Saturday, January 25, 2014

Descent of the Ascended Masters

In 1987-1988 I worked in a New Age bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "Sky Light Books" carried a wide selection of volumes on esoteric subjects such as Kabbalah, faith healing, crystals, astrology, ritual magic, and, rather paradoxically, Eastern Orthodox Christianity. (The management were fans of this "mystical" church.) 

Among the visionary books were the narratives of the Ballard family of prophets, who believed they were in touch with Secret Masters who lived in caverns and tunnels under Mount Shasta in California. These Secret Masters, rather like the Masters of Madame Blavatsky's Theosophy, had cosmic powers and could direct earthly history and work miracles. They dressed in Byzantine operatic garb of gold and gems, and most of them were blonde, tall Northern European-looking folk.

The Ballards' visionary cult later morphed into the "Church Universal and Triumphant," a much more sinister variation that believed in stocking up guns and supplies for the End Times, which seemed close in 1988. I guess the End Times always seem close. "Objects in  magic mirror are closer than they appear." 

I collected a series of the Ballard recitations, which were printed in purple ink. They were full of fantasy ideas that I could re-create as illustrations. In this one, a male and female Ascended Master float down on clouds, bearing mystic scepters. An orange and white cat resembling my old friends' pet cat "Fred," leads the way. This was the frontispiece to my 1988 sketchbook journal. Later that year I would move to the Washington, DC area, with or without Secret Masters.

Ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 8 1/2" x 11", January 1988. 

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