Out of the Galactic Closet: A Talk with Jonathan Talat Phillips
This interview first appeared in the Catalyst.
Author, visionary and activist, Jonathan Talat Phillips is traveling the United States with an incredible story to tell. In his debut book, The Electric Jesus: The Healing Journey of a Contemporary Gnostic, Phillips undergoes a devastating loss as a media activist, which leads him to embark on a mystical journey involving ayahuasca ceremonies, kundalini awakenings, prankster spirit guides, Christian mysticism, and energy healings to discover visionary ways to help our planet in crisis. Phillips co-founded the cutting edge web magazine Reality Sandwich and Evolver Network, coordinating 40+ regional Evolver communities. He is a Religion blogger for The Huffington Post, creator of "The Ayahuasca Monologues: Tales of the Spirit Vine," a Reiki Master and Bioenergetic Healer.
Through the journey of this interview, which like his book ends in Utah, Talat shows how clear inquiry and an openness to accept our world with all its experiences and conditions, creates an inspiring and transformative walk in life.
Terra Celeste: Talat, thank you for taking time for this interview to talk about The Electric Jesus. Your book is also your story and from page to page, filled with transformational moments. You mention that the chakras, when aligned, move prana or energy -- creating and propelling transformational inner-personal moments in life. Is this kind of transformation limited to the Human experience? Can this transformation be experienced on a planetary or Gaia level?
Jonathan Talat Phillips: The old alchemists have a saying, "as above so below" and I believe it's the same with the energy web across the universe. Just as our human bodies have a "Tree of Life" of pranic meridians and psychic centers (chakras), we also have a "World Tree of Life" with a north and south chakra (the poles). The Earth even has her own aura, which can be seen in the luminous colors of the aurora borealis.
In my book, I make an argument that many yogis believe: we as a civilization are currently oriented in a third chakra consciousness, which creates a certain vibrational reality for our species. This energy center is masculine, focused on willpower, achievement, marching forward in the world. In just 10,000 years, we went from planting seeds in the ground to splitting the atom. The destructive fires of this "solar" chakra are pushing us into the feminine heart chakra. The heart is the alchemical center of the entire energetic field. It carries the geometric vibration of love that unifies opposites and brings spirit into matter. It gives us access to entire new realms of divine healing and guidance. It's what makes "miracles" occur. And given the current economic and environmental situation, that's exactly what we need to manifest -- one giant planetary miracle.
What role do humans have in this balancing? Where can people learn more about this?
In my book, I start off as a lone wolf, riding the psychedelic Wild West of consciousness, but I then realize those who evolve the quickest are ones who get the right training and learn how to harness and work with cosmic energies. The ancient Christian Gnostics didn't just walk out into the desert to get enlightened, they went through the initiatory process of the Mystery Schools to get properly trained. We are in a fortunate time these days where there are many places that teach ancient/advanced spiritual technologies, whether it's yoga, meditation, healing courses, ayahuasca schools, or the Santo Daime church (my main practice), which is a Christian based ayahuasca church.
Energetically speaking, we as a civilization are a house divided. Parasitic, hierarchical systems (political, financial, medical, economic) suck up most of our resources for the top few percent, creating vast amounts of scarcity and human suffering. I think our role is to resurrect the Warrior Spirit of Humanity, to remember our divine inheritance and internal/collective power as sons and daughters of the divine, to reclaim our lives and the sanctity of the natural world, to restructure our communities and resource distribution systems, to heal ourselves and our planet.
What does the 'Warrior Spirit' of humanity represent? Or, how would one know a 'Warrior Spirit'?
It's the wild, authentic self that we carry within, the wisdom of the ancestors in our DNA, our luminous force and unique creative spark that can shuck off the limitations, corruptions, and trappings of modern civilization to engage us in a truer, more passionate, connected, and poetic life.
Have you always been religious, or was there a 'conversion' point?
I've always been spiritual, but I expressed that as a young man in the form of playful adventures and light-hearted tricksterism. Religion actually held down my spirit, whether it was the Methodist Church giving me structured rules on how one is to behave, or the Fundamentalist Church that had me fearing a bloody, impending apocalypse, which is no fun at all. I had to liberate myself from these controlling forces, but I also abandoned Jesus for a time. Much of my book focuses on rediscovering the beauty and mystery of the early Christian initiatory schools and their belief, not in rigid rules of engagement, but an exploration of gnosis -- direct, revelatory knowledge of the divine through your own unique personal experience. Exploring this has been very healing in my own path, and judging from emails I get from those who've read my book, it's seemed to help them as well.
What role does art play in your life?
When I first started on my path of Bioenergetic training, I focused heavily on learning every correct hands-on-healing position and energetic defense structure. But as art goes, once you have the fundamentals down, you then open up to your own unique style. These days, I find the magic of the celestial realms and forest of the Amazon from my work with Santo Daime has invigorated a new spirit into my healing art. Strangely gorgeous chants come through me as healing offerings for my clients, I embrace my own energetic signatures of electric-and-navy blues to connect with the dancing frequencies of my clients, helping them to illuminate their own creative power and manifest it throughout their life's journey. Each day, I awaken more and more to the poetry of nature, the universe, and the cosmos within us.
You led an inspired group of street theatre activists, wearing sequined costumes and staging political protests and flash mobs -- turning minds and media through political satire -- spontaneously and 'outrageously' attention-getting and fun -- spurring dialog in a new cultural fashion, bringing up serious political issues, all the while specifically advocating for that distinctly American sensibility of 'Liberty'. Where does your devotion to Liberty stem from? How would you describe your political philosophy today?
I've always been attracted to the liberating essence of revolution, whether it was French, American, psychedelic, or sexual. Now, I look at it as also being very spiritual. These days I see activism being both multidimensional and interdimensional. Like many, I've lost a lot of faith in our political structures (what happened to the change Obama promised?), so it's up to us to design and build the new systems that can bring about societal transformation and create abundance for everyone. I'm talking about the eco-villages, alternative currencies, permaculture gardens, gift economies, sustainable energy networks -- all the things Occupy and the Evolver Social Movement are working toward.
But also, the ancient Gnostics (much like the Buddhists) saw that our entire physical world is trapped in illusion, and on top of that, they believed there to be dark energies/entities that prey upon us, trapping us in these denser material planes. Through my work with the Santo Daime, I've come to see that there is a much larger, complex astral reality intersecting with ours and that because our culture doesn't acknowledge spirit, we are only playing with a small part of the deck. These entities create a lot of addictions, anxiety, depression, anger, mental illness, disunion, and suffering. The Daime actually works to illuminate these dark entities through alchemical healing. It can be tough work, but it's incredible to see the transformation when these beings are lifted from our energy field. I believe society itself may be suffering from a larger form of spirit possession and we currently lack the the healing technology of the shaman or mystic to liberate ourselves. That's what part of this awakening process is about -- it's taking the red pill to illuminate the Matrix around us.
You bring up a point here, the influence of something sentient having an affect on individuals' actions and through this creating harmful cycles of thought and habits of behavior. How much direction or control can an individual have in regards to these influences and therefore over their own life?
We can gain full control, but it's often a process of illuminating and clearing the energetic body. For instance, I struggled with severe panic attacks, depression, and even suicidal thoughts my whole life. Three years ago, I discovered this was caused by a "parasitic astral attachment" (i.e., ancestral demon) dug into my back and abdomen. The Daime says recognizing this type of interfering is a first really big step. Once you distinguish that, a sort of separation in this dualistic reality of light and dark, you can then help the being go through an indoctrination process of forgiveness and illumination. When they illuminate, you also receive a profound healing. Could you imagine what would happen if we could illuminate the demons in our political and financial systems? It would be a powerful healing for us and the planet.
At one point in "The Electric Jesus" you describe Jesus as a kind of covert, ninja-type hero, sneaking undercover into the Garden of Eden to convince the humans (Adam + Eve) to taste of the fruits of knowledge, become enlightened (or 'see the light') and, ultimately, become liberated from this material World. This seems like a different take on the concept of 'original sin' -- can you elaborate?
I think original sin is the biggest plague and energetic thought-virus on this planet. It's a corrupt, controlling frequency that tells us we are separate, isolated beings, that God doesn't like us, and no matter what we do, we will never be worthy of love. It's a lie, and a very big one, as it cuts off our most important connection -- that to God/source energy and ourselves. It leaves us in exile. In ancient Gnostic texts, Jesus comes in with the wisdom of the light, to remind humans of their noble heritage, as sons and daughters of the divine, bringing them back to their celestial home.
The trauma of original sin happens in the fertile crescent, the birthplace of agriculture, and spreads across the world with violent expansion of Western Civilization. Our whole society has been contaminated and we can learn from the ancient Gnostics to purge ourselves of these parasitic thought forms and reclaim our true divine nature.
Your book also mentions paraphenomena -- balls of light, auras and even aliens. Is it safe to say you believe humans, as sentient creative beings, are not alone in this Universe? What should people make of this? What would you say to others who've had similar perceptual experiences?
Let's just jump into the most difficult aspect of writing this book -- "coming out of the galactic closet." It wasn't until the final draft when my editor and Evolver colleague Daniel Pinchbeck (author of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl) told me the book wasn't publishable in its current form. "You aren't being honest. You have to share everything -- your shadow side, your messy relationships." And for me, being honest meant saying the thing I never wanted to admit publicly -- that most of my spiritual awakening experiences involved what you would call galactic contact with extraterrestrial spirit guides. Surprisingly, this is the material that attracts most people to the book. They get really excited that there's someone willing to discuss his experiences around a different kind of contact experience. We're not talking clunky abduction narratives with 1950's sci-fi tin-foil looking ships. This is much more shamanic, interdimensional, highlighted by the creative alchemy of slowly opening one's eyes to what might be our galactic brothers and sisters. I get emails all the time from people who are having these experiences, so I guess I'm not alone here.
The Electric Jesus is an autobiographical book and at points you share your heart's journey through personal stories. In this way, you reflect on some of what life has been like, your existential reality as you've walked this path, discovering new dimensions and definitions of what is possible and also very real. You describe your family as coming from two planets, literally. I took this as, there are many conscious, sentient beings in the universe and in some design, it is possible for these beings to come to Earth, to incarnate as human together. Would you describe yourself as coming from a bi-Space-cial heritage? What's the term for a family with roots in two celestial realms?
I first want to say that this is a lot to chew but if you follow the journey of the book it's fairly rational. I'm a dogged skeptic and so more esoteric concepts like this take a lot of firsthand experiences for me to open up to. But I do come to this conclusion that if you take into consideration the transmutation of consciousness (or the soul) and reincarnation, it's possible that we may have had many other adventures in other planets and are here to potentially help in Earth's awakening. Just like we have Scottish, English, German, Kenyan, etc., mixed heritages; we might also have lineages that are Plaidean, Arcturian, Sirian, and Drago. One piece of wisdom I continually receive from my guides is that the universe is much bigger and weirder than we can possibly imagine.
Your book, The Electric Jesus also brings you to Utah. What is your experience of the Beehive State?
Well, the last chapter takes place at a ranch in Southern Utah, where I see my first UFO, connect with DMT: "the spirit molecule", meet a digital multidimensional fairy, and nearly die in an action-movie-worthy roll-over car crash on I-15. Before Utah, I had a pretty boring ending to the book. Thanks to your state, it ends with a life-and-death moment, literally.
MEET JONATHAN TALAT PHILLIPS May 17th 2012, Evolver Salt Lake, Catalyst Magazine and Desert Rocks present Jonathan Talat Phillips in Salt Lake for one night from New York, presenting a reading from his book The Electric Jesus. The reading takes place at 7PM and is free and open to the public. Phillips will have books for the signing. The Main Library in Downtown Salt Lake, 210 East 400 South in the Conference Room on Level 4. http://www.slcpl.lib.ut.us/
Talat will also present his Energy Healing workshop on Chakra alignment as part of Desert Rocks in Green River, UT June 7-10. www.DesertRocks.org
To learn more about Talat's work in the World visit www.TalatHealing.com