Atompunk in theory encapsulates the 50s into the 70s, and fringe spiritual movements from the 60s are in abundance. But i don’t consider hippy type counter culture to be necessarily Atompunk. One could argue that a lot of the cosmic consciousness ideas going around even including some of Timothy Leary’s ideas on the 12 steps of cosmic consciousness are intrinsically tied to “the atomic age” and the new vistas the space race was inspiring.
I’m going to consider how much of 60s counter culture would theoretically fall under Atompunk (in my opinion at least) but in the meantime, we’ve done our Victorian Spirituality, we’ve done our Dieselpunk Era Spirituality, welcome one and all it’s time to start up Atompunk Era Spirituality.
We begin with some 1950s groups. Atompunk Era spirituality is when all the ideas passed down from Theosophy and Spiritualism started to get aliens attached to them. Welcome one and all to The Aetherius Society.
The Aetherius Society began with George King.
In the 1940s King started to become interested in yoga. In 1954, about 10 years into a serious yoga discipline a disemobied voice suddenly called ot him while he was along in his apartment. This voice, ”Master Aetherius” cried “Prepare yourself! You are to become the voice of Interplanetary Parliament”‘.
Several days later an unnamed yoga master, whom King knew was alive and well in India, appeared by walking through the locked door of his apartment and taught King exercises which enabled him to receive psychic transmission from Venus. Blavatksy’s Great White Brotherhood concept once again resurfaces, although King relabels them the Cosmic Masters, and they inhabit the higher planes of other planets. The Cosmic Masters of course wanted to use King as the “Primary Terrestrial Mental Channel” to transmit teachings to the sad little people of Earth.
The Great Cosmic Masters contain some of the same tropes the Great Masters always do, Lord Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, and Count Saint-Germain, although King added some new space members, Master Aetherius, Goo-Ling, and Mars Sector 6.
“George King has been described both as a “mystagogue” , or as someone “who performs magical and/or sacramental actions to promote salvation”. He can also be described as a psychic, mystic, or spiritual healer. After receiving the command to become a channel for the Cosmic Masters, King claimed to have mastered many of the various techniques of Yoga, including Raja, Gnani, and Kundalini, all of which led him to consciously attain the state of Samadhi.
This allowed King to communicate with beings from other spiritual energy spheres. In this state of consciousness, he was able to receive teachings from the Cosmic Masters that the Aetherius Society believes will guide humanity as a whole to spiritual enlightenment. King is acknowledged as the “Primary Terrestrial Mental Channel for the Cosmic Masters.” His full title in the Society is “Sir George King, OSP, PhD, ThD, DD, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Aetherius Churches, Founder President of the Aetherius Society.” He also has other honorary titles, including Prince Grand Master of the Mystical Order of St. Peter, HRH Prince George King De Santori, and Knight of Malta. Certificates of these various degrees and titles are displayed at the Society’s Temple in Hollywood, California.
After receiving his call to channel, King gave up his research and materialistic pursuits in order to publish The Cosmic Voice, which included a transcript of his communications with the Cosmic Masters. He also began giving lectures around England describing his spiritual experiences. On May 21, 1959, BBC broadcast King while he was in a Samadhic trance, allowing a huge audience to witness his yogic skills (Aetherius Society n.d.b). In June, 1959, King expanded the Society to the U.S. and established a center in Hollywood, where, in 1963, The Aetherius Society was incorporated as a non-profit religious, scientific, and educational organization.”
As we see, Scientology’s cosmic story was, like The Aetherius Society, the 1950s new trope gift to the next wave of spiritualities.
The group’s beliefs include many of the usual: life after death, special place in the cosmic hierarchy as one of the Great Cosmic Masters, and survival if not reversal of the coming catastrophe of the human race destroying themselves through technololgy without sufficient spiritual maturity to handle it.
The Great Masters concept is very, very central. “The Cosmic Masters are believed to be far more technologically and spiritually advanced than human beings. They have, therefore, been able to build spacecraft that avoid detection by radar and telescopes until they choose to let their presence be known. According to the Society, this has happened repeatedly through recent history. Society members explain that extraterrestrials can decrease their vibratory rate at will and assume physical bodies as easily as they can increase their energy levels and dematerialize. When asked why the Masters choose to visit us, the Society responds that they are benevolent beings who wish to guide humankind in its evolution. They define the evolution process as the journey back to God the Creator. Once a soul masters its lessons on Earth, it leaves the cycle of rebirth and moves on to a more subtle and lasting body. This is described as an inward journey toward the “Spark of God” within us (Aetherius Society. 2006d). Not only do these extraterrestrials act as spiritual guides, they also protect the human race from both internal and external forces. Members of the Aetherius Society believe that the Cosmic Masters actively prevent ecological disasters, as well as cosmic warfare, and that there are flying saucers hovering constantly around the Earth guarding us from evil and warning us about imminent attacks . At one point, the Cosmic Masters went so far as to devise an invisible barrier around the planet to shield it from destructive forces. Despite their efforts, however, Earth is believed to be presently under attack by “The Black Magicians” who wish to enslave its inhabitants
Also of great importance though is the Law Of Karma:
“One of the central beliefs of the Aetherius Society is the Law of Karma (Aetherius Society 2006k; cf. King 1962b), namely “the law of consequence with regard to action, which is the driving force behind the cycle of reincarnation or rebirth in Asian religions” (Bowker 1997: 535). Members of the Aetherius Society believe that humankind is severely out of karmic balance and, therefore, is teetering on the brink of total self-destruction, an event which they believe has taken place twice before on Earth. The first catastrophic fall occurred in what is known as Lemuria, or Mu, and was followed by the fall of Atlantis. Before our existence on Earth, members of the Society believe that humankind lived on a planet called Maldek, once found between Mars and Jupiter. The Aetherius Society teaches that this planet was destroyed in a global war which left only an asteroid belt in its wake.
“In Operation StarLight, King climbed to the tops of eighteen out of nineteen Holy Mountains (Aetherius Society 2006j) where he transmitted a charge of spiritual energy from the Cosmic Masters. These mountains are described as “spiritual energy batteries” that cannot be discharged or depleted and are, therefore, a continuous source of blessing to those who climb them. They are powerful psychic centers and the Aetherius Society organizes regular pilgrimages to them”
In a nutshell, what makes the Aetherius Society such a good starting place for Atompunk Spirituality, is that it is classic Theosophical tropes, having survived and thrived all the way from the Victorian Age, honed through a repetition you find in group after group after group. The Aetheius Society takes it and makes it Atompunk. They bring aliens into it, new to that moment, but about to become a MAJOR player in alternative spirituality. Planetary symbolism become far more than astrological concepts, they make it part of the new space age consciousness.
Popular science fiction of the day swooned over daring exploits on other planets such as Mars and Venus and King was right there, with visions of alien civilizations on those planets and others. Popular tropes such as the magnetic pole shift and Planet X or Planet Nibiru where in their infancy, and King was right there, helping to popularize some of the notions that would become mainstays of later beliefs systems.
Because you know i love you, here is actual footage and an interview with King himself.
The Aetherius Society is indeed still around today. You can find them here.