Archive for Alien

Symbols, Part 8: Serpents

Posted in All, Health, Humor, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2010 by marushiadark

“If you see a snake, just kill it – don’t appoint a committee on snakes.” ~ Ross Perot.

That sentiment may be practical advice, but it serves to illustrate how serpents get a pretty bad rep, both in ancient and modern society.

A number of stories depict snakes as villainous, conniving, and evil.  Medusa and Grendel’s Mother are classic examples.  Indiana Jones can face down Nazis Occultists but is afraid of snakes.  Interpretations of passages from Genesis and Revelation equated the serpent with Satan.  We refer to liars as “snakes” and to fake remedies as “snake oil.”  And a cursory glance on Google will reveal a number of quotes about snakes (like the one above) in which the general advice is to kill them right away.

It would seem that most people throughout the ages don’t like snakes, nor do they take the time to educate themselves about snakes.

There is practical reason to be cautious of snakes, since a number of species are, in fact, poisonous.  But by and large, they are not something to fear.  Most of the top ten deadliest snakes are located in Australia, and then others such as the boa constrictor or the anaconda do not appear commonly in most people’s lives.  Snakes, like most animals, operate based on survival instinct.  They eat when they are hungry and attack when they feel threatened.  If you leave them be, even the deadly ones, you’ve nothing to worry about.  Snakes are deserving of our adoration and respect, like every other creature.

“I’m fascinated by the concept of snake-handling.  When you read about the Pentecostal snake-handlers, what strikes you most is their commitment.” ~ Lucinda Williams

The Pentecostal tradition of snake-handling comes from an interpretation of the ending of Mark 16.  The idea of snake-handling, in a Christian perspective, is most likely because of the association of snakes with Satan, and that to wield power over snakes is to overcome the power of the devil.

An interesting idea, except that it is believed by a number of scholars that the end of Mark 16 is, in fact, a later addition to the Gospel to make it more like The Gospel of Luke.

Still, the Pentecostals are not the first group to practice snake-handling.  Many people keep snakes as pets and we are all familiar with the late Steve Irwin and his famous handling of snakes and other deadly creatures.  Such traditions of snake handling go back many thousands of years, in fact.

“Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.’ ” ~ Genesis 3:4

Genesis 3:1 is the first appearance of the serpent in the Bible.  Here, it is depicted as “more cunning than any beast of the field that the Lord God had made.”  The word “cunning,” typically has a derogatory connotation associated with deceit.  However, it can also mean clever, skillful, sharp, or shrewd.  So the serpent was the most intelligent creature God had made up until that point.  Depending on which interpretation you choose to follow, this may or may not include man and angels.  Lucifer was allegedly the most intelligent being in existence next to God, but he was not a “beast of the field.”  Man also was not a “beast of the field,” but the serpent may have been smarter than man, since it convinced Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge.

Either way, the serpent is very intelligent, but is it malicious?  Some people blame the serpent for costing us paradise.  Certainly the God of the Old Testament does, since he punishes the serpent by removing its limbs and making it subservient to man.

Others see the serpent as a savior, bestowing on mankind the gifts of knowledge and reason.  If anything, the Tree of Knowledge helped to enable our free will by making us more aware of our reality.  And although Adam and Eve did ultimately get cast out of Eden, it could be said that the serpent never really lied.  God said Adam and Eve would surely die if they ate the fruit.  But the fruit isn’t what killed them, and God still had a chance to change his mind if he wanted to.  So one could say it was God’s decision to cut them off from the Tree of Life that ultimately killed them.

Some people believe that the human race is either descended from, or is the creation of, serpent-like alien beings, equated with the Annunaki of Mesopotamian mythology.  Many of the Biblical stories derive from earlier Sumerian and Babylonian myths, of which the Annunaki are a part.  Certainly the “sons of god” from Genesis and the numerous references to “we” and “us” suggests a pantheon of beings, not just one alone, and the behavior of God in the Old Testament suggests he came to earth quite frequently.  Either way, if there is any truth to the serpent alien story, are they benevolent or malevolent?  Who’s to say?

In Jewish mythology, Lilith – the first wife of Adam – was created at the same time as Adam.  She is often depicted carrying a serpent or sometimes equated with the serpent of Genesis.  Lilith is viewed as different things by different people.

The two most prevalent interpretations are that she is either a woman who got a bad deal for being the first feminist, or a demonic seductress.  Quite an extreme, wouldn’t you say?

Lilith also appears in Babylonian mythology and is often equated with the owl, another creature related to wisdom.  The owl can see in the dark, meaning it has secret knowledge of things that the sun does not reveal.  The owl is also a nocturnal predator.  So again, are we to trust the creature or not?

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.  Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.”  ~ Matthew 10:16-17.

Martin Luther King was a minister before he became a civil rights leader.  In one of his sermons, he talks extensively about what Jesus meant by the above passage.  In his view, to be “wise as serpents” is a good thing and means to be tough of mind.  To think things through, to be logical, and self-determinant and to not just accept what so-called authorities tell us, but to instead think for ourselves and be our own judges, our own authorities.  Then, to be “harmless as doves,” is to be soft-hearted, compassionate, and kind.  To see our brothers as ourselves and to bring freedom to all.

The serpent ties these ideas together in another religious leader, Moses.

In the book of Exodus, God tells Moses to throw his staff on the ground.  It turns into a snake and Moses is very afraid.  But after working with God, he later uses this same power against the Egyptian priests to liberate his people from the tyrannical pharaoh.

Moses is not the only religious figure to be linked to a staff and snake, however.  In Greek mythology, Asclepius was the god of medicine and healing, and the son of Apollo (the sun god).  Asclepius is also associated with the 13th sign of the Zodiac: Ophiuchus, the symbol for which is a snake coiled around a rod.  This is the proper symbol for healing, as can be seen on the Emergency Medical Service’s Star of Life, the EMS being an organization that saves many lives.  Interestingly, the symbol chosen by medical institutions is the caduceus, which is a symbol of Hermes, guide of the dead and protector of merchants, gamblers, thieves, and liars.  That should tell you a lot, right there.

Also, I mentioned before that alternative remedies are often referred to as “snake oil.”  I wonder what would happen if it were one day discovered that snake oil actually cures cancer.  Think about that for a while.

All in all, snakes are complex creatures.  Perhaps the real truth is that snakes have two sides to them, like all of us: a dark side and a light side.  One side cold and calculating, the other bright and helpful.  One side seductive and deadly, the other side sensual and enlightening.

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U if for UFO

Posted in All, Miscellaneous, Science with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2010 by marushiadark

“I think that the fundamental mistake that many scientists make is that they assume that extraterrestrial beings are only 100-200 years beyond our civilization, not thousands, millions of years beyond ours.” ~ Michio Kaku

If I had to name my top five favorite scientists of all time, they would probably be: Nikola Tesla, John Hagelin, Carl Sagan, Fred Allen Wolf, and Michio Kaku.  Einstein would be lucky to make top ten in my book.

When I was young, I used to watch The History Channel and The Discover Channel all the time.  This was back before Nazis, 2012, Global Warming, 9-11, UFOs, The Da Vinci Code, Nostradamus, and Jesus documentaries comprised 90% of all the shows on those two channels.  During that time, UFO documentaries were few and far between, but also really good and informative, even inspiring.

One of the earliest videos on aliens and UFOs that I can recall seeing was Carl Sagan explaining the Drake Equation.  Shortly after seeing it, they stopped airing Carl Sagan’s documentaries and started showing newer stuff.

The opening quote of this article comes from one such program on the possibility of extraterrestrial life.  In that show, physicist and futurist Michio Kaku explains his rather unique perspective on the matter, which was very memorable to me and has stayed with me ever since.  Between Sagan, Kaku, and similar documentaries on UFOs, I became intensely fascinated with the subject.

Around my freshman year of college, I began to get into more of the conspiratorial aspects of UFOs.  The first three documentaries of that nature I ever saw were:

  1. Evidence: The Case for NASA’s UFO, by David Sereda
  2. Behold a Pale Horse, by William Cooper
  3. The Disclosure Project, headed by Steven Greer

To this day, I still rely on them when introducing people to the subject of UFOs and alien life.

“At any given time, there are approximately 1500 aliens on this planet … Humans, for the most part, don’t have a clue.” ~ Kay, Men in Black

I consider it fortunate that I had such a well-grounded baseline for the topic of UFOs and aliens, because there are a lot of cooks, fakes, and hoaxes out there.  From that point on, my mind was wide open to the idea and I continued to learn about aliens and UFOs from the likes of as Bob Lazar, George Carlin, UFO Hunters, Crop Circles, and many others.

In particular, I find Lazar’s accounts to be the most revelatory, since he actually worked on reverse engineering and testing the propulsion of the alien craft.  His findings on the use of eka-bismuth (or should we say vibranium?) in a miniature particle accelerator to create a gravitational wave distortion (possibly interfering with superlight waves) for propulsion and unwired electrical power makes a great deal of sense and could be the answer to many problems on earth involving energy and space travel.

Of course, I can’t really think of anyone both powerful enough and caring enough that has the type of funding necessary to build such devices while also wanting humanity to have them.

“We’re not hosting an intergalactic kegger down here.” ~ Zed, Men in Black

For a long time, I believed that human beings might be entirely behind the UFO phenomenon and that the saucers were simply secret man-made crafts.  But more recently, I think they are actually alien in origin and it’s only been since the mid-twentieth century that humans have attempted to reverse engineer them.

Obviously, a lot of questions are raised about why they don’t show up, why haven’t we seen them yet, and so forth.  For every question out there, there’s also a viable answer.  Why haven’t we seen them?  Maybe we’re not sure what we’re looking for.  Maybe some governmental body is actively keeping us in the dark.  Why don’t they come down and visit?  Maybe we have nothing to offer them that is of interest to them (like Michio Kaku’s analogy of ants next to a highway).  Maybe it’s like Star Trek where-in they have a prime directive to not interfere with planets that haven’t reached a certain state yet.

Quite frankly, I think it’s a greater mystery is why they would come and visit us than why they wouldn’t, given how backwards and self-destructive our species tends to be.

We need to put ourselves in their shoes.  Maybe, in continuing to fight amongst ourselves, we simply haven’t earned the right to interact with them.  Not yet, anyway.  As agent Kay from Men in Black puts it, “Human thought is so primitive, it’s looked upon as an infectious disease in some of the better galaxies.”  If we were the ones traveling to another planet, would we readily immerse ourselves in harmful contagions if we had no way of shielding ourselves from them?  Think about it.

And if they had any hand in creating us, maybe we’re just a failed and forgotten experiment; or, at best, maybe they’re just on the other side of the glass sitting patiently observing us to see what we will do next.

“Fifteen hundred years ago, everybody knew the earth was the center of the universe … and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that people were alone on this planet.  Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.” ~ Agent Kay

Generally speaking, people tend to pigeon-hole extraterrestrial activity into one of two categories: enlightening or destructive.  They’re either angels here to save us or demons here to enslave us, and we portray them as such in our fictions.

I think such dualistic thinking is disingenuous to them and to us.  It fails to take into account the potentially broad spectrum of possibilities.  Just as not every human being can be classified as hero or villain, so too do I feel that not every ghost, alien, or other such entity can be classified as belonging to either one of two categories.  More likely, I think there are good aliens, bad aliens, and indifferent aliens.  Some wish to do us harm, some wish to help us, and some don’t really care either way; they’re just trying to make a living for themselves and fulfill their basic needs and be happy, just like us.

The only thing that really differentiates us from them is that their origins, technology, culture, customs, and possibly their physical forms are unlike ours.  Otherwise, if they are intelligent, sentient beings, it’s reasonable to assume that they have minds and souls not unlike ours.

What those differences actually are and which ones are good and which are bad, I don’t really know.  I’m sure some probably look like greys and some look like us and some may even look like lizards.  But until they arrive, your guess is as good as mine.  I await with baited breath the same as anyone else.