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The latter days of El Cajon's Unarius

The gods must be crazy

Uriel (Ruth Norman) on swan boat. Uriel purchased 67 acres of land in Jamul as the landing site for the Interplanetary Confederation.
Uriel (Ruth Norman) on swan boat. Uriel purchased 67 acres of land in Jamul as the landing site for the Interplanetary Confederation.
  • Don’t forget, if you have negative feelings against me it is not me as a person because I am not an individual, I am the Infinite!
  • — Uriel speaks, in Effort to Destroy the Unarius Mission Thwarted
Unarian students in cosmic car

Satan is alive and well and lives in a suburb of San Diego. Not to worry, though. The Archangel Uriel — the deity who resides in the body of 91-year-old Ruth Norman — has tamed the Evil One. Satan now works unceasingly in behalf of all Light Beings as a "Doctor of Psychic Therapeutic Science" at the Unarius Academy of Science in El Cajon.

Ruth Norman in costume. To an outsider it seems perhaps the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • URIEL You Came!
  • You saw the Evil,
  • You Conquered!
  • You Healed Satan!
  • You have set Man FREE!
Uriel (Ruth Norman) left Los Angeles and eventually chose the squat and dismal San Diego satellite of El Cajon.

I, Bonaparte: An Autobiography, in which this poem appears, is periwig-pated Charles Spaegel’s past-life testimony. For ten million years — from Spaegel’s incarnation as the mindcontrolling Tyrantus of the Orion Empire to Pontius Pilate to Napoleon — the reformed Satan-spirit tortured and fretted his karma until he finally gave himself over to spread the gospel of Uriel. Now happily and definitively number two, Spaegel administers the day-to-day operations at Unarius World Headquarters, located near a nexus of thrift stores at south Magnolia Avenue and Main Street.

Stephan Yancoskie: "I’d have never thought it true, but when I put on that skirt, I was she.”

He is also the primary Unarius "subchannel," who, by riding piggyback on Uriel’s energy beam, is the human shortwave radio through which the Space Brothers (evolved beings from a higher astral world) answer the mystery of the cosmos. And they're never wrong.

Ruth Norman as her former incarnation, Mona Lisa

"There is nothing that can’t be explained by Unarius principles," says Spaegel, who is addressed at Unarius headquarters as Antares, a moniker that refers to his higher vibratory consciousness, which he regained after Satan’s fall.

And indeed, the glut of Unarius literature seems to cover all the bases. A three-volume set, to name one example, promises to reveal the History of the Universe.

The 125 books in the Unarius library largely consist of conversations with chatty astral luminaries eager to impart eternal wisdom to Eartheans.

Uriel's former lives. Well, she wasn’t Jesus, but Uriel remembers being Mary of Bethany, Christ’s virgin mum.

Unarius literature records discussions with Plato, Socrates, Herodotus, Freud, Pascal, Heidegger, Copernicus, Kepler, Karen Homey, Isaac Newton, Alessandro Volta, Hermann von Helmholtz, Gregor Mendel, Alexander Graham Bell, Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, incinerated astronauts Grissom, White, and Chaffee, the prophet Ezekiel, Kahlil Gibran,

UFOIogist George Adamski, and ubiquitous electrical engineer and proponent of diathermy Nikola Tesla, who seems to divide his afterlife among free-energy aficionados and those who harmonically converge.

Though Unarius literature claims 300,000 students, the number of home-study students and active members would most likely be less than a thousand. An estimated 60 members attend local lectures and meetings. Other Unarius Star Centers (besides El Cajon) are reported to exist in North Carolina, Florida, Toronto, Vancouver, Australia, Bulgaria, and Nigeria.

In their civvies, Unariuns look no different from a coven of Amway salesmen. But when they parade about in their colorful Mylar space tunics as leaders of the Interplanetary Confederation, or when they enact past-life psychodramas from the antebellum South or the underground cities of Mars, for example, Unariuns are truly in their element.

The effect is like a community theater gone mad or a sustained and inspired Dada prank. Or so the nihilistic mind might reason. But irony plays no part in these ultra-kitsch spectacles. Rather, they are the gloriously gaudy expressions of a fantastic and hermetic belief system. Taking the cue from Uriel, their flamboyant, purplehaired leader, Unariuns have successfully constructed a total environment in which their creed seems not only plausible but perfect.

Outsiders, as one might imagine, aren’t just skeptical, they’re stupefied. It wasn’t a pretty sight when Real People and A Current Affair aimed their video blunderbusses at the earnest students of Unarius Science. Maury Povich followed a shallow, ridiculing Current Affair segment with a sneer and a comment to the effect that “we’ll have to enter this on Stupid Pet Tricks.”

Even the channeling community, whose proponents believe themselves to be in contact with astral avatars, are uneasy with the Unariun style of consciousness. Reports Jon Klimo in his book Channeling: lnvestigations-on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources, “For many in the channeling field, the Normans constitute somewhat of an embarrassment.”

How do Unariuns react to such overt public ridicule? Charles Spaegel chalks it up to lower astral hordes drawing a veil of ignorance over men. Student Lianne Stevens claims that mockery has been solely in the domain of the media. "One-on-one,” says Lianne, “people are incredibly receptive to the principles.” And why not? If bestseller lists are any indication, Whitley Streiber’s alien abduction nonfiction and Shirley MacLaine’s metaphysical maunderings have seized hold of the mainstream American brainscape.

Even astronomer Carl Sagan, the mystical empiricist who persuaded NASA to spend a billion dollars on a satellite with schematic diagrams of a man and woman sans genitals, has been in touch with Unarius. He phoned one day with the challenge (as Spaegel recalls it), “If you guys are really channeling the eternal wisdom, then once and for all, prove Fermat’s Theorem.” (Seventeenth-century mathematician Pierre Fermat died without revealing the proof for one of his theorems. That proof has eluded scientists to this day.) According to Spaegel, the Space Brothers beamed down their answer. Unariuns transcribed it and sent it along to Sagan, who querulously responded with the demand that they translate the metaphysical verbiage into mathematical formulas.

“I’m no mathematician,” admits Spaegel, who received his master of science degree from the University of Southern California, “so I couldn’t do what Carl Sagan wanted, not that he would have listened anyway. He, like many other people who are first confronted with the Unarius teachings, their ego defenses get in the way. They’ve got too much at stake to listen to reason. If they would just understand that our problems are the result of our past lives, that we continue on after we discard this physical shell, then they’d lose that chip on their shoulder and begin to evolve.”

In its rather grab-bag manner, Unariun teaching combines the channeling of discarnate entities, mystical geography, George Adamskian UFOIogy, Edgar Cayce-style healings, Swedenborgian commerce with angels, Theosophical and Rosicrucian mythology concerning lost civilizations, and Scientology’s merging of sci-fi obsessions with psychological healing. “These other groups have an undergraduate understanding of consciousness. Unarius is the postgraduate course,” claims Charles Spaegel.

Scientological and Unariun eschatology seem equally whimsical. According to one ex-Scientologist, L. Ron Hubbard wrote that Earth is the current prison for outcast souls of an Orwellian system of planets known as the Markab Confederacy. The Markabs keep life stirred up here on Earth with wars and disasters and phony religions that deny the truth of reincarnation. But Charles Spaegel cautions against commerce with the Church of Scientology. “We’ve discovered that L. Ron Hubbard was part of an Orion conspiracy to keep people controlled by robotizing them. I’m sure that Scientology bears out this proof of his past life.”

  • Unarius is not a cult.
  • M J Jonestown was a cult. \»/ Unarius is a science based on the highest precepts of logic and reason.
  • — The Archangel Uriel, Cosmic Visionary, Founder/Director of Unarius, Spiritual Leader for the Earth.

Unariuns are especially insistent that their belief in reincarnation, extraterrestrial beings, and UFOs constitutes a science and not a religion. Unarius, an acronym for UNiversal ARticulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science, is financially structured as a not-for-profit corporation and not as a tax-relieved religion. Their scientifically oriented books, titles like Cosmic Continuum and Interdimensional Physics, refer to modern science as an idiot mastery of a very limited dimension. Contemporary physicists, they assert, can learn from Unarius literature, which discusses heretofore neglected principles, such as oscillating vortexes in the etheric spectrum.

Cosmic Continuum was written by Ruth Norman’s late husband Ernest, who claimed to have been the reincarnation of Jesus as well as the inventor of television. According to a Unarius press release, Ernest discussed his design for the orthicon tube, a forerunner of the television tube, with Philo T. Farnsworth during a chance meeting in Logan, Utah, in the 1920s. Farnsworth, they say, stole Ernest’s design and parlayed it into a fortune. Ernest co-founded Unarius Science in 1954, the year he met Ruth Norman at a Los Angeles psychics’ convention. “The Moderator,” as Unariuns refer to him, died in 1971. His picture still appears alongside those of Ruth, Nikola Tesla, and Ruth’s sister Esther as a frontispiece in Unarius publications.

Following her husband’s death, Ruth Norman left Los Angeles and eventually chose the squat and dismal San Diego satellite of El Cajon as home for her Unarius Academy, opening the Magnolia Avenue headquarters in 1975. Two modest buildings house a meeting center, an attached art Star Center, offices, print shop, warehouse space, costume area, video and construction rooms. Her El Cajon neighbors congenially refer to Ruth as the Space Lady.

According to published accounts and the stories of her friends, the Archangel Uriel was born Ruth Anna Nields on August 18, 1900, to strict and abusive parents. She grew up in the Pasadena area and married a Mexican boy as soon as she turned 18. The marriage lasted only two and a half years but yielded a daughter who, to this day, shuns close contact with her mother. Uriel likens her Unarius students to the children she never had.

  • Vaughn described what he was viewing at the moment. He said, "Oh, how lovely! I see you, Uriel, sitting in a huge golden throne. You are surrounded with literally thousands of little ones, each one dressed in a different pastel shade. They have each brought to you, one lovely mind-created red bud. These countless roses have been formed in a huge heart-shaped wreath all about you as you sit. The great wreath seems about 20 feet high. The children are all so happy and bubbly to have you there, and a tremendous feeling of love exists. It all makes such a beautiful picture — you in the huge, golden throne, surrounded with the great heart of red roses, the many children gathered about, sitting at your feet."
  • — From Conclave of Light Beings, by Ruth Norman and Vaughn (Charles) Spaegel

Ruth’s full blossoming came late, becoming the Archangel Uriel (acronym of Universal, Radiant, Infinite, Eternal Light) only after her husband’s death, when the Space Brothers channeled the information to her in the Unariun document Conclave of Light Beings.

At an early age, Ruth harbored theatrical ambitions, which might have been inflamed by her apparent blood relationship to the famous silent-film director King Vidor. Nothing came of this dream until she was 75, when she began playing ingenue roles in Unarius’s improvised, videotaped psychodramas. These are an important component of Unarius Science wherein neuroses are healed by confrontation with one’s past-life experiences.

Ruth Norman’s brightest theatrical achievement came in the early 1980s in a past-life reenactment titled The Ballad of Annabelle Lee. It’s the kind of project that would make John Waters green with envy: a drag queen in blackface, pillow broadening his ass under a gingham dress, affecting a Hattie McDaniel look; two burnt-corked white girls mimicking Butterfly McQueen. The drag queen Nell fusses and flits around the recumbent Uriel, who is Annabelle.

“Today’s the big day,” announces Nell. “Miss Annabelle Lee is goin’ a courtin’ on the riverboat!”

“Oh, Miss Annabelle,” coos the mammy, “you always my beautiful girl. You got mo’ beaus up and down the Mississippi than anyone can shake a stick at!”

“What’s all the commotion, Nell?” cries Annabelle, the most ancient ingenue to fill out bloomers and a hoop skirt. "I’m sleepy!”

"Miss Annabelle must be tired, tryin’ on all dose dresses and wigs all day long!” Someone twangs a Stephen Foster tune on a banjo, and Miss Annabelle soon grows misty, as she heart-to-hearts with her faithful servant. "It is said, Nell, they don’t treat you black people on the riverboat like I do — and you might have to take lodging down below, way down below.”

"Miss Annabelle, you treats us black folks so good, so good!”

"God loves all God’s chilluns!” replies Annabelle profoundly, a beatific smile on her face.

Segue to a riverboat scene. Shots of white "darkies” singin’ and spray-can-aged "gamblers” escorting Annabelle are intercut with pirated clips from Showboat. Now alone on deck, an outcast from the gay proceedings, faithful Nell is accosted by a slaveowner-type, who thrusts a mop into her hands, ordering her to swab the deck.

Soon the live action ends, leaving a Mark Twainish narrator to impart the climax and denouement. Apparently, Annabelle drowns in an accidental fall, and Nell is lynched by a mob as the scapegoat. There follows endless footage of swirling, muddy river water, over which Poe’s "Annabelle Lee” is somnambulistically recited.

Now someone twangs a Dixie melody wistfully on the banjo, and the movie end: Or does it?

In a videotaped discussion that follows the drama, Uriel contradicts all we have just heard. As she recounts the events, Annabelle is thrust into the steamship’s paddles by Nell in a fit of pique. "Nell loved me so,” reasons Uriel. "She would never have deliberately hurt me. I was born the same time as one of Nell’s daughters, but she gave more attention to me than to her own little black pickaninny.”

In the Annabelle Lee colloquy, Stephan Yancoskie, who did the drag queen act as Nell, expresses surprise that he would make such a good mammy. "I’d have never thought it true, but when I put on that skirt, I was she.”

"You were she, you were she,” seconds Uriel.

Uriel concludes with a blessing that appears to Unariuns as divine inspiration, but to an outsider it seems perhaps the onset of Alzheimer’s disease: “Looking back, all these things are most interesting, and fascinating, and only serve to prove the wonderful and never ending and always factual, precise — and, oh, the farther we go the more precise and definite and defined become these principles. And we can go on and on and relate many of these principles, how defined . they have become in this proving where one needs to prove.”

Although Annabelle Lee is considered the keystone in Unarius’s past-life psychodramas, a traumatic changing of the guard was taking place behind the scenes of that film. The crisis reached boiling point when longtime Uriel companion and subchannel Thomas Miller reportedly refused to film the climactic scene unless the mammy (played by Yancoskie, then a rival for Uriel’s affection) deliberately heaved Annabelle Lee overboard. According to her book Effort to Destroy the Unarius Mission Thwarted, Uriel then punished Miller with excommunication from Unarius Science for insubordination. In Thwarted, Uriel explains:

  • I nurtured [Thomas] and nursed him, you could say, as a baby, gave him all the oscillations of my high frequency energies, constant teaching, pampering and lifting, pushing out his obsessions and helping him to overcome year after year after year, until he got to the point where he wanted to be me.
  • He wanted to take over Unarius — he didn't make the attempt to destroy, he just wanted to take over. He wanted to be me!

Yancoskie, Miller’s rival, was a relative newcomer to Unarius. Coming to grips with his gay sexual identity, Yancoskie had been drifting around the West Coast, trying to find an answer to his drinking problem and spiritual malaise. Entering the Unarius center, Stephan soon found himself wrapped in the comforting arms of Ruth Norman. "She looked at me and told me I was home at last. I was overwhelmed. I ate it up,” reveals Yancoskie.

He soon replaced Thomas Miller as Uriel’s favored companion. "I think Ruth was looking for a way to kick Thomas out of the group. She was getting tired of him, and after I came along, she got the hots for me,” explains Stephan, whose own departure from Unarius several years later repeated a similar pattern. "The first time I left Unarius,” he explains, "was after a television show. We got in a bitch-fight, and soon Ruth took off one of her crowns and was hitting me with it. She said, ‘Here! If you want to be the Archangel Uriel, wear the crown! Be the Archangel Uriel!’ ”

Prior to his excommunication, Stephan quickly ascended the ranks of the Unarius hierarchy.

"I did what I had to do to get to the top, and it wasn’t that difficult. I didn’t mind kissing Ruth’s ass,” he remembers, "and besides, the competition wasn’t tough. The other members were weak... washouts.”

Dubbed “Arieson,” leader of the ascended Aryan peoples, Stephan worked like a fiend at the Unarius center. Besides teaching weekly classes, he painted murals on the exterior and interior of the Magnolia Avenue complex. He organized UFO pageants and appeared in a prodigious number of psychodrama and promotional videos. “Unarius allowed me to explore my creativity in ways that I would never have otherwise accomplished,” recalls Stephan ruefully. “I’ll probably never again have dozens of people at my beck and call to do what I tell them. In retrospect, I really appreciated the opportunity.” (Yancoskie is currently a San Diego-based fine artist and designer specializing in pastel-colored mansion interiors.)

During the height of his power at the Unarius center, the "love oscillations” between Uriel and Arieson abounded. “I was with her constantly. I did her from top to bottom. When I first came, she looked something like a country singer down on her luck. Then I designed her dresses, her wigs, the whole thing. She loved what I could do to her.”

Yancoskie’s ultimate split with Unarius came after it was discovered that he was “sleeping with one of the so-called straight members. Ruth yelled at me, called me a slut, and all kinds of names.”

Despite the drag travesties and the allegedly large number of gays in the group (according to Yancoskie), Unarius philosophy paints homosexuality as a cosmic aberration. “It's the way Unarius keeps people in line. All the students are shown as being evil and against the spiritual hierarchy in past lives. Ruth was great at finding our emotional weakness and becoming the only solution for it.”

Stephan’s moment of truth came after he left the center for a second time and wrote Uriel a contrite letter, which was mistaken as an overture to readmission into the group. “I came back to see Ruth because I wanted closure, to leave without all the bad feelings, to see things to an end without recrimination. As soon as I walked through the door, Ruth proposed that we get married.” (In Uriel’s closet hang more than a dozen wedding dresses. “Sometimes we’d drive down to town just to buy another wedding gown. She loved those wedding gowns. And she’d wear them in these symbolic wedding processions at the center,” reveals Yancoskie.) “I was kind of shocked at Ruth’s proposal. What could I say? I refused. When I finally got out the door, she followed me to my car and seemed really confused. She kept saying, ‘Why? Why are you going?’ ”

Yancoskie's rocky separation from Uriel and Unarius spawned the vindictive tome Thwarted, unique in the entire Unariun oeuvre since it concentrates on the present-day evildoings of an expelled member. But like her other books, Thwarted consists of transcribed speeches and discussions among Uriel, her subchannel(s), and students. Here, Uriel claims that Stephan had hypnotized Unariun students with “lower astral forces” as he was actively reliving the time he had been a female named Shimlus on the planet Tyron, where he kept all the citizens “robotized.” As documented in Thwarted, Uriel scolds and cross-examines her students as they attempt expiation of wrongdoing by dishing dirt on the ousted Yancoskie.

In the midst of the infighting, an article by Mike Granberry appeared in the September 29, 1986 edition of the Los Angeles Times. Though it provided few details, the article played up the Yancoskie excommunication, reporting that Yancoskie was contemplating “legal action for accusations made against him in the book.” The Times article took the expected route by suggesting cultish behavior and fraud.

“Unarius students... pay $5 almost every time they enter the door,” wrote Granberry, suggesting that Unarius was extorting big money from the unfortunate. Actually, the pressure to contribute to Unarius coffers seems minimal, especially considering ever-churning printing presses and active video machinery.

Students do pay $5.00 at their weekly meetings and pay a small annual membership fee; other income derives from the sale of Unarius literature and voluntary contributions and bequests. From all appearances, Unarius is a benign though eccentric organization that provides context and meaning to those who would otherwise feel rudderless and adrift. Perhaps the most extraordinary testimonial is in a promotional video in which a young man tells how Unarius Science has made him a better surfer.

  • URIEL is extremely humble and says that even though she is an archangel, she is only looking through a door at the Infinite. We don’t look at her like a God, idolize her. She is just much further evolved than we are, and it is possible that we might be able to attain her great wisdom in future lifetimes if we adhere to the Principles.
  • — Unarius student Lianne Stevens.

It’s not easy being a god, or even an archangel. Charles Spaegel; “They have tried to knock Ruth Norman off her pedestal or bow down to her, just like they have done to Jesus.” Well, she wasn’t Jesus, but Uriel remembers being Mary of Bethany, Christ’s virgin mum.

Biography of an Archangel and Visitations of Gods and Men are two Unarius titles chronicling the many lives of Ruth Norman: Dalos, leader of the Pleiadean peoples; Yuda, leader of the civilization of Yu; Poseid, the founder of Atlantis; Cryston, bringer of love to the Orion empire; Skott, light-bringer of the Scarpathian people; Ra Mu, spiritual leader of Lemuria; Isis; loshanna, priestess of the temple in Atlantis; Ensat, teacher of the Science of Life in Atlantis; Heliandra and Amon Ra of Atlantis; Queen Tiy, mother of Akhnaton; Pharoah Hatshepsut; Nada of Greece; Benvenuto Cellini; Akbar, Emperor of India; Peter the Great; Queen Maria Theresa; Queen Elizabeth I; Charlemagne; Johannes Kepler; Socrates; Quetzalcoatl; Annabelle Lee; Emperor Hsuan; Gautama Buddha; Zoroaster; Dalai Lama; Khadija, wife of Mohammad; Atahualpa, last Incan emperor; Darius I of Persia; King Arthur of Camelot; and 300,000 various and sundry other good guys.

It’s been pointed out that several of Uriel’s incarnations lived concurrently, but “Uriel lives in more dimensions and is beyond the realm of human understanding,” says Spaegel, who has himself vibrated as the negative polarity to Uriel’s light for many thousands of years.

Past and present lives of Uriel are commemorated in scores of student art work throughout the Unarius center, but the artist who has done her most proud was Leonardo da Vinci in his portrait of the Mona Lisa. The Unarius publication Who Is the Mona Lisa? tells the entire story, buttressed by a reproduction of the painting on the front cover and a photomontage on the back cover, which has Ruth Norman’s head in place of Da Vinci’s original model.

  • Vaughn: I was at first taken back, simply amazed and flabbergasted when I saw how you took on the appearance of the Mona Lisa and actually became that epic lady in the portrait painted by Leonardo da Vinci! Then today when you came down the staircase with your wedding gown, your long red hair, the tiara and the great red rose you were holding, I simply had to blink my eyes and pinch myself! ... You appeared to be a woman of 30. Now, let it be said it wasn’t makeup, for you wore none.
  • Conclave of Light Beings

Perhaps it is difficult for the vulgar to believe an all-powerful, suprahuman force is wielded by a spacy granny from El Cajon. But for those who do believe, the testimony is vivid. View the psychodrama where Uriel lays on hands to heal the wayward Atlanteans — grown men blubber like babies, grown women spontaneously shake and rattle like leaves. There is the constant witnessing of the miraculous in multitudes of Unariun texts:

  • Dorothy Ellerman: The typewriter was bathed in a beautiful color of purplish-red and I couldn’t see my hands but I continued to type and
  • shake and sob and tear, until the power became so intense that my head went down on the typewriter and I was taken out. When I came to on the cold, hard metal... I looked at the words on the typewriter, then a powerful ray-beam came down over my head as I continued to type. When I tried to get up off the chair, I had no legs and my body felt completely spent as though I had gone through a wringer, which I knew was a psychic purging of past-life dross.
  • Conclave of Light Beings
  • Charles Spaegel: The word "transcended" has to be put in capital letters.... It seemed as if all the muscles in my body had turned to jelly, and accompanied with this feeling in my legs was a great, intense power beam on my forehead. For the entire time
  • of two hours, I was completely out of the body and, in this condition, I was viewing the ceremony of the city of Parhelion on the planet Eros!
  • Conclave of Light Beings

Now visited by a score of physical ailments, 91-year-old Ruth Norman struggles through her remaining days in a suburban home in the hills of El Cajon. Her speech slow and halted, as if by a stroke, the once-energetic woman seems at last to be slowing down. On a recent afternoon she greeted a visitor with her broken leg elevated, a bladder bag hidden discreetly behind the Barcalounger. She’s well taken care of — her every whim is attended to by Spaegel and a couple of live-in students.

Uriel points out her favorite paintings by Unarius students. “I’m very proud of them, very proud,” she says, adding that her students who paint don’t study technique, they study consciousness. (The flat, metaphysical, naive style bears witness to this.)

Charles Spaegel becomes angry when Uriel was asked to discuss her favorite food. “That’s not a proper question. It’s not important,” Spaegel snapped. One does not clench the queen of England in a bear hug. One does not ask Uriel about her favorite food.

“Have you been in communication with Tesla, say, or anyone else, even now?” "No, not since I’ve been off-kilter, since I fell and broke my leg. No, I haven’t been interested.... When the famous people communicate to me and it is transcribed onto a tape, it comes through perfect, just perfect, it just comes through just like the water does.”

“No editing involved, then?”

“No editing involved.”

“Do you feel any pain?”

“What?”

“Pain. Do you feel any pain?” “Uh?”

“Does your leg hurt?”

“Oh, pain. No. It doesn’t much hurt, but they’ll be putting the cast on — When are they putting the cast on?”

Charles Spaegel speaks up: “Tomorrow morning.”

"Monday?”

Charles: “Tomorrow morning.”

“Yes, I might have pain tomorrow.”

Charles attempts to reassure her. “The doctors will see to it that you don’t have any pain.” “Surely, they have, uh, medication to, uh, deaden the pain now.”

Many images of Ruth’s late husband Ernest ring the room. “Do you hear from the Moderator often?”

“Not much,” Uriel replies.

“Rarely?”

“Rarely. He’s very busy. He’s got lots to do in his domain and dimensions. But occasionally I’ll get a letter, a letter that comes mentally.”

“Will Ernest Norman reincarnate into another body?” “Oh no, he has completed his mission. They, the Space Brothers, have told me, too, that I have completed my mission on Earth and can leave any day.”

Her mission completed, it’s doubtful that Uriel will stick around to view the coming of the spaceships in (when else?) 2001 A.D. Little over a decade ago, Uriel purchased 67 acres of land in Jamul as the landing site for the Interplanetary Confederation. At this site, 33 spaceships, some a mile wide, will sit atop each other to form Earth’s first interplanetary college. A model of this city/college is kept within the Star Center on Magnolia Avenue.

Stephan Yancoskie recalls the time in the early 1980s when Uriel awaited the arrival of the Space Brothers, excitedly pulling all-nighters with her favorite students. After the third night, Uriel threw in the towel, announcing mankind was not yet prepared for the landing, that the lower astral hordes impeded their arrival. She pointed at a formation of unusual pink clouds at daybreak as the Space Brothers’ signal to her that they had given it the old college try.

Uriel’s ‘‘spiritual biune,” Nikola Tesla, speaks about his relationship with a very special pigeon. The story is from John O’Neill’s biography of Tesla, Prodigal Genius, and has been reprinted in Unarius’s Conclave of Light Beings. Said Tesla:

  • I have been feeding pigeons, thousands of them, for years; thousands of them, for who can tell — but there was one pigeon, a beautiful bird, pure white with light gray tips on its wings. That one was different; it was a female. I would know that pigeon anywhere. No matter where I was that pigeon would find me; when I wanted her I had only to wish and call her and she would come flying to me. She understood me and I understood her. I loved that pigeon.... Yes, I loved that pigeon! I loved her as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. When she was ill I knew and understood; she came to my room and I stayed beside her for days. I nursed her back to health. That pigeon
  • was the joy of my life. If she needed me, nothing else mattered. As long as I had her, there was a purpose in my life.
  • Then one night as I was lying in my bed in the dark, solving problems as usual, she flew in through the open window and stood on my desk. I knew she wanted me; she wanted to tell me something important, so I got up and went to her. As I looked at her, I knew she wanted to tell me she was dying. And then, as I got her message, there came a light from her eyes — powerful beams of light.

“Is not this story the greatest love story ever told?’’ wonders Uriel. “It must be said my infinite love has grown the more infinite toward this wondrous and beautiful soul, whether we term him Leonardo, Tesla, or any one of the hundreds of thousands of names he has used and carried during the eons of past millenniums.”

You can be sure that when Ruth Norman sloughs off this mortal coil, students of Unariun Science will be ever-vigilant for signs of Uriel’s infinite love. A cloud? A pigeon? A sunset? A ray of light? Who knows? But you can be sure it won’t be the host of A Current Affair.

What makes the dead so smart?

In his survey of the phenomenon, writer Jon Klimo attempts a precise definition of channeling: "Channeling is the communication of information to or through a physically embodied human being from a source that is said to exist on some other level or dimension of reality than the physical as we know it and that is not from the normal mind (or self) of the channel.” This appears in Klimp’s Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources (Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1987.)

All sacred texts, from the Bible to the various books of Unarius Science, have come about through the belief that God or God-like beings can communicate through the proper human conduit, be they Saul of Tarsus or Uriel. In order to gain adherents, it's up to the religion to sell its channeled spirit as the sole genuine intelligence in a field fraught with spurious or dangerous channels.

"[Channeling] is surely an attempt at compensation, which seeks to regain by other — supernatural — means the lost appeal of life on earth,” reasoned Sigmund Freud in his paper "Psychoanalysis and Telepathy." Carl Jung, who took his metaphysics more seriously, explained channeling as a tapping into the collective unconscious, a guiding search for archetype. In most cases, belief in channeling refutes the Great No of bodily death and imparts the Great Hope of reincarnative continuity. Fundamentalist Christians chalk up any inspired utterance outside Pentecostal glossolalia as demonic seduction.

Whether practiced through Ouija board planchette or white-eyeballed trance medium, channeled writing always seems to reflect the mood of the time. Stentorian pronunciamiento characterized ghostly expression in past centuries. More recently, channeled sources have toned down the bombast, taking on an avuncular, psychotherapeutic guise made popular by Jane Roberts’s "Seth" and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s "Michael.”

Perhaps the most unnerving aspect to the channeling phenomenon is the piety and awe in which believers hold these afterlife interlocutions, no matter how puerile or garbled the "message.” What is it that makes the dead so much wiser than the living?

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Uriel (Ruth Norman) on swan boat. Uriel purchased 67 acres of land in Jamul as the landing site for the Interplanetary Confederation.
Uriel (Ruth Norman) on swan boat. Uriel purchased 67 acres of land in Jamul as the landing site for the Interplanetary Confederation.
  • Don’t forget, if you have negative feelings against me it is not me as a person because I am not an individual, I am the Infinite!
  • — Uriel speaks, in Effort to Destroy the Unarius Mission Thwarted
Unarian students in cosmic car

Satan is alive and well and lives in a suburb of San Diego. Not to worry, though. The Archangel Uriel — the deity who resides in the body of 91-year-old Ruth Norman — has tamed the Evil One. Satan now works unceasingly in behalf of all Light Beings as a "Doctor of Psychic Therapeutic Science" at the Unarius Academy of Science in El Cajon.

Ruth Norman in costume. To an outsider it seems perhaps the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • URIEL You Came!
  • You saw the Evil,
  • You Conquered!
  • You Healed Satan!
  • You have set Man FREE!
Uriel (Ruth Norman) left Los Angeles and eventually chose the squat and dismal San Diego satellite of El Cajon.

I, Bonaparte: An Autobiography, in which this poem appears, is periwig-pated Charles Spaegel’s past-life testimony. For ten million years — from Spaegel’s incarnation as the mindcontrolling Tyrantus of the Orion Empire to Pontius Pilate to Napoleon — the reformed Satan-spirit tortured and fretted his karma until he finally gave himself over to spread the gospel of Uriel. Now happily and definitively number two, Spaegel administers the day-to-day operations at Unarius World Headquarters, located near a nexus of thrift stores at south Magnolia Avenue and Main Street.

Stephan Yancoskie: "I’d have never thought it true, but when I put on that skirt, I was she.”

He is also the primary Unarius "subchannel," who, by riding piggyback on Uriel’s energy beam, is the human shortwave radio through which the Space Brothers (evolved beings from a higher astral world) answer the mystery of the cosmos. And they're never wrong.

Ruth Norman as her former incarnation, Mona Lisa

"There is nothing that can’t be explained by Unarius principles," says Spaegel, who is addressed at Unarius headquarters as Antares, a moniker that refers to his higher vibratory consciousness, which he regained after Satan’s fall.

And indeed, the glut of Unarius literature seems to cover all the bases. A three-volume set, to name one example, promises to reveal the History of the Universe.

The 125 books in the Unarius library largely consist of conversations with chatty astral luminaries eager to impart eternal wisdom to Eartheans.

Uriel's former lives. Well, she wasn’t Jesus, but Uriel remembers being Mary of Bethany, Christ’s virgin mum.

Unarius literature records discussions with Plato, Socrates, Herodotus, Freud, Pascal, Heidegger, Copernicus, Kepler, Karen Homey, Isaac Newton, Alessandro Volta, Hermann von Helmholtz, Gregor Mendel, Alexander Graham Bell, Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, incinerated astronauts Grissom, White, and Chaffee, the prophet Ezekiel, Kahlil Gibran,

UFOIogist George Adamski, and ubiquitous electrical engineer and proponent of diathermy Nikola Tesla, who seems to divide his afterlife among free-energy aficionados and those who harmonically converge.

Though Unarius literature claims 300,000 students, the number of home-study students and active members would most likely be less than a thousand. An estimated 60 members attend local lectures and meetings. Other Unarius Star Centers (besides El Cajon) are reported to exist in North Carolina, Florida, Toronto, Vancouver, Australia, Bulgaria, and Nigeria.

In their civvies, Unariuns look no different from a coven of Amway salesmen. But when they parade about in their colorful Mylar space tunics as leaders of the Interplanetary Confederation, or when they enact past-life psychodramas from the antebellum South or the underground cities of Mars, for example, Unariuns are truly in their element.

The effect is like a community theater gone mad or a sustained and inspired Dada prank. Or so the nihilistic mind might reason. But irony plays no part in these ultra-kitsch spectacles. Rather, they are the gloriously gaudy expressions of a fantastic and hermetic belief system. Taking the cue from Uriel, their flamboyant, purplehaired leader, Unariuns have successfully constructed a total environment in which their creed seems not only plausible but perfect.

Outsiders, as one might imagine, aren’t just skeptical, they’re stupefied. It wasn’t a pretty sight when Real People and A Current Affair aimed their video blunderbusses at the earnest students of Unarius Science. Maury Povich followed a shallow, ridiculing Current Affair segment with a sneer and a comment to the effect that “we’ll have to enter this on Stupid Pet Tricks.”

Even the channeling community, whose proponents believe themselves to be in contact with astral avatars, are uneasy with the Unariun style of consciousness. Reports Jon Klimo in his book Channeling: lnvestigations-on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources, “For many in the channeling field, the Normans constitute somewhat of an embarrassment.”

How do Unariuns react to such overt public ridicule? Charles Spaegel chalks it up to lower astral hordes drawing a veil of ignorance over men. Student Lianne Stevens claims that mockery has been solely in the domain of the media. "One-on-one,” says Lianne, “people are incredibly receptive to the principles.” And why not? If bestseller lists are any indication, Whitley Streiber’s alien abduction nonfiction and Shirley MacLaine’s metaphysical maunderings have seized hold of the mainstream American brainscape.

Even astronomer Carl Sagan, the mystical empiricist who persuaded NASA to spend a billion dollars on a satellite with schematic diagrams of a man and woman sans genitals, has been in touch with Unarius. He phoned one day with the challenge (as Spaegel recalls it), “If you guys are really channeling the eternal wisdom, then once and for all, prove Fermat’s Theorem.” (Seventeenth-century mathematician Pierre Fermat died without revealing the proof for one of his theorems. That proof has eluded scientists to this day.) According to Spaegel, the Space Brothers beamed down their answer. Unariuns transcribed it and sent it along to Sagan, who querulously responded with the demand that they translate the metaphysical verbiage into mathematical formulas.

“I’m no mathematician,” admits Spaegel, who received his master of science degree from the University of Southern California, “so I couldn’t do what Carl Sagan wanted, not that he would have listened anyway. He, like many other people who are first confronted with the Unarius teachings, their ego defenses get in the way. They’ve got too much at stake to listen to reason. If they would just understand that our problems are the result of our past lives, that we continue on after we discard this physical shell, then they’d lose that chip on their shoulder and begin to evolve.”

In its rather grab-bag manner, Unariun teaching combines the channeling of discarnate entities, mystical geography, George Adamskian UFOIogy, Edgar Cayce-style healings, Swedenborgian commerce with angels, Theosophical and Rosicrucian mythology concerning lost civilizations, and Scientology’s merging of sci-fi obsessions with psychological healing. “These other groups have an undergraduate understanding of consciousness. Unarius is the postgraduate course,” claims Charles Spaegel.

Scientological and Unariun eschatology seem equally whimsical. According to one ex-Scientologist, L. Ron Hubbard wrote that Earth is the current prison for outcast souls of an Orwellian system of planets known as the Markab Confederacy. The Markabs keep life stirred up here on Earth with wars and disasters and phony religions that deny the truth of reincarnation. But Charles Spaegel cautions against commerce with the Church of Scientology. “We’ve discovered that L. Ron Hubbard was part of an Orion conspiracy to keep people controlled by robotizing them. I’m sure that Scientology bears out this proof of his past life.”

  • Unarius is not a cult.
  • M J Jonestown was a cult. \»/ Unarius is a science based on the highest precepts of logic and reason.
  • — The Archangel Uriel, Cosmic Visionary, Founder/Director of Unarius, Spiritual Leader for the Earth.

Unariuns are especially insistent that their belief in reincarnation, extraterrestrial beings, and UFOs constitutes a science and not a religion. Unarius, an acronym for UNiversal ARticulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science, is financially structured as a not-for-profit corporation and not as a tax-relieved religion. Their scientifically oriented books, titles like Cosmic Continuum and Interdimensional Physics, refer to modern science as an idiot mastery of a very limited dimension. Contemporary physicists, they assert, can learn from Unarius literature, which discusses heretofore neglected principles, such as oscillating vortexes in the etheric spectrum.

Cosmic Continuum was written by Ruth Norman’s late husband Ernest, who claimed to have been the reincarnation of Jesus as well as the inventor of television. According to a Unarius press release, Ernest discussed his design for the orthicon tube, a forerunner of the television tube, with Philo T. Farnsworth during a chance meeting in Logan, Utah, in the 1920s. Farnsworth, they say, stole Ernest’s design and parlayed it into a fortune. Ernest co-founded Unarius Science in 1954, the year he met Ruth Norman at a Los Angeles psychics’ convention. “The Moderator,” as Unariuns refer to him, died in 1971. His picture still appears alongside those of Ruth, Nikola Tesla, and Ruth’s sister Esther as a frontispiece in Unarius publications.

Following her husband’s death, Ruth Norman left Los Angeles and eventually chose the squat and dismal San Diego satellite of El Cajon as home for her Unarius Academy, opening the Magnolia Avenue headquarters in 1975. Two modest buildings house a meeting center, an attached art Star Center, offices, print shop, warehouse space, costume area, video and construction rooms. Her El Cajon neighbors congenially refer to Ruth as the Space Lady.

According to published accounts and the stories of her friends, the Archangel Uriel was born Ruth Anna Nields on August 18, 1900, to strict and abusive parents. She grew up in the Pasadena area and married a Mexican boy as soon as she turned 18. The marriage lasted only two and a half years but yielded a daughter who, to this day, shuns close contact with her mother. Uriel likens her Unarius students to the children she never had.

  • Vaughn described what he was viewing at the moment. He said, "Oh, how lovely! I see you, Uriel, sitting in a huge golden throne. You are surrounded with literally thousands of little ones, each one dressed in a different pastel shade. They have each brought to you, one lovely mind-created red bud. These countless roses have been formed in a huge heart-shaped wreath all about you as you sit. The great wreath seems about 20 feet high. The children are all so happy and bubbly to have you there, and a tremendous feeling of love exists. It all makes such a beautiful picture — you in the huge, golden throne, surrounded with the great heart of red roses, the many children gathered about, sitting at your feet."
  • — From Conclave of Light Beings, by Ruth Norman and Vaughn (Charles) Spaegel

Ruth’s full blossoming came late, becoming the Archangel Uriel (acronym of Universal, Radiant, Infinite, Eternal Light) only after her husband’s death, when the Space Brothers channeled the information to her in the Unariun document Conclave of Light Beings.

At an early age, Ruth harbored theatrical ambitions, which might have been inflamed by her apparent blood relationship to the famous silent-film director King Vidor. Nothing came of this dream until she was 75, when she began playing ingenue roles in Unarius’s improvised, videotaped psychodramas. These are an important component of Unarius Science wherein neuroses are healed by confrontation with one’s past-life experiences.

Ruth Norman’s brightest theatrical achievement came in the early 1980s in a past-life reenactment titled The Ballad of Annabelle Lee. It’s the kind of project that would make John Waters green with envy: a drag queen in blackface, pillow broadening his ass under a gingham dress, affecting a Hattie McDaniel look; two burnt-corked white girls mimicking Butterfly McQueen. The drag queen Nell fusses and flits around the recumbent Uriel, who is Annabelle.

“Today’s the big day,” announces Nell. “Miss Annabelle Lee is goin’ a courtin’ on the riverboat!”

“Oh, Miss Annabelle,” coos the mammy, “you always my beautiful girl. You got mo’ beaus up and down the Mississippi than anyone can shake a stick at!”

“What’s all the commotion, Nell?” cries Annabelle, the most ancient ingenue to fill out bloomers and a hoop skirt. "I’m sleepy!”

"Miss Annabelle must be tired, tryin’ on all dose dresses and wigs all day long!” Someone twangs a Stephen Foster tune on a banjo, and Miss Annabelle soon grows misty, as she heart-to-hearts with her faithful servant. "It is said, Nell, they don’t treat you black people on the riverboat like I do — and you might have to take lodging down below, way down below.”

"Miss Annabelle, you treats us black folks so good, so good!”

"God loves all God’s chilluns!” replies Annabelle profoundly, a beatific smile on her face.

Segue to a riverboat scene. Shots of white "darkies” singin’ and spray-can-aged "gamblers” escorting Annabelle are intercut with pirated clips from Showboat. Now alone on deck, an outcast from the gay proceedings, faithful Nell is accosted by a slaveowner-type, who thrusts a mop into her hands, ordering her to swab the deck.

Soon the live action ends, leaving a Mark Twainish narrator to impart the climax and denouement. Apparently, Annabelle drowns in an accidental fall, and Nell is lynched by a mob as the scapegoat. There follows endless footage of swirling, muddy river water, over which Poe’s "Annabelle Lee” is somnambulistically recited.

Now someone twangs a Dixie melody wistfully on the banjo, and the movie end: Or does it?

In a videotaped discussion that follows the drama, Uriel contradicts all we have just heard. As she recounts the events, Annabelle is thrust into the steamship’s paddles by Nell in a fit of pique. "Nell loved me so,” reasons Uriel. "She would never have deliberately hurt me. I was born the same time as one of Nell’s daughters, but she gave more attention to me than to her own little black pickaninny.”

In the Annabelle Lee colloquy, Stephan Yancoskie, who did the drag queen act as Nell, expresses surprise that he would make such a good mammy. "I’d have never thought it true, but when I put on that skirt, I was she.”

"You were she, you were she,” seconds Uriel.

Uriel concludes with a blessing that appears to Unariuns as divine inspiration, but to an outsider it seems perhaps the onset of Alzheimer’s disease: “Looking back, all these things are most interesting, and fascinating, and only serve to prove the wonderful and never ending and always factual, precise — and, oh, the farther we go the more precise and definite and defined become these principles. And we can go on and on and relate many of these principles, how defined . they have become in this proving where one needs to prove.”

Although Annabelle Lee is considered the keystone in Unarius’s past-life psychodramas, a traumatic changing of the guard was taking place behind the scenes of that film. The crisis reached boiling point when longtime Uriel companion and subchannel Thomas Miller reportedly refused to film the climactic scene unless the mammy (played by Yancoskie, then a rival for Uriel’s affection) deliberately heaved Annabelle Lee overboard. According to her book Effort to Destroy the Unarius Mission Thwarted, Uriel then punished Miller with excommunication from Unarius Science for insubordination. In Thwarted, Uriel explains:

  • I nurtured [Thomas] and nursed him, you could say, as a baby, gave him all the oscillations of my high frequency energies, constant teaching, pampering and lifting, pushing out his obsessions and helping him to overcome year after year after year, until he got to the point where he wanted to be me.
  • He wanted to take over Unarius — he didn't make the attempt to destroy, he just wanted to take over. He wanted to be me!

Yancoskie, Miller’s rival, was a relative newcomer to Unarius. Coming to grips with his gay sexual identity, Yancoskie had been drifting around the West Coast, trying to find an answer to his drinking problem and spiritual malaise. Entering the Unarius center, Stephan soon found himself wrapped in the comforting arms of Ruth Norman. "She looked at me and told me I was home at last. I was overwhelmed. I ate it up,” reveals Yancoskie.

He soon replaced Thomas Miller as Uriel’s favored companion. "I think Ruth was looking for a way to kick Thomas out of the group. She was getting tired of him, and after I came along, she got the hots for me,” explains Stephan, whose own departure from Unarius several years later repeated a similar pattern. "The first time I left Unarius,” he explains, "was after a television show. We got in a bitch-fight, and soon Ruth took off one of her crowns and was hitting me with it. She said, ‘Here! If you want to be the Archangel Uriel, wear the crown! Be the Archangel Uriel!’ ”

Prior to his excommunication, Stephan quickly ascended the ranks of the Unarius hierarchy.

"I did what I had to do to get to the top, and it wasn’t that difficult. I didn’t mind kissing Ruth’s ass,” he remembers, "and besides, the competition wasn’t tough. The other members were weak... washouts.”

Dubbed “Arieson,” leader of the ascended Aryan peoples, Stephan worked like a fiend at the Unarius center. Besides teaching weekly classes, he painted murals on the exterior and interior of the Magnolia Avenue complex. He organized UFO pageants and appeared in a prodigious number of psychodrama and promotional videos. “Unarius allowed me to explore my creativity in ways that I would never have otherwise accomplished,” recalls Stephan ruefully. “I’ll probably never again have dozens of people at my beck and call to do what I tell them. In retrospect, I really appreciated the opportunity.” (Yancoskie is currently a San Diego-based fine artist and designer specializing in pastel-colored mansion interiors.)

During the height of his power at the Unarius center, the "love oscillations” between Uriel and Arieson abounded. “I was with her constantly. I did her from top to bottom. When I first came, she looked something like a country singer down on her luck. Then I designed her dresses, her wigs, the whole thing. She loved what I could do to her.”

Yancoskie’s ultimate split with Unarius came after it was discovered that he was “sleeping with one of the so-called straight members. Ruth yelled at me, called me a slut, and all kinds of names.”

Despite the drag travesties and the allegedly large number of gays in the group (according to Yancoskie), Unarius philosophy paints homosexuality as a cosmic aberration. “It's the way Unarius keeps people in line. All the students are shown as being evil and against the spiritual hierarchy in past lives. Ruth was great at finding our emotional weakness and becoming the only solution for it.”

Stephan’s moment of truth came after he left the center for a second time and wrote Uriel a contrite letter, which was mistaken as an overture to readmission into the group. “I came back to see Ruth because I wanted closure, to leave without all the bad feelings, to see things to an end without recrimination. As soon as I walked through the door, Ruth proposed that we get married.” (In Uriel’s closet hang more than a dozen wedding dresses. “Sometimes we’d drive down to town just to buy another wedding gown. She loved those wedding gowns. And she’d wear them in these symbolic wedding processions at the center,” reveals Yancoskie.) “I was kind of shocked at Ruth’s proposal. What could I say? I refused. When I finally got out the door, she followed me to my car and seemed really confused. She kept saying, ‘Why? Why are you going?’ ”

Yancoskie's rocky separation from Uriel and Unarius spawned the vindictive tome Thwarted, unique in the entire Unariun oeuvre since it concentrates on the present-day evildoings of an expelled member. But like her other books, Thwarted consists of transcribed speeches and discussions among Uriel, her subchannel(s), and students. Here, Uriel claims that Stephan had hypnotized Unariun students with “lower astral forces” as he was actively reliving the time he had been a female named Shimlus on the planet Tyron, where he kept all the citizens “robotized.” As documented in Thwarted, Uriel scolds and cross-examines her students as they attempt expiation of wrongdoing by dishing dirt on the ousted Yancoskie.

In the midst of the infighting, an article by Mike Granberry appeared in the September 29, 1986 edition of the Los Angeles Times. Though it provided few details, the article played up the Yancoskie excommunication, reporting that Yancoskie was contemplating “legal action for accusations made against him in the book.” The Times article took the expected route by suggesting cultish behavior and fraud.

“Unarius students... pay $5 almost every time they enter the door,” wrote Granberry, suggesting that Unarius was extorting big money from the unfortunate. Actually, the pressure to contribute to Unarius coffers seems minimal, especially considering ever-churning printing presses and active video machinery.

Students do pay $5.00 at their weekly meetings and pay a small annual membership fee; other income derives from the sale of Unarius literature and voluntary contributions and bequests. From all appearances, Unarius is a benign though eccentric organization that provides context and meaning to those who would otherwise feel rudderless and adrift. Perhaps the most extraordinary testimonial is in a promotional video in which a young man tells how Unarius Science has made him a better surfer.

  • URIEL is extremely humble and says that even though she is an archangel, she is only looking through a door at the Infinite. We don’t look at her like a God, idolize her. She is just much further evolved than we are, and it is possible that we might be able to attain her great wisdom in future lifetimes if we adhere to the Principles.
  • — Unarius student Lianne Stevens.

It’s not easy being a god, or even an archangel. Charles Spaegel; “They have tried to knock Ruth Norman off her pedestal or bow down to her, just like they have done to Jesus.” Well, she wasn’t Jesus, but Uriel remembers being Mary of Bethany, Christ’s virgin mum.

Biography of an Archangel and Visitations of Gods and Men are two Unarius titles chronicling the many lives of Ruth Norman: Dalos, leader of the Pleiadean peoples; Yuda, leader of the civilization of Yu; Poseid, the founder of Atlantis; Cryston, bringer of love to the Orion empire; Skott, light-bringer of the Scarpathian people; Ra Mu, spiritual leader of Lemuria; Isis; loshanna, priestess of the temple in Atlantis; Ensat, teacher of the Science of Life in Atlantis; Heliandra and Amon Ra of Atlantis; Queen Tiy, mother of Akhnaton; Pharoah Hatshepsut; Nada of Greece; Benvenuto Cellini; Akbar, Emperor of India; Peter the Great; Queen Maria Theresa; Queen Elizabeth I; Charlemagne; Johannes Kepler; Socrates; Quetzalcoatl; Annabelle Lee; Emperor Hsuan; Gautama Buddha; Zoroaster; Dalai Lama; Khadija, wife of Mohammad; Atahualpa, last Incan emperor; Darius I of Persia; King Arthur of Camelot; and 300,000 various and sundry other good guys.

It’s been pointed out that several of Uriel’s incarnations lived concurrently, but “Uriel lives in more dimensions and is beyond the realm of human understanding,” says Spaegel, who has himself vibrated as the negative polarity to Uriel’s light for many thousands of years.

Past and present lives of Uriel are commemorated in scores of student art work throughout the Unarius center, but the artist who has done her most proud was Leonardo da Vinci in his portrait of the Mona Lisa. The Unarius publication Who Is the Mona Lisa? tells the entire story, buttressed by a reproduction of the painting on the front cover and a photomontage on the back cover, which has Ruth Norman’s head in place of Da Vinci’s original model.

  • Vaughn: I was at first taken back, simply amazed and flabbergasted when I saw how you took on the appearance of the Mona Lisa and actually became that epic lady in the portrait painted by Leonardo da Vinci! Then today when you came down the staircase with your wedding gown, your long red hair, the tiara and the great red rose you were holding, I simply had to blink my eyes and pinch myself! ... You appeared to be a woman of 30. Now, let it be said it wasn’t makeup, for you wore none.
  • Conclave of Light Beings

Perhaps it is difficult for the vulgar to believe an all-powerful, suprahuman force is wielded by a spacy granny from El Cajon. But for those who do believe, the testimony is vivid. View the psychodrama where Uriel lays on hands to heal the wayward Atlanteans — grown men blubber like babies, grown women spontaneously shake and rattle like leaves. There is the constant witnessing of the miraculous in multitudes of Unariun texts:

  • Dorothy Ellerman: The typewriter was bathed in a beautiful color of purplish-red and I couldn’t see my hands but I continued to type and
  • shake and sob and tear, until the power became so intense that my head went down on the typewriter and I was taken out. When I came to on the cold, hard metal... I looked at the words on the typewriter, then a powerful ray-beam came down over my head as I continued to type. When I tried to get up off the chair, I had no legs and my body felt completely spent as though I had gone through a wringer, which I knew was a psychic purging of past-life dross.
  • Conclave of Light Beings
  • Charles Spaegel: The word "transcended" has to be put in capital letters.... It seemed as if all the muscles in my body had turned to jelly, and accompanied with this feeling in my legs was a great, intense power beam on my forehead. For the entire time
  • of two hours, I was completely out of the body and, in this condition, I was viewing the ceremony of the city of Parhelion on the planet Eros!
  • Conclave of Light Beings

Now visited by a score of physical ailments, 91-year-old Ruth Norman struggles through her remaining days in a suburban home in the hills of El Cajon. Her speech slow and halted, as if by a stroke, the once-energetic woman seems at last to be slowing down. On a recent afternoon she greeted a visitor with her broken leg elevated, a bladder bag hidden discreetly behind the Barcalounger. She’s well taken care of — her every whim is attended to by Spaegel and a couple of live-in students.

Uriel points out her favorite paintings by Unarius students. “I’m very proud of them, very proud,” she says, adding that her students who paint don’t study technique, they study consciousness. (The flat, metaphysical, naive style bears witness to this.)

Charles Spaegel becomes angry when Uriel was asked to discuss her favorite food. “That’s not a proper question. It’s not important,” Spaegel snapped. One does not clench the queen of England in a bear hug. One does not ask Uriel about her favorite food.

“Have you been in communication with Tesla, say, or anyone else, even now?” "No, not since I’ve been off-kilter, since I fell and broke my leg. No, I haven’t been interested.... When the famous people communicate to me and it is transcribed onto a tape, it comes through perfect, just perfect, it just comes through just like the water does.”

“No editing involved, then?”

“No editing involved.”

“Do you feel any pain?”

“What?”

“Pain. Do you feel any pain?” “Uh?”

“Does your leg hurt?”

“Oh, pain. No. It doesn’t much hurt, but they’ll be putting the cast on — When are they putting the cast on?”

Charles Spaegel speaks up: “Tomorrow morning.”

"Monday?”

Charles: “Tomorrow morning.”

“Yes, I might have pain tomorrow.”

Charles attempts to reassure her. “The doctors will see to it that you don’t have any pain.” “Surely, they have, uh, medication to, uh, deaden the pain now.”

Many images of Ruth’s late husband Ernest ring the room. “Do you hear from the Moderator often?”

“Not much,” Uriel replies.

“Rarely?”

“Rarely. He’s very busy. He’s got lots to do in his domain and dimensions. But occasionally I’ll get a letter, a letter that comes mentally.”

“Will Ernest Norman reincarnate into another body?” “Oh no, he has completed his mission. They, the Space Brothers, have told me, too, that I have completed my mission on Earth and can leave any day.”

Her mission completed, it’s doubtful that Uriel will stick around to view the coming of the spaceships in (when else?) 2001 A.D. Little over a decade ago, Uriel purchased 67 acres of land in Jamul as the landing site for the Interplanetary Confederation. At this site, 33 spaceships, some a mile wide, will sit atop each other to form Earth’s first interplanetary college. A model of this city/college is kept within the Star Center on Magnolia Avenue.

Stephan Yancoskie recalls the time in the early 1980s when Uriel awaited the arrival of the Space Brothers, excitedly pulling all-nighters with her favorite students. After the third night, Uriel threw in the towel, announcing mankind was not yet prepared for the landing, that the lower astral hordes impeded their arrival. She pointed at a formation of unusual pink clouds at daybreak as the Space Brothers’ signal to her that they had given it the old college try.

Uriel’s ‘‘spiritual biune,” Nikola Tesla, speaks about his relationship with a very special pigeon. The story is from John O’Neill’s biography of Tesla, Prodigal Genius, and has been reprinted in Unarius’s Conclave of Light Beings. Said Tesla:

  • I have been feeding pigeons, thousands of them, for years; thousands of them, for who can tell — but there was one pigeon, a beautiful bird, pure white with light gray tips on its wings. That one was different; it was a female. I would know that pigeon anywhere. No matter where I was that pigeon would find me; when I wanted her I had only to wish and call her and she would come flying to me. She understood me and I understood her. I loved that pigeon.... Yes, I loved that pigeon! I loved her as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. When she was ill I knew and understood; she came to my room and I stayed beside her for days. I nursed her back to health. That pigeon
  • was the joy of my life. If she needed me, nothing else mattered. As long as I had her, there was a purpose in my life.
  • Then one night as I was lying in my bed in the dark, solving problems as usual, she flew in through the open window and stood on my desk. I knew she wanted me; she wanted to tell me something important, so I got up and went to her. As I looked at her, I knew she wanted to tell me she was dying. And then, as I got her message, there came a light from her eyes — powerful beams of light.

“Is not this story the greatest love story ever told?’’ wonders Uriel. “It must be said my infinite love has grown the more infinite toward this wondrous and beautiful soul, whether we term him Leonardo, Tesla, or any one of the hundreds of thousands of names he has used and carried during the eons of past millenniums.”

You can be sure that when Ruth Norman sloughs off this mortal coil, students of Unariun Science will be ever-vigilant for signs of Uriel’s infinite love. A cloud? A pigeon? A sunset? A ray of light? Who knows? But you can be sure it won’t be the host of A Current Affair.

What makes the dead so smart?

In his survey of the phenomenon, writer Jon Klimo attempts a precise definition of channeling: "Channeling is the communication of information to or through a physically embodied human being from a source that is said to exist on some other level or dimension of reality than the physical as we know it and that is not from the normal mind (or self) of the channel.” This appears in Klimp’s Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources (Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1987.)

All sacred texts, from the Bible to the various books of Unarius Science, have come about through the belief that God or God-like beings can communicate through the proper human conduit, be they Saul of Tarsus or Uriel. In order to gain adherents, it's up to the religion to sell its channeled spirit as the sole genuine intelligence in a field fraught with spurious or dangerous channels.

"[Channeling] is surely an attempt at compensation, which seeks to regain by other — supernatural — means the lost appeal of life on earth,” reasoned Sigmund Freud in his paper "Psychoanalysis and Telepathy." Carl Jung, who took his metaphysics more seriously, explained channeling as a tapping into the collective unconscious, a guiding search for archetype. In most cases, belief in channeling refutes the Great No of bodily death and imparts the Great Hope of reincarnative continuity. Fundamentalist Christians chalk up any inspired utterance outside Pentecostal glossolalia as demonic seduction.

Whether practiced through Ouija board planchette or white-eyeballed trance medium, channeled writing always seems to reflect the mood of the time. Stentorian pronunciamiento characterized ghostly expression in past centuries. More recently, channeled sources have toned down the bombast, taking on an avuncular, psychotherapeutic guise made popular by Jane Roberts’s "Seth" and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s "Michael.”

Perhaps the most unnerving aspect to the channeling phenomenon is the piety and awe in which believers hold these afterlife interlocutions, no matter how puerile or garbled the "message.” What is it that makes the dead so much wiser than the living?

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