AETHERIUS SOCIETY (Religious Movement)

The Aetherius Society is one of the earliest and longest-lasting UFO-related religions. It is one of the few British NRMs (see New Religious Movement) to spread successfully to the USA and elsewhere in the world. It is also a rare example of a new religion making a smooth transition following the death of its founder.

In May 1954 George King (1919-97), who had practised yoga at a high level for ten years, heard a voice telling him ‘Prepare yourself! You are to become the voice of Interplanetary Parliament!’ A week later he was visited in his locked flat by ‘an Indian Swami of world renown’ who instructed him to form a group. Shortly after that he began receiving telepathic messages from Venus. King started holding public meetings in central London at which he gave messages from the Ascended Masters, and in 1955 he founded the Aetherius Society.

In its teachings the Aetherius Society is firmly in the tradition of those New Age groups (see New Age Movement) rooted in the Theosophical Society’s reinterpretation of Eastern beliefs for the West. Our actions in this life determine our progression to the next; ideally through the lessons we learn in each successive life, we move up the scale until we eventually become Masters. The Ascended Masters (or Great White Brotherhood) are those who have reached the highest levels and now give guidance to those of us still working our way up. The Cosmic Hierarchy, or Interplanetary Parliament, is based on Saturn. Ascended Masters include Jesus and Buddha who came from Venus, Krishna from Saturn, and other great religious teachers of the past. The Aetherius Society sees each planet in our solar system as a different ‘classroom’; when we have developed sufficiently through a succession of lives on Earth, we will move on to Venus or Mars to continue our development in a higher classroom.

Between 1958 and 1961, George King and other members of the Aetherius Society took part in Operation Starlight, in which they climbed eighteen mountains around the world and painted the Society’s symbol, charging the mountains with spiritual power. Members still go on pilgrimages to these mountains.

The Aetherius Society helps the Ascended Masters in their constant battle against evil forces. In what is known as a Spiritual Push, through prayer and meditation members draw spiritual power (Prana) down to Earth from a huge (though invisible) spaceship, Satellite Three, which is in close orbit around our planet.

The most distinctive practice of the Aetherius Society is its use of Spiritual Energy Batteries. The prayers and chanting of members are focused through trained leaders, and poured into a battery where they can be stored indefinitely. In times of crisis, such as war, earthquake or famine, thousands of hours of stored prayer energy can be released in one moment.

Over the years George King accumulated a vast number of religious, chivalric and academic-sounding titles from a variety of unorthodox sources, such as Knight of the Grand Cross of Justice with Grand Collar in the Sovereign Military Orthodox Dynastic Imperial Constantinian Order of Saint Georges. The most significant of these was his consecration as a bishop from the Liberal Catholic Church; through this, the clergy of the Aetherius Society have legitimate Apostolic Succession. The Society today is run by three bishops, including the UK leader Richard Lawrence, and ten senior engineering officers, five in the UK and five in the USA, who have technical responsibility for the Society’s missions, such as the prayer batteries. The board of directors is based in Los Angeles.

Since his death, George King has been recognized by the movement as an avatar of one of the Ascended Masters. He gave over 600 Cosmic Transmissions during his leadership, but these ceased with his death. The Aetherius Society treats King, and his messages, with great respect, and they still maintain all of his teachings, including the teaching that a Master will soon come to Earth openly, in a flying saucer. On a day-today basis, though, the emphasis has changed more to spiritual healing through the transfer of Prana, the universal life force; Richard Lawrence is a regular speaker and writer on healing in the wider New Age scene.

The worldwide membership of the Aetherius Society is ‘in the thousands, but not tens of thousands’, according to Lawrence. The USA, New Zealand and Africa have the largest concentration of members; in Britain there are 600-700 members, and around 8,000 on the mailing list.

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