Crop Circles & the Geometry of Thresholds
By Robin Heath
We had the great pleasure of hearing Robin Heath deliver the keynote presentation at the Summer Crop Circle Lectures last year. It was one of the best lectures I’d heard him give in the long years I have known him; it was important, prescient and above all quite brilliant. He has very kindly given me permission to share that presentation with you and I will be posting Robin’s lecture notes and illustrations in a three part guest blog. I’d like to thank Robin for the opportunity to share his work on the Temporary Temples website – it’s a great honour!
Robin Heath is an unaffiliated researcher into megalithic and ancient sciences. He is author of several books on Stonehenge, two of which are on sale at the monument. For more information, there are two websites:www.skyandlandscape.com and www.megalithicscience.org Robin lives on a smallholding in coastal West Wales with his wife Trish, two cats and three theodolites.
Public interest in crop circles has always been discouraged by the media and many self-proclaimed ‘experts’, who in imitation of our political system have regularly fought vicious and sometimes personal campaigns against the views of those who have made a study of this mysterious phenomenon. Although, for a newcomer to this intriguing subject, it may appear that nobody agrees on anything with regard to the reason or purpose of the deluge of crop circles that seasonally locates itself in crop fields around the globe, there are some observable patterns in their type and locations. However, I do believe that we need to start asking some new questions about this and related phenomena.
Everyone can be in agreement that crop circles are first of all experienced as a geometrical phenomenon, as are stone circles, cathedral windows, and even mundane tasks such as surveying and navigation. But not everyone has realised that when approaching the threshold of a crop circle, created in a field of growing crop, its geometry is the last thing one experiences. Sideways on, one experiences separate expanses of lain crop, often seemingly chaotic. To see the whole picture one must go from flat-land to above-land, and this is the crucially important role of a pilot and a cameraman dedicated to taking stock photographs of crop circles. Their geometrical designs are transient, fleeting, sometimes mown down within hours of first having been reported. We are in debt to these people, not just because they scramble aircraft and helicopters to obtain these photographs, week on week, but because their photos have provided us with the evolving history of the crop circle phenomenon.
There is another reason to be grateful that this arduous and expensive task has been undertaken – their revealed geometry can be understood by humankind. Sacred, mundane and ritual geometry has been a constant feature of all world civilisations. The megalithic cultures, from earlier than 7000 years ago designed complex geometries into their stone rings, burial chambers and dolmen art. To cross the threshold of understanding this geometry, one must immerse oneself into the deeper levels of the subject. In other words, one needs to put some effort in, as one would to learn another language. An answer too easily obtained is often not remembered. The text books are still being written, but books by John Michell, Robert Lawlor, Keith Crichlow, John Martineau, Allen Brown, Michael Glickman, Nick Kollerstrom and several significant others can all be unreservedly recommended.
Crop circles are other things in addition to the pretty fabulous geometrical packaging. The order of significance of these ‘other’ things will depend on your level of paranoia and/or cynicism, your suspicion of the systems of world governments, your fear of the unknown – things that go bump in the night and your ability to appreciate completely original landscape art.
Because the crop circle phenomenon has always been first cousin to the UFO phenomenon for the majority of people, there is also the threat to national security to be considered, and whether or not the circles are made by none-human intelligences. That’s a really fun issue to toy with. Whatever your views on the subject, the phenomenon takes us on a journey into the unknown, the uncertain outcome and the twilight zone of life. It takes us to a doorway or portal, a threshold, the space between two worlds; a liminality.
Liminal. Adjective. From the latin word Limen, meaning ‘threshold’
1.Relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process.
2.Occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.
3.The state of the soul between its death and its rebirth
In anthropology, liminality is the state of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle of a ritual process. It is not knowing.
Then it leaves you on the doorstep, like an abandoned baby. Our world fails to include a manual for navigating this kind of experience. This lecture makes some attempts at supplying information that it is hoped might be useful. Anthropology and Psychology have laid down some useful foundations or frames of reference in the area of thresholds and liminality, an area filled with long words and acronyms.
One of these acronyms is a GST – a Global Social Threshold.
Types of Liminality
1. Global Social Thresholds
- GSTs are TIMES of change and uncertainty which involve entire civilizations. Liminal periods are both destructive and constructive at the same time, sweeping away old notions and replacing them with new beliefs and new processes of great importance. Events such as political, social or economic revolutions can thus be considered liminal, as they can and often do coincide with periods of apparent chaos, complete collapse of order, and profound social changes.
- Global liminal periods are not personal in nature, they are collective in their action and effects. Global liminality may however be catalysed by individual human action (‘Cometh the time, cometh the man’).
- Such periods can be delayed by political forces but are ultimately unstoppable. (‘Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come’).
- GSTs can be spotted by a trained astrologer studying the angular relationships between the planets. Key events during the GST can be predicted in advance. Modern science will have none of this, and takes every offered media opportunity to rubbish astrology (and crop circles). But ‘real scientists’ look at the evidence before making such absolute opinions in public. Science has been hitched up to the wagons of politics, defence and capitalism.
- GSTs cast a foreshadow that can be detected by spiritually aware people, clairvoyants, psychics and some animals (e.g. earthquakes, tsunamis).
- The prime purpose of government is primarily to maintain the status quo and avoid chaotic situations.
Crop circles tend to threaten the former and create the latter. Enough said!
2. Organised and ‘fixed’ rituals
- The aspirant, or initiate, or other types of partaker of a organised ritual are aware that the liminal state is a temporary state, with a start and a finish, and know that they will eventually leave the state at a time decided upon by the shaman, or ‘master of ceremony’ who knows how the ritual ends and can safely guide the members through the process being undertaken and then out into the future.
- During liminal periods that are crises, (for example, GSTs) affecting the whole of society, the future is not known, and there can be no ‘master of ceremony’ who has previous knowledge of how or when the process will end. There is thus no-one to lead people out of the ritual. Such a situation could be very dangerous, partly because it allows self-proclaimed experts, ‘masters of ceremony’, tricksters, shysters or messiah figures to assume leadership, with attendant possibilities of corrupting the process, deceiving the aspirants, removing any creative value the process may have had, or ‘fixing’ the liminal state in, well limbo, in order for the ‘fixer’ to remain in a position of supreme power.
- Such a fixed state can run a long time, apparently well, leading its citizens into a kind of enchantment where daily life becomes filled with rituals that appear to be meaningful. But if this state is unbalanced it ultimately brings about a social order of meaningless rituals that imitate rational social behaviour and better outcomes. For example, a fixed state sustaining a liminal state between war and peace could provide jobs for most of the society making ‘defence’ weapons.
But much better outcomes than these are available. The quotations that follow show themselves to be directly transferable to crop circles and describe various facets of liminality.
3. The UFO Phenomenon
From the foreword of Operation Trojan Horse by John A Keel ( 1971, Dent)
- ‘…The real problems hidden behind the UFO phenomenon are staggering and so complex that they will seem almost incomprehensible. The popular beliefs and speculations are largely founded upon biased reporting, gross misinterpretations and the inability to see beyond the limits of any one of many frames of reference. Cunning techniques of deception and psychological warfare have been employed by the UFO source to keep us confused and skeptical. Man’s tendency to create a deep and inflexible belief on the basis of little or no evidence has been exploited.’
4. The View from Jungian Psychology
- Because Jung had studied the ancient traditions, folklore, rituals, astrology and geometry, he was able to take a wider perspective on the frequent reports of lights in the sky and other UFO phenomena which was, at the start of the Atomic Age, causing quite a stir during the final year of the second world war, and then on into the 1950s.
- In Flying Saucers, the last book ever written by this great humanistic psychologist, Jung was emphatic and prophetic in stating that the UFO phenomenon is ‘a portent of radical changes in thoughts and perceptions’, culminating in a renewal of divine influence – the return of the ancient gods.
5. The View from the Crop Circle Phenomenon
From John Michell’s introduction to Crooked Soley by Allan Brown and John Michell. (Roundhill Press, 2005)
- ‘..Many years ago I was drawn to the study and practice of geometry. A major influence was Keith Critchlow (a founder member of RILKO) who founded the school of symbolic, cosmological or ‘sacred’ geometry that has since flourished universally. His pupils, directly or through his writings and lectures, include just about everybody with a practical, artistic or philosophical interest in the subject. Some of them are crop circle enthusiasts and, not surprisingly, they have been suspected of creating the phenomenon themselves. But I know these people – Martineau, Kollerstrom, Glickman, Brown, Schindler among them – and we all agree that none of us has the skill and originality to have designed – let alone executed – many of the magnificent, subtle, witty and highly cultured artworks that appear every summer around Avebury, Stonehenge and other ancient sanctuaries.
- There is a mind, and therefore a purpose, behind the crop circle phenomenon. It is an elevated mind and its purpose can be inferred from what it actually does. Crop circles bring beauty and mystery, friendships and new interests to a generation that needs them. At the same time, quietly, inoffensively, they are teaching us something, for an event which, according to ancient records, occurs from time to time when the situation demands it – the return of the gods – the grail of knowledge and wisdom restored to earth.’
6. Psychology and the Crop Circle phenomenon
Humanistic psychologist Patrick Harpur finishes Crooked Soley with,
- ‘Crop circles are like hoaxes in that they expose our wrong relationship to Nature and mock our methods of investigation. In the end it may not matter if the hoax is perpetrated directly by Mercurius or through the agency of human hoaxers.
- Another kind of hoax is the practical joke. …In comedy, practical jokes bring self-knowledge to those who have a fantastic idea of themselves. Practical jokers have to unmask themselves in the end and their satisfaction is in seeing the look on the faced of duped who thought they were acting freely but were really being manipulated all along by the joker.
- But what of the joker who does not unmask, like the perpetrator of crop circles? He forces us to unmask ourselves. He needs no satisfaction from the look on our faces. He manipulates for its own sake. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He wants to deflate our self-importance, undermine our principles and beliefs, threat on our reason. He is invisible, ruthless and impersonal, like a psychopath or a god. He is Mercurius who, like Lucifer, both deceives in order to destroy and deceives in order to bring light. If we do not know ourselves, that is, know, discern, listen to our daimons – and demons – we are easy prey for the darker side of Mercurius. Let us pray that his tricks stop at crop circles.’
- This is a more fearful rendition than the others, and reminds us of the warning given in the grandiose and rather unfeasible film Independence Day, where believers expecting deliverance from the space people were the first to be evaporated by the alien hoards. This was a key message of the film; that aliens are very dangerous and cannot be trusted. Historically, a more accurate description would be to replace the word ‘aliens’, with ‘humans’.
7. New Age and traditional Mysticism
In a recent interview, Patrick Harpur said,
- “I wouldn’t be surprised if the need for initiation has become urgent. It seems to be, after all, a universal requisite—there’s no society which doesn’t or which didn’t at one time attach the highest importance to initiation.”
- “So, now that we’ve abandoned formal rites, we must expect to pay the price: a catastrophic severance of relations with the Otherworld, for example, and a lack of certainty about identity and adulthood among youth.”
- “I think Jung said that Christ redeemed mankind but left out Nature, which groaneth and travaileth. Nature is therefore Christianity’s shadow. … Poetry, like alchemy, doesn’t merely copy Nature (as Plato feared), but (as Plotinus says) completes the work of the Creator by returning to the original archai or archetypes with which the Demiurge made the world.”
I apologise to Patrick for having abbreviated some of the above quotations.
This is quite a varied set of views, opinions and suggestions, but it is representative of the kind of material that anyone investigation the crop circle phenomenon will come across during their searchings. It will lead at some stage to facing and hopefully answering the following questions…
End of part one.
More Information & Notes
With thanks to Robin Heath for permission to use his material.
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Robin will once again be speaking at our annual conference The Summer Crop Circle Lectures – August 3rd, 4th & 5th 2018. Click here for more details and to book.
Note: The crop circle used in the illustration for this blog appeared at Beckhampton, Wiltshire, UK on 13th July 2003. More images (including ground shots) can be seen in our 2003 Image Library here. Scroll through the pages to reach the 13th of July.