Aug 28, 2016

Inside the Aetherius Society: A church stranger than Scientology

AUGUST 28, 2016

Nathan Church


IN A leafy suburb of Fairfield, 5km south of Brisbane, there sits a charming white wooden farmhouse.

A tyre-swing hangs from a tree that seems transplanted from the set of Dawson’s Creek, while inside a congregation of believers wait patiently for intergalactic saviours from distant planets.

Rod Middleton and his wife Megan run the Australian chapter of the Aetherius Society, a growing religion that basically cherry picks from different belief systems from throughout the ages, twisting some details, adding a New Age focus, and anchoring everything in the teachings of founder George King, a Yoga-enthusiast-turned-author, who created the religion in the mid-50s after his own extraterrestrial experiences.

Of course, some of its claims are harder than others to swallow; most notably, that their “philosophy and teachings come largely from highly advanced intelligences from the higher planes of Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn” — a statement on their official website.

Obviously I had some questions about the workings of the Society, and Mr Middleton was more than happy to oblige, telling me he welcomes the interest of “open minded media personnel”.

Mr Middleton tells that he views the Society as “a spiritual brotherhood, dedicated to healing and service to mankind”.

After a childhood of twice-daily chapel sessions at his boarding school, and a failed attempt with a friend to contact UFOs when 14 — he dismisses this as “youthful ignorance” — Mr Middleton shunned religion in all forms and spent 25 years in what he calls “the wilderness”.

A blind date with his now-wife Megan led to two years of “many expensive phone bills” between their homes of Sydney and Brisbane, before the pair tied the knot.

Megan’s father was “involved in the teachings of The Ancient Wisdom”, and had been a member of the Aetherius Society since 1961. Mr Middleton was soon convinced.

“When exposed to these beliefs and teachings it was like a spiritual explosion, and the amazing part was that none of these revelations seemed ‘new’ to me,” he said.

Unlike most major religions, in which one omnipresent creator reigns supreme, the Aetherius Society — itself named after a being from Venus who founder Dr King claims telepathically communicated with him over many decades — believes all spiritual leaders from throughout the ages are cohorts.

Buddha and Jesus also hail from Venus, Mr Middleton claims, while Krishna calls Saturn home. These “Gods From Space” operate on a different “frequency of vibration” which is why: a) NASA exploration is unable to prove “that Venus is, in fact, teeming with life”, and b) Reports of UFO sightings often include the craft blinking in and out of view.

According to the Aetherius Society, this is them “moving from one plane of existence to another very quickly”.

It must be noted that this idea of different planes coexisting while unable to be sensed by lowly humans isn’t mere fancy, it’s being posited by both scientists and scholars as a legitimate theory. After all, there are colours you can’t see; sounds you can’t hear.

Having said all that, the following official description of these intergalactic deities does seem to slide into fantasy somewhat: “They do not reincarnate like we do; they have mastered the ‘wheel of rebirth’ and are therefore effectively immortal — though they may change their physical structures from time to time. They have colossal psychic powers, and, more importantly, perfect intuition which works in complete harmony with a flawless sense of logic. They are masters of all known sciences, and also masters of what we might call the arts. They are sometimes referred to as ‘Cosmic Masters’, or even ‘Gods from Space’, in deference to their elevated evolutionary status.”

A brochure for the Aetherius Society in Queensland.Source:Supplied


Mr Middleton doesn’t claim any first-hand experience with UFOs — “All my experiences with extra terrestrials have come per my research and exposure to teachings of Dr King and many other great teachers”.

Although he doesn’t see his connection with Megan as mere happenstance, either. “I might mention that there is no such thing as ‘coincidence’,” he warns, “so following this thought, we were not brought together by accident.”

The exact number of Aetherius Society members worldwide is undocumented, but sits well into the thousands. There are 58 churches — or “branches” — around the world, with the majority of those in the UK and — surprisingly — Ghana.

Mr Middleton says Australia’s numbers “would compare favourably on a per capita basis with the USA”, with most local expansion coming via appearances at Mind Body Growth festivals, where they dispense literature and give demonstrations, including hands-on healing.

“We do make every effort to expand our footprint in Australia”, Mr Middleton tells me, admitting that limited funds and personnel still acts as a roadblock for growth. Of course, it’s not purely financial struggles, as Mr Middleton freely acknowledges.

“We are of course a Metaphysical organisation, which literally means beyond the physical realms most people relate to. Therefore it requires a certain amount of effort for one to research the Ancient Wisdom,” he said.

“Some are comfortable with our beliefs and teachings up to the ‘Cosmic Link’, and from this point have difficulty in digesting the existence of life on other planets.”

Still, Mr Middleton tells he isn’t planning to force anything onto anybody.


Dr. George King's Initial Contact in May 1954


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