some languages the word for "real" and the word for "royal" is the same, such as Spanish real. Reality is, in this view, linked with Royalty; what is real is what is part of the kingdom, the "real estate." What is outside the kingdom is, therefore, outside of reality. It is not "royal," hence it is not "real." This speaks to Robert Anton Wilson's concept of "consensus reality," mentioned in the previous volume. Reality is a shape-shifter, dependent as much on political decisions as it is on scientific observations. And these decisions and observations are usually not the prerogative of the individual citizen. An essential part — a fundamental part — of the social contract, and imposed from the top down, is a general agreement as to what constitutes reality. To deviate from that agreement is to deviate from society — the kingdom, the real estate, the state religion — itself. It is to become, in a sense, a Satanist, a worshipper of an adversary; or a witch, a worshipper of an unapproved God.
We can take this analogy one step further, to the political arena, and say that he who attacks the king is insane, i.e., out of touch with reality. That is why our most famous assassins have all been pronounced "crazed" and "lone": they are insane and not part of a social group, at least not a social group recognized as valid in the kingdom. An attack on the king cannot be seen to originate from within the kingdom, from within the king's "reality": it has to come from outside, from the realm of the unreal, the unholy, for if it came from within the kingdom it would partake of the logic of the kingdom.
The other social group that is both crazed and alone is the independent ascetic, the hermit, the yogin, the sorcerer, the shaman. While often providing value to the social group — divination, exorcism of demons, channeling of spiritual forces — this person lives outside the general social structure in isolation from everyday communication and social intercourse. It is necessary to do so, for the forces that are contacted are those from outside the kingdom. The hermit or ascetic is a kind of probe into the Other World, the world outside the walls of the kingdom of reality. At times, the counsel is valued; usually, though, the person is despised, even ridiculed. The independent ascetic is one who breaks the social tabus of the group and refrains from social contacts, from eating socially approved foods (or from eating at all), from sexual activity and thus from the gene pool. The non-sexual ascetic does not share in the transfer of property — of real estate — that is so dependent upon marriage and the production of heirs. Or the ascetic may use unconventional sexual practices to reach altered states of consciousness: forms of reality outside the social contract.
Professor Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty — in her important study The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology — describes how the ancient Sanskrit texts relate the history of demons.
The belief is often expressed that the demons were not only the equals of the gods but their superiors — the older brothers, the original gods from whom the gods stole the throne of heaven.
This, of course, is exactly how the Sumerian creation epic describes it, showing how Marduk and his Company of Heaven rebelled against the older gods, their parents, and destroyed them. It is also related in this text that humanity was created from the blood of the slain older gods and the breath of the victorious younger gods. In fact, the Sumerian myth goes even further and describes the creation of human beings a bit as if Marduk was building automata, destroying the first set as defective. This parallels a Qabalistic legend that all of creation as we know it is really only the second draft; the first draft was defective and broke, and the shells of that first draft became the demons — the qlippoth — of the second. The idea that demons represent a moral quantum — evil, which is supposed to be the opposite of good — does not develop until much later and, in some cultures, not at all.
The idea that we are living in a replacement universe is common among the myths of the world which show an earlier civilization being destroyed, and the ancestors of the present human race as the survivors of the former. The Biblical legend of Noah and the Deluge is a good example of this, a legend that has its parallels all over the world. Hindu mythology, of course, describes Ages of vast length that repeat endlessly throughout time, witnesses to the rise and fall of many civilizations, many different forms of life and consciousness.
To the Hindus, the demons and the gods are consanguineous; they come from the same family, the same genetic stock. They both attempt to use humans to serve them, but they are really at war with each other. The gods have established an earthly priesthood to serve them, and society is obligated to support this priesthood — this "ritual sphere" — and to pay for the sacrifices which keep the gods strong. To do otherwise, is to invoke disaster:
... it was in the interest of the Brahmins to convince these patrons that the gods regarded powerful human beings of the nonritual sphere as demons and treated them accordingly. ... Those mortals who aspired to religious power outside of the ritual sphere inherited the role of demons in the cosmic masque.
Excerpted from Sinister Forces Book Two: A Warm Gun by Peter Levenda. Copyright © 2011 Peter Levenda. Excerpted by permission of Trine Day LLC.
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