Sheep, goats, ravens and toads
A wry look at the follies and foibles of mankind from an occultist's perspective
Guest article by Gabrielle Annunziato
Introduction by Occult Mysteries
We are delighted to publish another amusing and unusual contribution from Gabrielle Annunziato—this time upon the follies of mankind and the times we live in. Times which some might describe politely as 'interesting' but we would call stark, staring mad. Where does this madness come from? What makes human beings so remarkably foolish, gullible and selfish? Why does no one speak out against the collective lunacy that seems to have the entire world in its grip? The author attempts to answer these questions and more in her inimitable manner. Along the way she explains how she copes with the universal insanity which threatens to send us all to hell in a hand-cart, or possibly a carbon-neutral, recyclable, wind-powered electric car.
The author insisted we retain the unusual title of her article on pain of being forced to listen to Boris Johnson burbling on about Brexit. Her contribution is inspired by a story from The Golden Star in which sheep and goats feature prominently, but not eminently. We consider this one of the finest parables on the follies of men ever written. The author's percipient and humorous analysis of the story (reproduced in full in the afterword), suggests she agrees with us. This explains the sheep and the goats in her title, but what about the ravens and toads—where do they fit in? Well—you'll just have to read on to find out, won't you?
We don't normally include any caveat with our articles but as some readers may disagree vehemently with the forthright views expressed by Gabrielle Annunziato, we wish to make it quite clear that these do not necessarily coincide with ours, though we do share her cordial dislike of politics and low opinion of politicians!
I wouldn't really have made the sweet editors of occult-mysteries listen to Boris de 'piffle' Johnson. I think we've all been punished quite enough by having to suffer the truly beastly mayhem of the General Election. Not to mention the bombastic bluster which preceded it and the windy verbiage that has followed it. And all at Christmas too! As if fighting relatives, drunken guests, complaining kids, unwanted gifts and overdone turkey weren't enough to drive us all round the bend. So I won't mention it; the election that is. Or Boris and definitely not the 'B' word. I leave that to the professional satirists not rank amateurs like me. Anyway, I have more important things to write about such as the uncanny resemblance of human beings to animals. Well—some human beings, not you or me obviously. Oh, who am I kidding? We all resemble animals or exhibit animal traits to some extent. Alright—to a large extent, especially Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.
Did I say I wouldn't mention Boris? Well, sorry, I lied. You should all be used to lying after this election. There, I mentioned that again too! Can you see a theme emerging here? I hope so, for telling porkies is not the exclusive property of mendacious politicians. We all do it, sometimes for the best of reasons but mostly for the worst. I'll come back to that later. Meanwhile, Boris doesn't just tell porkies, he even looks a bit like a greedy porker. Mind you, there's a lot of monkey in him too, and I don't mean the way he shambles along with his arms dragging on the ground. But the main ingredient in all politicians is goat, not sheep. We're the sheep—you and me—or at least the politicians like to think we are. Mostly they're right, or they wouldn't get away with half the tricks they play on us. So the first animals I would like to tell you about are sheep and goats. These appear early on in The Golden Star. If you don't know the book please read my afterword—which in that case would be a foreword—first, or what I have to say will come across as completely baked, instead of only half-baked.
Dr Michaud describes the goat and the sheep in his story as a 'Dictator and his stupid Flock'. But the parable—for such it is—is much more than a satire upon political dictatorships. Yes The Golden Star was completed just 20 days after the outbreak of the Second World War. Yes the goat is clearly intended to represent Hitler and the elegant looking gentlemen in top hats the British policy of appeasement designed to mollify him and dissuade him from invading our sceptic isle. But the themes the story deals with and the means used by the goat to control the sheep are timeless and universal. They have never been more relevant than today. In the 21st century we don't have just one dictator making promises they have no intention of keeping, we have tons of them, all masquerading as democratically elected representatives of the
sheep—sorry people—who voted them into power.
Not only does history endlessly repeat itself, but the sheep and goats are always with us. Only someone who has been living under a rock since the Second World War, or is hopelessly naïve—or both—can still believe politics and politicians provide any answers to the problems which beset the world. Some cynics might say they've never provided any answers, much less delivered solutions. I tend to agree. As long ago as the 17th century the rotten boroughs which existed all over this country allowed wealthy landowners to give seats in Parliament to anyone who paid them enough or would promote their interests—usually both. Three hundred years later, the rotten boroughs are gone, but the bribery and corruption that went with them is as prevalent as ever. The farce of the General Election we have just been through showed that only too clearly.
What about the Church? If you think it has any answers you're probably even more deluded than those who place their faith in politicians. When the head of the Church of England admits publicly that he has grave doubts about the existence of God—a confession that would have got him burned at the stake not so very long ago—I think we can safely write off the Anglican Communion too. The Catholic Church fares no better. Anyway, it's far too busy wrestling with the demons of same-sex marriages, abortion, contraception and paedophilia to have time to provide any answers either. That leaves science. Not much hope there unless you think that the benefactors who brought us atom bombs, antibiotic resistance and chemical weapons care about saving us and the planet from the fruits of our collective greed, stupidity and ignorance. You do? Well, 'baaaah——nicker' to you! I suggest you stop reading right now as I can't imagine anything else I've got to say will persuade you to abandon your faith in science. So what's left? A higher and dare I say better 'science' that embraces both the material and spiritual and satisfies the body, mind and soul equally. Yes, I mean OCCULT science!
As the authors of this website say in their article on 'how peace leads to war': "That which is divine in the majority of people is being thwarted because existing institutions can do nothing to avoid the ghastly consequences of the present way of life. As a result, thinking people are searching for a reason and a solution." This is just what I said earlier. Neither Church, State nor Science has any solutions other than soundbites, slogans and a lot of hot air. I think what the article has to say next is worth quoting in full. "This condition of affairs provides a fertile field in which a return to real religion, once fairly started will proceed apace. Two things are required. Firstly, some means whereby the individual is convinced that there is something greater and more important than mere worldly success. Secondly an all embracing '‒ology' or '‒osophy' which will give priests, statesmen and scientists a common basis within which each can build his world outlook in harmony with the other. We have not used the words 'philosophy', 'religion' or 'science' because these convey, nowadays, an idea more restricted than is required by this all embracing framework of knowledge. Thus would be provided a world institution giving every man his recognised place and duty, to which all could turn with confidence for advice and help and consolation when the tribulations of the world are becoming too heavy. Already, today the foundations of such an institution are being laid, quietly and unobtrusively but nevertheless firmly by Occult Science."
Sheep, Goats and Magic
I have to say from where I'm sitting those 'foundations' look pretty insubstantial and decidedly shaky. But I agree they do exist, even if they're invisible to most of the sheep and goats. All over the world all sorts of different people with no organisation behind them and no contact with one another are laying their individual bricks to build the institution the article talks about. I won't see even the ground floor completed, nor will my children, or even their children. But as the Messenger tells us in the story, "Perhaps they [the sheep] will wake up one day and then 'woe' to the Goats!" We see the first signs of this today. Many ordinary people are now demanding real and lasting change. Not just a better quality of life, an end to poverty, to hunger, wars, and all the other evils decent men and women have always fought against, but a real change towards a more spiritual and less selfish way of life, both personally and collectively. Meanwhile, the vast majority are still fast asleep. Occult science holds no appeal for those who shudder at the very word 'occult' and laugh at the idea of coupling it with 'science'. The goats are different, or some of them are. They will use anything to hold on to material power and maintain their control over the sheep. Which is why magic has always appealed to them.
At one point in the story Ma-u asks the Messenger why anyone should be afraid of a few goats and a lot of sheep. This puts me in mind of Hitler and his gang of despots, and the millions of ordinary Germans who were taken in by his promises. But as I said earlier, this theme is timeless and universal. Most people—even many occultists—wouldn't regard fear as having any connection with magic. But like its opposite—Faith—it's one of the greatest of all magical powers in the hands of those who know how to use and direct it. Hitler knew how to instil fear into his enemies just as he knew how to instil faith in himself and his mad ideology among the masses. Whether he did this consciously, aided by the Tibetan magicians who are said to have been invited to Germany following the two expeditions mounted by the Nazis to Tibet in the 1930's, or unconsciously, the results were the same. Hypnotism is another occult power which dictators have employed throughout history. You only have to watch the newsreels of Hitler's speeches to see the magical influence he exerted over his mesmerized audience. Moreover, it is well known that Himmler and other members of the Nazi inner circle were fatally fascinated by black magic.
In modern times past US President Ronald Reagan is reputed never to have made a major decision without the approval of the astrologers his wife Nancy consulted. Judging by the astonishing faux pas Donald Trump keeps making he thinks no soothsayer, however eminent, can possibly match his own predictive genius. What's not so funny is I'm pretty sure many of his fellow
goats —sorry, slippery politicians, cunning entrepreneurs and dodgy financiers—are using occult methods to further their designs. It has been so throughout history and will only change when occultism has been cleansed of all the wrong beliefs and selfish practises which cling to it, like the present fatal fascination with black magic among the young. But while young people mostly only dabble half-heartedly with magic because it's cool and edgy, the goats in our midst take it much more seriously and, as I said earlier, undoubtedly use magical methods to gain their objectives, the most important of which is keeping the sheep quiet.
Keeping the sheep quiet
The Messenger—Neteru—Hem—tells Ma-u and Ma-uti that the goat in the story is "using a clever method of dealing with vast crowds, which is to shout aloud, with great determination, a simple word they can all understand." Does that sound familiar? What if I shout 'Brexit'? Sound familiar now?! The Messenger goes on to say: "To this a mob will always re-act, having only sheep's brains, which are used for feeding and reproduction of their kind." Harsh but so very true! If anyone is bored enough to watch a week's worth of adverts on telly, they'll find that the vast majority are selling either food or sex in some form or another. Not only do the goats use single words such as 'Brexit', or figures like "£350 million," the sum Boris Johnson claimed we'd save by leaving the European Union, a claim he later denied, but short, simple phrases too. In fact the shorter and simpler the better. "Make America great again" and "get Brexit done" are no different from the slogans used in the 1930's to bamboozle the sheep on both sides of the English channel. "Peace for our time" for the gullible British and "Stoßt auf das Tor zur Freiheit" (Break open the door to freedom) for the brainwashed Germans. The Nazis complained about 'fake news' long before Trump coined the phrase to discredit his political opponents; they called it "Lügenpresse," literally 'lying press'.
Ma-u asks if all the sheep are as stupid as the flock he and Ma-uti encounter. The Messenger replies they are and goes on to describe the well-known and much used expedient of the scapegoat, or in this case, scape-sheep or black sheep. That is, a person, group or even a whole people (such as the Jews) to blame and persecute when the sheep show dangerous signs of original thought or rebellion. Of course, our modern, techno-savvy goats have even better means of keeping the sheep quiet. Put more footie, mindless soaps and topical docudramas on the Internet and the telly. If the present efforts to legalise cannabis, and presumably, later on, even harder drugs, succeed, the goats can take a well-earned holiday. The sheep will be so zonked out they won't care if World War Three breaks out. Just so long as their supply of happy baccy and perk-me-up pills is not interrupted. In case you think I'm exaggerating, read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. In many ways it's a much more accurate picture of the materialistic drug-fuelled dystopian dictatorship we're sleep-walking into than Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.
One of the best bits in Dr Michaud's story for me is when Ma-u asks if the goat ever keeps his promises. The answer is chillingly topical: "Why should he? The sheep have very short memories and really do not expect that these promises will be kept; nor do they wish it, for every day the Leader promises something better, and all are very happy to have such a 'promising' Lord." Substitute 'Boris' or 'Jeremy' for 'Lord' and this might have been written today or any yesterday. The sheep have always been ruled by 'promising' leaders. They always believe the promises, until they're promised something better, when their memories, never good at the best of times, fail completely. Ma-u merely says he thinks the sheep are very silly. Politicians know they are; that is the source of their power over them. But sheep are not the only silly animals, as we shall see. Before then I want to say a few words about journalists, which tribe, never particularly honourable in times past, have now sunk to new depths of dishonesty, duplicity and deviousness. The Messenger does not mince his words about them:
"Those are the editors, reporters and other men from Gutter Street; who, with distorted pens and twisted pencils destroy the sanctity of Truth, and all that sacred righteousness for which the ancient Messengers of God shed precious blood. With scares and rumours, lies, exaggerations, they fill their papers, so that the silly sheep at home shall buy and read—increase the circulation. So they make the sheep of different lands hate each other in their ignorance; and evil men, who live by selling guns and shells encourage such reports, in hope of war, to fill their money-chests with bloody gain."
Does this sound familiar? It does to me. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen. The list goes on and on. Hatred, fear, lies, ignorance and intolerance. The media is full of little else. Unless you count sport and sex, or sex as sport. Oh and man-made global warming. But that consists mostly of hatred, fear, lies, ignorance and intolerance too. As for political reporting—that consists almost entirely of mudslinging, propaganda and misinformation. No wonder people are looking increasingly to the Internet for their news. But is it really any better? I'm doubtful. One of the best things ever to have emerged from the brouhaha about fake news is the question "why are they telling me this?" The problem with this excellent piece of advice is that its usefulness depends on the recipient thinking for and by themselves. As we've seen, this ability is pretty rare among sheep, if not entirely absent.
Of course, there are honest, truth-seeking journalists but they're rarer than hen's teeth and you won't find them on the BBC or Fox News. Dr Michaud talked about arms manufacturers encouraging hatred, fear, lies, ignorance and intolerance to start or escalate wars to make more money for them. The bomb and poison gas makers are not the only ones who profit from the 'distorted pens and twisted pencils' of the media. Drug companies do very nicely out of fear and ignorance too. As do the Climate Change and Charity businesses. I call them businesses because that's just what they are; money-making ventures, no matter how cleverly they're disguised as something benign and altruistic. "Why are they telling me this?" You can bet your bottom dollar, pound or euro it's not for your good, but theirs.
Sadly, for every lone lamb who questions what they hear, see or read there are a million other sheep that swallow the lies of their lords and masters without a second bleat. "Follow the money" is another antidote to the oily propaganda of the goats. The best defence against political lies and misinformation I know is encapsulated in the advice given to me many years ago by a good friend. He said: "If you want to know what a politician will do when in power reverse all the promises and claims he made when he was in opposition." If you're memory goes back even twenty years you will know my friend uttered an important truth. Remember Nick Clegg's promise never to raise university tuition fees? Then he did exactly that. My friend's advice can be applied to many situations and persons, not just politics and politicians. It is truths like this which help me to deal with the universal madness that affects every aspect of our lives today. I have another way of coping too which I'll tell you about at the end of this article. Meanwhile, back to the animals!
Toads, frogs and ravens
Where do the frogs come in? I didn't include them in my title. Don't be impatient, all will be revealed! In the Oera Linda Book, which I strongly recommend anyone who wants to learn how not to be a sheep, should read, a wise Frisian mariner called Minno writes: "The toad blows himself out, but he can only crawl. The frog cries 'work, work;' but he can do nothing but hop and make himself ridiculous." You see, I told you we'd get to frogs in good time! I'm sure you've met quite a few yourselves; I've worked with loads who never did a stroke themselves. Minno goes on: "The raven cries 'Spare, spare;' but he steals and wastes everything that he gets into his beak." He might have been writing about NHS managers!
Minno has more good advice. Writing about a neighbouring people, he says: "They say a great deal about making good laws, and every one wishes to make regulations against misconduct, but does not wish to submit to them himself. Whoever is the most crafty crows over the others, and tries to make them submit to him, till another comes who drives him off his perch." Could this be any more topical after the shambles of the General Election we've just witnessed? Now comes a bit of real occult wisdom which explains, as nothing else can, just why so many human beings are so very sheep-like, or goat-like, or closely resemble other animals in their thinking and behaviour.
"Eva' means that sentiment which is implanted in the breast of every man in order that he may know what is right and what is wrong, and by which he is able to judge his own deeds and those of others; that is, if he has been well and properly brought up. 'Eva' has also another meaning; that is, tranquil, smooth, like water that is not stirred by a breath of wind. If the water is disturbed it becomes troubled, uneven, but it always has a tendency to return to its tranquil condition. That is its nature, just as the inclination towards justice and freedom exists in Frya's children. We derive this disposition from the spirit of our father Wr-alda, which speaks strongly in Frya's children, and will eternally remain so." Could there be a better or clearer description of the 'peace which passeth all understanding' we read about in the Bible? The 'understanding' it passes, or bypasses rather, is the foolish intellect of the lower self or mind. A mind that is only a little removed from that of animals and which often displays far less intelligence than an animal. Here is the explanation for the sheep-like behaviour of the vast majority of mankind. The lower mind is the only mind active in them, easily swayed by other lower minds, more powerful and aggressive than theirs—the goats of Dr Michaud's story.
Before I finish, I'd like to mention one more animal found in the Oera Linda Book, which is an allegorical representation of another important occult truth. When Nyhelennia, a Frisian Priestess and great sage established a colony of her people in Crete, the local rulers came to question her about the symbols of wisdom which adorned her person. "Tell us," they asked, "what means the owl that always sits upon your head, is that light-shunning animal a sign of your clear vision? No", she answered, "he reminds me that there are people on earth who, like him, have their homes in churches and holes, who go about in the twilight, not, like him, to deliver us from mice and other plagues, but to invent tricks to steal away the knowledge of other people, in order to take advantage of them, to make slaves of them, and to suck their blood like leeches." Does this sound familiar too? Yes, there are many 'owls', 'toads', 'frogs' and 'ravens' who, like the goats in The Golden Star, prey upon the folly and ignorance of the sheep who swallow such slogans as 'get Brexit done' and 'Make America great again.'
A confession and conclusion
I had this article half-finished before Christmas and was thinking of sending a synopsis to the editors when I spotted that John Temple's Yuletide contribution had already been published. Oh dear. . .Reading it almost made me chuck my attempt at seasonal humour in the bin. Then I said to myself, "at least finish it Gabrielle; the worst they can do is throw it back at you for not being 'occult' enough or too political, or just not good enough." Oh, the self-inflicted tortures we writers suffer for our art! "Bugger it!" I concluded in a rash moment of uncharacteristic bravery, "publish and be damned, or rather, submit it for rejection and tears." Well, as you can see, it wasn't rejected—AND it's being published on 5 January—Twelfth Night—so it's just inside the twelve days of Christmas! I hope the only tears shed over it will be tears of laughter and not sadness, though the stupidity of the sheep and the mendacity of the goats do make me want to weep buckets at times.
The message I'd like to leave you with (assuming anyone has got this far!) is to seek comfort and peace in the arms of Nature. She will never let you down. Nature will never lie to you or cheat you. If the whole world were against you, Nature would still be on your side and you on hers. Wherever you live, be it a tiny bedsit in a big town or city you can still bring Nature into your home in the form of flowers and plants. You can go out into Nature in the great parks of our big cities. And there you can walk, or stand or sit in silent contemplation of the wonders Nature has provided for your healing and instruction. All for free. Nothing to pay for all this incredible variety of living loveliness. No cash up front, no interest-free credit and no payday loans. As you look about you with a seeing eye and happy heart ask that some of the beauty and peace be given to you. Ask for it as if your life depended on it—which, of course, it does! For Nature is the mother of us all, as God is the father. Take a little of that stillness and beauty home with you and use it to silence the bleating of the sheep and the harsh cries of the goats. Use it to smile when the ravens abuse you without cause or the frogs get in your way. Above all, use it to drive away the light-shunning owls that would rob you of your freedom and liberty as a son or daughter of God and make you a slave of the darkness.
That is how I cope with the mad world we live in. And when Nature is not enough or unavailable, I find my strength, patience and faith in the wise words of Neteru-Hem at the end of the parable: "Remember that the goats and sheep, all foolish men, with or without umbrellas, pipes, or pruning-hooks, are but the wisps of an illusion which is so great that nearly all believe it's true." So when you are at your wit's end, try saying quietly to yourself: "this is only a dream. . . .only a dream." The Russian mystic, George Gurdjieff, was supposed to have repeated this phrase every day, year after year, until one day, as he was walking down an ordinary street, he 'awoke' to find the road had suddenly become a beautiful path through a flowery meadow bathed in golden light. I don't know if this story is true, but I've had enough spiritual experiences to know that such things are possible, even probable, given the right conditions and sufficient will-power and faith. Mind you, I wouldn't recommend trying Gurdjieff's meditation out in a busy city street or the consequences could be serious. Dream though this life may be, I still wouldn't want to be responsible for anyone exiting it under the wheels of a thirty-two ton juggernaut!
© Copyright Gabrielle Annunziato & occult-mysteries.org. All rights reserved.
Published 5 January 2020.