Your Zodiac Forecasts, from Jonathan Cainer



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John Michell was a best-selling author and world authority on the mysteries of existence. Between March 2001 and August 2002, John wrote a series of articles on a variety of esoteric subjects for Jonathan's website and the Daily Mirror newspaper in the UK.

Jonathan writes: It was a thrill to have John writing for us about unexplained phenomena. I have been an admirer of his work since I was a teenager. I hope you enjoy his thought-provoking work.


April 18, 2002

Ancient worlds, sunken cities

These are exciting times in archaeology. New discoveries are completely changing the old-established view of prehistory. The official belief is that civilisation began about 6,000 years ago in the Middle East. Before that we were savages. That is what you learn at school.


Traditional astrology tells a different story. It reckons time and history in cycles. One of these is the period of 25,920 years, in which the Sun completes its course through the zodiac. Even thls is quite a short period in astrological time. Greater cycles extend history over hundreds of thousands of years. Throughout these ages, civilisations rise and fall. Our present system is just the latest in a long series. Ther have been many before us.


There is good evidence of this, but much of it is buried - in the basement of museums. Strange objects and instruments, discovered in ancient geological strata, embarrass the professors. So they are hIdden.


But you cannot hide whole cities. There is great excitement in India, where two lost cities, each about five miles across, have recently turned up. They were found by scientists through sonar scanning, 30 miles off the coast, 120 feet below the sea. Objects dredged up from them proved to be 9,500 years old. The buildings themselves could be much older.


When we start seeing things from an astrological viewpoint, we can recognise, the evidence of civilisations in far-distant ages. It is all around us, and it is growing all the time.



April 25, 2002

Black and White Magic

Black magic helps you to trick people and take advantage of them by underhand means. You may think you are doing well by it, but you cannot avoid the comeuppance. It affects your looks and character, and you end up as a monster, cut off from human sympathies.

True magic is for your own happiness and the benefit of everyone around you. First it transforms you and then it changes the world. One of the first exercises in magical training is to put aside grievances and visualise your surroundings as a type of paradise. If you try it, you will soon glimpse the purpose of magic to bring back that natural, but long-forgotten state of existence, the Golden Age.

In ancient, magical times, whole nations were held in a state of enchantment. In the relics of stone-age Britain you can see the instruments by which the spell was maintained. People lived simply, in thatched huts together with their animals. All their skills and efforts were devoted to the huge structures of earth and stone by which they kept in contact with the dead and with the gods. With constant festivals, music, dancing and story-telling, their lives were made rich. They knew nothing of prisons or palaces, but were happy and secure and in need of nothing.

Nowadays, of course, everything seems different. But this world is as magical as ever, once you start seeing it like that.



May 2, 2002

The reality of giants.

There were pictures in newspapers recently of Hussain Bisad, a refugee from war in Somalia, now living in London. He stands out in a crowd because at 7ft 9in he is said to be the tallest man in the world. Aged 27, he is healthy, good-spirited and still growing.

Hussain is a real giant, but he is quite small compared to others in the past. A previous record-holder was Robert Wadlow , an American who died in 1950 aged 32. He was 8ft 11.1in. There have been tall women too. Ella Ewing of Missouri was almost 7 feet in 1882, when she was ten years old. She ended up at 8ft 2in.

Many greater giants are recorded in history and archaeology. Fossil remains of a human type, over 12 feet in height, were found in China and Indonesia. Huge skeletons, sometimes in giant coffins, have been excavated at ancient-sites in Europe and North America. In Patagonia, at the far end of South America, travellers up to the 19th century encountered tribespeople from 10 to 12 feet tall.

Traditions of a former giant race occur in the Bible and in folklore everywhere. They are said to have been persecuted by smaller folk, and our bold giant-killers finished them off. But there may be survivors, even today. Sightings and giant footprints are still reported from the wildernesses of Asia and America. We cannot say for certain that Hussain Bisad is the tallest person on earth, He is just the tallest we know about so far.




May 9, 2002

The man who collected mysteries

The best way of living to an old age is not through vitamins and health foods but by taking a keen interest in everything that goes on. You not only live longer that way, but you live happier. You will certainly not die of boredom, like many of us do.

A person who never knew boredom was Charles Fort who died in 1932. He was a New York writer, specialising in mysteries. But he was no fiction writer. All his stories were true at least, they were reported in the press. In newspapers and journals he found an endless supply of amazing happenings. They proved to him that the world is nothing like the scientists' view of it, but full of mysteries that no-one has ever explained.

If you read Fort's books or just dip into any one of them you will be shocked and then delighted by the wonders of our existence. He recorded UFOs, alien life-forms, creatures and objects from the sky, strange disappearances and all kinds of 'impossible' phenomena. These things are constantly occurring. They are part of nature, so there is no harm in studying them. And when you start doing so, your outlook expands, and you see that life is far more interesting and delightful than you are likely to be taught at school.


My old friend and co-author (we have written three books together) is Bob Rickard. He is the founder of Fortean Times, a monthly, illustrated chronicle of strange events, with expert articles on them. For a taste of it see the website:



May 16, 2002

The Philosopher's Stone

If you take a course in philosophy today, you learn more about the history of the subject than how to be a philosopher yourself. One thing you are never told is the real purpose of it all, which is to discover the Philosopher's Stone.


They say about this stone that it is the most precious thing you can imagine. If you find it, your life is made rich and glorious. It is so powerful it can light up the whole world. But the funny thing is that no one seems to want it. So it lies neglected in the filth at the bottom of the gutter.


It is not like a stone you can kick. It is the philosopher's term for something that lies neglected in everyone's mind. Another name for it is Nous or understanding. It is also called Truth. Philosophy means love of truth. That is the proper dedication of philosophers, and that is why they are supposed to look for the Stone.


But many students of philosophy do not know that. Like the rest of us, they ignore the Stone and run after fads and notions that seem fashionable at the time. This leads them into doubts and worries, and they become miserable or angry. That is not the fault of philosophy but of its misuse. Any kind of knowledge is better than ignorance, but only one kind has lasting value, and that is the kind symbolized by the Stone.

Having started on this subject, I had better go on with it next week.



May 23, 2002

The Philosopher's Stone ii: From ignorance to bliss

Last week's mystery was the Philosopher's Stone, what it means and where to find it. This sounds like a treasure-hunt, and in a way it is. When King Solomon acquired the Stone, he became very rich and enjoyed the pleasure of 700 wives plus concubines. But his real wealth - the source of all his happiness and the prosperity of his kingdom - was his wisdom. With the Stone came knowledge. It was not just book-learning, but knowledge of the universe and the source of goodness and order in it.


According to Plato, who is my guide in these matters, there are four stages in the ascent towards this knowledge. At the bottom is ignorance. When you are in that state, you do not know there is anything worth knowing, and you despise people who want to rise above it.


Above ignorance is the level of opinion. That is when you start to take an interest in life, to discuss and argue. On that level you can enter journalism or politics.


The next stage is study and learning. You become tired of opinions and look for the facts that everyone is arguing around. This is a state of maturity and good judgement.


The fourth and last stage is the mystical one. It lies beyond reason and learning, and the only way into it is through personal experience. If you rise to that level you are said to have found the Philosopher's Stone. Next week we shall look further into that prospect




May 30, 2002

The Philosopher's Stone iii: Initiation and the entry to paradise

Last week's subject was the Philosopher's Stone and the stages you pass through in finding it. You start off in the dark state of ignorance, and rise upwards through the stages of opinion and learning. Not many people care to go further, and there is no need to. You can be happy on any level of existence, as long as you are mentally active and not in torment.


But there is a further stage, and those who have reached it say it is like living in paradise. Finding the Philosopher's Stone means entering the highest, most glorious state of being that anyone can imagine. You cannot get there in one leap. Anyone can enjoy moments of insight, when you glimpse a flash of perfect happiness. But when you come back to earth, it is just as you left it.  


From what I have learnt, two things are needed if you want to find the Stone. You have to have risen above the level of opinion and self-centred cleverness. And you have to develop your vision. That means seeing beyond the pains and griefs around you, and looking for the good in everything.


This does not sound easy today. But the first step is the hardest, and once you have taken it you are on target for the Philosopher's Stone. The ancient priests practised initiation. They could prepare you for the experience of death that precedes the awakening into paradise. That is not available any more, but in place of it there is something better - the real thing. Now, for the first time ever, all knowledge is opened up for everyone. And if you (or I or anyone) choose the path to initiation, we can enjoy far richer lives than any of the miserable millionaires you see around.



June 6, 2002

It's all in the mind

The greatest of all mysteries is the human mind. We all live with this mystery; it is the one thing we have in common. Everyone looks and thinks differently from everyone else, but the human mind is the same for all.

It is not easy to live with this mind, because it pulls us in two different directions. Its rational part allows us to calculate and be successful in the world. Its other part, called imagination, brings dreams and strange yearnings.

For a full human life you have to use both parts of the mind. That is obvious - certainly to readers of Jonathan's astrology page. But many people try to live by reason alone. They are ambitious, they know what they want, and they mean to get it. They neglect the other part of the mind, so they are always restless and never happy.

Other people become disillusioned with reason. It has created an ugly world, they say, dominated by masculine thinking. So all you really need is Love. That is a sweet idea and, on the highest level, it is true. But in this material existence reason is dominant. If you reject it you become foolish, gullible and mentally instable.

Of these two necessary parts of the mind, I prefer imagination. Reason was given us so that we could see the beauty and order of Creation. But through imagination we are attuned to the mind of the Creator. That is certainly the way to happiness, and it may well be the whole point of life.



June 13, 2002

The peaks of happiness

One of my favourite writers is Colin Wilson. He must have written more books than anyone else - well over a hundred, on all kinds of subjects. And he never stops working, beginning every day at 4am.

Behind all his writings is one big,idea. With just a bit of effort, he says, we can lead far happier, far more interesting lives than we mostly do now. Much of the time we are just 'going through the motions', doing what we have to without thinking about it. But when something unusual happens, we become alert. At those moments we stop living automatically and see the situation directly, through our own awakened senses. Those are the moments you remember and talk about.

The secret of health and longevity, says Wilson, is waking yourself up to everything going on around you. From an American psychologist, Abraham Maslow, he heard about the 'peak experience'. It is the experience that most people have from time to time, when suddenly, for no apparent reason, you feel totally happy and at peace with the world. Maslow discovered that the more peaks you have, the more content and successful you are likely to be.

You can train yourself to have more peaks and a better life. The first step is to make a decision. You decide to see beauty and goodness in the things and people around you. You will see ugliness too, but do not concentrate on that. The more you practise the better you become. The peak experience will occur more often, and you will have glimpses of that happy state that mystics call paradise on earth.



June 20, 2002

The pole at the centre of the world

In the myths and cosmologies of all nations the dominant symbol is the pole of the universe. It is also the pole on which the earth revolves.

According to modern thinking, there is no such thing as a world-pole. Yet everything that spins must spin around some fixed axis, so it is natural to imagine the pole as a symbol of, stability. It represents the order of the universe and the hidden laws behind it, which are always and everywhere the same. Around it turns the world of phenomena our world where nothing lasts for long and everything is forever shifting and changing.

The pole as a symbol has no definite location. At one time every district and village marked its centre with a stone pillar and called it the centre of the world. And it was said that the world-pole runs through every soul, guiding it by the same laws that govern the universe.

This is an ancient, traditional way of seeing things, and there is much to be said for it. It recognises the two centres within each individual, the greater centre and the lesser. The lesser centre is yourself. You naturally see the world around you from a central position. But if you leave it at that, you remain self-centred, which dooms you to a life of frustration. When at last you discover the greater centre, and realise you are directly linked to the whole universe and the power behind it, security and happiness come within reach.

That is why the ancients liked to have a pole at the centre of everything. It reminded them that behind the apparent chaos of existence there was something hidden that remains true for ever .

June 27, 2002

Philosophy and magic

When you study philosophy and bring it into your life, certain facts come to light. Here are three of them.

i.                    Like attracts like.

ii.                  Things in contact become like each other.

iii.                The world is a mirror. You experience it the way you imagine it.

The first is apparent in the company we keep. Everyone is naturally drawn to their own kind. It begins in childhood when we like to be with our own age-group. Later, the mind takes over, and we become friends with people who think as we do.

The second fact is obvious. We are always influencing each other following the same ideas, fashions, ways of speaking and so on. You can see it in funny ways how often people get to look like their dogs, or vice versa.

The third fact is demonstrated by coincidences. If you set your mind upon a subject, information about that subject floods in to you. And if you have an open, trustful view of the world, you are likely to attract good luck.

These are metaphysical facts, not learned from science but from human experience. They are the basis of magic. Once you see how easily you can influence other people, and the world in general, you have the secret of magical power. Great dictators rise through that knowledge. But misuse of your power brings terrible punishments fear, misery and hell on earth. That is where philosophy comes in. It teaches the art of self-government and secrets of a good life. Without those you are not fit to govern anyone or anything.


July 4, 2002

Is there no justice in this world?

One of the proofs of immortality, taught by the ancient philosophers, was that we are born with certain knowledge in us. We know there are such things as beauty and justice, and we often talk about them. But we never see these things themselves, nor do we see any perfect examples of them. The most beautiful person has some ugly features, and even the most fair-minded person can act unjustly.

The philosophers gave a reason for this: the world, they said, is only a copy of the 'real' world that lies above it. Everything there is perfect. Our souls come from that world, so they have seen everything in its ideal state. They have known perfect justice, beauty, goodness and so on, not just the watered-down copies of these that we have on earth.

New-born souls are distressed when they enter this imperfect world. Sometimes they grow up angry and cynical. "There is no justice in the world," they complain. But you cannot expect a copy to be as good as the real thing. The philosophers' advice was to look towards the ideal in everything, rather than at flaws and imperfections. That way, they said, you will move closer towards truth and happiness.

This is just a story, of course. But it is the best one I know to explain the way things are on earth. We can never, in this life, see truth itself, so we have to settle for a good story. That is why the old philosophers expressed their knowledge in myths and fairy tales.


July 11, 2002

The marriage of heaven and earth

Last week we heard the old philosophers' story about the nature of our world. It is not the real world, they said, but a copy of it. That is why nothing in it is quite perfect. But it is a copy of an ideal model, the truly perfect world of the powers above us.

That higher world is remembered by our souls, and they are always yearning for it. So we are always looking for the ideal, even though it is not to be found on earth. The philosophers encouraged that search. They taught that, if you are making or planning something, you should imagine its ideal form and imitate that, rather than copying something already made.

And you should look to the divine element within you, rather than hero-worshipping fellow-mortals.

Say you are laying out a garden, hoping to attract peace and beauty. The technique is to imagine a corner of paradise and take that as the model for your design. Then, of course, you have to compromise, according to your situation. But there will always be some hint of paradise in anything you do or make with the ideal in mind.

From these simple observations, the ancient philosophers built up a science of 'correspondences' between the divine world and the copy of it in which we live. Its purpose was to unite the powers of heaven and earth and attract the favours of the gods. That science is now lost. But they say it always comes back eventually - when we need it and start looking for it.


July 18, 2002

A quick look at the big guestion

Since life is short, let us go straight to the basic question in philosophy. Is there a god behind the universe?

That will always be a mystery. It seems to be part of life's game that you have to find the answer for yourself. Here are some of the options:

I. Atheism. Many people get through life well and happily, doing good to their fellow creatures, without the need to recognise any god. A well-known example is Ludovic Kennedy. He is godless and against religion, but he is an honest man, and I would trust him as much as any bishop.

2. Mystical atheism. This is common in eastern religions. They say that an ultimate god is beyond all knowing. So it is no use trying to think about it. Our existence is a divine mystery, and we should revere the spirit of life in all its forms.

3. The philosopher's god. In any story about how the universe began, you have to start somewhere. So Plato began with a Creator, a formless being who dwells blissfully amid true perfection. He was kind enough to make this world as well as he could, and to set it going. Then he sat back to enjoy the show. Philosophers are meant to see the beauty of creation and, through it, to come nearer to the mind of the Creator.

4. A personal friend. Many of us cannot believe in atheism, and the philosopher's god is too impersonal to be of interest. So other options come up, but they will have to wait till next week.


July 25, 2002

The god who abandoned his offspring

Last week we began looking at different approaches to the problem of God. We went through atheism and reached deism. Deists agree that there is a supreme god who created the universe. But that, they say, was the end of his involvement. Like an absconding father, he has nothing more to do with his offspring.

Philosophers like that view. It isn't too sentimental. But even they admit that it is inadequate. No-one is interested in a god who is not interested in us, personally. If you say you believe in God, you are probably thinking of a personal connection.

For that, it seems, you need an intermediary. The ancients recognised demi-gods and local spirits. One of their functions was to bridge the gap between the unknowable godhead and the individual soul. For that purpose, modern religions have saviours, prophets, saints, martyrs and angels.

Through these intermediary spirits, religious people feel the comforts of divine guidance. And great mystics have reached the state they call union with God. That, they say, is worth the devotion of a whole lifetime.

What is to be concluded from this brief survey of relationships between gods and humans? My own view is that we are completely in the dark about the deity and how to approach it. So whatever attitude you take, from cheerful atheism to total, life-long devotion, is as reasonable as any other. It is the results that count.

August 1, 2002

All alone in the wilderness

All over Asia and in parts of Europe are mountain ranges full of caves. Many of them are artificial, made by ancient hermits. You find them also in Britain, sometimes on island rocks in the ocean. No one could possibly live there, you would suppose. But solitary men and women have spent lives upon isolated rocks, and died there in old age.

Everyone has times when they feel, they would like to be alone - but not for too long. Most of us enjoy company and the pursuit of love, and could not bear life without them. So here are mysteries. Why do people become hermits? How do they live, and how do they spend their days?

I have just read a new book on hermits, A Pelican In The Wilderness by the novelist, Isabel Colegate, and enjoyed every page of it. She goes into the reasons why hermits do it. Some are disappointed by this cruel world, or feel guilty about crimes they have committed. But the most dedicated hermits are those who seek liberation from earth and access to the world of spirit.

The hermitical approach to life is said to be very rewarding. You can learn the languages of animals, communicate with angels and become wise and holy. But it must be a difficult process. You are tormented by demons and the frustrated demands of human nature. You may think you are finding God, but the world thinks you are mad. This is too good a subject to cut off here, so it will be continued next Thursday

August 8, 2002

A saintly life at the bottom of a well

The first country in Europe to adopt Christianity is said to be Georgia. In its mountains are ancient monasteries, founded by the early saints. One of them, which I once went to, has a deep, dark well at its centre. It was not built for holding water, but as a hermit's cell. St Shio, the monastery's founder, once lived at the bottom of it.

There is another well like that, only recently discovered, at Mine Howe on mainland Orkney. This one has a spiral of rough, stone steps down into it. The tiny chamber at the bottom is so dank and eerie that you would not want to spend five minutes there, let alone a hermit's lifetime.

The buried chamber at Mine Howe is several thousand years old. Other rock-shelters in the western isles of Britain are also prehistoric lived in by the hermits of Druid times. One of the earliest among Christians was St Simeon Stylites, who made his name by living for 36 years at the top of a 60-foot column in the Syrian desert. He did not find solitude there. Crowds of people came to see him, and he shouted down sermons to them.

It wasn't just loneliness that hermits were looking for. They also wanted to be uncomfortable. So they made their cells in the most bleak and dreary spots they could find. That is one way, I suppose, of fitting yourself for eternal life with God. But I cannot help seeing it as rather pushy. I would rather stay with the others, serve out my time on earth and be judged divinely at the end of it if that is really the way it goes.


August 16, 2002

Lonely hermits and their animal companions

Last week's subject was hermits. I ended on a sour note, calling them pushy for concentrating on success in the next world, rather than taking their chances in this one. But there is one aspect of the hermit's life that I greatly admire and would love to share. That is, their friendships with animals.

In their lonely hermitages, with no human company, the Celtic saints became intimate with the creatures around them. Bears and wolves were their companions and shared, meat with them. Like St Francis in the twelfth century, they could talk with birds. They befriended snakes and even insects. That is how they managed to exist in barren places.

I was reminded of this by reading a book, Kinship With All Life by J. Allen Boone. The stories he tells are simple but amazing. They are about the true, equal friendships he has made with all kinds of creatures. The secret, he says, is to be still and quiet, and let them make friends with you. The relationship then develops on their terms, without you being the boss.

One of his stories is about a fly he made friends with. A famous Hollywood actor got to hear of it, and wanted to see for himself. But while he was in the room the fly ignored him and stayed up on the ceiling. The handsome actor was adored by fans everywhere, but his vanity was disturbed by the coolness of a fly. As Mr Boone says, you can learn a lot about people if you watch how animals relate to them.


August 23, 2002

Can the lamb lie down with the lion?

Sometimes I am visited by Jehovah's Witnesses. They say that the world will soon come to an end, and only 144,000 souls will be saved. They invite me or you to be one of that number.

I do not believe in that, but I enjoy seeing these good people, and I admire their brave spirit. I also like their magazine, The Watchtower, especially the pictures. They illustrate the future paradise, with people of all types and races living together in health and harmony. And they show all kinds of animals the wolf and the lamb, the lion and the young goat resting and feasting together.

But there is something wrong with the picture. It shows the lion sharing the lamb's diet of grass. Biologists say that a lion's stomach is not adapted for grass. I point that out to one of the Witnesses. But he just smiled and said that it is in the Bible.

It does actually say in the Bible (Isaiah 11, 7) that the lion will eat straw like the ox. But surely, this cannot be meant literally. I think it must mean that a perfect individual would have the lion's courage and the lamb's humility. Or something like that.

But I still like that picture in the Peaceable Kingdom. It is a reminder that in nature all creatures depend on others and are normally on good terms. And it leads to a subject that I have been interested in for some time the possibilities of friendships between animals and people. More on that next week.


August 30, 2002

Wild children and their animal keepers

There was a time before civilisation, when people and animals live peacefully together and understood each other's ways. That is what the old histories say, in every nation. But we moderns see things differently. We look upon ancient life as a constant struggle for survival, with man against man and every creature at war with every other. That is what Darwin called 'survival of the fittest'.

What nasty nonsense! I say that because there is so much evidence of animals showing love and kindness to creatures of other species, including humans. The first principle in nature, said Darwin's rival, Kropotkin, is 'mutual aid'.

The great kindness you can show to another creature is to save and rear its offspring. There are many cases of animals doping that. Wolves, bears and leopards are supposed to be ferocious, but they have all been known to adopt children who have been abandoned or lost in the woods. Dogs, pigs, cows, sheep, apes, ostriches and antelopes have fostered human infants. And in each case they have brought them up in their own ways, to be like themselves.

This makes me think that, in bygone times, when we needed to be on good terms with the creatures around us, we sometimes exchanged children. They would become interpreters and ambassadors between us. We can hardly do that today. But there are things we can do to improve relationships. One is to let children make friends with animals as they long to do. Another is to see that all creatures are individuals with feelings, and treat them as such.