SynchroMysticism and ‘Twilight Language’: Michael A. Hoffman II

Michael A. Hoffman is as controversial a contemporary researcher and writer as one can find. But with around eight diverse and original titles to his credit, he is an imaginative and intriguing thinker.

Often tackling religious topics, he has authored several books that are concerned with Roman Catholicism. One such offering, hot off the press (May, 2017) is The Occult Renaissance Church of Rome. Historically, the Renaissance and the Reformation (and pre-Reformation) are connected. Hoffman excavates some of the history, with an emphasis upon how neo-platonic and occultic sub-currents within the Catholic Church converged to create a stream that is arguably diabolical.

So-called “Traditionalists,” or “Trads” (among others), will also find much of interest in the 2013 Usury in Christendom. As the subtitle (“The Mortal Sin* That Was and Now Is Not”) makes clear, this volume takes the Church to task concerning its changing teaching on lending money at interest. (For other offbeat Catholic writers, see Michael DaviesSolange Hertz, E. Michael Jones, and Robert Sungenis.)

(* In Catholic parlance, a “mortal sin” is held to be “a grave offense against God’s law, which brings spiritual death to the soul by depriving it of its supernatural life, sanctifying grace.”)

Hoffman has also penned a provocative, 1,100-page tome on Judaism: Judaism Discovered. This 2008 work delves into such mystically charged topics as goddess cults, moon worship, and sex magic -all within Judaism. For a more accessible introduction to these (and other) subjects, see Judaism’s Strange Gods which, in its 2011 edition, is a condensed version of the longer treatise. (Book collectors, take note: The original, 2000 edition of Judaism’s Strange Gods may eventually be prized as a rare find. Other writers in this genre include Johannes Alzog, Joseph Barclay, Isidore BertrandJohannes Buxtorf, Luigi ChiariniGustaf Dalman, Johann EisenmengerTheodor Keim, Heinrich LaibleMartin Luther, Raymond MartiniAlexander McCaul, Bernhard Pick, Peter Schaefer, and Johann Wagenseil.)

Whereas, Peter Levenda and Christopher Knowles appear generally left-leaning, socially, Hoffman is (on many issues), plausibly fairly classified as a staunch rightist. (Loren Coleman, whatever his personal sympathies, seems to try to stay politically neutral and uninvolved. )

Nevertheless, in contradistinction to many self-professed “conservatives,” Mr. Hoffman sides with Israeli critics such as Uri Avnery, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Paul Findley, J. William Fulbright, Philip Giraldi, Baruch Kimmerling, Alfred Lilienthal, Victor Marchetti, Ray McGovern, John Mearsheimer, Victor Ostrovsky, James Petras, Israel Shahak, Israel Shamir, Yoav Shamir, Stephen Walt, Alison Weir, Philip Weiss, and others. His middle-eastern investigations issued in a condemnation of what he termed Israeli “war crimes and atrocities.” His The Israeli Holocaust Against the Palestinians was co-written with one Moshe Lieberman and was published in 2003.

An earlier effort, They Were White and They Were Slaves (1991-1992), was recently magnified in importance when its titular thesis was roundly denied by various media outlets, including the Huffington Post, the New York Times, and Slate.

For purposes of this weblog, Hoffman’s principal book of interest is his Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare. Originally released in 1989, it was subsequently reissued in a substantially updated edition in 2001 – just prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11.

In this publication, which in some circles has achieved a kind of cult-classic status, Hoffman discloses arcane notions such as the occultic roots of modern Catholicism and Protestantism, “serial murder” as a species of psychological warfare, electronic methods of “programming” people both individually and collectively, and much else besides. Along the way, he discusses Alchemy, Freemasonry, and Satanism.

As one of James Shelby Downard‘s two main protégés, Hoffman also expends considerable effort expanding upon Downard’s penetrating conception of “mystical toponomy” (that is, the SynchroMystic aspect of place names). However, he also explicates his own thoughts concerning an ancient and little-understand argot called “Twilight Language.”

Loren Coleman‘s readers will already be well-familiar with this latter term, since Coleman co-opted it as the title of his weblog. In Coleman’s lexicon, it seems to be a “catch-all” for any “name game” or SynchroMystical connection – whether mystical-toponomical, or numerological, or what have you.

Hoffman writes: “There is a dark poetry to ritual murder, to twilight language, to the fantastic convergences known as coincidence [i.e., synchronicity]. Most ‘conspiracy researchers’ miss these. The best investigator – of the occult or of almost anything else – has a childlike sense of curiosity and wonder about the seemingly mundane things.”

In a footnote, he adds: “In the secret societies, ‘twilight language,’ was advertised as the ‘Adamic language,’ the language Adam learned from God in Eden, ‘the key to divine knowledge.'”

Who Started SynchroMysticism? James Shelby Downard

Who really kick started SynchroMysticism? The question is easily enough posed. Answering it is another matter.

We have already showcased the renowned Swiss psychoanalyst, Carl Jung. He is arguably the fountainhead of the concept of synchronicity. It is by no means clear that Jung did not himself have “mystical” inclinations.

Still, if Jung is justly thought of as the “godfather” of the rigorous investigation of coincidence (as he arguably is), then James Shelby Downard is perhaps, and equally fairly, considered to be the godfather of SynchroMysticism. Indeed, the ubiquitous Loren Coleman treats Shelby Downard in precisely this way.

Coleman refers to Mr. Downard as “an American theorist and pamphleteer who shared his thoughts about conspiracies, coincidences, synchronicity, and symbolism,” and points readers to a gripping booklet written by the self-proclaimed “crackpot historian” and “Discordian” enthusiast, Adam Gorightly.

Gorightly, who is the author of such works as Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society (New York: RVP Press, 2014), The Prankster and the Conspiracy: The Story of Kerry Thornley and How He Met Oswald and Inspired the Counterculture (New York: Paraview Press, 2003), and The Shadow Over Santa Susana: Black Magic, Mind Control And The Manson Family Mythos (Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2001), tackles our little-known SynchroMystic trailblazer in James Shelby Downard’s Mystical War (College Station, TX: Virtual Book Worm 2008).

James Shelby Downard’s Mystical War is an excellent introduction to the titular hero. Gorightly provides an accessible sketch of some of the noteworthy events in the life of Mr. Downard. At least it’s a bit more tractable than Downard’s own, sometimes rambling but always enthralling, autobiography, The Carnivals of Life and Death: My Profane Youth: 1913-1935 (Los Angeles: Feral House, 2006).

Perhaps more importantly for present purposes, an understandable primer into some of Downard’s less comprehensible ideas such as “mystical toponomy.”

“Toponomy,” of course, is the study of place names.  “Mysticism,” generally speaking, is the practice of seeking “union” with the Divine – as well as beliefs attending and supporting that practice. However, in Downard’s idiom, the word “mystical” seems to have the sense of “esoteric.” The idea is that certain place names appear to have recondite significance and turn up in peculiar connections, to say the least.

Gorightly provides the illustration of the “Mason Road,” in Texas. This road ties together with a sweeping hypothesis concerning the assassination of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy. In Downard’s proposal, the murder of JFK, whatever else it may have been, was a grand enactment of a ritual designated by the 19th-20th-century Scottish anthropologist Sir James Frazer in his The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion (London: Macmillan and Co.,  1890). And, to Shelby Downard, the alchemically permeated brotherhood of Freemasonry was heavily implicated.

A short post of this sort cannot possible do justice to the depth or originality of such a theorist as James Shelby Downard. Readers eager for even more are highly encouraged to dive into the various offerings of “Downardiana,” including – once they feel up tot he task – Downard’s own musings.

To get you started, we note that besides Gorightly’s tract, Dr. Richard Spence has also penned an outstanding article on Downard, now available in Paranoia Magazine (Issue #52).

In an upcoming installment, we will spotlight Michael A. Hoffman II, Shelby’s protégé in matters Fortean and SynchroMystic. Please, check back for that update (among others).

Postscript: We have previously mentioned Christopher Knowles’s sensible observation that it is tricky business trying to single out a single pioneering soul and labeling him or her “the” founder of a phenomenon as multifaceted as SynchroMysticism. We acknowledge this. (For more detail, see here.) Still, Shelby Downard was significant (or perhaps incomparable) in many ways. Highlighting him for special approbation is, in our opinion, and in the opinion of others mentioned above, entirely appropriate.

SynchroMysticism in Books: Peter Levenda

As mentioned in the previous post, Peter Levenda is a person readers are likely to encounter as the probe the sometimes murky recesses of esotericism, occultism, and, yes, SynchroMysticism.

Levenda, similarly to Christopher Knowles, seems a bit more left-leaning than some of the individuals that we will look at in upcoming posts.  Professionally, he is an author and offbeat historian of sorts. An early focus was on the obscure intersection of Nazism and, well, magic.

In this genre, Levenda has three impressive offerings. The primary book of interest to those who study historic “Hitlerism” is his 1995 book, Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement With the Occult (New York: Avon). Of more specialized appeal is his quirky, 2012 speculations that Hitler escaped Germany at the conclusion of World War Two. (See Ratline: Soviet spies, Nazi Priests, and the Disappearance of Adolf Hitler, Lake Worth, FL: Ibis Press.) More recently, in his The Hitler Legacy: The Nazi Cult in Diaspora, How it was Organized, How it was Funded, and Why it remains a Threat to Global Security in the Age of Terrorism (Lake Worth, FL: Ibis Press, 2014), he has applied his historical views to more contemporary problems.

In this way, Levenda’s subject matter overlaps with the more mainstream academic publications of the later British Professor Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. In such texts as The Occult Roots of Nazism: The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany, 1890–1935 (Wellingborough, U.K.: Aquarian Press, 1985), Hitler’s Priestess: Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan Myth and Neo-Nazism (New York: NYU P, 1998), and Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity (New York: NYU P, 2001), Goodrick-Clarke also explored the cryptic conjunction of 20th-century German National Socialism and the dark arts.

As a survey of the titles suggests, both Goodrick-Clarke and Levenda deal at length with personalities like Rudolf Hess (who had a well-known affinity for astrology and esotericism) and Heinrich Himmler (who had charged the Ahnenerbe with the task of validating Aryan and Nordic mythology).

But they also get into less-familiar territory and explore such controversial topics as the Teutonically tinged occult philosophy of “Ariosophy,” begun by Lanz von Liebenfels and Guido von List. Ariosophy (literally, “Aryan wisdom”) was, like Rudolf Steiner’s “Anthroposophy,” an offshoot of Russian mystic Helena Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society. Readers may recall that Blavatsky had transplanted herself to Great Britain and founded “theosophy” (the “wisdom of God”) along with Colonel Henry Steel Olcott. The society was continued by figures such as Alice Bailey and Annie Besant.

Meanwhile, the occultist R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz, who also had links to the seemingly all-pervasive Theosophical Society, represents a connection between German and French occultism. Schwaller de Lubicz is one of the candidates for having penned the alchemical treatise The Mystery of the Cathedrals, attributed to one “Fulcanelli,” who the former claimed to have once met.

At any rate, Levenda has also produced several investigative tomes that may be of more general interest to those with a SynchroMystic turn of mind.

At the top of this list must surely be his Sinister Forces trilogy: The Nine: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft (with Jim Hougan, Walterville, OR: Trine Day, 2005), A Warm Gun: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft (with Dick Russell, Walterville, OR: Trine Day, 2005), and The Manson Secret: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft (Walterville, OR: Trine Day, 2006). The books delve into “the roots of coincidence and conspiracy in American politics, crime, and culture,” and Levenda purports to disclose riveting ties “between religion, political conspiracy, and occultism.”

Levenda has also made forays into the arcane subject of alchemy that, readers will recall, was of seminal importance to synchronicity’s “founding father,” Swiss polymath and psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung. In such treatises as Stairway to Heaven: Chinese Alchemists, Jewish Kabbalists, and the Art of Spiritual Transformation (New York: Continuum, 2008), Tantric Temples: Eros and Magic in Java (Lake Worth, FL : Ibis Press, 2011), and The Tantric Alchemist: Thomas Vaughan and the Indian Tantric Tradition (Lake Worth, Florida : Ibis Press, 2015), he introduces readers to the related disciplines of alchemy and Tantrism, which have had such a profound influence on Western SynchroMysticism.

A versatile writer, Levenda has expanded his oeuvre with volumes on Freemasonry and on the 20th-century, American horror savant H. P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos has practically achieved cultic status in the years since his untimely death on the Ides of March, 1937.

On Freemasonry, which is itself arguably an outgrowth of the alchemically infused Rosicrucianism of the early 1600s, see: The Secret Temple: Masons, Mysteries, and the Founding of America (New York ; London : Continuum, 2009) and The Angel and The Sorcerer (Lake Worth, FL : Ibis Press, 2012).

On Lovecraft and the Lovecraftian universe, see Gates of the Necronomicon (written by the mysterious “Simon” and attributed to Levenda, New York: Avon, 2006), The Dark Lord: H. P. Lovecraft, Kenneth Grant, and the Typhonian Tradition in Magic (with James Wasserman, Lake Worth, FL: Ibis Press, 2013), and The Lovecraft Code (Lake Worth, FL : Ibis Press, 2016).

Who Writes on SynchroMysticism and Synchronicity?

Beside the seemingly ever-present Loren Coleman, and the  other individuals previously highlighted (so far: Jay Dyer, Carl Jung, and Jake Kotze), where else can interested readers turn for more examples and more information?

Here, we will list two (well, three) other others.

The first additional commentator of interest is the comic-book artist and author, Christopher Knowles. He is otherwise known for insightful books such as Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes (with Joseph Michael Linsner, Newburyport, MA: Red Wheel Weiser, 2007),  The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths, and the Movies (with Matt Hurwitz, Insight Editions, 2008), and The Secret History of Rock ‘n’ Roll: The mysterious roots of modern music (Berkeley, CA: Viva Editions, 2010).

Knowles’s weblog, The Secret Sun, is replete with references to SynchroMysticism and synchronicity, as a simple Google search will reveal. One particular post, “Credit Where Credit is Due,” eloquently makes one point that this author has been at pains to disclose: namely, the relevant areas of inquiry derive from the input and thought of many key people.

It is perhaps quite true to say that Carl Jung, more than anyone else, deserves recognition for initiating these studies. However, as Jung himself makes clear, innumerable, pertinent pieces of background came to him by way of reflections upon ancient alchemy (among other sources).

In addition to the above-mentioned post, which is ought to be given a careful read by interested students, Knowles has countless others that should both entertain visitors to his blog, as well as enlighten those wishing to contend with (if not quite get a handle on) SynchroMysticism.

A second fascinating analyst is the curious S. K. Bain, whose Most Dangerous Book in the World: 9/11 as Mass Ritual (Walterville, OR: Trine Day, 2012) contains a foreword by Peter Levenda (on whom more in a future writing). In Bain’s telling, the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, on September 11, 2001, were (in the words of the publisher’s able summary) an “occult-driven… Global Luciferian MegaRitual …a psychological warfare campaign built upon a deadly foundation of black magick and high technology.” It’s quite a SynchroMystical ride.

Something of a companion volume followed. In “Sherwood Kent’s” Most Dangerous: A True Story (Walterville, OR: Trine Day, 2016) one descends into a nightmarish tale abounding in disturbing and lurid instances of synchronicity.

Stay tuned.