The Alchemical Ecology Of The Secret Commonwealth: A Solution To The UFO Enigma

Aliens. Faeries. Monsters.

So… what are they, then?

They’ve always been with us. That much is certain.

There are far more sightings than would be needed for an advanced civilization to conduct a scientific survey of our planet. If it was anything as quaint as colonization, applied genetics, galactic yogis spreading love and light, or cosmic locusts coming to eat us, surely something would’ve come of it by now. Superficially, the Phenomenon’s behavior could be considered surreal, and literalists have spent the better part of a century twisting their logic into pretzels attempting to account for it. With apologies to the good Dr Farrell, the History Channel’s strip mall mystery school of super-techno space-gods with electric pyramids might actually be the most insightful meta-absurdist commentary of our time.

Most people respond to this lunacy by calling bullshit. Those who reject the extra-terrestrial visitation hypothesis tend to prefer the psychic projections of our own existential anxieties.

The position I take is so archaic as to appear novel. I’ll begin by saying that most anyone with a passing interest in ancient (pre-agricultural) shamanic cosmologies, early agricultural pagan cosmologies, alchemy, and Rosicrucianism, should be able to find a few bread-crumbs, if they know where to look.

I propose that they must necessarily inhabit a definite reality inextricably linked to, and yet entirely independent of, the human mind. (As an animist, I see no paradox here). I refer to those fringes of reality we’ve yet to quantify, off the edge of the map… here there be dragons.


For if we can only perceive 1% of the Universe, and if we concede that 99% is presently incomprehensible, and if we can only see 0.5% of the full spectrum of lights and colors, then the odds would overwhelmingly favor this potentiality, in addition to the likelihood that Earth is hosting some kind of spectral, occulted (though no less indigenous) order of life- perhaps plasma-based- as the following evidence would seem to suggest.

In Operation Trojan Horse, John Keel breaks down the varying color patterns of UFOs, the vast majority of which, he stresses, are “soft sightings” of glowing orbs:

When the objects begin to move into our spatial and time coordinates, they gear down from the higher frequencies, passing progressively from ultraviolet to violet to bluish green. When they stabilize within our dimensions, they radiate energy on all frequencies and become a glaring white. In the white condition the object can traverse distances visibly, but radical maneuvers of ascent and descent require it to alter its frequencies again, and the process produces new color changes. In the majority of all landing reports, the objects were said to have turned orange or red before descending. When they settle to the ground, they ‘solidify,’ and the light dims or goes out all together. On takeoff, they begin to glow red again. Sometimes they reportedly turn a brilliant red and vanish. Other times, they shift through all the colors of the spectrum, turn white, and fly off into the night sky until they look like just another star.

Though circumstantial, there’s a remarkable consistency to reports of these color variations, so I’m inclined to believe them, erring on the side of probability. For what it’s worth, my own personal experiences are entirely concurrent. I suspect we’re witnessing the occurrence of a natural, metamorphic process; judging by the smoothness and predictability of its transition, I think it must’ve evolved within the framework of our atmospheric accommodations.

Then, there’s the problem of Chronos. Saturn. Father Time.

The distortion of time (which pretty much everyone agrees is relative) is the most enigmatic, defining feature of the abduction Phenomenon- not just for those who’ve been beamed aboard UFOs, but for those who’ve been taken underground by the faeries. I don’t see how either the nuts & bolts paradigm or the psychic projection theory can account for it.

In recent quantum experiments, physicists have found that particles will morph into waves a few milliseconds before they’re fired in order to pass through the slots of randomly-placed laser grids. Instead of concluding that particles were predicting the future appearances of those grids, the physicists settled (wisely, I believe) on retrocausality- the notion that we have a slightly skewed perception of time, and that future events are influencing (or perhaps even creating) the past.

What we call the “Supernatural” is probably just a peculiar aspect of the natural, unacknowledged at this point in time, as the planet has been colonized by a rogue’s gallery of cultures whose clearest common denominator is the deference they pay to restrictive, dominionist perspectives like monotheism, materialism, and humanism.

Particle/wave duality, with its implied retrocausality, could be the UFO’s Rosetta Stone, yet the refusal to even label anything relating to the phenomenon as “evidence” because it can’t be replicated in a controlled experimental setting strikes me as the most convenient existential cop-out of all time.


The appeal of control in this culture consistently trumps curiosity, equating ethereality with non-existence, or impossibility. It’s a gatekeeper complex, tangled up in grant money and scholarly reputations. I’d like to see free inquiry, irrespective of conventional wisdom, foregone conclusions, and ideology. I don’t want the consensus of our reality determined by anything as petty as pride, or economics.

Take animism. Is it incompatible with science? Absolutely not! It’s just incompatible with a specific scientific paradigm, which happens to be the dominant paradigm, which only appears “right” because it damns contradictory data on an industrial scale, cleaving to preconceived notions as if they were traditions. The only academically acceptable belief in aliens is as a foregone conclusion, so long as they’re permanently out of range and (revealingly) on a trajectory that mirrors our own prevailing sci-fi fantasies of salvation through technology. It prevails because it allows them to retain that selfsame sense of control.

But, it permeates counter-culture as well. John Keel and Jacqus Vallee both found that most investigators routinely ignored and suppressed data relating to poltergeist activity, enhanced psychic abilities, and profound spiritual changes that accompanied close encounters of the fourth kind, simply because those effects could not be explained by interstellar craft with “zero-point energy” systems. The heretics were hooked on the same brand of prejudice as the Ivory Tower. They wanted a secret technology, not a secret ecosystem. A galactic Mayflower. Control.

The problem, then, is not any one branch of science, nor even science itself, but rather, our culture’s compulsive allegiance to authority over evidence. Here is a taproot which runs at least as deep as monotheism, so I would consider animism (or pansychism) the most viable rebellion against that mindset, for it neither places man at the visceral navel of the Universe, nor capitulates to the intellectual smugness of secular humanism.

I would propose a discipline of Folkloric Ecology, proceeding from the assumption that daimonic objects and entities are sentient lifeforms of an unacknowledged order, which comprise a hidden ecosystem of symbiotes, parasites, and pollinators.

To discern its nature, study its behavior- but understand, it will be veiled in a level of esotericism which will confound anyone who feels at home in the Cartesian, Modernist, or Post-Modernist frame of mind.

I think, more often than not, that humans are on the receiving end of consciousness.


When Jung’s archetypes appear as romping deities, chimerical beasts, or messengers from Heaven, might they just as well (or, dare I ask, more likely?) be avatars of some dynamic Earth-consciousness, assuming symbolic and relatable forms to gain access to us- which many of them clearly seek? I don’t reject psychic projection per se; but on a scale so vast and ancient as this? So elaborate, so thematically consistent, across cultures and time? Given our half-million year cameo performance in this 4 billion year production, is a deranged ape with a permanent identity crisis really the most likely well-spring for the greatest story ever told?

One thing we can say for sure about the Phenomenon is that it certainly has its shit together. If that’s a psychic echo from the sapiens, I’ll eat my shoe.

Jung himself, at the very end of his life, received a powerful dream-vision correcting his original hypothesis: “We always think that the UFOs are projections of ours. Now it turns out that we are their projections. I am projected by the magic lantern as CG Jung. But who manipulates the apparatus?” He died before he had a chance to investigate.


The best approximations to the environmental causality I’m suggesting would have to be Rudolf Steiner’s interpretation of elemental spirits as energetic embodiments of biological, procreative processes, followed by Grant Morrison’s UFO/white blood cell analogy, or Jacques Vallee’s “control system,” a sort of thermostat for manifest archetypes and mythic cycles.

Keeping all this in mind, I’d focus on the following points:

– WB Yeats and Walter Evans-Wentz reported that the faeries made themselves most visible to rustic people- peasants, farmers, shepherds. To the non-believer, this is easily explained as being due to the ignorant, superstitious, and unsophisticated nature of that demographic. But, to those who believe they are purely psychic projections with no external sovereignty whatsoever, I would ask: why would such an epic, mythopoetic, highly sexualized, and esoteric drama of the space-time continuum prefer to unfold before an audience whose brain cells are more devoted to ball games, than existential contemplation? The same demographic that saw the faeries is now most prone to alleged alien contact. From a literal point of view, they should be circling the ivy-bound columns of prestigious institutions; instead, we get sacred geometry and alchemical symbols in our corn fields. Once it dawns on you the brewing of beer and the baking of bread could essentially be called the original alchemy, that false veneer of absurdity begins to flake away.

-Some places have always been more haunted than others. These locations can reliably be identified by unique landscape features like confluential waterways, hills or mountains with copper and quartz deposits, sites near ancient earthworks, stone circles, and monuments, and areas with geologically induced magnetic anomalies, just to name a few. The spookier a region is revealed to be, the more likely you are to find local/indigenous lore corroborating the high strangeness. I guarantee it.

-Faeries and aliens could both be considered environmentalists, but they have very different ways of expressing themselves: while faeries are fiercely protective of their own hills, wells, and trees, and don’t seem to give a hoot about the wider world, aliens are fixated on the integrity of the planetary whole. Their bedside manner is chilling, the stuff of nightmares. Descending from Heaven, they circumnavigate the globe: implacable, aloof, like migrant whales. Ascending from the Earth, faeries are bound to a single forest or valley, like a pack of wolves. I think they are cousins, as wolf and whale are- different species (and twin extremes) of the same order: one provincial, the other cosmopolitan. The microcosm and the macrocosm.

-If preliterate tribes identified one hill as the haunt of elves, or one lake as the lair of a great serpent, why should modern people, many of whom are ignorant of folklore, continue to see the same archaic cast of characters? The physical traits of earthen, aquatic, and subterranean entities have remained remarkably static (often down to the details of their clothing) through the years, while UFOs are in constant flux, rarely appearing the same way twice outside of a brief span of time. This is consistent with the fickle nature of the sylphs and the steadfast character of the gnomes attributed to aerial and earthen entities by Paracelsus. There must be some kind of relationship between these two classes, as repeat-witnesses have a tendency to encounter both, either at varying intervals, or simultaneously.

-One must assume the Phenomenon’s behavior is a form of communication, an expression of its nature. If it reaches out to you, assume you’re dealing with an interactive metaphor. Every detail of its appearance should be scrutinized for its symbolic value. Expect revelations through riddles and synchronicity, not fortune cookies.

-Just as we set aside wilderness areas and national parks for aesthetic reasons, lurking behind the scenes, occasionally intervening to preserve the integrity of the whole, or to aid the recovery of an endangered species- descending from the sky to tranquilize them, subjecting them to sexually intrusive operations, inflicting a trauma that seems absurd in the moment, yet ultimately strives for some long-term, metamorphic significance: so might I view the UFO Phenomenon as a league of park rangers, retaining a vested interest in our development- committed, yet unsentimental- occasionally tranquilizing us from the sky, subjecting us to sexually intrusive operations, whilst inflicting a trauma that seems absurd in the moment, yet ultimately strives for some long-term, metamorphic significance.

-We could no more discern their motives from a literal perspective than the moose could fathom why the biologist sedates it from a helicopter, takes blood and tissue samples, and implants it with a microchip. If our perception of time is as skewed as quantum mechanics suggests, then accurate discernment of the Phenomenon demands a revolutionary frame of reference.

-Consider the faery faith as being equivalent to the relationship one might forge with a wild animal who becomes tame and friendly, more often than not through a regularly scheduled (read: ritualized) offering of food. I would not discourage any such a practice, so long as it’s done mindfully, in deference to nature. It might even secure you some level of protection. Reciprocity is the key. Once a connection is established, reckless disregard could result in the formation of malevolent entities- some could turn parasitic, while others might function as the daimonic equivalent of nuisance bears. And yes, playing around with Ouija boards if you don’t understand this stuff can get you in a lot of trouble.


-When Kenneth Arnold saw his fleet of nine UFOs on the Feast Day of Saint John the Baptist, over Mount Rainier, 1947, the media seized on his observation that the objects moved like “a saucer when you skip it across the water.” In true viral fashion, this incident ushered in the Age of the Flying Saucer, though in a peculiar twist of fate, it’s been largely forgotten that one of the nine, which was larger than the rest and flew at the head of the formation, was actually shaped like a sickle. What is the Phenomenon saying about itself, with our two most ancient (and potent) magical symbols? Might we just as well call them Flying Cauldrons?

How about Flying Grails?

-In Celtic lore, people who’d spend a few hours or days below ground with the faeries would return home to find that years had passed, while trance states and “missing time” have been ubiquitous in alien abduction reports. Given what we now know of particle/wave duality, and its implied retrocausality, might we dare to ask if our present is the Other Side’s future? Might they be enacting this drama to effect, correct, or even prevent an outcome? Could this account for their apparent ability to predate our preconceptions, as in the 1890s, when, just before the Wright Brothers, UFOs took the form of steampunk airships flown by Jules Verne characters?

-Even though mysterious aerial phenomena have been recorded throughout history, the Ufonauts didn’t become radical environmentalists assuming the form of space invaders until we started setting off nukes. Their behavior during the Cold War reads like a theatrical diagnosis to me.

-The transcendental overlap of close encounters with the DMT experience tells me we’re dealing with something beyond our wildest dreams, thus demanding a wilder explanation. I would say the closest thing in the Western canon to the strangeness of an ayahuasca journey or an initiatory abduction experience would be The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz.

-The brutal, invasive operations that define the current abduction mythos are (predictably) dismissed by Modern and Post-Modern thinkers as psycho-sexual expressions of repressed trauma and/or collective anxiety, for, in a scholarly error which reveals the sheer and utter tone-deafness to all things esoteric in the Ivory Tower, it is frequently stated that these incidents only emerged very late in the 20th Century, and that they played no part in the early years of the UFO craze. Seldom noticed is the fact that they’ve been a cyclical feature of the human experience from the Ice Age to the present. In Eliade’s study of pre-agricultural, shamanic “spirit flights” to other dimensions, he found all the hallmarks of a Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind: dissection, examination and/or removal of organs, implantation of small stones or crystals, the counting of bones, sexually invasive insertions, stealing of eggs and sperm, forced hybridization with non-human entities, even ritual murder and resurrection. This is metaphorical alchemy: deconstruction, re-constitution; and it has an eerie parallel with Medieval and Renaissance faery-theft and witch-flight lore. It’s a Passion Play for the soul that seizes a great many individuals to effect crucial turning-points in time. Hermetically heraldic.


-Recognizing the Saturnine significance of the Phenomenon may be the key to solving its riddle. In an age before time, Ouranos, the Sky, forced himself upon Gaia, lashing her with comets and thunderbolts, tearing her valleys asunder. From the trauma of this union, the Titans were born- infernal grotesqueries, forever reminding Ouranos his shame. So he began to scrape out a pit in Gaia’s flesh: Tartaros, a tomb for the Titans (we may well be looking at a miraculous, subconscious awareness of evolution, here, expressed through Greek tragedy: from the birth of microbes in the tidal scum, to the death and fossilization of the dinosaurs). As Ouranos set about forcing the Titans back into their mother’s womb, Gaia fashioned a sickle of flint and asked who of her children would avenge her honor, and put an end to their father’s blasphemies. Only Saturn, the youngest, would commit to the task. He lied in wait till twilight came, and, as Ouranos descended, sprang forth, and castrated him with the sickle. Ouranos cursed his son with a prophecy that his own children would seek to overthrow him one day. Saturn’s descent into madness would have him roaming the Earth as the Grim Reaper, but it was a necessary madness, heralding a shift between ages: the mutilation of Ouranos set a mandalic cycle into motion, to which the present course of Life is intrinsically bound. Saturn, then, is not merely Death incarnate: he is the Primordial Alchemist, and we are the Sulfur, Salt, & Mercury of his Magnum Opus.

J. B. Turnstone

J. B. Turnstone

The Last Human Lighthouse Keeper at Hamlet's Mill, via
High Priest and Highly Reluctant Treasurer of the Alleged Order of the Nettle and the Toad, an Occult Society for Occultists Who Can't Bear to Keep Anything Occulted. Founder and Vice President, Luddite Ornithologists League (LOL). I shan't apologize for being a politically incorrect omnivore.
J. B. Turnstone