XI. Heaven’s Gate: The Singularity Archetype Pathologizes

geavens gate
From the Heavens Gate Website

WHEN a person or group becomes possessed by an archetype, the results are often tragic. Another Book of Revelation-inspired example of pathological possession by the Singularity Archetype is the Heaven’s Gate UFO cult, which most readers will remember for its mass suicide of 39 people in 1997. Its very name, “Heaven’s Gate,” suggests a pseudo-Biblical way of saying “event horizon.” Heaven’s Gate began in the early 1970s when Marshall Applewhite, who was recovering from a heart attack, claimed to have had a near-death experience. Applewhite came to believe that he and his nurse, Bonnie Nettles, were “The Two,” that is, the two witnesses spoken of in Revelation 11:3: And I will give unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. Both of them had been steeped in Christianity. Applewhite was the son of a Presbyterian minister, and Nettles had been raised in the Baptist Church.

Applewhite mixed Christian beliefs about salvation and apocalypse with various science-fiction elements involving travel to other worlds and dimensions. Besides Heaven’s Gate, the group also called itself “HIM” (Human Individual Metamorphosis). The group believed that the earth was about to be “recycled” and that the only way to survive was to get off the planet. One of the paths to get off the planet was to thoroughly hate this world and reject the present “vessel” or flesh-and-blood body. Seven members of the group, including Applewhite, were so eager to free themselves from sexual desire that they had themselves surgically castrated.

Marshall Applewhite in a still image from a Heaven’s Gate video.

In 1997, Applewhite claimed that a UFO was trailing the Hale-Bop comet and waiting to take them to a “level of existence above human.” On March 24, 1997, 39 members of the group dressed in identical black uniforms, brand new black-and-white Nike Windrunner athletic shoes, and triangular arm patches labeled “Heaven’s Gate Away Team,” committed suicide with a lethal combination of phenobarbital, vodka, and plastic bags tied around their heads.

Most or all of the classic elements related to the Singularity Archetype—evolutionary metamorphosis, NDE, death, UFOs, androgyny, the glorified body, and science fiction — saturated the Heaven’s Gate cult. The logo for the group depicts a keyhole-shaped stargate above a spiral of white clouds:

The group’s extensive website, http://www.heavensgate.com/, is still up and running, and I encourage readers to survey it. Every single page of their site that I’ve looked at is saturated with aspects of the Singularity Archetype. If someone were going to make a sensationalistic documentary about this cult, an appropriate title would be: When Archetypes Attack! The following excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on Heaven’s Gate never uses the word “archetype” but makes it abundantly clear that Nettles and Applewhite were possessed by an archetype:

When the cult began, “Applewhite and Nettles taught their followers that they were extraterrestrial beings. However, after the notion of walk-ins became popular within the New Age subculture, the Two changed their tune and began describing themselves as extraterrestrial walk-ins.”(Lewis, 2001, p.16) The idea of walk-ins is very similar to the concept of being possessed by spirits. A walk-in can be defined as “an entity who occupies a body that has been vacated by its original soul.” (Lewis, 2001, p.368) An extraterrestrial walk-in, which is what Heaven’s Gate came to believe, is “a walk-in that is supposedly from another planet.” (Lewis, 2001, p.368) The concept of walk-ins actually aided Applewhite and Nettles in starting from a clean slate personally. They no longer were the people they had been prior to the start of the group, but had taken on a new life and this idea actually gave them a way to “erase their human personal histories as the histories of souls who formerly occupied the bodies of Applewhite and Nettles.” (Lewis, 2001, p.368)

On the Heaven’s Gate website, Applewhite explains his transformation: You can say, “You mean that you and Ti came into bodies in`72, so you’re `body snatchers,’ in a sense.” Well, the Level Above Human made this garden and its design, made the human plants for their purposes, and my Grandfather (Ti’s Father) sent us into this environment with a crew that had work to do. Now, we did come in and prep the “vehicles.” We actually set aside this “plant” that I’m wearing (this “vehicle” that I’m wearing) and the plants of the crew (the classroom), and the plant that Ti chose to wear. A “deposit” of a little bit of information was put in those plants that set them aside for the time when the mind was to significantly come in. And therefore, the mind that is now in my vehicle (body) cannot relate to that plant’s history, prior to the time that my mind came in significantly. So, who the plant was that I’m now wearing, prior to the early `70’s is just a fuzzy, dismal memory, because it is just like putting on a suit of clothes that had a history to it. And if I tried, I could invade some of that history and dredge it up, but it is so unattractive to me and it’s such a low vibration to me (if I can use that word without sounding “new age” to some) — it’s repulsive to me because it’s certainly very human. This vehicle certainly indulged in human behavior, human addictions, human ways, as every other human does.

A Pathologized Will Toward the Glorified Body

One of the dominant elements of Heaven’s Gate was a pathologized will toward the Glorified Body. Members were possessed by a will to rebel from their gender-specific corporeal bodies. Their will to rebel from corporeality culminated in suicide, but there were a whole series of other drastic actions that led up to that.

Members were instructed to cut their hair and to wear a unisex uniform consisting of shapeless black shirts with Mandarin collars and black pants. They were required to be celibate, and they practiced fasting and other strict dietary regimens. As I mentioned above, a number of the male members of Heaven’s Gate had themselves castrated. Their goal was to achieve genderless, eternal bodies that would allow them to pass through the gate into heaven. Here are some excerpts from the Heaven’s Gate website so you can experience their beliefs in their own words:

  • We brought to Earth with us a crew of students whom we had worked with (nurtured) on Earth in previous missions. They were in varying stages of metamorphic transition from membership in the human kingdom to membership in the physical Evolutionary Level Above Human (what your history refers to as the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven).
  • A potential creature of the Next Level cannot cling to human ways any more than a butterfly can cling to caterpillar ways.
  • The final act of metamorphosis or separation from the human kingdom is the “disconnect” or separation from the human physical container or body in order to be released from the human environment and enter the “next” world or physical environment of the Next Level. This will be done under the supervision of Members of the Next Level in a clinical procedure. We will rendezvous in the “clouds” (a giant mothership) for our briefing and journey to the Kingdom of the Literal Heavens.
  • The requirement is the same for all who might expect to find themselves in the safekeeping of the Level Above Human — each must proceed in the forsaking of all human ways, ties, addictions, thinking, gender behavior (sexuality), and be in the forward motion of becoming this new creature (literally and physically belonging to the Kingdom Level Above Human). (Some in the class have chosen on their own to have their vehicles neutered in order to sustain a more genderless and objective consciousness.)

A “student” or prospective “child” of a Member of the Level Above Human can, with the help of his Older Member(s) from that Kingdom Level, overcome or rise out of all human-mammalian behavior — sexuality and gender consciousness — and all other addictions and ties of the human kingdom. Older Members, as experienced “clinicians,” are necessary to take souls through this “weaning” — this difficult “withdrawal” from humanness and binding “misinformation” concepts. The student must complete this change to the point of abhorring human behavior before his soul can become a “match” with a biological body of the true Kingdom of God — for that new, genderless body is designed to function at a far more refined level.

  • If you have grown to hate your life in this world and would lose it for the sake of the Next Level, you will find true life with us
    • potentially forever. If you cling to this life — will you not lose it?
  • If the soul survives and moves forward through all its tests along the way — it can, with the help of a Member of the Level Above Human, lose its temporal characteristics and become a part of their non-perishable, non-corruptible world. However, all other souls who reach a certain degree of corruption (having of their own free will chosen to become totally separate from their Creator, whether knowingly or not) will engage a “self-destruct” mechanism at the Age’s end.

The Charisma of the Possessed

People who are possessed by archetypes often become extremely charismatic. They become all-confident true believers, and consequently, people plagued by confusion, uncertainty, and inner conflict will find them to be magnetically attractive. I wrote an article that analyzes this type of charisma: “Foxes and Reptiles — Psychopathy and the Financial Meltdown.”67 In the article, I develop a theory of the often-astonishing appeal of psychopaths, cult leaders, super salesmen, and demagogues of various sorts that uses magnetism as an analog. Most people are highly fragmented and oppressed by what psychologists call psychic entropy — the anxious tape loops and other distracted thoughts and fantasies that can crowd our attentional space. When a person of single-minded focus and confidence appears to someone suffering psychic entropy, it is analogous to placing a powerful magnet below a sheet of paper on which there is a scattering of iron filings. The magnet immediately organizes the scattered filings into a coherent pattern that reflects its magnetic field. The scattered personality feels an immense relief to be structured in this way from the outside and craves further contact and submission to the magnetic personality that can produce this effect, which relieves him of his default state of psychic entropy.

In a New York Times article written shortly after the mass suicide, Nettle’s daughter reported that after The Two’s initial journey together, “They were like magnets… They had this unbelievable power. Suddenly, I felt privileged to be around them.” Dick Joslyn, a one-time member of Heaven’s Gate, had similar perceptions when he met The Two at a meeting: “I know you’re not con artists . . . That means, either you’re who you say you are, or you’re absolutely mad.”68

67 Available at ZapOracle.com.

68  http://www.nytimes.com/1997/04/28/us/eyes-on-glory-pied-pipers-of-heaven-s-gate.html?src=pm

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