Month: May 2013

211. Montana State University’s Ardy Sixkiller Clarke Compiles 1,000 Accounts of American Indian Contact With UFO Phenomena

Interview explores the personal accounts of Native Americans and “Star People”. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke author of, Encounters with the Star People: Untold Stories of American Indians.  During the interview Clarke talks about how a spiritual worldview affects the accounts she’s collected: Alex Tsakiris:  If we unpack these experiences with American Indians that you’re talking about, we assume going in that there’s a different spiritual orientation. I think we assume—whether this is true or not—that in American Indian cultures there’s are a different set of givens. What would you say about that? Is that true? Is that a misconception? And, how might that play into these accounts of encounters with alien beings? Dr. Ardy Clarke:   Well, I think again you have to separate tribes. There are some tribes where it’s forbidden to even speak the name of a dead person. Where in other tribes they believe that when someone dies they stay with them for a year. Their spirit remains with them for a year and then after a year they hold a ceremony to release that person. They have ceremonies where they can speak with those who have passed on. They have ceremonies where they can speak with the Ancients or where the Ancients come to them and give them knowledge and answer their prayers or their questions. So it depends on the tribal group, and it’s difficult for me to say, as a general rule, there is this spiritual connection. But there definitely is with some of the tribes. There’s no question about it. Some of the tribes actually talk about the trip across the Milky Way. That when you die you cross the path of the Milky Way. You’ve got a common theme there that the cosmos plays so much a part in afterlife and death and the ability of the deceased that they never really die. They just move on into another dimension and that they can come back and communicate with the living. Alex Tsakiris:   See, I just think no matter what subtle differences you might have in that worldview, I think a worldview that incorporates this spiritual dimension puts you in a completely different place in terms of dealing with the UFO phenomena. Dr. Ardy Clarke:   I do, too, because Native people on a whole are accepting of it. They aren’t skeptical of it. So if you approach it from a perspective that it is part of the universe and that it’s nothing to fear, then that’s one view. But to be skeptical of it and not believe what you’ve seen or to deny that it occurs is a totally different worldview. Dr. Clarke's Website Click here for YouTube version Click here for forum discussion Play It  Listen Now: Download MP3 (45 min.) Read It: Today we welcome author and Professor Emeritus from Montana State University, Dr. Ardy Sixkiller-Clark to Skeptiko. Dr. Clarke has a long, distinguished academic career working with indigenous populations and is here to talk about her fascinating new book, Encounters With Star People. Dr. Clarke, welcome to Skeptiko. Thanks so much for joining me. Dr. Ardy Clarke:  It’s my pleasure. Alex Tsakiris:   Dr. Clarke, tell us about your book. Obviously how you came to write it. Maybe a little bit about the methodology you used. You’ve worked for a long time with Native Americans and are familiar with some of the cultural aspects of that. How did you come to write this book?


210. Miguel Conner Explores Gnostic Themes and “Red Pill” Alienation

Interview with author and Podcast host examines Gnostic themes in our modern culture. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Miguel Conner author of, Voices of Gnosticism.  During the interview Conner talks about the limits of Gnostic history: Alex Tsakiris:   You do a masterful job exploring how these threads of Gnosticism are woven into our modern culture, but what about the limits of history? Isn’t Gnosticism limited in the same way Christianity’s limited in that it’s always looking in the rearview mirror for the next archaeological dig to tell us who we are? Isn’t that an inherent limitation of this kind of historical-based knowing? Miguel Conner:  There certainly is, but it goes beyond history. I think the scholar, Ioan Couliano, who wrote, The Tree of Gnosis, said that there’s sort of a binary Gnostic code within man and this binary code will always go off.  So, you’re always going to have Orthodoxy on one side believing that the world is going to be fine and that we’re part of this grand history, this providence. But there’s also the other side that’s always there. This side that tells us we are alienated; we are trapped in this world; there’s something wrong with this world. It’s invites us to go on this inner voyage inside and outside of us. That is why there are many writers and thinkers like Carl Jung and others who before the Nag Hammadi library was discovered were getting some of the Gnostic ideas and concepts. They were getting it very well even with the little information out there. So yes, we are limited by history but again I feel that this Orthodoxy and Gnosticism is within each one of us. That’s why it keeps resurfacing in so many different traditions, whether it’s Buddhist or Muslim and so forth. It’s there. Miguel's Aeon Btye Gnostic Radio Click here for YouTube version Click here for forum discussion Play It  Listen Now: Download MP3 (48 min.) Read It: Today we welcome Miguel Conner. As host of Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio, author of the critically-acclaimed Voices of Gnosticism, Miguel is one of the leading voices of this Gnostic movement that we seem to keep hearing so much about. I should also mention that Miguel is also an accomplished fiction writer, having penned several popular post-apocalyptic vampire novels that have really caught the attention of people. So Miguel, it’s great to welcome you to Skeptiko. Miguel Conner:  I’m glad to be here, Alex. Thank you for having me on. Alex Tsakiris:   You know, I should mention we tried to do this a week ago but we ran into some Skype trouble so we’re going to do it again. In that intervening week I’ve dug into even more of your shows and I just keep wanting to dig more and more. You have such a great insight into this fascinating area of knowledge that is Gnosticism. You weave it into our modern culture and modern contemporary issues in such an imaginative, creative, and entertaining way that I just really wanted to get you on and encourage people to check out Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio. Miguel Conner:   Thank you very much. I don’t know if I can live up to that billing, but I’ll try.