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Dr. James Martin Peebles – A hundred years of theory meeting practice?

English: Louis XVI of France

Louis XVI of France; Peebles believed one of Louis’ sisters was one his many spiritual guides – Photo: Wikipedia

Dr. James Martin Peebles (1822-1922) was an American medical doctor, spiritualist, author and Universalist minister who later became a Theosophist.

He believed he received inspiration and guidance from a “band of angels,” as he put it.

Some of these alleged spiritual guides were famous characters, such as Mozart, Louis XVI of France‘s sister, and Chief Powhatan, who was the father of Pocahontas.

Other guides were less famous, like John W. Leonard, a deceased Scottish clergyman.

Peebles traveled to India several times with Col. Henry Steel Olcott, the co-founder of Theosophy.

Today, Linda Pendleton and others claim to channel messages from Dr. Peebles.

Chief Powhatan

Chief Powhatan by Terren via Flickr – Another guide whom Peebles believed helped him

His purported message to humanity is consistent with much New Age channeling—that is, universal love, cooperation, and the need to overcome the illusion of separation among individuals and nations.

Dr. Peebles, himself, lived three days short of 100 years and penned a book caled How to Live a Century and Grow Old Gracefully.²

So I guess we could say that, for him, theory really did meet practice!

It will be interesting to see if the same thing happens with more recent “live-long and beautiful” figures like Deepak Chopra.³

Related » Channeling

¹ Linda Pendleton’s web site has more about Dr. Peebles:


³ For me, Chopra raises a red flag whenever I see him, despite his media popularity. The Amazon blurb for one of his books says it all: “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind goes beyond current anti-aging research and ancient mind/body wisdom to dramatically demonstrate that we do not have to grow old!” Sounds pretty hokey to me. But I guess we’ll see…

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Remote Viewing – True, False or Underground?

Vox Efx - Charging My Batteries aka Sun Worship via Flickr

Vox Efx – Charging My Batteries aka Sun Worship via Flickr

The term ‘Remote Viewing’ (RV) was coined by Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff.

RV is the alleged ability to internally perceive objects and events at a distance beyond the range of the normal senses.

Remote Viewers (RVers) usually say they perceive objects and events in the past, present and probable future. But RVers don’t believe they psychologically time travel when seeing the past. Instead, they tend to say that they access a ‘holographic cosmic memory bank’ that records all events that ever took place, somewhat like the Akashic Records of Theosophy and Anthroposophy.

Concerning the future, RVers claim to see possible outcomes but don’t predict the future with any certainty.

Those sympathetic to the idea say that one inherent difficulty with RV is a margin of error that researcher Dale Graff calls “white noise.” RVers say they strive to scientifically verify their distance visions and apparently are developing new methods to increase accuracy.

On this point RVers differ from some psychics who remain convinced that their distance visions are accurate without making any attempt to verify.

Interestingly, RV researcher Russell Targ says his team got better scientific results when they kept the research environment “fun” and relaxed. Targ admits to making money from RVing future probabilities but he says that human greed came to interfere with the success of his experiments.¹

Targ later introduced the term Remote Sensing because, he says, RV may also be accompanied by an inner sense of hearing, smell and touch.

Image via Tumblr

Image via Tumblr

The paranormal writer Rosemary Ellen Guiley says that Remote Sensing is a well-documented phenomenon, both in ancient and contemporary times.

According to Anthony C. LoBaido at and Steve Hammons, the CIA has used RV for intelligence gathering. LoBaido also claims that the FBI has adopted RV for the same purposes.

The mainstream view, however, is not quite so sympathetic. Wikipedia says:

There is no credible scientific evidence that remote viewing works, and the topic of remote viewing is regarded as pseudoscience

Some, however, maintain that the US RV project did work but has gone underground. If true, most of us have no way of finding out.³

¹ Thinking Allowed with Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove, “ESP, Clairvoyance and Remote Perception with Russell Targ“.


³ I didn’t read it too carefully, but from a quick scan of the Wikipedia entry, it seems this ambiguous dimension of RV is overlooked.

Related » Akashic Records, Clairvoyance, Doors, ESP, New Age, Psychic Spies, Seer, “The New Age and Remote Viewing,” Third Eye



KP - Tarot readings at the cafe by szczel

KP – Tarot readings at the cafe by szczel via Flickr

Rosemary Ellen Guiley says the word tarot comes from the Italian tarocci, meaning ‘triumphs’ or ‘trumps.’¹

Today’s tarot consists of 78 cards divided into major and minor arcanas. The major arcana of 22 cards contains symbolism based on different mythic traditions.

The minor arcana of 56 cards is divided into four suits: Cups, Wands, Swords, and Pentacles. These in turn are separated into King, Queen, Knight and Page.

Believers use the cards for depth psychology, the achievement of goals, divination or, perhaps, some combination of those.

The cards are usually shuffled and placed in one of several different patterns or spreads (e.g. the “Horseshoe,” the “Star,” the “Celtic Cross”). The choice of a spread arguably reflects the dealer’s current state of mind, proficiency level and possibly their unconscious intentions, hopes and desires.

The origins of tarot cards have been variously traced to Hellenistic Egypt, India, Morroco and Atlantis. Guiley says that a French painter, one Jacquemin Grinngonneur, presented cards “that may have been Tarot” to King Charles VI of France in 1392.

My Tarot Decks by Chin

My Tarot Decks by Chin via Flickr

Alfred Douglas says that in 1415, the Duke of Milan had Tarot cards painted for his own personal use. Gordon Melton says the Duke’s cards were precursors to the current Tarot deck. Melton adds that the Tarot was first differentiated from playing cards in the eighteenth-century, mostly due to the efforts of the French Freemason Anntione Court de Gebelin (1719-1784).²

Alphonse-Louis Constant, a.k.a. Eliphas Levi, (1810-1875) wrote extensively about the tarot. Levi planned on becoming a Catholic priest but fell in love, discovered the occult and never looked back. As such, his writings were later incorporated into the practice of magic. He also associated the tarot with the Kabbala.

On this Stuart Gordon says:

Levi developed the pack’s occult connection by associating the card of the Major Arcana with Qabalah, assigning each of the twenty-two trumps to letters of the Hebrew alphabet, with corresponding numerological significances.³

Tarot 12 Le Pendu by Jorge Rangel

Tarot 12 Le Pendu by Jorge Rangel

During this era the tarot was believed to have first been discovered (not devised) in Europe by gypsies, thought to have originated in Egypt–“(e)gyp(t)sy.”

The cards or, at least, the ideas behind them, were apparently preserved by scribes who, up to medieval times, quietly saved a lion’s share of ancient pagan texts, spells and incantations from the ravages of a war-torn Roman Empire and their official condemnation by the Church.4

The obvious influence of pagan Celtic symbolism in the tarot lends some support this view, as do the 22 Major cards corresponding to prominent deities from classical Greek and Roman lore.

In 1910, Arthur Edward Waite with artist Pamela Colman Smith developed a new tarot deck, known today as the Rider-Waite Tarot. Shortly afterward, Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) emphasized the tarot’s alleged Egyptian origin, devising a deck with commentary called The Book of Thoth, which rivaled in popularity Waite and Coleman’s tarot.

In the 1950’s, the Jungian writer Marie Louise von Franz suggested that the tarot parallels steps along the individuation process, a view shared by many today.

¹ Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience (1991)

² Gordon Melton, The Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America (1992)

³ The Paranormal: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, Headline (1992, p, 647)

4 Arnold J. Toynbee and others say organized Christianity effectively replaced pagan Rome as the creator of a persecutory culture of fear.

» Review – Tarot Stripped Bare (DVD), Magic, Odin

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Tramp Souls

A Haunted Trail by Joshua Debner

A Haunted Trail by Joshua Debner via Flickr

In mystical thought, tramp souls are deceased persons said to be clinging to the material world, often to some locality. They might be holding a grudge against someone whom they feel wronged them.

Alternately, tramp souls are regarded as accidental death victims who don’t understand why or haven’t accepted that they’ve passed.

Tramp souls are allegedly responsible for hauntings, obsessions and possessions.

An unofficial branch of Catholic thinking, expressed by author Michael Brown (Prayer of the Warrior), says homosexuality is in part caused by the influence of tramp souls. According to Brown, a deceased woman’s spirit influences a man’s sexual preference or a male spirit influences a woman’s. So for Brown, an opposite-sex spirit permeates the personality and an individual comes to identify with it over time.¹

The Hindu Yogananda has this to say:

There are, however, a few astral beings known as “tramp souls.” They are earthbound because of strong attachments to the world, and are desirous of entering a physical form for sense enjoyments. Such beings are usually unseen; and they have no power to affect the ordinary person. Tramp souls do occasionally succeed in entering and taking possession of someone’s body and mind, but only when such a person is mentally unstable or has weakened his mind by keeping it often blank or unthinking. It is like leaving a car unlocked with the key in the ignition,- some vagrant may get in and drive off. Tramp souls want a free ride in someone else’s physical-body vehicle—anyone’s—having lost their own that they were so attached to. It was in such cases of possession that Jesus exorcised the vagrant spirits. Tramp souls cannot stand the high vibration of spiritual thoughts and consciousness. Sincere seekers after God who practise scientific methods of prayer and meditation need never fear such beings. God is the Spirit of all spirits. No harm from negative spirits can come to one whose thoughts are on God.²

¹ Brown’s ultra-conservative book also sees the TV show Bewitched as a work of the devil. See Michael Brown, Prayer of the Warrior. Milford, OH: Faith Publishing Co., 1993, p. 103.

² See diccussion » Man’s eternal quest, in the chapter: “what are ghosts?”

Related Posts » Demons, Obsession, Possession, Transmigration

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Katrine De Candole as Uriel in Dominion – Image via Tumblr

Uriel is one of the four Catholic Archangels, along with Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. He is not mentioned in the Bible but appears in various apocryphal works—that is, texts similar to the Bible but not fully accepted by a major Christian religion.

Occult and paranormal writers¹ have picked up on the apocryphal writings about Uriel and added their own, perhaps, fanciful interpretations about him (or her).

A similar doubt has been raised about the Catholic interpretation of Uriel. Non-Catholics say that many Catholic teachings are non-biblical, humanly created fictions.

This has contributed to an ongoing debate between Catholics and non-Catholics about the alleged authority of the Catholic Tradition. Contemporary Catholics believe (or appear to believe) that the Catholic faith articulates the authentic teachings of Christ as given to the apostles and recorded in scripture. They also believe (or appear to believe) that these teachings are preserved, present and developed through a legitimate and holy apostolic tradition. Again, Non-Catholics tend to see this belief as spurious.

Uriel is also mentioned in works of fiction, such as John Milton‘s Paradise Lost, where the sharp-sighted angel acts as God’s eyes and helps Raphael to defeat the pagan god, Adramelech.

¹ A broader scope is outlined here

Related Posts » Angels, Catholicism

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Who do you VooDoo...

Who do you VooDoo… by Duchess Flux via Flickr

Voodoo (Vodun) originated in the 18th and 19th centuries in the West African kingdom of Dahomey. Spanish slave traders brought inhabitants of Dahomey to North America, and the majority of these people ended up in Haiti.

While Haiti is predominantly Roman Catholic, a hybrid form of Catholic Voodoo continues today. And Haiti’s first Catholic cardinal calls it a “big social problem.”¹

Voodooists believe in a variety of spiritual beings as well as two human souls. One soul, the gros bon ange is free to wander at night. Like the ancient Chinese, Voodooists believe that the dreamer will die if this soul does not return to the body before waking.

English: At the voodoo fetish market in Lomé, ...

Voodoo fetish market in Lomé, Togo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other soul, the petite bon ange, may remain near its former body after death for a relatively short while, or possibly transform into an inanimate object or animal, such as a snake.

Voodoo also involves singing, rhythmic dancing and divination. Voodoo mythology emphasizes the theme of sex and death, which David Leeming says parallels the West Indian trickster Gede.² The celebrated mythographer Joseph Campbell says this theme is almost universal. He calls it the Love-Death.

Today, the popular idea of Voodoo inspires artists, writers, gamers, fans of zombie lore—the list goes on. And as the 21st century becomes more violent, chaotic and (visibly) perverse, the old themes of sex and violence are still box office favorities.

The Epic of the Hydrated Voodoo Doll — Part 2 by Vincent Ma via Flickr

Campbell, Carl Jung and Mircea Eliade believe that if we don’t collectively represent this dark shadow material, it could drive us mad. So maybe sex and violence in the entertainment industry isn’t such a bad thing, after all.


² Like most tricksters, Gede shakes up the psyche, allowing individuals to penetrate hidden layers of the unconscious and beyond. See David Leeming, The Oxford Companion to World Mythology, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 398.

Related Posts » Ancestor Cults, Jimi Hendrix, Zombie