Saturday, July 20, 2013

I've Seen THE{?} LIGHT{s}< post five & last.

I'm going to try to wrap my feeble effort on this huge set of topics up today. Although Mark Fox's book is an excellent one, especially for stimulating curiosity and imagination, it has two "difficulties" when it comes to writing blog posts about it:

1). It covers WAY too many different phenomena; and
2). It [naturally, given the context] covers those phenomena as "religious" or "spiritual" in some way, when those same phenomena appear all over the place without such connotations to the witnesses.

These two qualities of the book make it essentially impossible to "surround" and make any kind of useful general review of the phenomenology contained. SOOOOO..... I'm going to bail out at this time and do something "unsatisfying" but maybe having some entertaining aspects to it, and call it "an internet day".

Fox covers several "light" oriented categories which we've not yet discussed in these posts. Some of these are:

1). Near-death experiences;
2). Other-worldly visions;
3). Strange Illuminations of areas;
4). Persons infused with or enfolded by light;
5). Beams and rays;
6). Flashes of light;
7). Light associated with folkloric themes.

I believe that anyone, particularly of us, cannot read that list without feeling that the list involves many wildly differing things, and that any "pile" of experiences attempting to find any unitary explanation behind this is almost surely doomed. This is, anyway, my own view.

But, ignoring the near necessity for many incidents of things like "beams and rays", "illuminations", "flashes", "visions", "folklore theme encounters" et al being due to matters very marginally "spiritual", I can imagine at least one fragile thought which might bind much of this together. This is quintessential "Out Proctor" behavior by me, so Caveat Emptor.

This raw speculation is based upon one of the few things upon which both Science and The Bible agree: LIGHT is fundamental to Creation.

So, fully Out Proctor for the moment, let's entertain the thought that when the Universe was originated there was an unimaginably powerful LIGHT event --- the Original Outpouring and Expanding {"LET THERE BE LIGHT!"}. In modern terms, this simultaneity of LIGHT creation "entangled" all the "particles" of the Original LIGHT, and, according to Quantum Mechanics, united their natures into a unified system. The Universe is thereby even more properly named than we thought.

LIGHT, the founding LIGHTWEB of reality, is therefore fundamental in some way to everything. Rather than being surprised by unexpected light phenomena, we should expect such things. But still, in the subject matter of this book, and these posts, Consciousnesses, both of witnesses and possible various not-in-flesh agencies, are involved. Should we expect that spectacularly powerful or significant "connections" between consciousnesses be accompanied by LIGHT phenomena??

It is my current prejudice that the sought-after physical Theory-of-Everything will never happen until Science dumps its limiting materialism and includes spirit and the states of consciousness within the theory. Somehow our own --- I'm calling it as I experience it --- Souls experience incoming information from the physical world and by "Will" can influence electrons in our own Brains to choose one action or another. Robert Jahn has proven this in the Princeton labs beyond my capacity to doubt those results.

So, somehow conscious "willing" DOES interact with physical [material] subatomic particles to collapse wave functions and produce effects. Because these efforts act upon those parts of the physical world which are in a constant dynamic "dance" between matter and energy states, the "dance" seems to be taking place between Soul and LIGHT in the end. Does every "action" witnessable in this world, partake, at some deep level, in the Dance of the Original LIGHTWEB?

I'll give all of you your reasonable thoughts that I'm blowing hot air here. This is just intuitive. It seems within the reach of my imagination that, when something powerfully spiritual crosses reality from one consciousness to another, it might "excite" the LIGHTWEB as it does, and ... BOOM! A WOW happens. If anything like this is possible, then in SOME incidents of visions, beams, flashes, etc, we might get "the LIGHT" right along with the spiritual communication, meaning, or even grace. Anyway, spinning this speculative web is just one poor attempt at giving Fox's book an underpinning.

OK. Enough boring "philosophy". What I'm going to do now is try to end this series of posts by giving you a somewhat random group of experiences to stimulate your imaginations of the Possible. If you can combine them to make unitary sense, you're a lot better at that than I am.

Mark Fox doesn't seem to realize that the Jesuit scholar Herbert Thurston walked many of these paths in the early half of the 20th century, or maybe he doesn't particularly value Thurston's work, as he does not include his works in his bibliography. I, on the other hand, value Thurston's works greatly, and think that every real explorer of the spiritual should do likewise.

In the book to the left, Thurston has a chapter entitled " The Luminous Phenomena of Mysticism", seemingly pretty germane to our topic. For the most part, I'll leave it to your own energies to get your hands on your own copy and read it, but I'll outline one of the included experiences here.

This "case" refers to that of the Jesuit theologian Francis Suarez [I believe that these events took place in the late 19th century, but I'm too lazy/disorganized this second to firm that up. The date is, regardless, pretty irrelevant].

Father Suarez lived at a college in Coimbra in a two room simple apartment. As a renown theologian, he worked much in quiet thought and was usually disturbed only when really necessary. One afternoon a "distinguished visitor" arrived to see the theologian, but there was a sign [a stick placed across the door] that he was not to be disturbed. This visitor however was, on Fr. Suarez' expressed desires, to be admitted whenever he might visit, so, disregarding the "do not disturb" sign, he and a layman brother working at the college went in.

The outer room was dark, shutters closed tight against the afternoon Sun. The entry to the inner room was closed, but light was streaming beneath a curtain drawn across it. The lay brother pushed the curtain aside to find Fr. Suarez kneeling before a Crucifix from which blinding light was radiating. The meditating theologian was observed to be floating in this kneeling position "five palms" off the floor.

Subsequently, Fr. Suarez was greatly concerned that no one should know that such "miracles" were happening to him [this appears to be a concern both for humility and the distraction that public awareness would wreak upon himself and his order]. They told only their priest confessor about the dilemma, and the confessor suggested that the lay witness would write his entire experience, seal it "not to be opened until after Fr. Suarez' death". And so it was.

Fox has many interesting "enfolded and infused" with Light incidents. In fact, far too many to retell here [again, buy the book]. I'll give just a few.

Something simple: a curate was silent in meditation when he became "suffused with an internal explosion of light". He said that he felt that he had a "Dame Julian of Norwich" vision of all existence.
  "{It was} a transfiguration with the knowledge that all manner of things would be well. It was an experience during which one's comprehension seemed to achieve a kind of cosmic dimension. My subsequent reaction was to be healthily restored. Life around me was somehow lighter in both meanings of the word. Particularly I found this world to be very gross -- large -- clumsy -- almost unbelievably so."

That experience is classic mysticism expressed more intellectually than most.

Something slightly more complex: In September of 1941, a Church of Scotland minister was wandering in the woods of the Isle of Arran. We have visited this "magickal" faerie-filled isle earlier in this blog's history ourselves. The minister was in a deep crisis of faith. Unable to sleep, he had arisen at 4am and walked into the forest. Many minutes of aimlessness went on until he heard the sounds of a psalm echoing in his mind.
  "With those words a light seemed to envelop me, and there flowed into my desolate heart such a flood of Love and compassion that I was overwhelmed and overpowered by the weight of it. I was stricken by such wonder and amazement that I burst into tears of joy. It seemed to flow through my whole being with a cleansing and healing virtue. From that moment I knew that Love was the nature of reality."

This minister does not specifically "Christianize" the experience despite his profession, but it still is perfectly coherent with many depth theologies [including Christian ones]. This intrigues me.

And "regular folks" too: In 1933 in a rural village in the UK, a lady had suffered a miscarriage. She could not shake the experience and dwelt on it to her despair. She left her home one day to walk down the country road to the village to do shopping.
   "Suddenly I was enveloped (I can only call it that) and lifted high above the high bank and tall hedge on top, as though by unseen and unfelt hands, enveloped in wonderful living brilliant light. I saw a small deserted quarry or cutting below, but everything, plants, bushes, even the stones on the far side were exuding a pulsating life and bathed in an unearthly bright golden light. It seemed an eternity I was held aloft with the most wonderful glow of peace and awareness of the wonder of God.
   "Then I found myself standing on the road and looked to see if anyone had seen me; it was so vivid, no one was in sight. I walked on, to the shops, but with an unutterable feeling of peace within me."

A couple of days later, overcome with curiosity, she climbed the hillside bank so that she could see what was on the side that she had never yet seen [her family had just moved there]. The arrangements of the landscape there were exactly as she had seen them during her "elevation", though, of course, without the living light.

The main thing that I take from these incidents, and which "documented" something that I thought was true but was not featured in typical writings about mystics, is that you don't have to be Julian of Norwich, Hildegard of Bingen, or St. John of the Cross to have "The Mystic Experience" of Oneness, Peace, and Love. It probably HELPS to be someone who takes their relationship to the Divine seriously and constantly, but we just-plain-folks can be blessed with this too.

A few more from Fox:

The summer of 1945: Brussels, Belgium. A soldier was visiting the church of St Gudule and in silent prayer. A radiant light began to grow inside the church until it filled the entire building. Accompanying it were the strains "of most heavenly music." During his astonishment, the soldier was "transported in joy" and felt a unifying Love for all creatures. Shortly thereafter he asked the verger if anyone had been playing the church organ, which no one had. On leaving the church, he found that the light was still with him in some way --- a "Light of Love" which made everything beautiful. This feeling of loving Creation lasted two days.

c. late 19th century: Glasgow, Scotland. A young man was walking in busy streets, when at one [what should have been jarring and noisy] corner, "the air was filled with heavenly music, and an all-encompassing light, that moved in waves of luminous colour, outshone the brightness of the lighted streets. I stood still, filled with a strange peace and joy, and the music beat on in its majesty and the traffic and the pedestrians moved through the light. They passed on their way, but the music and the light remained, pulsating, harmonious, more real than the traffic of the streets. Then I, too, lingeringly moved on, looking back at times till I found myself in the everyday world again with a strange sense of gladness and love".

August of 1942: Ballantrae, Scotland. A soldier was just through checking inventories in a hut, and walked out and down a tree-lined drive. The day was beautiful. To his left was a valley and further on a hill. As he walked, this valley rapidly filled up with a "great light, a living iridescent rainbow-colored light. The phenomenon was huge, towering in an oval form up into the sky. Its centre was living dense coloured gold, the colours got fainter to the edges, the whole was ringed with a cloud of silver white light ... the 'vision' provoked some very warm responsive feeling in me. It lasted some minutes and faded".

Very large areas of beautiful light, some with heavenly {or faerie} music --- the last reminded me of the Knock, Ireland apparition without the focussed statuary ... but none of these have any close feeling of "UFOlogy" to me. They seem to fit not into the normal physical textbook world [which includes ET], but into the spiritual world [which includes Soul, Will, and Psi].

So, OK. Light in its multiple interactions in our wonder-world is astounding and confusing. Hardy and Fox seem on the hunt of a piece of this Master Jigsaw Puzzle. UFOlogists are on the hunt for other pieces, probably not even in their main subject area. Faerie seekers are romantically following their own Wills-of-the Wisp. Earthlight watchers watch for more. It is a tangled web of light, indeed.

From my "ufo" files: March 1931: Cannes, France. A streetcar conductor sees something odd in front of him. It is a luminous curtain of light with what seems to be rain falling behind it. As his streetcar came near, there manifested a figure of human form, wearing a veil and standing about 5'5" tall. It had a close fitting long white robe and a blue girdle. Hands raised, the figure rose up into a lenticular-shaped [ uh oh... disk] cloud, which then rose further and raced away towards Nice at great speed, leaving a trail behind it. A similar apparition in Nice was then reported in that city's newspaper. Can you say "Knock, Knock, who's there??"

Well, sheesh!!! Get off it with the total confusion of phenomenology would you!!!

A last hurrah from Fox:

An elderly lady, who always had great respect for living things of all kinds, had moved in her last years into a small home. There she "felt" that in some unusual way she had company in that place {She was not particularly lonely, by the way, as her daughter was nearby and visited often}. Shortly before she died, she told her daughter that she had a "strange visitation". She was watching TV when the screen went whacky --- "zig-zaggy" then black. Through her window then came a broad band of silver light. This band was about one foot in length. With both the old lady and her Border Collie in rapt attention, the band proceeded through the TV room into the kitchen and {apparently} away. Once the band left the TV room, the TV came back on and operated normally. There were no rainstorms anywhere about that night, by the way.

Well, thanks again for making our sorting job so easy.

As all of us know, this rough category of Light Phenomena Mysteries is far broader than Fox's coverage suggests, though he is perfectly honest about that. And we also know, that not all light phenomenology is associated with Goodness, Peace, and Love --- that would be nice, but.... no.

I'm going to leave it there.

Buy Fox's book; it's a good read to stimulate mind and soul.

Life here in Kazoo is very busy; hope I'll be back soon to the blog. We'll keep the faith. .

Till then, May all your light allow you to See.


  1. 'Fr. Suarez was greatly concerned that no one should know that such "miracles" were happening to him [this appears to be a concern both for humility and the distraction that public awareness would wreak upon himself and his order].'

    It may also be even more clearly explained by another of your observations 'Souls experience incoming information from the physical world and by "Will" can influence electrons in our own Brains to choose one action or another. Robert Jahn has proven this in the Princeton labs beyond my capacity to doubt those results.'

    [This was why Carlos Castaneda used to shudder in horror at the affect two thousand years of being loathed and detested by the majority of the human race must've had on Judas Iscariot which's why like Gurdjieff and meself he was convinced only Jesus' best disciple could've handled such a fate].

    'In September of 1941, a Church of Scotland minister...was in a deep crisis of faith...until he heard the sounds of a psalm echoing in his mind "there flowed into my desolate heart such a flood of Love and compassion that I was overwhelmed and overpowered by the weight of it."

    That crisis of faith I suggest's the boundary/bardo/stop point etc where/when his inability to intellectually sustain his normal conceptual world view finally collapses allowing his true non conceptual mind to emerge switching as it were from pc computing to quantum or pure energy computing hence the story versions of which're found in all the systems of the Buddhist student who spends 12 years stoically carrying out his rituals in the middle of nowhere to utter perfection yet without making the slightest progress until one day he finally just loses it and has a world class temper tantrum smashing up all his utterly precious sacred materials etc calling the Buddha every name under the sun and so on until he lies there in the cave blubbing like a baby the cosmic joke of it being it was his perfect self control which'd been blocking his progress.

    'something that I thought was true but was not featured in typical writings about mystics, is that you don't have to be Julian of Norwich, Hildegard of Bingen, or St. John of the Cross to have "The Mystic Experience" of Oneness, Peace, and Love.'

    El Ghazali seems to've been raised among Sufis as an orphan and was so intellectually brilliant by the time he was 33 he was a professor and'd reconciled Philosophy Islam and Mysticism the only problem being he was an ego maniac and all the acclaim and attention postponed his eventual realisation there's a world of difference between knowing something and actually understanding it hence the inner collapse he underwent becoming for a period sceptical about everything.

    'large areas of beautiful light, some with heavenly {or faerie} music... but none of these have any close feeling of "UFOlogy" to me. They seem to fit not into the normal physical textbook world [which includes ET], but into the spiritual world [which includes Soul, Will, and Psi].'

    Setting aside the issue one man's ball of light's another man's flying saucer what physical textbook world what spiritual world?

    This seemingly solid one supposedly explained away by the Large Hardon Collider results which even as we speak're proving less and less complete? [And that's before anyone calls them into question like they did the faster than light photon results dropping them due to a photo of faulty plug whereas the Hardon'd been visited by a time traveller hacked by the hacking community and undergone acts of physical vandalism. If the Hardon'd been used to prove the existence of God rather than his particle those results'd've been tossed long ago!].

    Put it this way Prof nearly every other take you have on these things means if you wanted to you easily pass for an emerging mystical master.

    And the very fact you probably reckon you understand less and less everyday only makes you look even more advanced!

  2. Perhaps these occurrences are more common than supposed. I remember watching TV in our finished basement with my parents years ago when there was a sudden, extremely bright white flash about ten feet to the side of where we were sitting. My thought at the time was that it was a good thing nobody had been standing there. My aunt's parents had a wooden cross that hung on the wall and once mysteriously glowed for several days. No other happenings seemed to have accompanied these events. As always, thank you for a fascinating article!

    1. Thanks for the incidents. I absolutely believe that all of these anomalous situations are more common than our culture allows to become known. In the "olde days" such things were felt to be "uncommon" because people were spread far apart and communications were word-of-mouth. Nowadays we have all the communications-transmission imaginable, but it is our gross materialistic culture which is blocking significant sharing. We're in a battle between small-box minds [no matter how large the IQ] and courageous sharers and savers of the "things that don't fit the reductionist textbooks". The sharer/savers are "courageous" because the small-boxes are, at bottom, uncivil jerks who consistently employ derision/ mockery to attempt to silence what they can't contemplate without some weird kind of fear.

      This blog [obviously] has picked sides. But, rather than tilt with windmills [i.e. argue with high-IQ morons], this blog will waste little time with hollow boxes and simply attempt to publish data and ideas as cleanly as possible --- to keep the possibilities of a vaster world alive. This old man will be as civil as I can be without wasting all our times. {I actually DO pay attention to "humble skepticism" whenever that rare valuable characteristic shows itself}.

  3. Hello, Prof.

    I recommend Mircea Eliade's book, The Sacred and the Profane for more examples of sacred light. Numerous examples are given by this great author. Fascinating article from you - thanks for putting it up. With your erudition and knowledge, I am somewhat surprised you identify as a Catholic. A druid seems a better fit.



    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Sorry about the above: I blew some spelling. It goes a little better this way:

      It has been a very long time since I cracked open Eliade's book; thanks for reminding me.

      Re: my "style" of Catholicism: The Spiritual Spectrum of Catholicism is all over the map despite what certain "highly-placed administrators with tall hats" would like to project. Those guys are there only to facilitate the uncountable good works done by the grass roots anyway. I have found many strains of Catholicism to contain wonderful and soul-expanding experiences and ideas, but the one that resonated most purely to me has been what little we know of St. Kevin of Ireland and a few contemporary early Irish monks. This may be just fantasy [as who knows anymore what went on back then], but for me this is a foundationstone of "Green Catholicism", which found direct interaction with God in the Creation, just as the druids were doing. Kevin was spiritually half-druid, and in that he was able to appreciate the First Person of the Trinity better than those who stupidly tried to push Nature away.

      Goethe used to say that he was like the Hypsisterians --- a Greek cult who were open to all "philosophies" but only selected from them the best of each. Kevin seems to be unconsciously Hypsisterian, and heavy on "communication" with all three Trinitarian Persons... I like the idea.

  4. Fascinating data from your "ufo" files: March 1931: Cannes, France. These old cases seem to be untainted with modern perception of UFO phenomena. Would love to hear more from you about these old (1910-1940) UFO cases in the future.

    1. I enjoy the older experiences, too. But the Blog [as of late especially] sort of flows as it goes. Whether this is in harmony with the Universe or me just violating Universal Noise Ordinances, I don't know.

  5. Although I don't always comment, I read every one of your posts. I found this series on light phenomena especially interesting. There is so much valuable information that you have written in this blog over the last couple of years. I never imagined when you first started this blog that it would become such a voluminous collection of work. I can think of no other location where phenomenological concepts are so well documented and written in a way that as you just said, "sort of flows as it goes."

    1. Thanks friend. My "evolution" while struggling with the task {duty?} of presenting a blog has settled into a simple philosophy: Give anyone interested an opportunity to explore together this great world of potentially profound mysteries. Do it with as much ease and fun and honesty as possible. Be civilized; be kind. Be humble.

      You and I, particularly I, are "old guys" now Robert. We sit on the "mountains of our lives". We have much to share. And we both know that "it" isn't at all about us. The blog isn't always easy to keep going, but it's generally "soft duty", and to someone it will be a little bit like a gift.

      "Sitting on the Mountain, watching the Flow go by."