Readers of The Secret Sun know that I view the historical claims of ancient scripture and mythology primarily from an AAT/Interventionist perspective. But I also want to present alternative views from scholars and researchers whom I respect and have been influenced by and Tracy tops that list. The topic at hand is Gnostic creation myths and "aliens." Like a lot of Secret Sun readers, Tracy approaches this material from a more mystical, occultist viewpoint than my more pragmatic, nuts-and-bolts take (which I admit is a bit out of favor these days), but also offers some fascinating insights from years of serious research. So let's get into it....
CK- Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman believes that the Gnostics were not converted Pagans but disillusioned Apocalyptic Jews. They began to see the promise of Jehovah's saving his people from their oppressors as being broken after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD. They called Yahweh "Yaldaboath" and created a new host of fallen demiurges like the blind idiot god Samael.
Yahweh in the Book of Exodus could be interpreted as an alien being in a classic cigar-shaped flying craft. And his behavior in the early books in the Bible (commanding his followers to rape and murder children, for example) is nothing at all like the more spiritually-evolved figure in the prophetic books, particularly after the Babylonian captivity.
Tracy: Well, I wouldn't want to say that the Bible is telling UFO stories. That would be backwards, wouldn't it? Because the Bible is old and UFO stories are fairly new. I am more likely to believe that the modern myth of UFOs and grey aliens is a recent manifestation of an ancient religious archetype, rather than to say that the religious archetype is just a garbled memory of aliens.
In other words, the flying saucers in the alien stories are modern man's way of expressing a concept and an experience that is as ancient as civilization. Just like you see modern superheroes as manifestations of ancient god-forms. You would not say that this is evidence that ancient man really worshipped comic book superheroes.
"Alien" just means something outside of our normal experience. I recognize that many people have encounters with unexplained phenomena, including things that they describe as aliens in flying saucers from other planets. Other people describe encounters with angels, demons and ghosts. It is impossible to make a judgment about the validity of most of these stories, how much of the experience was purely internal, or how much of it happened in physical reality. All we can be sure of is that the same sorts of stories have always been told, and indeed this is the subject of most of the world's oldest stories.
That said, I agree with you to a certain point. Clearly, the Bible describes beings (Watchers, Angels, etc) that are capable of taking physical form and mating with humans. The offspring are described as being quite different from the rest of humanity. Specifically they are described as being "giants."
This meshes with myths from other cultures as well. They seem to have otherworldly qualities too: like blinding white skin, piercing red eyes, and enigmatic, hypnotic magnetism. In some cases they do take people for trips to the various "heavens." This might seem similar to alien abductions scenarios. And of course, the megalithic wonders of the ancient world could have been built by aliens using technology instead of being built by giants or gods, as our ancestors claimed they were.
Then you have Kabbalistic stories and Gnostic creation myths about God and the Devil mating with humans (God mates with Lilith, God rapes Eve, Samael mates with Eve, Lilith mates with Adam, etc.). So then the obvious question arises: are God and the Devil aliens too?
Fact is, I just don't know if we are talking about aliens from another planet. My gut instinct is that this is an oversimplification. But then again there may be some truth to it. Like I think I said in my previous answer to one of your questions last year, if the aliens had to cross the universe to get here, they'd probably have to travel inter-dimensionally, and that takes the concept of an alien to a whole other level I think. Then they are more akin to our current conception of gods.
And maybe they did come down from "the heavens" and give us a head start on civilization thousands of years ago. Maybe even did some interbreeding and genetic engineering. But who taught them how to do that? Who gave them a head-start on civilization? Does that negate the concept of God as a spiritual being or as the creator of the universe? I don't think so. I just think that gods and demons (and perhaps aliens) are way more complicated than any theory that anyone has ever come up with.
If I drew a circle on the ground and evoked Ialdaboath into visible manifestation inside of the circle would you say that he was an "extraterrestrial mortal being" or a "spiritual entity"? Do you deny that it is possible to do this? Because there is no doubt in my mind that all religious scripture is describing interaction with higher beings on a spiritual level. That's part of the definition of religion. And I have no doubt that religion works: all religion works, in my opinion. But sometimes people interact with their gods on a physical level as well. Yet if we are dealing with transcendent beings, then they can probably manifest on any level they want to. Mormons certainly see no distinction between the heavens in outer space and spiritual Heaven.
I suppose aliens from another planet, manipulating our world inter- dimensionally, could be doing all of this. Allen Greenfield wrote about this possibility in Secret Cipher of the UFOnauts. It seems there are quite a few people in modern times that have channeled beings which they believe to be aliens from another planet. I guess this all ties in with the so-called "Typhonian current" which appears to be a space alien interpretation of Aleister Crowley's writings, assuming that he was channeling an alien when he wrote The Book of the Law.
I think it was the Thule Society in Germany that used to have seances where they channeled Sumerian gods. They believed that these gods came from outer space, but at the same time they believed that they could commune with them spiritually. And the gods gave them instructions for how to build flying saucers. These diagrams ended up in the hands of Nazi scientists who went about trying to create them. Then after WWII all of the sudden everyone was talking about UFOs and aliens.
My take on UFOs, after having had all these years to think about it, is this: Most sightings of UFOs (those that haven't been thoroughly debunked as something else) are probably sightings of experimental military aircraft. I think that during the 50s and 60s, the US intelligence community purposely floated stories of human interaction with aliens, particularly stories that indicated the US government had a secret alliance with aliens. The Soviet Union also floated similar stories. This was just psychological warfare. They were trying to scare each other and waste each other's intelligence resources with red herrings.
It was part of what led to the space race. Both the US and the Soviets were afraid that the other side was going to get the upper hand in space, and be able to launch missiles from there. So they needed to get up there right away and make sure that didn't happen. They also needed to make sure that there weren't any aliens up there.
It seems to me that the UFO hype has really died down in the last 20 years, in direct relation to the relaxing of hostilities with Russia, along with the explosion of satellite technology. There are still unexplained sightings of things (which could still be experimental aircraft and other fringe technology experiments). But there are fewer abduction stories and supposed "government informants" coming out to tell all. Because the government is no longer hiring people to do this for them.
But could our gods be aliens? Sure, I suppose. I think we are dealing with a complete unknown here. If you are praying to something, or channeling it, it's like talking to a stranger through a screen. You have no idea what's on the other side. And if it appears to you physically, and seems to interact with you physically, you're still just seeing and feeling what it wants you to see and feel. So maybe it wants you to think of it at various times as a god or an alien, depending on what suits you, or what suits its purposes.
We shouldn't assume that they would ever be benevolent enough to tell us the truth or to show us their true form. But for some reason, they seem to want to involve us in their intramural disputes.
They want us to take sides: to worship them, to hate their enemies, and to hate the followers of their enemies as well. And thus we end up hating each other.
CK- Do we have evidence in the Gnostic texts of any of the heavenly host as being possible extraterrestrial mortal beings as opposed to being spiritual entities? There are plenty of examples you can cite in the Old Testament, but are there any such parallels in the Gnostic literature?The Gnostic interpretation of creation rightly interprets the story of Genesis as a fight amongst the gods over who was "first." And the Gnostics took sides with a different character in that drama than the Jews did. They saw the creator god as having himself been created by someone else, and said that he was insane for believing otherwise, or was "rebelling" against the true hierarchy by proclaiming himself the one true god.
And further; Could someone infer that Yaldaboath was a renegade alien who rebelled against a larger alien hierarchy, which is why he and his followers fled to the desert for several decades?
But I think they got this information through channeling, which is how I think the Torah began as well. So I don't look at Genesis and the Gnostic creation stories as history, really, any more than I would the Delphic Oracles. It's myth and prophecy, and while I'm sure it must contain some residual memory of things that happened to ancient man in the distant past, it would be impossible to determine the "truth" about any of it. Certainly we would never be able to determine the truth about which god came "first" or who is the rightful heir to whatever. In the case of Genesis, it seems like we are discussing events outside of linear time anyway.
But to get back to your specific question: Yes, it seems to me that Yahweh was one of several gods, all together in a family dynasty, who at one point overthrew the existing hierarchy to proclaim himself the one true god, just as Zeus overthrew the Titans in the Greek myth.
This is spelled out pretty explicitly in the Gnostic creation stories, but there are many traces of it in Genesis as well. Perhaps this is why, in the Bible, God always favors the younger sons of his chosen people instead of the eldest, rightful heirs to the family blessing (Seth over Cain, Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, etc.) He will even allow them to resort to subterfuge to get it. It's a family tradition. And yes, I think the patriarchs were "children of God", quite literally. You can choose to see Yahweh as an alien if you wish.
For more on Tracy and her work, visit the Quintessential Publications website.