The Myth of Xenu: Technological Mythology in a Postmodern
Are the gods still with us, even to the end of the millenium?
If they are, in what form do they appear? Are myths as much
a part of new religious movements (NRMs) as of the ancient and
traditional religions? One interesting and important myth that
promises insight into these questions is the Myth
of Xenu, one of two myths that comprise the core of the hidden
scriptures of the Church of Scientology.
The Church of Scientology is both an interesting and important new religious
movement. It is interesting because its operating values are in the area
of logical, rationalist thought, yet its conclusions and truths are mythic truths that are literalized by its proponents.
The writings of L. Ron Hubbard begin in postivistic literalism and end in myth, but
a literalized myth that functions as a secret dogma within the Church, available only to its advanced students.
The Church has a spiritual technology for freeing its
members of unwanted barriers on its collective path to spiritual enlightement, a
technology consisting of ritualized questions ("processes") and courses that culminate,
at the highest level, in the person being "Cause Over Life"
(stated end phenomena for New Era Dianetics for Operating
Thetans, or NOTs).
The Church is an important new religious movement
for several reasons, not the least of which is its importance
in protecting the religious freedom of others. It has demonstrated
on a global level that it is a force to be reckoned with. Although
its resources pale beside those of the Roman Catholic church,
its financial resources are vast and the methods that it uses to protect itself from its enemies are both controversial and ruthless. It has, in less than half a
century, made inroads into the governments of several powerful
western nations. Yet the church is not without its critics, even multimedia critics, and the Internet newsgroup, alt.religion.scientology is outspoken in its criticism. The newsgroup is routinely flooded with sporgeries and its members attacked.
Church spokespeople claim it is the victim of religious persecution in Germany:
That the German government estimates it a force so
formidable that, according to Church spokespeople, it has leveled
religious persecution at resident and alien scientologists
- The Church claims that Scientologist artists
and performers have been banned from Germany and their German engagements
- Scientologists cannot work for the German government
and the government maintains a roster of church members.
Strong reactions have directed global attention to the California-based
church. These claims are not without their critics, who explain that Scientology artists may perform in Germany but are not government subsidized.
Scientology and Heaven's Gate - the Context
The sacred scriptures of the Church of Scientology, which center
around the Xenu myth and its twin creation myths, communicate best
the religious consciousness and cosmology of not only scientology
but also of a technological framework that is shared by other
post-modern new religious movements, including Heaven's Gate.
Like many fundamentalist sects in other religions, Scientology teaches its core myth as literal fact. Paul Tillich,
Lutheran theologian, discusses the Christian parallels beautifully in Theology of Culture:
Now all this, if taken literally, is absurd. If it is taken symbolically, it is a profound
expression, the ultimate Christian expression, of the relationship between God and man in the
Christian experience. But to distinguish these two kinds of speech, the non-symbolic and
the symbolic, in such a point is so important that if we are not able
to make understandable to our contemporaries that we speak symbolically
when we use such language, they will rightly turn away from us, as from
people who still live in absurdities and superstitions.
Although Scientology teaches its mythology as a
literal truth, this examination of the core Scientology myths has nothing to do
with taking those myths literally. Facts have nothing to do with it.
The Context - The End of Modernism
In January 1986, the Challenger disaster became a defining crisis
for a new generation, just as the assassination of Kennedy was
a defining moment for the baby boomers. The world watched the
United States, its technological leader, take its best and brightest
and blow them up. Millions of school-aged children watched in
their classrooms. Those children are now in our universities. In that explosion, the technological Tower of Babel fell;
the new civilization would not be realized through humankind's
technological ingenuity. While Generation X may be characterized
by its passive lack of belief and sometimes its lack of hope on
more than a personal level, the Challenger children
are marked by an active and reactionary distrust of technology that heralds the end of the technocracy born in the 1950s.
Scientology was introduced in 1952, although its predecessor subject,
existed as early as the mid-1940s. Its founder, L.
Ron Hubbard, is often dismissed as a science fiction writer by
the press, although he claimed a degree in nuclear physics from
George Washington University. GWU can verify no records beyond the second undergraduate year. Despite his unproven credentials, it is obvious that Hubbard was well-read and often expressed admiration for the work of Will and Ariel Durant.
Hubbard acknowledges in early works (1950, 1953) that he studied
under and admired Commander William Thompson, himself a student
of Freud. However, no Commander William Thompson has been located, and
not for want of trying by scientologists and critics alike.
In any event, a strong Freudian influence
is evident in Scientology's
methodology, which it refers to as its "spiritual technology", a
technology based on a Hubbard's theory
of mind (Touretzky, 1998).
Case histories from his early works (1950) contain regressions
to pre-natal experiences in the womb of a traumatic nature, usually
attempted abortions by the mother.
Philosophically, scientology was born into a pre-Challenger Disaster
world wherein technology was considered a viable hope for humankind's
future. In that world, such Nietzschean values as "Scientology
is for the able" and an emphasis on personal responsibility
echoed the spirit of many people. Hope is a cornerstone of Scientology,
hope based in belief in the individual's ability and the indomitability
of the human spirit.
Hubbard's lack of credentials, his refusal to have his research
reviewed objectively by the his peers in the psychological community,
and an arrogant disrespect for the acknowledged authorities of
the time caused him to not be taken seriously by the mental health community
or the popular press, who condemned his work as "pseudoscience".
Hubbard made great claims of increases in IQ and personal ability,
which he supported by excerpts from case studies but not by research
done in accordance with the agreed upon norms of the time. Hubbard
responded with a 30-year tirade against psychology and psychologists,
denouncing the entire field as both harmful and evil. The enmity
between scientology and psychology exists to this day in and toward
the church he founded. This is particularly true in the American psychological
community, where empirical evaluation is valued over descriptive
Is it a religion?
Central to the evaluation of the myth of Xenu as a religious myth
is the supposition that scientology is itself a religion, a claim
not without controversy. Those opposed to scientology, and there
are many, argue that scientology focuses on the consciousness
of the individual and, moreover, that the individual's relationship
with a creator is irrelevant to the religion. There is no worship
service, per se, held in scientology churches, although Sunday
services are held. The subject of God, as an entity whose existence
might be proved or disproved, both ontologically and cosmologically, the usual purview of religion, is left to the individual
No deity stands at the center of Scientology's religious teachings. The lack of such has stirred up antagonism from fundamentalist groups who consider Scientology a dangerous gnostic cult and draw links between Hubbard and Aleister Crowley. The antagonism appears to flow in both directions -- Denigrating references to traditional religious beliefs occur in Scientology's scriptures. The Scientology Comparative Theology Page, which claims "to promote the scholarly study of the religious beliefs of Scientology, and compare them to other religious belief systems" but does a less than objective job of it does quote several of these references.
There is an obvious lack of a savior in
Scientology's mythology -- unless one sees scientology's founder
as an integral part of the myth. This is not an uncommon pattern in narcissistic charismatic leaders (Oakes, 1997). In later years, after Hubbard
had severed administrative ties to his church, he often complained
that he was repeatedly called back to remedy organizational crises
This is not without precedence in more traditional theology:
A God about whose existence or non-existence you can argue is
a thing besides others within the universe of existing things.
And the question is quite justified whether such a thing does
exist, and the answer is equally justified that it does not exist.
It is regrettable that scientists believe that they have refused
religion when they rightly have shown that there is no evidence
whatsoever for the assumption that such a being exists. Actually,
they have not only not refuted religion, but they have done it
a considerable service. They have forced it to reconsider and
to restate the meaning of the tremendous word God. Unfortunately,
many theologians make the same mistake. They begin their message
with the assertion that there is a highest being called God, whose
authoritative revelation they have received. They are more dangerous
for religion than the so-called atheistic scientists. They take
the first step on the road which inescapably leads to what is
called atheism. (Tillich, 1959).
After a lengthy battle, a surprising reversal in IRS policy acknowledged Scientology as a
bona fide religion for tax purposes. It is also staunchly defended as a religion by H. Gordon
Melton, a legal expert witness on cults and curator of the American
Religions Collection at the University of California Santa Barbara.
Dr. Melton's collection houses copies of the sacred scriptures. Dr.
Melton was offered copies by the scriptures by Heber Jenztsch, President
of the Church of Scientology, on the condition that he prohibit access
to the documents. Dr. Melton declined (personal communication, fall, 1992).
Other scholars, including Irving Hexham, who sponsors a discussion
forum for the academic discussion of new
religious movements at the University of Calgary in Alberta,
Canada, share this belief.
Scientology's purpose, as stated by Hubbard (1953), is "to
bring mankind out of the barbarism it thinks conceived it"
to a greater spiritual awareness of itself. This constitutes
a religious purpose, geisteswssenschaften,
(Dilthey) that is, a science of the spirit or mind.
Theory Behind the Methods
Hubbard's study of seminal psychoanalytic concepts is
evident in Scientology's most basic counseling techniques: The basic processes
in scientology's "spiritual technology" and similar
procedures derived from Freud's work could be likened to watching a movie
(Descilo, 1997). The parishioner, in the framework of a formal
session, repeatedly reviews a traumatic or distressing event.
The pastoral counselor asks her to rewind to the beginning of
an incident, viewing the incident until the end, and then reporting
what she saw, heard, felt, and thought while reviewing it. As
in the case of a second, third, or fourth viewing of a movie,
different aspects emerge with each viewing. It seems that repetition
of a technique is used to achieve a deeper level of resolution.
As in flooding and other systematic desensitization technqiues, repetition
of a concept or trauma reactivates and then desensitizes the trauma's
emotional and cognitive content. This reactivation creates what
is described under the concept of state-dependent learning, wherein
a person must be in a similar state to the time one learned or
experienced something in order to be able to recall it (Gerbode,
1989). Repeating an emotionally uncomfortable concept or traumatic
event serves to trigger the event or the material connected to
the concept, which are stored in state-dependent form (Goodwin
et al, 1969). By repeating material in the person's conscious
awareness, her preconscious material will begin to surface, and
as the repetition is continued, previously unconscious material may surface, although the form may be
more imaginal than factual. When all such previously
unconscious material has been viewed and therefore no longer unconsciously
affecting the person, she is Clear, or permanently free
of the effects of past trauma (Hubbard, 1950).
At the higher echelons beyond Clear, however, the parishioner's
sessions are done "solo" and session content proceeds
in either of two directions: either "drills" to enhance
native abilities, or the overcoming of limitations that originate
outside of the person's own case.
Importance of Myth
With scientology's emphasis on its "spiritual technology",
it might seem the least likely candidate for an examination of
its mythology in an archetypal context. To examine scientology
in the rationalistic context characteristic of western psychology,
however, is to determine the outcome ahead of time. If we grant
that scientology is geisteswssenschaften, and we have no
reason not to, rationalistic materialism cannot do justice to
Given Hubbard's antipathy for American rationalist psychology
and especially the lack of quantifiable data on Hubbard's research,
a mythological descriptive approach is not only more feasible
but even more fair to the religious nature of the movement
as well. The widely held view that the psyche is an epiphenomenon,
a secondary manifestation, could be argued to be presumptuous
when evaluating a religion because religious experience posits
the very Cartesian dualism that rationalist psychology
and contemporary philosophers such as Daniel Dennett (1969) rule
out at the start.
In common parlance, myth is a word that serves two functions:
It both limits and extends preconceptions. Even when myth is
applies to tales and stories, it implies that these are untrue
and hence not to be taken seriously. Yet myths are also those
stories that give meaning and importance to events in our lives
and history, that reveal personal meaning in the archetypes, those
underlying constant forms in human experience. Sacred scriptures
structure human meaning and values, thus reinforcing religious
Neither myths nor archetypes are rationalizations for behavior.
When a people reduce their beliefs to empirical certainties or
logical proofs, even quantum physics undertakes to expose their
delusion. There is no life without a mythology -- the materialistic
mythology manifests itself in technological hopes and dreams,
and in recurring economic cycles. Myths further the quest for
the religious self, proclaiming a central reality and then building
a structure of values around and in relation to it.
Myths are, at least in part, religious because their stories mirror,
if through a glass darkly, the cosmology (the nature of the universe
itself) and the ontology (the nature of existence) of the essential
person, that personality which is both transcendent (true for
all times and places) and immanent (true here and now). They
tell of the human dilemma and struggle even in a technological
context (Young, 1996b), and bridge the chasm between our our concept as fundamentally immortal
selves who cannot conceive personal nonexistence, that is spiritual beings, divine or "in the image
and likeness of" in nature, and our functional selves, symbolized
as limited, and alienated from our essential core.
Unlike the scriptures of ancient and traditional religions, the
scriptures of Scientology are copyrighted, and the church
has used its considerable power to ensure that they are protected.
Within the church, only parishioners who have spent years of study are
allowed access to the scriptures, and then at a financial cost of many
thousand U.S. dollars. In fighting the dissemination of church scriptures on the Internet,
the church contends that downloading (and it is necessary to download
in order to read) or saving the scriptures to disk constitutes
copyright infringement. Whether or not that is legally the case,
the church is litigious in this regard and I have chosen to summarize,
rather than quote the scriptures themselves, although there are links to the actual text throughout this document.
In fairness, however, the church's motives in protecting the scriptures
may not stem solely from the monetary considerations but also to
protect the uninitiated from what it considers the detrimental
effects of being exposed to the myth's highly evocative images. Faithful scientologists who
take the myths as literal rather than allegorical truths, are warned that premature exposure to the sacred scriptures can cause illness, pneumonia, and death.
The sacred scriptures, and particularly the Xenu myth, are nevertheless
posted anonymously to the usenet newsgroup, alt.religion.scientology,
and at Andreas Heldal's Free Internet web site in Norway or from sites
on some university campuses, if the above link should fail. They
are also included in the Fishman affidavit (1993), are archived
in the American Religions Collection of the University of California
Santa Barbara library (Melton, 1992), and can be had for the cost
of photocopying from the United States District Court, Central
Coast Division in San Luis Obispo, California.
Summary of the Xenu Myth
Ninety-five million years ago, as a solution to overpopulation,
the evil head of the Galactic Federation, Xenu, used renegade
soldiers from his government to forcibly bring people to earth.
They were placed on volcanoes and atomic bombs exploded on them.
A false collective past and culture were holographically imbedded
in the force of the explosion. The images contained god, the
devil, angels, and archetypal symbols. The beings were then gathered
up and "packaged". A six-year battle ensued which he
lost. Captured by officers loyal to the people, he was imprisoned
in an electronic mountain trap. This area of space, the Galactic
Federation, has since been a desert. The incident is designed
to kill by respiratory infection and sleeplessness anyone who
contacts it. A body is actually a mass of spiritual beings who
have misidentified and become stuck to the being or to other beings
comprising the body. One cleans off and frees these beings by
running two incidents, the volcano explosion incident and "implant
of false reality" of the Xenu myth, and then another earlier,
incident called "Incident I", a creation myth.
Summary of the Creation Myth
The creation myth occurs at the beginning of time, four quadrillion
years ago. A loud snap is followed by waves of light. A chariot
emerges and turns in two directions. A cherub blows a horn and
approaches the viewer. Another series of snaps and the cherub
fades and blackness falls on the being. If an entity does not
recover his true identity by running the Xenu myth in a variation
of the procedure outlined above, the creation myth is taken up.
The Myth of Myth -- A Context for Interpretation
We can examine the Xenu myth and its companion creation myth in
Mircea Eliade sees all myth as concerning the beginnings of existence
and of identifying in illo tempore¸ the timeless moment
that is both immanent and transcendent in human existence. The
eternal return contains the annihilation of time that returns
to that "time before time", the past before the past,
that is both transcendent and immanent in the present moment.
Myths are sacred, instructive, and important. They explain how
it is that the world is as it is. Myth is sacred because it opens
the door to a world that exists, not alongside our everyday world,
but which permeates it. In the sacred beginnings of in illo
tempore, supernatural beings given finite existence in reality,
whether the reality of the whole cosmos or a small part of it.
Time in illo tempore is qualitatively different from profane
time, from the continuous and unidirectional sequence of connected
events. Order emerges from chaos in such moments of return to
the primordial beginnings of experience.
Myths are also instructive and offer behavioral models for activities
in the profane world. There is an element of magic, an impulse
to make the external world conform to one's wants and needs, in
myth but this can also be seen as an interface to those elements
of religion that bring humans into harmony with those elements
in the real world (people and events) which they do not control.
Earthly events, the literal history, are unreal and illusory.
Mythological realities are true and substantial. With repetition
and ritualization, myths come to define the world view and so
shape the outer environment through human action.
Myths are important. They carry the structure of meaningful human
existence, addressing not only rationalistic or imaginative faculties,
but the whole person and her relationship with the cosmos. They
speak to the existential situations in which a person finds herself:
the ebb and flow of relationships, events and cataclysms in the
physical environment, and of individual experience as she is born,
grows old, and dies. Myths unite people because they address
common and ancient experiences that are part of human existence:
struggles of good and evil, life and death, integration and alienation.
Joseph Campbell (1968, 1972) describes myths as symbols that evoke
and direct individual psychological energies and are at the same
time woven into the larger fabric of cultural world view. Myths
are the dreams of societies and one's personal dreams are the
embryonic forms of the larger dream that both influence and reflect
one's personal destiny. Myth honors the spiritual energies that
manifest in the moment in four ways.
First, is the sense of awe or wonder, the sense of a numinous
power outside of finite human control, what Ruldolf Otto describes
in The Idea of the Holy. Myths address fundamental realities
and basic mysteries of existence: who we really are, and why
we are here, why bad things happen to good people, how do we live
knowing that we are going to die and what happens then?
Second, myth provides a cosmology, a model of the universe. Myths
communicate this in a way that is imaginal and evocative, rather
than abstract and rational, and in so doing communicate universally
by way of the understanding that comes through the senses, faculties
that all people share. Whether that image is of the cosmos as
a great island or an ordered cluster of galaxies, myths communicate
what the universe looks like and where people fit into it. As
for Eliade, order is a keynote: myths set the boundaries of spirit
and matter, and sacred and profane experience.
Third, myths serve a sociological function in supporting the social
order and to integrate outsiders into the group. They educate
the young and new arrivals into the mores, values, and ideals
of the community through repetition and ritual.
Fourth and most important, myth serves a psychological function,
initiating a person into her own realities. It guides a person
through the peak and valleys of human experience from childhood
to death. Children are reassured through their fears. Adolescents
are strengthened in their definition of boundaries and encouraged
to take risks. Adults gain insight into the use and abuse of
power and ability, and elders find in myth a vessel for carrying
their wisdom to new generations. All of these moments take place
in the here and now. They are ordered and their meaning acknowledged
The true gods and heroes are within the person; they are the person
herself. By developing this spiritual awareness, the chasm between
the subjective inner world and the hostile outer world that disregards
individual hopes and wishes, is bridged. Campbell develops these
four functions of myth within the conceptual structure of monomyth
, a universal pattern of departure, initiation, and return
that echoes throughout all cultures and individuals who respond
to the call to meaningful existence.
The monomythic pattern contains, implicit in its departure, initiation
and return, a kind of spiritual death and transformation that
is as valid for the human listener as for the mythic hero. What
the hero ultimately discovers is her own self, her own identity.
Meaning is central to the religious self -- myths illustrate
a universal condition, outside of time and applicable to all,
if not taken literally but rather symbolically.
Journey to Wholeness
Both Eliade and Campbell were influenced by C.G. Jung's commentaries
on the reality of myths, dreams, and fairy tales, specifically
the role of myth in mapping and marking the spiritual journey
from the empirical outer consciousness to the religious self,
which he sees at the core of our unconsciousness.
Myths are indestructible and have common elements in all cultures.
Because the same themes surfaced in difference cultures, Jung
divined a common substance in the various myths of different races
and cultures. That common substance emerges in various cultures,
giving expression to unconscious processes that produce images
in dreams that are unrelated to the stream of ordinary events.
Underlying the personal unconscious of the individual, Jung sensed
a "collective unconscious" of forms common to human
experience. Those forms are the archetypes, invisible
shapers of behavior and emotion. These forces are personified
by the gods and heroes of myths. The archetypes include: the
Self (which Jung calls the "god within us"), the hero,
the anima and animus (the contrasexual part of the psyche, the
image of the other sex that an individual carries within), the
shadow (inferior characteristics that are not acknowledged by
the individual). The realization of the religious self is achieved
through recognizing and acknowledging the archetypes, and reconciling
perceived opposites within the personality. This process Jung
calls individuation. Myths help to bring this process
A Symbolic and Polytheistic Approach
James Hillman (1975, 1979), formerly the Director of Studies at
the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, criticizes Jung for literalizing
the individuation process. By affirming the "teleological
fallacy" (that life's purpose is realized in the wholeness
of individuation), betrays the myriad identities and archetypes
in the personal and collective unconscious of the individual.
Jung creates a monotheistic theology instead of an archetypal
psychology wherein individuation is only one archetypal image
among many possible perspectives inherent in human nature. Hillman's
vision for psychology undertakes to free the individual soul from
all false and partial identifications, especially the life in
which it finds itself centered, and to engage in "soul-making"
through a noninterpretive understanding of the imaginal process.
Because the soul often expresses itself in images of gods, psychology
is necessarily religious and theistic. Hillman condemns as one-sided
and superficial the idea that human experience is singularly directed
toward growth. Human nature also has in it tendencies for limitation,
irrationality, and even pathology and if not acknowledged and
given expression (as in myth), these forces become demonic and
destructive of the individual and society.
The relationship between religion and insanity is sometimes tenuous at best. The literalization of the Xenu myth moves it away from spirit and invites behaviors that are viewed as atypical, cultish by the larger society.
Elements of the Xenu Myth
The Xenu myth contains these mythic elements:
- A similar crisis to an element in the ordinary stream of reality:
- A personification of evil: Xenu.
- A hero: Although the loyal officers in the myth contain,
but do not annihilate, the evil one, the true hero of the myth
is Hubbard himself who conveys the truth in telling the mythic
tale. Hubbard also fulfills the role of the savior.
- A struggle in which good overcomes evil.
- A wound which has not yet been healed: packaging and identification
of the victims.
- An inherent cosmology: the physical (the body) is in actuality
spiritual in nature, good contains but does not vanquish evil
Elements of the Creation Myth
myth contains these mythic elements:
- The beginning of time.
- Separation of light and darkness.
- An announcement: the cherub blow the horn
- A struggle in which good overcomes evil.
- A fallen state: blackness befalls the being.
Examination of the Myth
In Eliade's paradigm, these myths explain the beginning of existence
and the path of return to wholeness and the native condition that
is in illo tempore. That path is the recognition of the
events of the myth and is traveled first by recognizing the identities
which one is and is not and second, by assisting another (the
beings that comprise the person's body) to do the same. Behavioral
models are supplied by the loyal officers and the hero/savior
who recounts the story. The cosmology is that good triumphs over
evil, that light and darkness are themselves created things.
Monomythic Elements and the Personal Journey
The confronting of the crime in the Xenu myth is a major stepping
stone in the scientologist's journey to wholeness. It also serves
an initiatory function in the church and educates him on symbolic
level regarding the church's cosmology. Completing the rituals
of applying the methods to the myth, a series of rituals which
are tightly supervised and often take hundreds of hours, increases
the status of the member. As each of the packaged beings has
become identified with a different element of the myth, the ritualized
"processing" of these beings allows the initiate to
integrate various archetypal forms contained in the myth.
The Xenu myth contains in its imaginal implants a mirror of modern
ordinary reality and the archetypal manifestations and symbols.
Literalization and Metamyth
The myth is presented as an actual event in the time stream, not
an extra-temporal truth. Except in that Hubbard himself relates
the myth, the myths lack a savior. Hubbard himself, in telling
the myth, is part of the myth. Hubbard's telling it supplies
the missing part of the myth. The initiate herself is the hero
on the way to overcoming the demonic Xenu element in her personal
An Imaginal Interpretation
When literalized, the Myth of Xenu is trivialized, becoming an
explanatory justification for our current state of spiritual disrepair.
By honoring it as a mythic truth, the instructive and examplary
powers of myth become apparent. Let us examine the Xenu myth
from an imaginal perspective, with each aspect of the myth taken
as a power and direction within the individual.
Ninety-five million years ago, as a solution to overpopulation,
the evil head of the Galactic Federation, Xenu used renegate soldiers
to forcibly bring people to earth.
The overpopulation problem of the myth mirrors events in our own
present, as our personal and collective dreams often do. In order
to solve a problem, an evil, personified as Xenu, takes form.
Our problems stem from solutions we conjured up for earlier problems.
We make others the solution to our own fears of being abandoned
and our need for space and security. When we elevate those problems
to the status of "ultimate concerns" wherein they become
the basis of the actions we take. In doing so, they become false
gods, causing us to betray our true selves (Tillich).
They were placed on volcanoes and atomic bombs exploded on
Explosions and great destructions destroy the old order and form
the foundation for the new one. Endless creation, like endless
destruction, is impossible. The new civilization is built on
the ruins of the older civilizations. The powerful inner forces
can be evoked by way of an external cataclysmic event in our lives.
The journey is often painful. Judith Herman says in Trauma
The traumatic event challenges an ordinary person to become a
theologian...She stands mute before the emptiness of evil, feeling
the insufficiency of any known system of explanation...All questions
are reduced to one, spoken more in bewilderment than in outrage:
Why? The answer is beyond human understanding.
The lesson is that we can turn outward misfortunes into opportunities
for spiritual growth.
A false collective past and culture were holographically imbedded
in the force of the explosion. The images contained god, the
devil, angels, and archetypal symbols.
When we take our cues about absolute reality and define ourselves
by our wants and the expectations of others, don't we make less,
make profane, that which is most holy, that part of us that is
the image and likeness of a god?
The beings were then gathered up and "packaged".
When we package ourselves and others by assigning stereotypic
labels, don't we dehumanize ourselves? We then abdicate our freedom
by mindlessly conforming to the goals and activities that correspond
to the "package".
A six-year battle ensued which he (Xenu) lost.
When we are evil (at odds with ourselves and all that is real),
dehumanizing ourselves and others in our solutions
to our own needs and wants, we always lose eventually.
Captured by officers loyal to the people, he was imprisoned
in an electronic mountain trap.
We cannot overcome the evil in ourselves; it is a part of a finite
existence. We have to choose and our choices are therefore limited.
Like the evil Pandora set free, it can be contained but it cannot
be vanquished. And after we have given way to our impulses to
solve our own problems at the cost of dehumanizing others, do
we not find ourselves alone and abandoned in a prison of our own
This area of space, the Galactic Federation, has since been
After we have profaned our relationships by dehumanizing the other
in the abuse of our own power, haven't we lost the sacredness
and meaning of our daily life? Don't we stand at the balcony
and watch the people we knew best and loved go on about their
lives as if in a different orbit in some faraway galaxy we can
no longer travel to?
The incident is designed to kill by respiratory infection and
sleeplessness anyone who contacts it.
When the spirit, the breath of life, is gone and when we overcome
distractions and confront that fact, we experience it anew. We
cannot sleep, and so we cannot dream. We have no visions, we
have no future.
A body is actually a mass of spiritual beings who have misidentified
and become stuck to the being or ot other beings comprising the
Our confusions about boundaries of identity and our attempts to
"become" the other while maintaining our own individuality
weaken us by making us something we are not. It is important
to claim and integrate those things that are a part of me, including
those acts and identities I condemn as sinful in others. This
is not a simple task. Like Psyche who must sort the seeds on
her way back to true relationship, the task is monumental and
painstaking. We must be true to ourselves, to the other, and
to our own incarnate spirituality. It is this integrity that allows us
to survive such great cataclysms and injustices as are described in
The representation of Hubbard's personal myth as a literal fact
renders it explanatory, but not mythic. Even if communicated in
a mythic context, it may not be received as a universal truth
by the listener. Many such listeners find their way to the Free Zone, a loose association of former members who embrace some or all of the belief systems associated with clearing, but not the Church of Scientology.
Moreover, it may not be the exact archetype
that speaks to an individual listener at that moment in their journey.
Myths necessarily express but they do not explain. They are imaginal gestures, not fundamentalist interpretations. The liability
of the explanation is that in so explaining the myth moves from
the sacred expression of form to a linear explanation based on
a prior event. The Xenu and creation myths, drawn from Hubbard's
own unconscious, are true imaginal expressions but they are not factual.
In representing them as factual explanations, they lose their
power and leave initiates vulnerable to the ridicule of outsiders.
Even as a meta-myth, a myth that imaginally "explains"
the false collective experiences, the Xenu myth may not be the
exact archetype that speaks to the individual. However, the myth
nevertheless represents a milestone in scientology's collective
progression toward wholeness: In the Xenu myth and the less complex
creation myth that precedes it, Hubbard moves from the level of
addressing the personal unconscious of the psyche, to the realm
of the collective unconscious. The archetypes of the collective
construct, however, are "forms without content, representing
merely the possibility of a certain perception and action"
(quoted in Wulff, p. 423). They signal a predisposition or "readiness
to produce over and over the same or similar mythical ideas".
Out of psychic realities, religious myths are born which give
meaning to experience and aid the individual in coming to terms
with the world and herself. This is lost when the myth is literalized.
The literalization of the Xenu myth as an event in the personal
history of the individual that might be proven or disproven by
empirical evidence disempowers the myth itself and relegates it
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I would also like to acknowledge the contributions of the subscribers
to two Internet discussion lists, nurel-l, a list for the
discussion of new religious movements maintained by Irving Hexham
of the University of Alberta, and sbbust-l¸a list
for the discussion of religion and Generation X, maintained by
Shawn Landres and the University of California at Santa Barbara.