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No. 1 2013

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mirage welcomes you to a cornucopia of cults, doctrines, auras, and aliens.

Head piece - Billie Towers


mirage editor Mischa Smith

contributors Signalstarr Nathalia Takeuchi Katie Eleanor

special thanks Robert de Niet Paul Tierney Oxygen Model Management Cory De King Louise Hall Stelios Chondros Natalie Shafii Sarah Francis Mirage Issue One mischasmith13@gmail.com 07825330342 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publishers. Š 2013 Mirage Magazine

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mirage contents 11 Crystals, Karma, and Questions 15 Signalstarr 19 The Rael World 29 Clonaid 31 Intergalactic Planetary Creatures 47 Leif Podhajsky 49 The Colours of an Aura 53 The Sides of Shamanism 59 Pablo Amaringo 61 The Healers 77 Nicky Mystik Lionel Williams - Scientific Love Affair - The End Is Near

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mirage In today’s world where religion is eroding and an increasing number of young people are abandoning the pews, it makes sense that we are looking elsewhere to fill the void once occupied by mainstream religion. With a dwindling number of churchgoers, there has been a dramatic increase in “nones” - people claiming no institutional religious affiliation. However, this new, non-committal attitude has lead to an influx of opportunists keen to step into Jesus’s sandals. This magazine will celebrate all the wacky and wonderful alternatives that have popped up in replace of traditional dogma. From UFO cults and aura readings to gulping psychoactive mountain brews. In today’s world of the abundant and self-indulgent, there’s a belief for everyone. Mirage will be unearthing these perplexing beliefs, mythologies and cultural customs, across the globe and throughout time. We aim to evoke your imagination, and offer you an insight into the mystifying realm of mythology and spirituality, fantasy and delusion.

“It has been said that when human beings stop believing in God they believe in nothing. The truth is much worse: they believe in anything.” Malcolm Muggeridge. Front Cover - Signalstarr Read more on page 15 Android Jones - Unify Madona

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crystals, karma, and questions

Vinyl Williams - Ultimate World

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In today’s world where we’re all doing our best to get by, we don’t take too kindly to “Spirituality is about personal experiences of a higher reality being told how to act. So it’s no surprise or dimension to life and living by the lessons learned therein” that traditional religion is on the decline, instead we’re creating our own doctrines to live by. One in five Britons now describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious”. It seems that we just can’t tether ourselves to one specific doctrine and we’re taking a more Phoebe Buffay approach to theology, looking like a bunch of quacks, who chanting Hare Krishna one week and proclaiming the power of crystals the next. So what claim they can cure terminal illness does spirituality encompass? It’s somewhat of a grey area, similar to the mood rings with the power within and wheatgrass. 90s kids wore it’s a hazy blur of hues. Its clear that the “spiritual, but not religious” But surely there’s more to it than group represents a major strand of belief across the west, but there are varying levels of this. Spiritualist Julia Woodcock finds spirituality, ranging from Pagans to devotees of chakra, and then there’s those who just spirituality stereotypes ignorant and like to meditate for a bit. Today, we seem to be deadlocked between the spiritual search old-fashioned. “Spirituality is about for enlightenment and the religious search for reward. But what are the consequences personal experiences of a higher reality for a society that is slowly abandoning age-old prophecies and principles in favour of or dimension to life and living by the dream catchers and scientology? lessons learned therein. Religion is blind faith in somebody else’s theories, and One of the biggest issues that traditionalists face with spirituality is its flagrant then conforming to their expectations vagueness. People from all areas of society have come forth to put in their two cents and demands,” argues Woodcock. worth, but if you’re searching for a precise summary of spirituality then little light Author of How To Be an Agnostic, Mark has been shed. Oliver Burkman, author of The Antidote, explains that spirituality, as Vernon believes that new age spirituality he believes, refers to things that are not expressible in words. “There’s an aspect of is a result of religion not conforming human experience that is non-conceptual,” he describes. Certain moments in our to modern values. “People associate lives can seem too esoteric to be explained in the traditional framework. A magnificent religious institutions with constraining sunset can be so transcendent it convinces us it must be the act of a higher being. But doctrines, and bad things that are done describing this “higher being” or “other world” is where the difficulty lies and most in the world,” describes Vernon. He notes of us just curtain around it, describing it simply as there being “something out there”. that for many, technology has become Colin Beckley, director of the Meditation Trust, says the only true spiritual experience God and we are more inclined to bow is silence. “Transcendence is often triggered by nature like being on a mountainside. down to the church of Apple, than to the But by learning to meditate you can bring that mountain experience to your flat in church of Christ. But whilst science can London,” he believes. But for others, spirituality is a byword for irrational beliefs and explain countless oddities and obscurities an anything goes attitude. Comedian, David Mitchell mockingly wrote of this tendency it cannot explain how many people feel in his Guardian column. “From reflexology to astrology, from ghosts to homeopathy, about their place in the universe. Many from wheat intolerance to ‘having a bad feeling about this’”. The spiritually aligned have are unable to explain their relationship often been the buck of jokes, and have felt the wrath of other public personas including with the universe, other than there is comedian Dara O’ Briain, and Columnist John Diamond. All of this has left spiritualists more to it than just money, work, family,

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and the rest of societal norms that are still set out for us. This attitude fits in with the modern message that feeling something can be more true and rewarding than having to abide by the dogma set down by formal institutions, such as Church’s Mosques and Synagogues. Alan Miller, Director of Thinkers Forum, has given more than just his two cents worth and chastises spirituality for it’s selfindulgent and nonchalant nature. “Those in the spiritual but not religious camp are peddling the notion that being independent – by choosing an ‘individual relationship’ to some concept of ‘higher power’, they are in a deeper, more profound relationship than the one that is coerced via a large institution, like a church,” mocks Miller. He notes that it is within the contexts of today’s “antibig, anti-disciple, anti-challenging climate” - in combination with a therapeutic turn in which everything can be resolved through addressing the inner existential being, that the spiritual but

on “pseudo-science.” Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, accepts that for many people it’s a way of saying “there must be more to life than this”. Spirituality can refer to everything from fully formed doctrines, to panpipes, crystals, pixies and yoga. Philosopher Julian Baggini writes in The Shrink & the Sage, that there is a yearning for something. “My short reply is that you can yearn for higher as much as you like, but what you’re yearning for ain’t there. But the desire won’t go away.” It’s this yearning that can lead to awkward questions, and could lead to damaging psychological problems. “You’re going on an interior mental journey. It’s risky to go and try and see things from a bigger perspective. The promise is tremendous but the journey can be very painful.” explains Baggini. This is supported by recent research from University College London, that suggests that the spiritually aligned are more susceptible to mental illness problems, such as anxiety or depression, compared to

“The spiritual but not religious reflects the ‘me’ generation of self-obsessed, truth-is-whatever-you-feel-it-to-be thinking” not religious outlook has flourished. “The spiritual but not religious reflects the ‘me’ generation of self-obsessed, truth-is-whatever-you-feel-it-to-be thinking, where big, historic, demanding institutions that have expectations about behavior, attitudes and observance and rules are jettonised yet nothing positive is put in replacement.” snaps Miller. Protestant pastor and Writer of When “Spiritual But Not Religious” is Not Enough, Lillian Daniels voices her frustration at this self-styled spirituality. “There is nothing challenging about having deep thoughts all by oneself. What is interesting is doing this work in community, where other people might call you on stuff or, heaven forbid, disagree with you,” notes Daniels. She claims that life is richer when your life is with God, not with a “tradition that you invented all for yourself”. Those that do choose to play by their own rules and align themselves with spirituality rather than the conventional faiths that exist in our multicultural, hyphenated world often go for a smorgasbord of pick and mix choices. “A bit of yoga here, a zen idea there, a quote from Taoism and a Kabbalah class, and maybe some feng shui but not generally a reading and appreciation of The Bhagavard Gita, or the Qu’ran.” explains Miller. Brian Draper of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity argues that whilst it’s “really fantastic” that people want to see how they fit into the big picture, there’s a plethora of beliefs and many are built

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religious, agnostic, or atheist people. Any phenomenon that can’t fit into a cultural compartment brings anxiety, and it’s the refusal by spiritualists to make a decision or offer a solid reason for existence that adds to the stereotype that spiritualists are lazy, fence-sitters, simply wanting to experience nice things, without having to think about making a decision. But can it really be that bad to remain unattached and open to the abundance of ideas that are offered to us? Their “belonging to none, but partaking in all attitude” allows spiritualists the opportunity to try out what works for them, instead of just taking religion as gospel, and never thinking to question these beliefs.

It’s all in the power of the crystal

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signalstarr

“Coming into view is the indigenous prophecy - prophecies carved on rocks, etched in temples, choreographed in sacred dances, and beaded on story belts over thousands of years…” This mystical account conjures images of Amazonian landscapes covered in mysterious botanicals, burning suns setting on hot land, and trance dances by frantic shamans sheathed in animal skin. But for London-based graphic artist Nick Stewart Hoyle aka Signalstarr this paints a more futuristic picture. Hoyle has borrowed the description from sci-fi documentary Star Ancestors to describe his very own creative divination, “Skywatchers”. The self-proclaimed “traverser of the etheric” sits across from me, his dark dishevelled hair lies around his shoulders and a small pendant rests against his chest, only visible due to a few loose buttons. The man works three days a week in fashion, and it’s evident. Silver and turquoise bangles adorn his wrists and there’s an air of 70’s psychedelic rock star; I put it down to the cowboy boots and all black ensemble. Despite admitting this is his first interview he readily explains other worlds, sci-fi films, graphic novels and his days in indie prog-rock band Black India. As well as the approaching extra terrestrials – “it’s a matter of time,” states Hoyle. The 31 year old Cape Town native only recently morphed into his mystical avatar Signalstarr, but since then he has acquired some devoted admirers. “I got this guy from Texas who was ringing me up and he was just like ‘you’re my favourite artist man, I need you in my life, stuff that you’re making its like my ticket out of here,’” mimics Hoyle, complete with thick Southern accent. He explains that such conversations, albeit a bit surreal, serves as reassurance for him. “I’m kind of doing what I’m supposed to be doing, answering my calling,” muses Hoyle. Signalstarr’s mesmerising images evoke retro nostalgia and as a child of the eighties he cites The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Never Ending Story as inspiration for his penchant for depicting futuristic vistas, pixelated mysticism and swirling psychedelia. “I think when you’re that young your mind doesn’t really know what to make of all this outside stimulation, but I just remember those films really touching something,” recalls Hoyle.

Escapism serves as a chief catalyst for his work and allows the viewer to retreat to other worlds; higher planes of spirituality and childhood fantasies of cruising through nebulas atop shiny silver aircrafts. Signalstarr explains that the literature he absorbed as a child such as the futuristic work of sci-fi author, Erich von Daniken, never really went away. Instead he has clung to the fantasia of his childhood years and used his artwork as a means of transporting back. “I think the older you get, the weight of real life starts to weigh down, and you realise that you’re just part of this process, this machine,” he recites. The new age designer explains that it’s this mentally that has lead him to grasp the magic that continually moves further and further away. There’s a lot of nostalgia, as well as a colourful cornucopia of influences including the utopian pastel pictures of French artist Jean Giraud Moebius, an artist who has heavily influenced Signalstarr along with visual

“I got this guy from Texas who was ringing me up and he was just like ‘you’re my favourite artist man, I need you in my life, stuff that you’re making its like my ticket out of here’”

Signalstarr - Ae-Dena

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look at your stuff on acid’ I haven’t done it yet,” he admits. The enthusiastic trippers have elaborated the animated nature of Signalstarr’s psychedelic work in which “everything comes alive!” Signalstarr admits to looking forward to the day when acid and art meet. “Maybe it’ll all make sense, maybe it’ll open Stargate. Stargate is a good movie as well, I remember when that came out and I was like, now we’re getting somewhere.” he elaborates, excitedly explaining the plot to the cult classic. As an alien aficionado Signalstarr happily chats about extra-terrestrial captures at Roswell, the illusive “Greys” and the allies of humanity he believes visit our tiny planet. “You know what’s really weird? The fact that America gets most of these UFO sightings, like statically how many happen in America, that’s weird, that’s very weird,” questions Hoyle. I get the impression this is a topic he regularly ponders, as he explains theories such as aliens frequenting places of power, including the hub of American alien activity, Area 51. “There’s been many stories of UFO’s turning up and actually shutting down weapon bases and turning them off, they’re almost here to protect us from ourselves and that’s a really interesting concept,” contemplates Hoyle. “I can imagine aliens arriving tomorrow and everybody worshipping them or bowing down and being like ‘saviours of the race we’ve been waiting for you,’ and we’d have no idea what they really were” wonders Hoyle.

“I can imagine aliens arriving tomorrow and everybody worshipping them or bowing down and being like ‘saviours of the race we’ve been waiting for you,’ and we’d have no idea what they really were” futurist and Blade Runner designer Syd Mead. “I would really love to say my work is a mixture between that other worldly alien place that Mobius created, and a sort of futuristic interpretation of the future that Syd Mead was.” longs Hoyle. There’s a journey behind the ethereal artwork that is unmistakable, Signalstarr’s multifaceted designs have an intricacy that cannot easily be replicated even amongst the barrage of novice designers that bombard sites like Tumblr and Instagram. “Everyone who has a vague inkling of how to work Photoshop and can put some geometry to some clouds thinks they can now make this kind of stuff,” laughs the master of the metaphysical. Each image engages the viewer in a different way and you are transported to different realms as you scroll through his gallery, which serves as an index of the ontological. The aptly named “portal” collection allows you to escape into different domains and as the artist himself explains, this has taken people on incredible trips. “I’ve had friends that have taken acid and they’ve told me ‘Nick you really should

Whilst his admirers may flee to an imaginary land, Signalstarr retreats to sacred sights and pyramid complexes; such as Egypt, where he spent December 21st with a collective from the trippy hippie Burning Man festival. DMT dazes then took place as Hoyle partied on the dusty desert terrain of the Giza Plateau adjacent to the ancient pyramids, to celebrate the supposed dawning of a new age, as prophesied by Mayan civilisations. With the electro-house of Pilotpriest acting as a soundtrack to Signalstarr’s creations, he looks forward to experimenting with animal psychedelia. “Natural prints within nature you’ll never ever be able to fault that design. I’ll never own that, but it is mine to retell in a different way,” enthuses the flourishing designer. Other than reappropriating safari prints and awaiting visiting friends for a heavy night in central London - it is a Friday after all, Signalstarr considers the arrival of intergalactic beings from his brimming Dalston studio whilst working in a psychedelic flurry of faraway landscapes, folding vistas and technicolor trance. Signalstarr - Beyond 2000

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the rael world What if, out of the thousands of alleged UFO sightings that are reported every year, one person, one singular individual, actually met the occupant of one of these UFOs? Well such a man exists. Claude Vorilhon, renamed “Rael” by his outer-

during their 40-year existence. According to Rael’s book The Message Given to Me by Extra Terrestrials, the former journalist and failed singer-cum-racing car driver was on his way to work when an impulse saw him drive to a nearby volcano. Here, he says, he was contacted by an extra terrestrial being who emerged from a flying saucer. Said creature proceeded to explain (in fluent French) that humans were created in laboratories by beings of another planet, known as the Elohim, which translates as “those who came from the sky,” in ancient Hebrew. Vorilhon was told to spread the word of the Elohim on earth and to prepare for their return with the creation of an Elohim Embassy. He describes the beings as being a little over a metre tall, with pale green skin like that of a jaundice sufferer, almond shaped eyes and long dark hair. In 1973 Rael held a conference in Paris where he founded the movement. Today Raelianism is considered the largest UFO based religion in the world and has reportedly funded Rael’s lavish lifestyle and love of racing cars.

“His Holiness caresses the soft, creamy shoulders of a young female member as a largely male audience excitedly watch from the side lines”

planetary pals, claims to hold the secret to the history of life on Earth as well as the answers for humanity’s future.

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THE GOLDEN AGE

Whether your interests lie in ancient history, modern science, UFOs, religious scriptures or sci-fi, Raelianism has something for you. From cloning babies to reconstructing mutilated clitoris’s and telepathically communicating with extra-terrestrials on Sundays, the Raelian Movement allows you to dip your probing fingers into many mystical pies.

Rael speaks with a hushed and honeyed voice, a garden of flushed roses sit in the soft background. His hair is scraped into a trademark topknot and a gleaming medallion hangs from his collared neck as he stairs unblinkingly into the eye of the webcam. A recent campaign video demonstrates the attraction to Raeliansm as an abundance of attractive young Raelians frivol in varying states of ecstasy. They partake in performances, enjoy Burlesque shows, rejoice upon the arrival of their self-proclaimed prophet and are seen in the midst of sensual pleasure. “His Holiness” caresses the soft, creamy shoulders of a young female member as a largely male audience excitedly watch from the side lines.

Ranked number one on newser.com’s “Top 10 Crazy Cults”- three places ahead of the Manson Family, the Raelians, which coincidently rhymes with aliens, have garnered staggering media attention

Since 1973, Claude Vorhilon has convinced an alleged 40,000 + international followers he is the son of a French mother and an alien god, that Jesus is his brother and that he is a prophet akin to Mohammed and Moses. “Now is the time to stop believing, and begin to understand,” proclaims Rael from billboards, car stickers and viral videos broadcast worldwide.

Bob Eggleton - Retro Rocket


SEX, CLONES, AND UFO’S Initially they can give the impression of the best liberal activists around - they promote sex-positive feminism, condoms, masturbation, birth control, and a worldwide movement called GoTopless that campaigns for women’s right to go topless should they wish. They also advocate genetically modified foods, technological advancements, and the futuristic tenet that humanity is on the path to surpassing traditional limitations set down by DNA and the inevitability of death. But for all their claims of free love, light and truth, they are an organisation littered with accusations of sexual exploitation, fascist ideals, manipulating members, and suppressing inquisitiveness. “Don’t speak unless what you have to say is more beautiful than silence,” imposes Rael. They have been accused of using pretty female Raelian’s to recruit lonely, estranged men by allegedly boasting their revolving bedroom door policy. “Sensual meditation sessions” are compulsory for members, which according to two Wired journalists, amounts to “beautiful Raelian women indoctrinating Trekkies through sex”. Unsurprisingly this ethos of abundant frivolous sex draws a mass of males to the group. The good news for any futuristic fantasist is that Rael insists that soon enough, endlessly compliant robots known as “nanobots” will sexually service us all. The bad news for foodies is that around the same time, (yet to be specified by Rael) “faecal matter will be reused and recycled into tomorrow’s food, along with the precious minerals extracted from our urine,’ claims the space-age king in his book, Yes to Human Cloning.

“The Raelian Movement stores the member’s frontal bone and this can eventually be used to clone those individuals who have helped to awaken humanity towards the Golden Age”

Speaking to the leader of the UK Raelian Movement, Glen Carter, he assures there is no initiation. Except for an apostasy letter to be sent to your previous church denouncing their beliefs, and a small cell transmission ceremony. The ceremony that can only take place on four “Holy”

At 67 Rael still enjoys posing for photographs with his nubile, topless disciples and in 2004 he was snapped with a kindred spirit; Hugh Heffner. The harem of bunnies and angels came together in a bizarre culmination of cultism and eroticism for the June issue of the saucy publication. Many more of the leader’s personal preferences have mutated into supposed political stances and in 2008 the group launched Go Topless Day. Every August as Women’s Equality Day looms, topless Raelian women take to the streets, in the name of justice while men are encouraged to protest the hypocrisy by wearing bras or bikini tops. Raelian Spokeswoman Nadine Gary says this battle for equality will need both men and women to

participate in order for it to succeed. “Men who participate in the rallies will be given bras, bikini tops and pasties,” she confirms. Surely given the promise of buxom pro-sex feminists marching against this “egregious miscarriage of justice”, as Raelian Lara Terstenjak calls it, men will no doubt be falling over themselves to get to the tit-tape queue. Unsurprisingly this has been the case for the past five years of playful protesting, but Gary put’s this down to female social conditioning. “Women are starting to contact us, but they’ve been repressed for so long that they’re just starting to speak up,” muses Gary. Fortunately Raelian’s are programmed not to be jealous, which is just as well given the bed-hopping shenanigans that they’ve become synonymous with. They are taught that, if they are truly happy with themselves, they will want their partner to be happy, and if happiness means the partner must sleep around, then the partner should be allowed to do so. While Rael admittedly copulates with many of his female followers, the ewes in his flock are apparently not required to perform sex acts on their messiah. However, Wonjune Lee, founder of raelian.com an online site and forum for ex-Raelians, claims this is far from true. Lee states that the “Angel Condo” in Valcourt Canada, is used exclusively for the prophet to bed young Raelian “Angels”. “They have to buy their own meal, yet, fine French wine is free of charge to get drunk,” declares Lee. The disgruntled ex-Raelian wanted a medium to voice his anguish at some of the disgraceful activities of the cult king. After being recruited as part of the Korean Raelian movement in 1998 Lee was an active member despite refusing to donate 10% of his income, as is expected

days, entails a higher-ranking Raelian plunging his hand into a bowl of water and then holding it against the forehead of the new member. This will apparently telepathically link you to the Elohim, which will be handy given the weekly telepathic conversations you’ll be having with them. “It’s a bit like sending an email – or even better, an email with an attached MP3 music file,” describes Carter. The forehead is used due to its apparent cleanliness, and sanctity from the mutating drugs that run riot around the rest of your body. It is also the cleanest part of your DNA, and the happiness centre of the brain, which is nice. Not so nice, are cultists hacking away at it with a notched pizza cutter once you’ve canned it, all in the name of life preservation. “The Raelian Movement stores the member’s frontal bone and this can eventually be used to clone those individuals who have helped to awaken humanity toward the Golden Age,” states the welcome pack. Unsurprisingly there have been “unfortunate outcomes,” due to family members “disrespecting the will of the deceased,” explains Carter. Fortunately these guys are always one step ahead of sceptical relatives and have now formed a document to accompany the will, setting out the dying wishes of Raelian’s, so that should clear things up. The Raelian movement is an atheistic religion with “no god, no supernatural,” claims Dominic Marsic, a soon to be Raelian Bishop. He also believes that “within the decade we will be able to travel to new solar systems and discover new planets.” In The Message, Rael sets about debunking many, if not all, of the worlds religions whilst weaving new concepts into the biblical account. Vorilhon’s virulent anti-Catholicism has also extended to stunts such as the distribution of condoms outside Catholic schools. Another example of the movement’s dedicated political endeavours saw the Raelian’s transform their symbol from a swastika inside the Star of David, to the 6-pointed star often related to occultism, inside a hexagon. The idea was to improve relations with Israel and to persuade the government to let them build an embassy for the Elohim in Jerusalem. The symbol has since morphed into a galaxy-swirl pattern embedded in the Judaic star, before reverting back to the original swastika-Star of David design, well we all know fashion is cyclical. Rael speaking at a Canadian Seminar

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of Raelian members. “Since I observed where the donated money is being used, but I bought a lot of books for diffusion purpose” – which he has since burnt in a camp fire. After 11 dedicated years, Lee set about investigating Rael after a series of misdemeanours lead him to question the authenticity of the leader’s outlandish claims of outer-planetary excursions and family ties to rival a Rothschild. Rael has also been brandished a paedophile by the French Government who he claims bullied him out of his native land towards Canadian Quebec. “They try to make rumours about paedophilia, which we are against,” contests the aging leader. While Rael opposes paedophilia, pubescent sex seems to be less of an issue after marrying the 16-year-old daughter of one of his disciples. “She was less than 18 when I met her, and I did not want to go to jail, so we got married,” says Rael. “When she reached the legal age we divorced, because we are against marriage,” Rael admitted in a later press release.

very progressive and we oppose all traditions that make people feel guilty,” explains Marsic. “We support the right for everybody to live the way they want to live,” he adds.

Former member Alan Moore was recruited into the cult by a dancer in a Soho strip bar. “I had been divorced for 19 years. I wasn’t an oddball but I struggled to make friends outside of the security of my marriage. I was lonely and I got sucked right in,” said Moore, who spent 18 months with the movement. Conversely ex-member Amy Cooke claimed that the movement would be tolerable if they’d water down the sex fixation. “I didn’t like all the opening of genitals or all the focusing on the anus,” whispered the 33 year old. A friend had introduced humanitarian Cooke to the seemingly philanthropic group in 2009. “As an advocator of equal rights and somewhat of a hippie at heart, the group instantly appealed to me,” confesses the ex-member. However, talking of her time with the Raelians, Cooke seems uncomfortable and speaks of her experiences with a disturbing level of distance. “There are compulsory sensual meditation sessions in which a ‘guide’ instructs members how to caress their breasts and nipples, how to lick the genitals and how to use a mirror to study and play with the anus,” murmured Cooke. “Rael likes to do exactly the opposite of that which some religious leaders do. We are

Whilst women are a minority in Raelianism they play an important role and generally fall into two categories - The Order of Angels, and Rael’s Girls. The former calls for an increase in femininity amongst all humanity. The gilded few are expected to provide sexual pleasure for Rael and the imminent Elohim only. Angels are also expected to surrender their eggs for cloning projects, which the group is heavily involved in. According to info-cult director, Mike Kropveld, these women also promise to defend Rael’s life with their own bodies. Alternately, Rael’s Girls stand for the prosex feminist ideals of the Raelian Church with members coming from sex industry backgrounds including exotic dancing, porn and prostitution.

Prices start at £10,000 for three million embryonic stem cells and reach the nosebleed altitude of £200,000 for human clones. There’s supposedly reassuring testimonials, listing various Raelian’s that have undergone stem cell treatment, but unfortunately surnames are shortened to a single letter and no contact information is given. How uplifting is it though, to know that ambiguous Ann T has had such

“We have helped people who have suffered strokes to walk or talk again and we have removed traces of tumour in multiple cancer patients”

Whilst being shrouded in a secular cloud of hedonism the Raelian’s have found the time to embark on some pretty exciting projects, including human cloning. Research thus far has lead them to believe that by transferring the contents of the brain into another brain with a new body, a type of cloning process could be achieved. Marsic admits that for the time being this is only scientific fiction, but if it could become a reality then potentially human life could become eternal. Whilst everlasting life may only be in-the-making, the Elohim have apparently granted a select few, including Jesus and Mohammad entry into their heavenly “Planet of The Eternals”. However, it may not be time to throw away your divine place promised by other religions as Rael claims that there are only 8,400 worthy individuals, so whilst Ghandi and mother Teressa may have cleared the finishing line the odds are unfavourable for the occasional churchgoer. Kropveld argues that the Raelians are more interested in publicity than productivity. “For years, Rael’s been trying to make it into the American market,” snaps Kropveld. “He’s really trying to make it in the media. He doesn’t really appear to concern himself too much about what kind of coverage they get, as long as they get covered.” The master of media manipulation has undoubtedly achieved his goals of raising Raelian awareness and has the unabashed confidence to turn even libellous claims into positive press, going as far as linking slanderous sites to his own web forum - He’s an interminable PR princess if nothing else. More recently the movement have turned their attention to helping the victims of female genital mutilation by launching Clitoraid, which claims to be able to artificially regrow clitoris’s using stem cell technology. The unrelenting activists have been building several “pleasure hospitals” around Africa, where they have supposedly “reversed the effects of FGM,” claims Clitoraid spokesperson Lara Terstenjak. Stemaid also boasts an impressive medical marvel – a list of “treatable diseases” including aids, autism, cancer, epilepsy and hepatitis. Raelian founded Stemaid has been able to achieve such breakthroughs by using revolutionary stem cell technology, whatever that is. Either way, overwhelming evidence has suggested that embryonic stem cells, such as those being used by Stemaid, can cause cancer. Stemaid contest this, claiming that embryonic stem cells actually have an “anti-cancer effect”. The company also claim to have successfully helped fight major diseases related to kidney, liver and heart failures, as well as helping stroke sufferers and those with brain injuries. “We have helped people who have suffered strokes to walk or talk again and we have removed traces of tumour in multiple cancer patients,” claims Director, Dr Boisselier.

remarkable effects after just two months of treatment. “I was able to stop using sleeping pills and anti-depressants. My libido has improved so much,” she claims. The American Medical Association explains that in spite of technological advancements, even animal cloning remains extremely inefficient. “For every 100 experiments only one or two produce a viable offspring in surrogate mothers. Even then its survival beyond the prenatal period is unlikely,” explains the association. The cult leader believes that advanced cloning will be possible very soon. “We are not talking about next century, but in ten to twenty years. If you are less than 50 years old, you can expect to never die,” he claims. Leading fertility expert Sir Robert Winston shrugs of the eccentric claim. “Nearly all scientists will regard Clonaid’s claims as ludicrous,” he laughs.

MESSIAH OR LIAR? Since the dawning days of the new age cult, Raelianism has homed a glut of unsubstantiated claims. From artificially grown organs to alien adventure parks

Raelians at a meditation session

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laughs that it’s the most transparent cult in existence, but along with others, finds the extent of Rael’s conviction alarming. “Claude Vorilhon will get his people to do whatever it takes to get him in the paper,” spouts Ross. Contrary to the unselfish ethos Rael has masterly portrayed over his reining 40 years, clandestine journalist Brigitte McCann reported that Rael has no interest in the troubles of “abused people”. “You want to tell me about your past? Have you been raped, here, just now? No? Well then, all’s well!” Rael reportedly spat at a Vegas seminar. Ex-member Marie has also come forth on various ex-Raelian cites to expose the trauma and ruin Rael has thrust upon her. “I was disgusted by him at seminars, when I saw him hammering at very young girls, wanting only their body and discarding them the next morning,” spites Marie in her online testimonial. Maryse Péloquin also exposes the leader’s refusal to practise what he preaches, in her book Rael: Thief of Souls.Here she chronicles the innumerable events in which Rael has failed to adhere to his own doctrine. “On a seminar in Vegas, he routinely preached to newer members the importance of abstaining from gambling. A few hours later I saw him at the casino table of a glamorous hotel,” claims Péloquin. So much for that humble and righteous path he has staunchly walked.

“You want to tell me about your past? Have you been raped, here, just now? No? Well then, all’s well!”

he’s dangerous. The name of their secret extermination operation - “The Abraham Project”. According to his theory, the mentally ill would be used as agents to assassinate him and carry out other crimes. Schizophrenics would obey voices emitted by audio systems secretly installed in their homes. Rael has been showing signs of distrust and anxiety since the early 2000’s, repeatedly writing about his fear of assassination. “There’s a strong chance I’ll be the next victim of an assassination attempt,” proclaimed Rael in 2003. Casoni recalls that religious cult leader Jim Jones constantly asked his disciples to move before his paranoia resulted in the collective suicide of 912 members of his sect - the “Temple of the People”, in Guyana in 1978. Rael is tightening his hold over his disciples more and more - the creation of the Order of the Angels demonstrates that. Whilst the group are yet to be building bunkers, many academics specialising in psychology and cult groups have growing concerns over the

increasing power Rael is yielding over his disciples. Carsoni warns that, if his group continues to crumble as it has done for the past 20 years, Rael is more likely to take extreme measure to keep his clutch. Parallels run between the 74 dedicated members of “The Order of The Sun Temple” who killed themselves between 1994 -1997 and the elite Order Of Angels who have vowed to protect and serve Rael, at all costs. A statement gloomily entitled “Last Messages” is entrusted to all Raelian’s interested in joining the Angels of Rael. It articulates they must be ready to be of service to the Elohim and Rael without any restrictions, including sexually. “The privilege of being near them” is reserved to those who are prepared to sacrifice everything, “including their own lives if that is necessary to protect them,” orders the statement. Whilst Carsoni believes it’s only a symbolic commitment for now, sceptics and fearers wait with bated breath for Rael’s next carefully planned but amateurishly executed move.

Raelian.com

with working UFOs. But perhaps most obvious of all is the flagrant lack of evidence to suggest that Rael is anything more than a self proclaimed messiah and professional attention seeker. Throughout his reign Rael has made increasingly peculiar claims, such as Jews being more intelligent, “with superior DNA because they are a cross-breed of Elohim and mortal women”. Which makes him sound like a contrarian Nazi- bigot. Whilst this may provide outsiders with eccentric amusement and journalists with juicy columns, for many “His Holiness’s” prophecies and principles have lead to catastrophic consequences. Family ties have been severed and romantic relationships have become estranged at the hands of the influential cult leader, explains cult expert Rick Ross. And when Rael overtly hints at his pseudo proclamations, it makes you wonder what is it all for? “You know I love comedy, and I love playing jokes - and one day, maybe when I take my last breath, I will share with you the greatest joke of all,” Proclaimed Rael at Canadian Seminar in 2003. Founder of confessions.rael and author of Confessions of a Rael, Jean-Denis Saint-Cyr, a once primary school teacher and devoted high - ranking Raelian of 14 years exposes the behind scenes of the sect. Saint-Cyr who joined the movement in 1976, spent five years as the President of the Canadian Raelian movement and regularly “rubbed shoulders” with the self-appointed messiah. “Rael has entirely concocted, a dogma, a doctrine founded on one of the most troubling spiritual deceptions of modern times,” claims Saint-Cyr. The author claims that whilst the prophet lived at his home he divulged to have “invented it all.” Ross

THE RAELIAN FUTURE So where does this lead Raelians, existing and prospective? “Generally, it’s the mental health and the moral judgment of the leader that’s the greatest protection against loss of control,” says Dianne Casoni, a psychologist and criminologist specialising in religious sects. This could be a cause for concern given Rael’s increasing anxiety, which has seen an ever present army of whitesuited bodyguards enveloping the paranoid prophet. Rael claims the secret service of France and America’s CIA have been trying to eliminate him because

Rael in front of a replica of the UFO he apparently encountered in 1973

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Apollo Archive - Misfits From the Moon 27

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“Clonaid claims to have been the first organisation to clone a human child, appointed ‘Baby Eve’”

Are you one of the following: “sterile and have lost hope of having the child you dream of?” Or “have you lost - or about to lose a beloved family member and would like to see an identical twin of that person begin a new life?” Or perhaps you’d just like a clone of yourself to do all the mundane things that you’ve quite frankly, not got enough time/can’t be bothered to do yourself. Well Raelianfounded Clonaid can help you. Whilst for many, human cloning may sound like the subject of a grisly Black Mirror plot, for the alleged 40,000+ members of the Raelian Movement this is, apparently, an actuality.

Lygia Pape - Divisor

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The subject of human cloning has been a topic for vociferous debate since the Roslin Institute debuted Dolly, the cloned sheep. Since that day when cloning stepped out of the pages of scifi novels and into the light of day, the moral, ethical and legal ramifications of human cloning have become subjects of public debate. Clonaid has proved to be one of the most persistent proponents of human cloning, promoting themselves as active practioners in the act of asexual reproduction. Clonaid claims to have been the first organisation to clone a human child, appointed “Baby Eve”. However, despite tenacious media pressure, no evidence of the medical marvel has ever materialised, in an apparent effort to protect the privacy and safety of Baby Eve and her family. Today she would be 11. According to a Clonaid press release the foundation has helped a further 100 families “desperate to have a child”. Bioethicist Thomas Murray of the Hastings Centre argues against this Captain of your own fate mentality. “It is absolutely inevitable that groups are going to try to clone a human being. But they are going to create a lot of dead and dying babies along the way,” he warns. The Clonaid website cloanaid.com has a whole section dedicated to their products; including a nifty gadget for “embryonic cell fusion redefined”. The new RMX2010 boasts a “foot switch allowing both of your

clonaid hands to be available for operating other equipment”. With radical technology like that what could possibly go wrong? It seems that we will never know, since Clonaid keep their miraculous discoveries close to home, or close to cult if you will. “Clonaid prides itself on never releasing the identity of numerous individuals who have been cloned,” said Dr Brigitte Boisselier. “Even if the policy has been at the cost of my reputation,” she added. Boisselier, who has a PhD in physical and bimolecular chemistry, became a Raelian in 1993 after hearing Rael speak. “I realised that he was telling the truth,” she says. Boisselier who has been the subject of federal investigation was ousted by CBS, who claimed Clonaid was nothing more than a scam after discovering the company lack a street address, investment or even a board of directors. “Clonaid is not a company. It’s a brand name,” snapped Boisselier, trying to defend her metaphorical baby. American attorney Bernard Siegel said Clonaid preys on the desperate, baiting them with a website that offers hope. Investors today come from a despairing and vulnerable group, including a brain tumour patient and a series of infertile couples, all hoping to use the revolutionary technology themselves, at the investment price of £20,000 upwards. Clonaid was originally funded by Mark and Tracy Hunt, a wealthy West Virginian couple, who after tragically losing their son to heart failure, turned to the questionable company to help heal the traumatic loss of their child. “We decided, for the first time in human history, to transcend the great gulf of death and create an identical twin of Andrew,” said 42-year-old Mr Hunt, who had kept some of his son’s cells in cold storage. Despite coughing up £200,000 the Hunts never received closure in the form of a clone, and eventually pulled out. They condemn Clonaid as a publicitymongering operation. Yet Rael maintains cloning is only the first step to achieving eternal life. “Right now, cloning is just like having a twin brother or a twin sister,” erroneously remarks Rael. He explains that the next step is a new technique called “Accelerated Growth Process’, which would allow humans to directly clone adult copies of themselves, that they would eventually be able to transport their memories into; as if the clone was “a blank tape,” Rael describes. Dr Leon Kass debunks Rael’s medical-myth with his extensive career in Bioethics, as opposed to Rael’s whimsical attempt at playing a plainer-clothed FrankN-Furter. “Using human cloning as an approach to terminal illness or mortality is a concept based on the mistaken notion that one’s genotype largely determines one’s individuality,” explains Kass. So ultimately a clone-child created via human cloning would not be identical to his or her clone-parent. Stripped of any legitimacy, Clonaid appears to be a con devised to dupe desperate parents out of thousands of pounds, while providing nothing in the form of recompense, and certainly no clones of lost children. Clonaid has also got under the skin of religious sects, sociologists and humanists, who are coming forth to voice their anguish. Susan Palmer, a Canadian Sociologist has spent years studying the Raelian’s and claims that the movement intentionally stirs controversy to “maintain membership”. Whilst the Vatican have brandished Clonaid’s aims a “brutal mentality”. Kristina Arena, of Think Humanism, believes that until humans learn to appreciate the planet, cloning should be kept on the backburner. “I don’t believe humans should be allowed to be cloned until the entire human race can learn to live in this world without violating the laws of the universe,” proclaims Arena. Until Clonaid can deliver on their longstanding promise to provide evidence, we will never know the true perimeters of their capabilities. For now the Raelian’s stand behind their claims, and opponents continue to deprecate their claims as sensationalist and media bating.

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INTERGALACTIC PLANETARY CREATURES Styling Mischa Smith Photography Nathalia Takeuchi Editing Andreia Takeuchi Hair and Make Up Cory DeKing Models Aimee and Andi @ Oxygen 31


credits IMAGE 1 Aimee: Unitard - Ellie Skeet Skirt and Shoes - Robert Wun Jewellery - Stylist’s Own Andi: Jacket - Ellie Skeet Shorts- Stylist’s Own Shoes - Robert Wun Sunglasses - Maison Martin Margiela Necklace - Stylist’s Own Shorts – Stylist’s Own Tights - Wolford Shoes – Robert Wun IMAGE 2 Andi: Jacket - Ellie Skeet

IMAGE 8 Andi: Dress - Issey Miyake IMAGE 9 Aimee: Dress - Sian Hulse Jacket - American Apparel Necklace - Sign Of The Times Archive IMAGE 10 Aimee: Jacket – Sian Hulse Bracelet - RnR for Mark Fast Sunglasses - Maison Martin Margiela

IMAGE 3 Andi: Dress - Sian Hulse Top- Sub Couture Shoulder Bag - Marc Newson for Samsonite Cuff - Maison Martin Margiela Tights - Wolford Shoes - Robert Wun Aimee: Unitard - Rose Fullbright Backpack - Marc Newson for Samsonite Necklace - Stylist’s Own Tights - Wolford Shoes - Robert Wun IMAGE 4 Andi: Jacket - Ellie Skeet IMAGE 5 Andi: Dress - Sian Hulse Top- Sub Couture Shoulder Bag - Marc Newson for Samsonite Cuff - Maison Martin Margiela Sunglasses - Bernhard Willhelm Aimee: Unitard - Rose Fullbright Backpack - Marc Newson for Samsonite Necklace - Stylist’s Own Sunglasses - Bollé IMAGE 6 Aimee: Unitard - Ellie Skeet Skirt and Shoes - Robert Wun Jewellery - Stylist’s Own Andi: Jacket - Ellie Skeet Shorts- Stylist’s Own Shoes - Robert Wun Sunglasses - Maison Martin Margiela Necklace - Stylist’s Own Shorts – Stylist’s Own Tights - Wolford Shoes – Robert Wun IMAGE 7 Andi: Shirt - Hui He Skirt - Robert Wun Backpack - Marc Newson for Samsonite Jewellery - Stylist’s Own

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leif podhajsky Australian native turned London habitant, artist and creative director Leif Podhajsky explores themes of connectedness, the natural world and the altered experience in his captivating images. Podhajsky takes inspiration from analogue and fuses it with futuristic themes to “inspire the viewer into a realignment with themselves and their surroundings,” claims the innovative artist. Staring into his trippy pixelated realm is like looking at a colourful version of Bridget Riley’s OpArt creations of the 60s – even when you turn away the print is still plastered on your eyelids. Podhajsky straddles the blurring boundaries between fashion, advertising, graphic design and fine art and has become the go-to guy for alternative musicians like Grimes, Bonobo, Tame Impala and Foals. With an almost Storm Elvin Thorgerson approach to album artwork he creates obscure illusions for breakthrough bands such as Young Magic to compliment their eerie wavey-witch electronic sounds. “I think album artwork

has lost some of its magic in the transition to digital mediums,” claims Podhajsky. Both artists wander around the world of spirituality to create a kaleidoscope of mystic references, engulfing the viewer and listener into their lucid realm. Podhajsky creates a visualisation of the sounds in a remarkable style, which in itself is almost magical. “Music allows me to let go and drift off into another world,” explains the Aussie designer. Influenced by the “mountains, oceans and rainforests,” of his childhood surroundings of Byron Bay and Tasmania the radical artist invites viewers to step into his psychedelic stream of consciousness through his whirlpool of utopian landscapes and abstract distortions. Staring at Podhajsky’s art is like embarking on a DMT induced adventure of curling waves, cascading waterfalls and colourful clouds morphed in vivid oscillation. The world of fashion has also been psychedelified with a range of silk scarves baring Podhajsky’s graphic repetitions, colourfusions and pixelated patterns, modelled “Staring at Podhajsky’s art by quirky electro singer Grimes and model Abbey Lee. is like embarking on a

DMT induced adventure of curling waves, cascading waterfalls and colourful clouds morphed in vivid oscillation”

Along with a recent collaboration with Daydreaming Projects and a showcase at Soho’s Pertwee, Anderson & Gold Gallery, Podhajsky has also exhibited work in Berlin, The Netherlands, Australia and Saatchi Online. Rumoured to be creating the sleeve for Black Sabbath’s new album, it’s inevitable that the world will be seeing more of these magical graphics.

Leif Podhajsky - Eye Sceptre

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the colours of an aura I clamber the rickety steps, spiralling the uneven staircase towards the unknown. The store below me bustles with the noise of veteran mystics and curious customers alike, but with each step I take, the noise falls further behind and I’m greeted by the mellow sounds of mysterious lands, and panpipes, there’s always a panpipe.

which sounds remotely like my name but the voice is too broken to decipher. As I exit the internal abyss I’m greeted by a timid man making his way towards me, he addresses me as “Michelle”; a small signifier that he doesn’t know everything. I am lead into his small aura-reading study, where an ancient looking machine proudly sits atop a woodchip desk; this I am told is the “aura reader”. The room is surprisingly bleak compared to the waiting area; perhaps this is to avoid distracting the auras.

As I make my way to the waiting room I’m faced with a plethora of trinkets I perch myself on a plastic chair, facing this mysterious and self-help mottos. There’s a poster retro equipment. I’m instructed to place my hand on the opposite me with a large circle outlined, sensor; a shiny silver mouse covered in sci-fi looking and inside are the circles; which aim to measure words “bang head my energy lines. I’m told that the “Basically the aura is here”, it’s meant body is made up of a mixture of to be a humorous different rhythms, meridians and your living energy, stress relieving energy lines, and the shiny sensor your organic energy, tool, as are the the will measure the vibrancy of Chinese proverbs these beats. Paul, the aura reader, that you’re giving off and harmonious to me that aura reading from the core of your very being” explains incense that line photography has been around for the rest of the about 20-30 years, and apparently closed room. Outside I can hear the buzz the bulky laptop with a plastic camera lopsidedly of central London traffic. It’s 5.30 pm strapped on top of it is as sophisticated as it gets. “The on a Friday evening and all along the system we’re going to use today is pretty much where streets there is an abundance of clashing it’s at,” explains Paul. characters; a medley of personalities, professions, colours and creeds. My For novices like myself, Paul gives a pretty precise account peripheries are blurred with assorted of the aura and it’s role in our lives - it’s not just pretty talismans; rosary beads, miniature colours, you know. “Basically the aura is your living Buddha statues and ornate wall hangings, energy, your organic energy, that you’re giving off from all working hard to prise me from the the core of your very being,” describes the aging mystic. outside thrill, and get me into “the zone”. Unlike my human body, which sits in isolation against the sparse room, my aura is far more expansive. “It is filling the Having had minimal contact with the room right now,” illuminates Paul. It’s also overlapping “spiritual” sector, I’m unsure of what to with my reader’s colourful mixture of emotions and expect upon this encounter. I understand energies. Conscious that my bolshie aura is invading that the intention is to read my aura, Paul’s possibly meeker glow, I enquire into aura etiquette. but how this is done, is quite literally, a “Aura’s are always overlapping in daily life because you’re mystery. I allow myself to escape into an out mixing with people,” notes the aficionado. I’m told abyss of mysticism, soothed along by the that in physical terms, our auras span an impressive 2-3 panpipes. I hear a vague noise calling, metres. “The aura’s not just what you’re expressing it’s

The crystal ball can always double up as a hand warmer

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partly what you’re giving out and also what you’re absorbing, so it’s a mixture of the two,” explains Paul. This is how we communicate via our energies. Whilst we may consider communication to be through the exchanging of words, in the aura field, communication is made through the exchange of “energetic colours”. Whilst some people are born naturally to see auras, for people like Paul it’s a well-crafted skill. I’m disappointed to discover that he cannot untangle my aura upon first meeting. If the Hare Krishna’s can proclaim the auras of passers-by on Oxford Street, and if Kevin, my Mom’s “mystic” can decode colours then why can’t the official aura reader apply this uncanny skill? Perhaps the others have been fobbing us off. Fortunately Paul’s got this nifty gadget that will capture my aura on screen, and I even get to take a photo of it home. I’m eager to get this photo snapped, and to discover the murky depths of my psyche. As an unashamed selfie-taker and webcam wizard I was confident I’d have the perfect portrait in one hit, but vanity prevails and five attempts later I admit defeat. My aura is destined to be overshadowed by my double chin and droopy eyes. The revolutionary software condenses the size of the aura into an elliptical shape to fit the screen and from this I am able to see the varying shades that merge into my aura. For someone who hasn’t worn colour since 2003, I have a kaleidoscopic aura, consisting of sunny yellows, and rich blues and greens; which I’m told are healing colours. Paul describes the varying hues that infuse my aura, going into detail about what the colours equate to. It’s a little like reading a horoscope; part of me desperately wants to believe every

proclamation, yet my rationale informs me otherwise. Paul speaks with the conviction of someone who has dedicated their life to spiritual pursuit as he eagerly describes the various aspects of my persona. “A yellow aura signifies a strong mind with good creative energy, which will work together for you in the future,” proclaims the enthusiastic reader. Many of Paul’s assertions were accurate; I do thrive on creativity and enjoy social situations, but it’s so general it could be applied to most people. He told me how adventurous, and scientifically minded I was, and for that he lost me. He kindly attempted to impart some of the wisdom he derived from my reading, noting that I may even have an element of spiritual wisdom myself. “Just be aware of the possibility that things may happen, unexplained things may happen to you,” he warned. “I think you’re drawn to the unexplained and mystical and magical. I think the more you explore then the more you are going to learn about this, so just sort of go for stuff really, you cant know until you try it right? he asks.

“Just be aware of the possibility that things may happen, unexplained things may happen to you” I really want to believe the blue mists that cloud my yellowy aura demonstrate the “harmony, peace and serenity” that Paul enthusiastically spoke of. The same applies for his proclamation that I am gaining a better understanding of who I am, which in some ways I agree with; but again this is so easily related to most of the public. From what I gleaned from my brief encounter with the aura reader, this is not something he dabbles in, but rather dives into the gloomy depths of the human spirit, as he admits this “is not an easy lifestyle to lead”. Paul is a kind and interesting man, with the honest intent of shedding light on aspects of our own minds that perhaps we neglect, and perhaps isn’t necessarily accurate. “Just be open to everything in your universe and the universe will open to you,” believes the foreseer. I think I will take from it what I find applicable, and maybe what I find flattering, but with most spiritual experiences, you have to decide yourself how willing you are to go down the rabbit hole?

The aura of a pixie

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the sides of shamanism In our privileged western world it has become the norm to award ourselves with self-indulgent adventures to “find ourselves”. Every year thousands of British backpackers mix with similarly fortunate students across the globe for elephant rides, full moon parties and booze buckets. But there are growing numbers of wanderers craving a more “authentic” excursion, away from the drunk and horny 18-25 year olds that litter Australia, Greece and most of South East Asia. Whilst some of us are happy to get our cheap thrills (and cheap alcohol) in the traditional travelling haunts; that’s you Bali, there’s a new breed of adventurers breaking away from the comfort of the package holiday, who are exploring the depths of the human psyche, and knocking back some psychedelic jungle juice whilst they’re at it. Maybe it’s our typically western mentality to see ancient cultures from a more romantic perspective that’s driving us to far-flung lands. Or perhaps with religion becoming less commonplace we’re simply succumbing to our spiritual craving? Psychologist Dr David Luke certainly felt the need to explore this psychedelic phenomenon, and fled to Mexico to spend time with indigenous peoples using hallucinogenic brews in ancient rituals. Dr Luke who is the president of the Parapsychological Association, an international organisation of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of psychic experiences, admits that his interest in altered states of consciousness began at a very early age. “It grew right from the moment I could spin round until I went dizzy. I experimented

widely with all sorts of altered states and gradually realised I had a deep calling for them beyond mere hedonism,” explains the ayahuasca aficionado. In search of answers to explain his extraordinary experiences he decided to study psychology, but finished feeling somewhat disappointed by the answers mainstream science offered him. Several years of spiritual discovery and countless mountain brews later and Dr Luke is adamant that some illicit drugs can promote divine experiences that are positive and necessary for personal and spiritual growth. Adam Lewis from Farnham agrees, after seeking a Peruvian shaman, or “curandero”, to heal his broken heart. Abandoned and forlorn, Lewis escaped to the idyllic isolation of Huancabamba; the Peruvian epicentre of shamanism. People will desperately travel the globe to get to Huancabamba, trying to cure anything from paralysis to cancer, and much to Adam’s dismay the price was set

“He tapped me on the bellend with a big replica sword” painfully high to be rid of such maladies. The journey began at 5 a.m. with a hot, rickety bus climbing the mountain. After an inconvenient breakdown, and several hours stranded on the rocks and surrounding rainforest, saviour finally arrived in the form of a tiny car and some kind locals. Despite not speaking their tongue he managed to communicate his plans to visit a shaman, and they sent

him in the right direction. “I couldn’t understand any Spanish and they couldn’t understand any English but from what I gathered, I was first seen buy a trainee shaman,” explains 33 yearold Adam. The bemused Englishman was sent on horseback with a young shamanic apprentice to a sacred lake to be “purified” and “sanctified”. Here he was dunked naked in the blessed lake, whilst the shaman chanted and swigged from a bottle of oil that he preceded to spray Adam with, spitting it from his mouth all over the naked body, like a whale shooting water from its blowhole. Back on dry land, wet and confused, he was directed to stand straight with his arms and legs extended like Michelangelo’s portrayal of Christ. “Then he took a replica sword - he touched me on the head with it, I think it was a power symbol thing to make me strong, rubbing it down the outside of my arms and legs; making all my body powerful, including my penis; he tapped me on the bellend with a big replica sword,” explains a flushed Adam. Michael Harner, an anthropologist and founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, states that the mind, body, and apparently penis connection is a common notion amongst shamanic practise. “In our culture, many consider it avant-garde if a person talks about the mind-body connection, but the fact that the brain is connected to the rest of the body is not the most exciting news. It’s been known for thousands of years,” he explains. But this is probably the information you want to know before it happens. Adam talks of his spiritual expedition fondly, detailing the three-hour trek to the “official” shaman’s humble abode, which consisted of a cramped living area,

Drum banging and squatting in the desert

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with a large earth fire and a traditional Peruvian homemaker cooking up some lentils. The room Adam was eventually led to after long, lonely hours of waiting was encouragingly plastered with letters and photos thanking the mysterious man for his unique aid. “His room was very little, he had a small stall and a bench down one side, no windows, and the floor was strewn with trinkets and talismans,” describes Adam. There was also a wall of replica swords he tells me; which must have sent his already fragile heart racing a little. “So I told him that I had a broken heart, I explained that with hand gestures and he got enough,” recalls Adam. He describes the shaman, as an unassuming man, swathed in animal furs, enveloping his leathery skin. The word “shaman” in the original Tungus language refers to a person who makes journeys to non-ordinary reality in altered states of consciousness. This is often done through the use of hallucinogenic botanicals such as ayahuasca, san pedro, or peyote; the mind-altering cactus Adam ingested. According to the shamanic point of view,

“In many cultures, shamans are often given gifts for their work, but they will return all gifts if the patient dies, which I think is a commendable innovation”

angry and hurt, I just felt melancholy.” reminisces Adam, with warm memories. So what is the key to the age-old infliction of heartbreak? It seems fairly simple, and no, rebounding or keying their car isn’t the answer. “ I sat there peacefully just thinking about my past relationship and whilst I was doing that he’d be chanting, humming, maybe there was a maraca; it was a continual sound,” explains Adam. As Mircea Eliade explains in Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, the “trance dance” is an integral part of the shamanic experience and this was something, again, Adam was a little “It was an amazing connection to the land, unsure of. “Every now and then he’d shine the torch and signal for me to stand seeing the shadows plays across the sand, in front of him and do a dance, now I have watching the vast landscape and the colours, no idea what a shamanic dance is but I oh the colours of the sky” basically did a little skanking,” laughs Adam. With the peyote taking its full effect, Adam was unaware of time, or how people who are not spiritually powerful many skanks he confusingly performed, but it certainly had a profound effect. “I guess – “power-filled” are prone to illness, it just gives you the freedom to think about things and address things in a different accidents and bad luck. The shaman will way,” he recalls. As the hallucinogen wore off, he was able to look back with reality restore a patient to their spiritual power, as opposed to the rose tinted shades many of us wear when recollecting. “It made me which is analogous to a spiritual immune realise that things weren’t necessarily as good as I remembered,” he admits. But is this system. “The power makes one resilient not just speeding up the “time heals everything” process? As much as Adam claims it to illness,” explains Harner. “In many made a permanent difference he refuses to attribute that to “magic, or mystical power”. cultures, shamans are often given gifts “I spent a designated period of time thinking about my ex and our relationship, in a for their work, but they will return all pitch black room, with no outside distractions,” he stresses. Perhaps it’s simply the gifts if the patient dies, which I think is placebo effect of saying to yourself, no longer am I going to care. Can we all just set a a commendable innovation that might date and from that point abandon the pain that is holding us back? “I definitely felt help us with the costs of health services at peace with it afterwards. After that I just felt totally comfortable and happy without today,” notes Harner. Fortunately Adam her,” admits Adam. Perhaps this is the new and easy, albeit expensive, way to forgo the has no need to claim a refund, as by the heartache that thousands before us have endured. But if shamans themselves admit time he was making his shaky way back that we all have the power within then maybe we just need to suck it up. Otherwise down the mountain he felt significantly we’re looking at some pretty expensive recoveries, whatever happened to just getting a calmer. “I no longer felt betrayed and new haircut?

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Leif Podhajsky - Desert

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On a lighter, less Eat, Pray, Love note, shamanic scholar Eliade claimed that shamanism underlays all other spiritual traditions on the planet, and that the most distinctive feature of shamanism is the journey to other worlds in an altered state of consciousness. Which has lead to trippy teens seeking a spiritual experience in which they ultimately, “get really fucking high”, as Aussie Max Clarke explains. Whilst surfing in Lobitos, Peru, Clarke heard about some groovy goings on with a local head guy. He wasn’t so much seeking spiritual enlightenment as an excuse to daze in the dunes and see some pretty colours, but it sounds like a lot of fun. Max speaks in that stereotypical stoner fashion depicted in movies such as Dude, Where’s My Car? as he elaborates the awesomeness of his adventure. “It was wonderful, out in the afternoon sun, the sea lapping at the shore, the crabs passing as you walked. Up on the dunes we had a great viewpoint, away from civilisation; the perfect place to drink San Pedro,” he recalls. His senses tingled and tranquillity amazed as the pulped cactus took hold and “everything turned on”. “It was an amazing connection to the land, seeing the shadows plays across the sand, watching the vast landscape and the colours, oh the colours of the sky,” he dreamily recites. Isolated in their island of warmth and light, nestled in a depression between the dunes the trippers crowded over a campfire, singing songs and mocking conformity. Max can’t say enough about the psychoactive cactus. “San pedro - really nice, super chill, mushrooms without the paranoia,” he describes.

Ashley Adams, an English mystic with a penchant for hallucinogenic cactuses explains the importance of the plant in these spiritual experiences. “Any plant that I use has its own spirit, you almost feel at times that the cactus is tripping on us and that the opportunity to be ingested by a human is an opportunity to see the world from a completely new perception,” illuminates wide-eyed Adams. For the past five years the nomad has been living hand to mouth in Lima, Peru, making money by taking surfing photos and leading experimental youths to some of the cities beauty spots to indulge in hallucinogenic cacti. Despite having the ink pool eyes of a man who has taken a lot of acid, and an elaborate array of ponchos, Adams has not been initiated and cannot officially advertise himself as a shaman. A traditional shaman is induced into the mysteries through fire, and must come to the brink of death before being able to heal himself, and from that knowledge, heal others. After such an initiation, the shaman has no inclination towards self-preservation, but rather the preservation of the natural order, which conveniently, involves a few miracles here and there to ensure things don’t get out of hand. So whilst Adams may be great for lolling about the beach with, he’s probably not the man to cure cancer. As Michael Harner explains, we do all still have a certain power to cure ourselves, but he likens this to that of a Duracell battery, which doesn’t exactly scream independent warrior. “We still have some power, and we can do damage, but the power source is no longer charging,” he explains. From a shamanic perspective, all people have a spiritual side, whether they recognise it or not. When we get angry, jealous or have a hostile emotional attitude, we can vent not only verbal and physical abuse but also spiritual abuse. Amongst the Jivaro people of Eastern Ecuador, these intrusions are known as “magical darts”. But amongst some shamanic communities, the capability for exploiting these “magical darts”, or “spirit arrows” as they are also known is very real. Many traditional shamans can curse as well as cure. For them, illness and bad fortune is often the bitter result of dark shamans inflicting malevolent energy, usually via spirit arrows they send whilst in trance. Extracting these arrows requires the shaman to understand how they are formed and sent. After extraction, many shamans have no hesitation in sending them back to the dark shaman; cursing the miscreant as he curses others. Whilst we’re all capable of inflicting anguish on others - the odd profanity here and the occasional scrap for some, there’s an entirely different aim once you start sending metaphorical vengeance darts, like an aggravated bar lout at games night. Blood sacrifice is also extremely common in tribal societies (less so at the pool hall) and is often connected with shamanic ritual. Sun Dances for example, have historically seen people pierce their flesh with hooks connected to a sacred tree at the centre of the dance and rip them out for a climactic finish. Given our penchant for embracing other cultures, and the influx of harem trouser wearing art students, could this be the future for quirky westerners? Given the chance, would we all be signing up to weekend workshops teaching curses, soul-captivation and spirit javelin? Possibly not, but as traditional shamans might tell us, if we do not know how to curse, then how can we know how to cure?

“Given the chance, would we all be signing up to weekend workshops teaching curses, soul-captivation and spirit javelin?”

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pablo amaringo Pablo Amaringo, the acclaimed Peruvian artist, celebrated for his vivid depictions of the realms he visited whilst tripping on the enthogenic plant brew ayahuasca. His vibrant and mystical paintings overflow with wild animals, luscious botanicals, vast galaxies and mythological beings, all of which he encountered through the hallucinogen. Born in Puerto Libertad, in the Peruvian Amazon, he was only ten years old when he first took the visionary potion, used in shamanism to help overcome a severe heart disease. The healing that cured Amaringo led him to become a “vegetalismo” - plant healer, before training as a “curandero” - Native American shaman. Amaringo began painting using a humble set of tools comprising of a pencil and soot from lamps, which he used for shading. Unable to afford paper he used cardboard boxes and occasionally nabbed a little lipstick from his sister for colouring. As a communicator of the ayahuasca experience, Amaringo depicted plants, intergalactic inhabitants and ancient spirit gurus that he met in his visions. “When you take any plant other than ayahuasca, you connect through your dreams, you learn while you are asleep; but with ayahuasca you are conscious and awake,” explained Amaringo in his 2006 book, Plant Spirit Shamanism. It’s this profound element that makes hallucinogenic ayahuasca the “planta maestra” – “the eye through which you see the universe,” claimed Amaringo.

Pablo Amaringo - Huas Yachana

His vibrant illustrations that look like they could cover Santana’s Shaman album, or Miles Davis’ iconic Bitches Brew, were inspired by Amazonian philosophy and ancient prophecies; yet Amaringo was adamant his work spoke to a wider audience. “They are for people of any culture in the world,” proclaimed the Peruvian visionary. He was able to paint the Amazonian landscapes with such precision viewers worldwide could be drawn into his unique world, as he exposed the magical content of his apparitions. His years of practise as an “ayahuasquero” - specialist in ayahuasca, inspired an abundance of ideas and manifested in the elaborate displays of underwater worlds, galactic empires, animal kingdoms and spiritual alchemy. Amaringo not only pioneered a new art movement known as “New Amazonian Art”, the jaguar-skinned shaman infused his paintings with an everlasting supernatural presence. Amaringo chanted icaros – magical chants which make the mind more receptive to visions, into his paintings. He believed that the icaros was the universal sound by planets, starts, comets and supernovas and that he could pass on his sacred knowledge by imbuing the primal chant into his art. “I chant icaros when I paint, so if ever a person wishes to receive teaching or healing, they should cover the painting with a cloth for two or three months. On the day they remove the cover, they should prepare themselves by bathing and meditating. When it is uncovered they will receive the power and knowledge of the icaros that were sung into it,” believed the shaman. The accuracy of this ambition is yet to be proven, but it is undeniable that upon viewing his paintings you will be transported to a land of iridescent rainbows, rolling seascapes and holistic forests. Amaringo said of his work, it requires the viewer to be curious, because its meaning will not be understood from a superficial glance. He dedicated his life to healing and painting alongside running the Usko-Ayar school of painting, in Pucallpa, and supervising ayahuasca retreats. As demonstrated in filmmaker Michael Wiese’s 2010 documentary – The Shaman & Ayahuasca: Journeys to Sacred Realms, which the artist sadly never lived to see, Amaringo understood the importance of the natural world and strove to enlighten others to it’s wondrous capabilities. “The consciousness of plants is a constant source of information for medicine, alimentation, and art,” explained Amaringo. He “upon viewing his paintings thought of himself as the you will be transported “representative” of plants, later asserting that if all the to a land of iridescent rainbows, trees were to be burnt, and the rolling seascapes and holistic forests” rainforests cut down it would be akin to “burning a whole library of books without ever having read them”.

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THE HEALERS STYLING Mischa Smith PHOTOGRAPHY Katie Eleanor MAKE UP Louise Hall HAIR Stelios Chondros MODELS Sam, Michelle, and Hannah T @Oxygen


All clothes Fei Wniro All clothes Fei Wniro

All clothes Holly Jenkins All clothes Holly Jenkins


Sam wears laser Cut Leather Bolero Jacket Lydia Freeborn Skirt - Stylist’s Own


Michelle wears dress - Maria Richters

Hannah T wears Coat - Lulu Liu


Lasercut Cuffscut - Lydia Freeborn Hannah TLeather wears laser Leather cuffs Lydia Freeborn


Michelle wears dress - Maria Richters


Michelle wears coat - Sukhjeet Birdi


nicky mystic There are few opportunities to meet a character like Nick Womersley, now known by his spiritual alter ego, “Nicky Mystik”. When I first met Nick he was adorned in purple mohair, his hair wrapped in a bun crowning his head, and he was going by the name ElectroNick Destroyer of Worlds. Nick’s family lived up the road from my local pub and I was aware of this peculiar soul ambling around the village barefooted, with tousled hair and a selection of coats to rival Joseph. A chance encounter and an opening gambit of “I used to be an alcoholic and then I took acid and it changed my life,” and fast forward two years, Nick is living in Oxford pursuing his shamanic duties, whilst I write about them.

trance, ritual, alchemical magic and Jungian psychotherapy. Since a shamanic elder hasn’t initiated Nick, he is not a shaman in the traditional, ayahuasca-guzzling, stickshaking, Amazonian soothsayer, sense. “I would not generally think of myself as a healer, though much of my work does have a healing outcome, so I suppose I am,” wonders Nick. Whilst many of us have had mystical experiences, a shaman pursues this path to the fullest and learns from these experiences how to transcend the limitations of the body and even the human mind. Although Nick cannot rightfully call himself a shaman, his extensive research and experimentation has allowed him to embark on transcendental journeys, often in altered states of consciousness. From this he has been able to guide others through these strange worlds to bring back knowledge that can be used to address sickness or psychological crisis. “I do not know how it works, but it works, and the work I do is God’s work. Without his blessing, I am nothing,” remarks Nick, humbly. Raised as a Christian, Nick has always had a relationship with what he refers to as the “divine”, but today he revels in the freedom rewarded to him by abandoning dogmas, and uses a more hermetic philosophy.

Shamanism in the 21st century has two veins - a genuine shamanic tradition, such as that practiced in the Amazon with ayahuasca; and that practiced by amateurs such as Nick. Like many mystics, Nick believes he must react to materialist oppression, and admits If there were a category for guys who that perhaps he doesn’t fully understand the power he yields, as he lacks the cultural dreadlock keys that open allegorical knowledge and training from traditional methods. Much of his work involves altered states of consciousness and an affinity and ability to navigate such realms safely; and it’s “Personally I do sense that a return to the wealth of for this reason he calls himself a shaman. He ancient knowledge can provide a unification practises and honours the archaic tradition, but since there is no real label for his chosen of the modern mystical belief soup most profession within our society he has picked the people sip idly whilst uttering half-truths” closest model to align himself with. “Though I am good at what I do, I am still a novice, always doors into their hair, and sling a Djembe eager to learn more or to see my flaws,” he admits. He believes that our busy lives are drum over their shoulder in case to blame for the lack of spirituality in society but with more and more young people anybody fancies a ditty, then Nick would abandoning the pews, perhaps a return to spirituality is on the tarot cards. “Personally I fit his hessian-clad self into it. Since do sense that a return to the wealth of ancient knowledge can provide a unification of the completing a degree in Philosophy at modern mystical belief soup most people sip idly whilst uttering half-truths,” remarks Queen’s University Belfast, Nick has been Nick. on a quest of self-discovery and spiritual enlightenment. This has seen him flee What brought you to this path of self-discovery and shamanism? the family home in Devon to pursue the divine - in Oxford. Here he plans to I was raised Christian and studied philosophy, “I do not know how make three million pounds in two years though I was not a particularly spiritual person through “hard work and luck”. He’s also it works, but it until a chance encounter with LSD and a year’s been seeking spiritual guidance through study in preparation for taking it, which cured works, and the John; an invented guru, as well as helping me in a matter of hours of a crippling alcohol a crew of lost souls who refer to Nick as work I do addiction. I was so astounded by the efficacy an “angel”. His techniques derive from of a drug to change my entire perception is God's work” archaic practices of shamanic healing, of reality and to heal me of my alcoholism, with skills spanning enchanted songs, that I continued my studies to learn how I “Time isn’t wasted, when you’re wasted all the time”

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might communicate the importance of this experience to others. A year of spiritual pursuit later, I had a second mystical experience, also under the influence of LSD. This was so profound and liberating that I have never since needed confirmation from outside myself of the true purpose and infinite nature of being. I then began to discover shamanic techniques for navigating these states of mind, which are very similar to being completely crazy in a particular light. Since everybody is a little crazy sometimes, I thought perhaps I could make sure that when I was crazy I was crazy properly, calmly, and with a view to learning how to heal craziness in myself and other people.

After hearing all the hallucinogen horror stories were you not afraid that it would melt your mind? Well I was an intellectual to a degree; I cared about my philosophical research and my investigations from an academic perspective and so I started noticing the people who took these psychedelics in a western concept without any shamanic aspect to it. People like Steve Jobs for instance; he said LSD was one of the most important things he’d ever taken, and there he was with Apple. Ultimately if you approach these things properly, I feel like the outcome is always just love.

You’ve intrigued me now, would you recommend using psychedelics? My advice to you, if you’re just curious, but really curious; then do it properly. Don’t just mess around and take a tiny half hit of acid at a party to see what its like and then decide that it was a little bit too colourful for you and you couldn’t deal with how fast people were talking. You need to find someone who understands psychedelics, and you need to take the right dose, in a good setting, in a good state of mind. You need to be as calm and

Could you explain this “chance encounter” - don’t say it was divine intuition? I must have been in my first year of University when I went down to buy some weed from a gentleman in Belfast, so I walked down to his little car and I hopped in and said: “yeah man thank you for the cannabis and I’ll be on my way,” and he turned to me and asked: “do you wanna buy some acid” and I replied: “I absolutely do not want to buy some acid, I hear that stuff makes you think you can fly and jump out of windows and I will go crazy if I take it, so you’re insane and I’m going”. I’d accepted that LSD and psychedelics are bizarre and up until that point I’d always been thinking fine, I’ll drink some beer and I’ll smoke a bit of weed, but I’m not gonna touch that acid, no, that stuff’s just crazy. And then this guy who sold me the weed, was a really nice, normal guy, he just had acid. And I was thinking well, this guy doesn’t have long hair, and multi coloured clothes. So I went home and I began reading about psychedelics and I learnt some crucial things about how the environment that the tripper is in is absolutely crucial.

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peaceful as you can, and you need to just listen; it can be amazingly liberating. But my experience tells me its not something you need to worry about, if you develop a curiosity the universe will literally step in and say “look, I think you’re ready for this, give it a shot, remember what you’ve learnt, pay attention”. And generally you’re told what you need to know, if you don’t rush. I think the psychedelic experience is something that is available to everyone.

That sounds horrendous, very Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test – so is “being on the bus” imperative for your shamanic procedure?

Perhaps I’ll wait for the mushrooms to come to me then. It sounds like a risky procedure, no one wants to be the one tripping balls in the corner.

What other psychedelic wisdom can you impart? My naïve notions of purple hazes and magnificent sunsets have been squandered.

I’ve had a bad trip before which is like the mystical experience, but terrifying. The world of the schizophrenic is not necessarily any different to the world of the tripper, or the world of the mystic. It was hellish though, and I worried that I’d gone too far. The reason I had a bad trip

I have used shamanic techniques such as icaros singing and leaf rattling with people who are not on any psychedelic but who were also very crazy and on this higher level of consciousness. There are some people who do just step into different states of being and its something that you’re either born with, or you learn or perhaps you can’t do. I can enter these transcendental states of mind, largely through practising; it’s not just about drugs, it’s about being able to traverse these levels of awareness. Safety is always my first priority and I won’t give psychedelics to someone who’s not psychically healthy, or who’s not in a good position. However, in this day and age without a properly structured mythology I think it’s very difficult to attain the kind of state of mind that we’re talking about without the use of psychedelics.

Well It’s quite an ordeal to take ayahuasca if your spirit isn’t in very good shape, you always want to fast. And it’s disgusting; it’s not something nice to drink.

Not nice like flat lemonade? Or not nice like month-old milk? Like 4-day-old coffee with a cigarette put out in it, dipped in salt. But you gulp this shit down and then you do enter into a state of mind that is very aware, normally, unless you’re fighting something, in which case the shaman will help you through it. Always you encounter particular parts of yourself or realisations. For a lot of people it really does involve the breaking down of particular ideas. A lot of stuff from childhood tends to be problematic.

“The world of the schizophrenic is not necessarily any different to the world of the tripper, or the world of the mystic” was because I’d broke all the rules – I was in a bad setting, in a bad state of mind but I decided to go along with it anyway because it was my birthday, and it was terrible. At the time I felt like it was the closest I’d ever come to crazy. Reflecting on it after made me realise how terrifying it can be to be human, it was very healing in a sense. It helped me understand a little bit about what it’s like to be terrified.

So all those songs of sublime experiences were laced with rotten coffee? Jefferson Airplane cheated us.

Fortunately you don’t feel the need to take psychedelics regularly. It’s something that’s very permanent and that’s why it needs to be treated with a degree of respect. Improperly used relatively permanent scarring can be done; similarly relatively permanent benefits can be received from properly addressing the things that are raised in the experience. Being healed from the depression that arises from a divorce for instance, and no longer being governed by that particular demon is quite a liberating thing. It’s more than just achieving enlightenment.

It sounds very emotional - Is this typical of your healing? I find lost objects, lost fragments of peoples personalities, things that have been repressed, or left under the realms of the psyche. I seem to be guided and so what I do is more a reflection of the mind of society today. Which is a little bit cool, and a little bit ill, and a little bit exciting and a little bit dangerous.

Pinatas and palm trees, the life and times of an unoffical shaman

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Could you explain your shamanic ritual? If say we’re following an intention of healing then we are guided towards an event, in such a way that the subject will start talking about it, or acting in a particular way. People have said to me, “Dad, what am I doing wrong?” I am their dad, because we’re acting on a level that perhaps for them is subconscious; they’re not conscious of me in the room as the shaman, they’re conscious of their father stood before them. I am literally acting from within their subconscious, so they will subconsciously know how to heal themselves; which is all there is. What I have to say or do comes to me. Even if it involves slapping someone across the face - its very intuitive.

How do people find out about you? Is there a technicolour van involved, with a tannoy blasting whale noises and panpipes? I am sought out. I arrive precisely when needed. I’m not sure how people hear about me, but they do if they listen. I have never charged for the work I do, it is sacred.

What has been the reaction from your friends and family? I have always been honest about what I do. Though it may be mentioned in conversation, only a small percentage of my friends have experienced any interaction with me that can be called genuinely shamanic. Those that haven’t have no conception of what is involved, and liken it to popping a few pills and doing a funny dance. This uncertain career path generally breeds open mindedness. Except with my dad, who’s reaction to my honesty has been one of dismissal and shame. As a medical man, his opinion is that any experience of reality that is “drug induced” is illusory, invalid, and can be of no practical benefit in the real world. Since my experience contradicts that so sharply, all I can do now is wait, listen, and be the best at what I do. My mum is a little curious and a little worried, but she worries if I don’t wear shoes.

“We live in a world of infinite complexity. I’m many things its just about getting involved in this whole creative matrix, which I love,” What are your opinions of the state of our society, that largely lacks a spiritual presence? There is a great deal of terror in the universe. For whatever reason, I’ve been able to walk through that and learn from it. I have been to the edge of madness and faced demons I could never have imagined had power over me. Now I’m in a position where I can treat people who are experiencing these possessions of malevolent spirits.

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We have amazing moments and terrifying moments in our lives and it’s important to recognise that and help people through these moments, and to become whatever people need you to be. We don’t have gods and angels as part of our conscious psyche as much as was previously the case. Life’s a lot more complex these days, we’ve got iPhones, jobs, and stuff to do; we just don’t have time for the mystical.

As England is not an animalisti culture, is there a shamanic community that you’re involved in? There are other shamans who operate as I do, but it’s not something that’s born out of a community. I’m not necessarily connected with any of them. There’s an old saying that “when two Zen masters meet, they need no introduction, when thieves meet they know they’re thieves… or something like that,” Nick humorously retorts. This is not necessarily safe for a person to do and Nick accepts that’s it’s not always psychically healthy. He doesn’t follow a path and he doesn’t know where this will lead but for the time being, he’s helping the people that need him and serving the powers that be. Despite acknowledging that this spiritual path isn’t the be all and end all, he’s already birthed the idea of a Peruvian adventure to expand his shamanic knowledge. “Being a shaman is about being malleable and appearing to people as whatever they need you to appear as. “We live in a world of infinite complexity. I’m many things its just about getting involved in this whole creative matrix, which I love,” concludes the oneof-a-kind character, still sporting the occasional pop of purple and hessian.

Bischoff Bronson - Caves

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“A priest once quoted to me the Roman saying that a religion is dead when the priests laugh at each other across the altar. I always laugh at the altar, be it Christian, Hindu, or Buddhist, because real religion is the transformation of anxiety into laughter.�


Mirage  

We live in a world where religion is eroding and an increasing number of young people are abandoning the pews, but have we simply replaced o...

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