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Date Posted: 09:51
Author: Hendrik - 24 Jun 2001
Subject: Re: Paulsen's Sunburst Community
In reply to: ketch - 24 Jun 2001 's message, "Paulsen's Sunburst Community" on 09:48

After getting access to more primary material, the article (originally published in 1998) was revised by the author, Andreas Grünschloß; here is the new March 2001 version (footnote links truncated):

The "Brotherhood of the Sun" or "Sunburst Community"

Garry Trompf, already quoted above and known for his work on Melanesian
religion, compared Melanesian cargoism and millenarianism with religious
movements on the other side of the Pacific Ocean and concentrated here on the Sunburst community[18] founded in California by Norman Paulsen around 1970. Included in its syncretistic religious and cosmological worldview are Yogananda's Kriya-Yoga, some Christian elements, several esoteric-theosophical traditions and strong Erich von Däniken motifs, with the
idea of imminent contact with UFOs as the centre-piece of hope for salvation.[19]

The cosmological belief patterns of the Brotherhood of the Sun were
expressed in spatial and temporal forms. There must have been a continent
called "Mu" twelve thousand years ago in the middle of the Pacific, apart from Australia and New Guinea[20]. This is the lost
holy motherland on which all the important events in cosmic sacred history were
played out. The ancient culture heroes were beings of other worlds who
influenced evolutionary process in humankind through genetic manipulation. Of course, this idea -- ancient astronauts being the original (extraterrestrial) culture heroes of a genetically manipulated mankind -- is already one of the main 'fundamentals' in the emerging discourse on "ancient astronauts" (or "paleo-SETI" nowadays), as is evident in the case of famous Erich von Däniken (Chariots of the Gods 11968) and many other AAS-authors who were also inspired by him and the fantastic legacy of Charles Fort (cf. also the amalgamation of these secular neo-mythological concepts within the "atheistic" UFO religion founded by the French prophet Claude Vorilhon alias "Rael"). According to Paulsen's teachings, about a million years ago the beings from other worlds escaped from an inter-stellar war and reached the earth: these have been regarded as gods in earthly religions to this day. Over 500.000 years ago, these so-called builders founded cities on the continent Mu, and they created people according to their own image (cf. Gen. 1:26): as red, blue, yellow and white[21]. The continual conflict with the enemies of the "builders" dispersed the human race over the earth. Finally, about twelve thousand years ago an asteroid collided with the earth and destroyed the continents of Atlantis (collision) and Mu (a tidal wave).

The future is seen above all as a return, as a re-actualisation of the 'lost
paradise'. The frequent sightings of flying saucers are nothing other than
space ships or "Space Mus" of the angelic Builders who now selected Norman
Paulsen as primary contact person. As in illo tempore, where "Meditation and Initiation were part of the educational system" (Sunburst 522), Paulsen now is to lead a prototypical, pure brotherhood into the new millennium. The divine-mythical culture heroes would then return ("The Return of the Ancients") to strike the final blow on their evil foe (the "Nephilim"). Thereby contemporary society in its present form will be destroyed. When this millennium breaks through, its new Cargo will not be manifested in abundance of material wealth of the western kind but as a
completely superior technology with special materials hitherto
unknown to mankind and with a release of unknown energies of the universe[22], especially of the sun (Trompf 43). Then
again it will be possible to "follow the simple laws of God and nature" (Trompf 44).

Here the paradisiacal imagery of the perfect "garden" is amalgamated in
immediate association with the dream of a scientific miracle (Trompf 44).
Even the "Space Mu" ships provide under their domes "internal gardens" in which
all desirable surroundings can be created. "The Motherland, which unfortunately, existsts no more, exept in the astral records of the Great Book of Life and the silent memory of its people -- long lost", is "now returning again" (Sunburst 305), and by this the Garden of Eden will be restored (Trompf 44).

According to Paulsen, a central role was to be played by the Sunburst Ranch to the north of Santa Barbara (Paulsen: "The Builders hoped to create an image through Sunburst that would show how The Ancients lived in brotherhood before") and its members would be the first to profit from the new 'Cargo' -- as in primordial days of paradisiacal harmony, when everything "belonged to the people collectively" and where "young men and women could become space pilots or scientists, or pursue
whatever trade they felt drawn to" (Sunburst 522; cf. Trompf 55). Paulsen explicitly connected his vision of a "cosmic consciousness" (or "Christ Consciousness") with expectations of the cargoist type -- in his own words: "The by-product of
living a life of harmony with The Spirit is to have physical abundance" (Sunburst 520). Paulsen first understood himself to be a prophet, but towards the end of the
seventies he assumed more strongly the role of a Christ-like leader; he came to understand himself to be an ancient Lord of Mu and gained access to the memories of his former inter-stellar flights. His style of leadership, seemingly 'strange' visionary encounters and clashes with the surrounding population, as well as a certain amount of mismanagment, led to an effective break-up of the -- so far prosperous -- movement in 1982 (cf. Trompf 52--57).

It has been brought to my attention only recently by the former president of the Sunburst community's food enterprises that, after some reconstruction (partly in northeastern Nevada), Norman Paulsen and his followers nowadays form a loose community called the "Solar Logos Foundation" (established in 1993 and currently located in southern California, north of Santa Barbara). The religious practice is still committed to apply Paulsen's Yoga teachings as displayed in his books The Christ-Consciousness (a revised edition of his earlier Sunburst-book) and Sacred Science (a guide for meditation): the focus of the practice is attainment of "God-Realization" through meditative techniques which open up the path to the "Solar Logos" or Pure Self within.[23] However, the typical millenial aspects of the former "Sunburst" era now seem to have vanished almost completely.

Final version of full essay

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