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Now I See ... | Book reviews in the spirit of Franz Brentano - Part 2
April 17th, 2014 | Tags: , , , , ,
Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK

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By Gerald Posner
A Doubleday Anchor Book, 1994, originally published by Random House in 1993 Buy this Book!

Case Closed is a significant work in twentieth-century history that persuasively argues for the “case” of Lee Harvey Oswald (1939 – 1963) as “the lone assassin” of President John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963) in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, November 22, 1963. Author Gerald Posner, a former Wall Street lawyer turned investigative journalist, presents a biography of Oswald that brings this troubled, dangerous, sociopathic individual to life, detailing evidence with new perspectives in a compelling way that, while not perfect, are nevertheless fuller and more convincing than the inconclusive conspiracy theories presented in Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why (2005),by Gerald D. McKnight, professor emeritus of history at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. Comments and quotations from Breach of Trust are offered in this review because the book scholastically propounds conspiracy theories while steadfastly rejecting the single assassin conclusion of the Warren Commission, a conclusion first made public in September of 1964. The truth may actually be found in-between the two sides of the argument: Oswald acted alone but was moved to actions by a complex of violent unseen spiritual forces that functioned unconsciously within him. The recognition of the roles that these very real spiritual forces play in such tragic events is long overdue and there can be no satisfactory resolutions until these realities are revealed through spiritual cognition. More on the “case” for spiritual science will come later in this review.

From the back cover of the 1994 paperback edition of Case Closed: “The most authoritative work to date… gripping and convincing… likely to stand as the starting point for any future examination of Kennedy’s death.” – The Christian Science Monitor. “Unlike many of the 2,000 other books that have been written about the Kennedy assassination, Case Closed is a resolutely sane piece of work. More importantly [it] is utterly convincing in its thesis… fascinating and important… Case closed, indeed.” – Jeffrey Toobin, Chicago Tribune. However, books and videos indicating the matter is far from settled have continued to appear since 1994, although a fair number of these accounts can only be described as parasitic. One excellent internet site (address below) that presents the most important facts and controversies about this embroiled subject with simplicity and clarity can be recommended: The Kennedy Assassination, by John McAdams, 1995 – 2012. At the bottom of the home page is a link to the Photo Gallery, and under the section “Suspects and Other Folks,” there are two photos that are especially revealing: “Oswald at Friday Evening Newscast,” where Oswald appears to be in a shock of realization, and “Jack Ruby with Defense Attorney Melvin M. Belli,” where Ruby appears to be possessed by a demon.

From Case Closed, the most important preceding event pointing to Oswald as the lone assassin was his failed attempt, on April 10, 1963, to assassinate General Edwin A. Walker (1909 – 1993), then retired and residing in Dallas. General Walker was involved in right-wing politics and white supremacy causes, which reveals him to be nearly the polar opposite of JFK. Setting out in his resolve, Oswald left a note in Russian for his wife Marina that was later discovered by the FBI. The note gives her instructions in the event that he should be arrested or should not return home. “Marina starting shaking. ‘I couldn’t understand at all what can he be arrested for,’ she recalled. She was frantic by the time Oswald returned at 11:30. He was pale and out of breath from walking quickly. ‘I showed him the note and asked him, What is the meaning of this? …And he told me not to ask him any questions,’ she said. ‘He only told me that he had shot at General Walker.’ She was horrified. She asked him about the rifle, and he said he had buried it.” Oswald was disgusted that his shot had missed, for he had planned the assassination of the “fascist” for two months. Of course, he followed the news accounts about the failed assassination, disappointed that there was nothing about it on the radio that evening, and later laughing heartily about errors in the newspaper reports. Posner adds in a footnote: “The House Select Committee utilized an advanced technique to subject the bullet [found badly damaged in Walker’s house] to neutron-activation tests, and determined the Walker slug was a Western Cartridge Company 6.5mm bullet, the same type of bullet, made by the same manufacturer, as that used later in President Kennedy’s assassination.” However, according to the McKnight book and scores of other publications, neutron-activation tests cannot provide absolute proof in these and in similar circumstances. Thus, with even the fact of Oswald’s note challenged by, e.g., Breach of Trust, it becomes necessary to rely solely on the evidence of Marina Oswald’s story. She did not initially reveal this story to the FBI, probably out of fear of incriminating herself. Later, what possible reason could she have for lying about anything like this?

Posner describes in detail the circumstances of the very dark destiny that led Oswald to the perfect time and place for the assassination, beginning with Oswald’s timely employment in mid-October with the Texas School Book Depository. The sixth floor southeast corner window of the Depository was situated just over the 120-degree turn from Houston onto Elm Street, a corner that had “an ideal, unobstructed view” of the motorcade route that had been selected earlier in the week for its convenience in enabling the Kennedys and other officials to arrive in time for a luncheon appointment. In addition, the Depository employees were also on their lunch hour, so the sixth floor was clear of witnesses to the extent that Oswald could stack up boxes so as to remain hidden and to prepare the support for his rifle. Oswald was unquestionably a “sharpshooter.” The endlessly debated question as to how many shots were fired from how many persons should have been resolved from this fact and from the ballistics evidence presented in Appendix A of Case Closed.

From the “Conclusion” of Breach of Trust: “After forty years the ‘who’ and ‘why’ of Dallas longs for an answer that cannot be given definitively and responsibly… The Warren Commission went through the motions of an investigation that was little more than an improvised exercise in public relations. The government did not want to delve into the heart of darkness of the Kennedy assassination because it feared what it might uncover: the brutal truth that Kennedy was a victim of deep divisions and visceral distrust over how to solve the “Castro problem,” and that his assassination was carried out by powerful and irrational forces within his own government.” The assassination of Robert Kennedy on June 6, 1968 has also raised many issues of possible conspiracy theories. As examples: Sirhan Sirhan was unaware of his actions and was programed by persons unknown; there was CIA involvement due to deep anger over what was seen as a betrayal by both Kennedy’s that led to the failure of the April 17, 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba.

Through the following quotations from Lecture One of the 1917 series of lectures on “The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness,” given by Rudolf Steiner during the chaos of World War I (all 14 lectures in this series are recommended), it can be seen that both Oswald as a lone assassin and the powerful and irrational forces unleashed due to the failure of humanity to develop spiritual cognition are responsible for the JFK tragedy. Combine these causes with the corruption and immorality rampant during this time period in multiple segments of society, including among those in the highest positions of the government, such as Lyndon B. Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover and Kennedy himself, and this leads to volatile, potentially explosive situations in human life and in society, as happened on November 22, 1963. The answer is the penetration of light, through spiritual cognition, into the “heart of darkness,” and this is not the responsibility of the government, nor is the failure to do so the fault of the government. This is the responsibility of every individual, and doubly so for political and religious leaders.

Chaos has arisen because reality is considered in an unspiritual way and the world of the spirit cannot be ignored with impunity. You may think it is enough to live with thoughts and ideas that are wholly derived from the physical world. It is what people generally think today, though this does not make it true. The most completely and utterly wrong idea humanity has ever had is — to put it simply — that the spirits will put up with being ignored. You may consider it egotistical and selfish on their part, but the terminology is different in their world. Egotism or not, the spirits take their revenge if they are ignored here on earth. This is a law, an iron necessity. One way to characterize the present time is to say that the present human chaos is the revenge of the spirits who have been ignored for too long. I have often said, both here and elsewhere: A mysterious connection exists between human consciousness and the destructive powers of decline and fall in the universe…

Anyone who knows the history of ideas of the last decades of the nineteenth and the first decades of the twentieth century also knows that people actually no longer knew how to use the term ‘spirit.’ It has been used to describe all kinds of things, but not the true spirit. Those souls therefore had no opportunity of knowing the spirit whilst here on earth and they have to take the consequences. Having gone through the gate of death and entered the world of the spirit, they are thirsting for — well, what are they thirsting for, these souls who lived in materialism here? They are thirsting for destructive powers in the physical world! Those are the dues and they must be paid.

There is no easy way of dealing with these things. If we want to know the realities in this sphere, we must acquire a feeling for what the ancient Egyptians called ‘iron necessity.’ Terrible as it may be, it was necessary that destruction should spread, for those who had gone through the gate of death were longing for the destructive powers in which they are able to live, seeing they did not receive what was due to them and had been deprived of spiritual impulses while on earth.

Just think how easy it is for some people to present their friends with an image of the region into which human beings enter when they have gone through the gate of death. Consider the unctuous sermons preached in the churches — with politicians now actually following the example of these sermonizers — and the facile notions people have of the world of the spirit, and you simply cannot help realizing how far removed from reality is the facile vanity of many of today’s leading figures. Compare the speeches of such leading figures — their lives show that they do anything but lead and that they are guided by all kinds of forces of which they are completely unconscious and which are not the right forces — compare this with what is really needed at the present time, and you will realize the immense gravity of the present situation.” – Review by Martha Keltz


The Kennedy Assassination, by John McAdams, 1995 – 2012

The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness, 14 Lectures by Rudolf Steiner, 1917.

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How the Grail Sites Were Found

How the Grail Sites Were Found

Werner Greub (Author),
Robert J. Kelder – Willehalm Institute Press – Amsterdam (Translator) Buy This Book!

The 13th century German poet-knight Wolfram von Eschenbach assures us that his famous Grail romance Parzival contains descriptions of historical events that took place eleven generations before his time, i.e. in the 9th century, exactly in the way he narrates them. The source for his material he describes as a certain “well-known master Kyot the Provençal”, thus not, as still generally is assumed, Perceval by the French poet Chrétien de Troyes that appeared some 20 years earlier. But because this enigmatic figure Kyot could, until now, not historically be identified, his existence has long been cast in doubt, and so it is widely assumed that Wolfram based Parzival on poetic justice. With respect to his Willehalm, an unfinished epic poem on the heroic exploits of the Franconian William of Orange, it is still generally believed that Wolfram’s source was the semi-historical folklore of the Aliscans, one of the many so-called Chansons de geste of the roving  troubadours of the south of France. At that time the troubadours were extolling the rather fantastic and pious deeds of this paladin of Emperor Charlemagne. One of the last protectors of Celtic or Grail Christianity, the paladin was declared in 1066 a patron saint of the knights by Pope Alexander II.

In one of his lectures on Christ and the Spiritual World: The Search for the Holy Grail , the Austrian-born founder of the science of the Grail, also known as Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), stated on January 1, 1914, that Kyot is no mere figment of a poet’s vivid imagination, but definitely a historical figure, who lived not in the 12th, as is still generally believed, but in the 9th century. In private conversations, moreover, he described the Arlesheim Hermitage – an old Celtic sacred landscape near the site of the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland – as the actual Grail area where Parzival had his eventful meetings with Trevrizent and Sigune, both of whom lived in seclusion as hermits not far from Wolfram’s Grail Castle Munsalvaesche, often mistakenly thought to be Montségur on the French side of the Pyrenees.

The above indications by Wolfram von Eschenbach and Rudolf Steiner motivated the Swiss-born anthroposophist and Grail researcher Werner Greub (1909-1997) to take Wolfram von Eschenbach’s words seriously, thereby succeeding, as it were, in bringing the Grail down to earth. Carefully following all of Wolfram’s manifold indications from the original Middle High German texts to the letter, and reading the landscape as a largely unspoiled script, he not only found Kyot to be none other than the medieval William of Orange, but also discovered, or rather decoded, most of the historic scenes of actions where – in the first half of the ninth century – most of the actual events in Parzival as well as Willehalm must have taken place in an area of what now is now called Alsace, Switzerland, Germany and France. This led Werner Greub to formulate his novel and controversial theory that Wolfram von Eschenbach is not only to be regarded as a great poet, but also as an exact chronicler of Parzival’s revolutionary inauguration as Grail king at Whitsun Saturday, May 12, 848 in the Grail castle Munsalvaesche located halfway up a hill on an ancient Roman quarry in the Arlesheim Hermitage. Wolfram’s references to various planetary constellations also turned out to be so exact that by means of extensive astronomical calculations the whole chronology of Parzival and, indirectly, that of Willehalm could be established.

As the title of this voluminous research report suggests, the emphasis lies not so much on the where but on the how. Werner Greub managed to depict his discovery of the Grail sites on various maps and in the geographical reality itself in such a manner that every scene of action can be represented and experienced step by step within the mind of the attentive reader. The reader is invited to make the next step of visiting the Parzival and Wilhelm geography in person in order to make an experiential assessment on the merits of this unique book that purports to be the hitherto considered legendary Grail tradition in a completely new light.

How The Grail Sites Were Found was first published under the title Wolfram von Eschenbach und die Wirklichkeit des Grals in 1974 by the Goetheanum, School for Spiritual Science founded by Rudolf Steiner in 1923 as the research and development center of the General Anthroposophical Society. It elicited such controversy that the second and third volumes of this projected Grail trilogy were never officially published. Due to these and other extenuating circumstances, it took 27 years for this book to be translated and first published as a ring-bound manuscript in English in 2001 and another 12 years before this first book edition could finally see the light of day. (A French edition was published as La Quête du Gral in 2002 and a Dutch translation Willem van Oranje, Parzival en de Graal by the Willehalm Institute Press in 2009.) Read more…

A Secret History of Consciousness

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By Gary Lachman (Author), Colin Wilson (Foreword)

Published by Lindisfarne Books (May 1, 2003) Buy this Book!

This book is essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand human consciousness. It is astounding to think that we explore the depths of the ocean and the outer reaches of space without putting a similar effort into exploring the true nature of the human mind. Perhaps I am expecting too much of those who have the resources for such exploration.

Machines may assist in identifying left and right brain, the activity of neurons and so forth, but they will never enlighten our understanding of perception, cognition and other facets of consciousness. Gary Lachman clearly explains how consciousness itself can unravel its mystery. He traces the ideas of many great minds and pulls them together in a way that makes it clear that human consciousness evolves and in particular, self-consciousness. Here lies the key; have we developed our own self-consciousness or do we still rely on group consciousness. Perhaps this idea holds a clue for our scientists.

Who better than Gary Lachman, the Science Writer, to scope human consciousness in the way he has in this book? The evolution of self-consciousness is in our face every day. How many young people die as they challenge themselves in extreme sports? How many people create unnecessary difficulties for themselves and what about the bizarre practice of self-harm.

Lachman makes this point when he writes: “[Colin] Wilson recognised that the attraction of inconvenience and living dangerously is not in the actual problems or challenges they present, but in the focus and concentration we bring to bear on meeting them. Heidegger and Gurdjieff hit the nail on the head when they said that the thought of one’s death can lead to an experience of “being” – the thought, not the actual confrontation.”

I will be referring back to this book often as I seek to understand the development of my own consciousness as well as the challenges that we face as a human race living in today’s world. – Review by Kristina Kaine

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June 7th, 2013 | Tags: , , , , , ,
The Pendle Zodiac

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By Thomas Sharpe
Spirit of Pendle Publishing, 2012 Buy this Book!

Thomas Sharpe (b. 1970) was born and lives in the area of Pendle, in the Rose County of Lancashire, in northern England. This area is well-known from the 1652 visit made by George Fox, a founder of the Quakers or Friends, during which, at a well on Pendle side, he had a mystical or Christic vision. As a result of this vision, Pendle has been strongly linked with the Quakers, and the well is called George Fox’s Well. A 2002 publication, The Lancashire Witches, Histories and Stories, edited by Robert Poole, is described as “the first major study of England’s biggest and best-known witch trial, which took place in 1612.”

The author first became open to clairvoyant perception in 1989, using a book by Carl Rider, Your Psychic Power: A Practical Guide to Developing Your Natural Clairvoyant Abilities. Rider’s book was based on exercises taken from Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment, by Rudolf Steiner. In response to a question, he wrote that the Carl Rider book “guided my clairvoyant imaginations, though without an adequate background of interpretation which a broader study of Anthroposophy would have provided.” He had been inspired by the work of Walter J. Stein and books on projective geometry, attended some lectures related to the work of Rudolf Steiner, studied Goethe’s spiritual science, and in 2008 began a study of Anthroposophy, partly to acquire a fundamental basis for his natural clairvoyance in relation to the geomantic work in Pendle. He made several valuable contributions to the 2011 publication of the Brunnen von Christus Group, The Writing of the Heart, Book II.

From the Preface: “The supposition of giant zodiacal effigies set around the Pendle landscape was originally illustrated through the unostentatious ‘Terrestrial Zodiacs in Britain: Nuthampstead and Pendle Zodiac’ (1976), by N. Pennick and R. Lord, Institute of Geomantic Research, Cambridge.” The author’s revision “is somewhat in the spirit of [William] Blake — a documented lifetime’s journey exploring the Pendle landscape, charting my cumulative visions and experiential encounters with the super-sensory world. The panorama that unfolds will genially inaugurate the reader into a mythical landscape, complete with landscape zodiac, sacred geometry and geomantic alignments.” From the beginning of the first chapter: “My background is local to Pendle, having been born under the presence of Pendle Hill, as viewed from the west-facing windows of the house in which I grew up. My early interests included art, with a leaning towards the natural sciences, particularly ornithology and conchology. Therefore, along with a comprehensive knowledge of the genera of flora and fauna, I can identify most native bird species. Then of course, I spent my time illustrating these through artistic media.” This authentic and priceless little book — 65 pages in length, including 15 illustrations and an extensive “Bibliography & References” section — transports us to the serenity and mystical green beauty of the English countryside, and wastes no words at all. The chapters are short, yet the content is profound, and repeated readings bring further understanding. The first chapter is titled “Etheric Clairvoyance,” and, in addition to offering essential biographical information, it describes subtle awakenings within the spiritual world, especially the Elemental world. The second chapter describes an encounter, in a lucid dream, with “The Lady of the Well,” who is perceived inside a hollow Faery mound. “Her disposition was both generous and kind and also somewhat homely and house-proud. Bearing no sign of old age she was not young either, rather ageless.” Read more…

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Ghost On The Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire

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By James Romm
Published by Alfred A. Knopf, Borzoi Books, New York, 2011 Buy this Book!

James Romm is the pen name of James H. Ottaway, Jr., a Professor of Classics at Bard College, New York. “The story of Alexander’s conquests is known to many readers,” writes the author in the Preface, “but the dramatic and consequential sequel to that story is much less well-known. It is a tale of loss that begins with the greatest loss of all, the death of the king who gave the empire its center … The era that followed came to be defined by the absence of one towering individual, just as the previous era had been defined by his presence. It was as though the sun had disappeared from the solar system… The brightest celestial bodies in this new, sunless cosmos were Alexander’s top military officers, who were also in some cases his closest friends. Modern historians often refer to them as ‘the Successors’ (or ‘Diadochs,’ a Greek word meaning virtually the same thing). But that term is anachronistic for the first seven years after Alexander’s death, when none of these men tried to succeed the king; they vied for his power but not his throne.” Members of the Macedonian royal family, the Argeads, could only have assumed the throne, although by 308 B.C. the era of the Argead dynasty was well and truly over.

Ghost on the Throne is a clear and accurate historical account that chronologically details the deadly conflicts among both the military generals who had been appointed by Alexander as satraps of huge regional areas (as well as Perdiccas, in charge in Babylon), and the members of the Macedonian royal family, which included Olympias, Alexander’s mother, and Rhoxane and her son, Alexander IV. Rhoxane and her son died around 313 B.C., probably from poisoning. On page 205 of the book the author summarizes the extent of the tragic account: “The pattern of mitosis that had beset the empire since Alexander’s death seemed to be recurring without end. First the royal family had split into two factions and designated two kings to take Alexander’s place; then the designs of Perdiccas had brought a split between two wives; finally all of Asia had been split by the falling-out of Perdiccas and Antipater, and by the war those two had handed down to their surrogates, Eumenes and Antigonus…”

For this history of the wars for Alexander’s crown and empire, author James Romm lists his most important sources in the Preface, beginning with the 2002 publication by Brian Bosworth, a “masterly study,” The Legacy of Alexander: Politics, Warfare, and Propoganda Under the Successors. The sources include the firsthand account of Hieronymous of Cardia (a Greek soldier of fortune) that was lost but “mined for information” by Arrian of Nicomedia in the second century A.D.; the first century B.C. account of Diodorus Siculus; the account of Pompeius Trogus, a Roman writer; the Lives of Plutarch from the late first and early second century A.D.; and the Notes of Photius, the ninth century A.D. patriarch of Constantinople. There is an extensive Bibliography, maps, illustrations, and 31 pages of Notes that will leave the reader confident in the accuracy of the outer or objective history. The author also writes that he has examined more unconventional or subjective accounts, such as those by “Athenaeus, collector of gossip and anecdotes, and the anonymous author of The Lives of the Ten Orators.” The Introduction that follows the Preface describes the great archaeological discovery by Manolis Andronikos in Vergina (Northern Greece) in 1977-79, a discovery that has been confirmed to be a Great Tumulus contemporary with Alexander, containing the remains of his relatives and close companions and possibly artifacts that belonged to Alexander himself. Read more…