We, the Arcturians (c.1990), by Norma J Milanovich, exhibits themes that are by now familiar, in the genre of new age spirituality and extra-terrestrial visitations: a group of ET’s makes contact with a gifted or open-minded seer, who channels their saving message, in order to assist the rebirth or ascension process of earth. Earth is to move from a paradigm of separation (marked by domination, strife, greed, and competition) to a consciousness of unity (marked by mutual respect, peace, generosity, and cooperation); and from a three-dimensional into a fourth and fifth-dimensional reality.
Not all such new spirituality, involving extraterrestrial contact, attributes its origins, however, to Jesus–at least indirectly. Milanovich was a professor in New Mexico when she began to channel celestial beings from the planet Arcturus, who claim to be on a “mission of love and light”. They say, moreover, that “they are aided by the Ascended Masters, work for Jesus, the Christ and other magnificent Beings” (loc. 112).
Given the role of Jesus in these channeled messages, I will devote several posts to addressing the question, whether the Jesus of the Arcturians, here, is compatible with the Jesus of the Gospels and Christianity.
Let’s start first, then, with the matter of testing the spirits, which arises, in both Christian and channeled material, whenever the claim is made that a certain message is from a celestial, divine, or holy source.
As a channel, Milanovich asks this question herself: “Are these claims and messages fact or fiction? Is the source of these transmissions actually Beings from a higher state of consciousness, or are these messages coming from entities who are pathological liars with a plan to deceive and take over the Earth?” She concludes that the messages are benign, wise, full of love and light. Their meanings are consistent, neither tricky nor unreliable.
The descriptions of galactic life that they impart, moreover, and the conceptual complexity of their ideas, convey a veracity beyond what one could concoct as a fiction. The spirits proved themselves, moreover, by paranormal interventions. Once the spirits caused a crystal to turn on its own, as a sign of their presence, for instance.
I grant the sincerity of Norma J. Milanovich – (together with that of her two friends in the channeling circle, Betty Rice and Cynthia Ploski). As an academic researcher, she was schooled in a worldview and epistemology that clashed with the awakening of her newfound psychic gifts. Her decision to embrace her channeled message and to speak about her contact with the Arturians took courage, no doubt, and a commitment to push forward, with a spirit of service, along new frontiers in human evolution.
Nevertheless, Milonovich’s question for testing the spirits draws a false dichotomy, as I see it. The spirits need not be either holy or liars. Perhaps they are benign spirits, who can do tricks, such as the trick of making crystals swirl; if these spirit entities communicate, how valuable is their message?
In early Christianity, which took for granted a cosmology that included spirits of various kinds, a test was set up for distinguishing the holy spirit from spirits of a lesser kind. In the Acts of Peter, a second century work, a man named Simon the Magician is placed in a competition with Peter, the Apostle of Jesus Christ. Simon has the capacity to make “certain spirits enter in, which were only an appearance, and not existing in truth.” (Acts of Peter, XXXI)
These spirits could make miracles seem to happen, briefly: Simon could make “lame men seem whole for a little space, and blind likewise, and once he appeared to make many dead to live and move”. However, the illusion would last only for a minute. Simon stuns a crowd by flying in the air, only to be cast to the ground at Peter’s command.
In contrast, Peter is filled with the holy spirit, as an apostle of the living God. Thus, he can actually raise a girl from the dead. This story signifies that lesser spirits can imitate the acts of God, but they cannot sustain these excellent deeds, in substance and truth.
My point, here, is not to defend Christianity, as it currently exists, over against channeling and new age spirituality. Nor do I mean to degrade or discredit the Arcturian visitors. Instead, I raise this question: how do we test the authenticity of a spiritual message? Is the message from Jesus Christ, the living God? Or from a lesser spirit?