Antero Alli’s book Angel Tech: A Modern Shaman’s Guide to Reality Selection (1985) is an interesting attempt to combine the work of Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, Colin Wilson and others into a system for understanding and compartmentalizing the various capacities of the mind and its modes of consciousness, served up as one big New Age package for popular consumption. Why the term “Angel Tech”? In a preface, Alli writes:
“Angel Tech is a code name for the process of stabilizing the contact between right (ANGEL) and left (TECH) hemispheres of the brain. The connecting ganglia between these hemispheres is called the ‘corpus callosum’ which may function as if it were a reality selection switch. It ‘has the ability’ to choose between left (linear) and right (intuitive) hemispheres the appropriate mode of Intelligence for the situation at hand.”
Here Alli uses two categories of mental functioning (the ol’ left and right brain dichotomy), but the book ultimately adopts Leary’s system of eight Intelligences, or “circuits,” that build on each other (just check Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8-Circuit_Model_of_Consciousness). Alli uses an admittedly silly metaphor of ascending through grades as if we’re in grade school. Much about the book is playful and silly, and why not? Here’s an overviewof the “curriculum,” pulled straight from the book:
PHASE ONE: ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
First Grade: Physical Intelligence – Medium: The Organism – Education: Passivity, Safety, Nourishment
Second Grade: Emotional Intelligence – Medium: Belief Systems – Education: Self-expression, Status and Personal Power
Third Grade: Conceptual Intelligence – Medium: Conceptual Framework – Education: Attention, Map-Making and Articulation
Fourth Grade: Social Intelligence – Medium: Code of Ethics – Education: Adolescence, Adulthood and Collectivization
PHASE TWO: CHAPEL PERILOUS
INITIATION is a creative response to the unknown. CHAPEL PERILOUS signifies a rite of passage wherein Physical, Emotional, Conceptual and Social Education is tested for its integrity as a preparation for graduation.
PHASE THREE: HIGH SCHOOL
Fifth Grade: Sensory Intelligence – Medium: The Body’s 5 Senses – Education: Rapture, Ritual and Charisma Training
Sixth Grade: Psychic Intelligence – Medium: Central Nervous System – Education: Natural Clairvoyance, Reality Selection and Designing Tarot
Seventh Grade: Mythic Intelligence – Medium: DNA & The Planet – Education: Synchronicity, Alchemy and Astrology
Eighth Grade: Spiritual Intelligence – Medium: Subatomic Mysteries – Education: Paradox Found, Dreaming and Factor X
The purpose of the book is to catalogue and describe in some detail the layers of intelligence, empowering the individual to decide the “program” rather than be decided by it. This intelligence- or “reality-” selection is the “shamanic” ability referred to in the book’s subtitle. Alli’s system combines insights from east and west, and from overall common sense, in ways that are generally easy to digest (at the same time, passages here and there are inscrutable, and the whole thing could use a careful proofreading session – perhaps later editions dealt with this). In the higher levels of Intelligence, Alli’s work becomes less commonsensical, and more speculative and New Age, fitting in ideas from Carl Jung, Taoism, Alchemy, Astrology, Tarot, and popular science.
Angel Tech is strongest in the tersely and playfully developed perspective on the first four “grades” that support ordinary life experience. An additional lengthy section on things that can go wrong at these levels (not reproduced in this WEblog series) acts as a non-dogmatic, casual self-help guide for identifying and overcoming common life difficulties, with an eye toward transcendence, not just mundane problem-solving.
Alli’s treatment of the higher grade levels, bringing us into the territory of the “psychic” and the “spiritual,” is, of course, much more contentious scientifically and religiously. But the purpose of the book is not to argue for the validity of the information, but to act as a quick reference guide for those who already have some sympathetic inkling of what synchronicity, alchemy, Tarot and such things are all about – or else this is a very seat-of-the-pants introduction to such topics. It is up to those with background in these areas to decide whether Alli has done a good job of describing and correlating all these occult phenomena and disciplines together in what amounts to a compact modern magician’s handbook. Compare that to, say, the work of Aleister Crowley which constitutes its own austere and obscurantist library.
For those who are interested in the occult and paranormal, and in systems, and in a light humorous approach to all these things, Angel Tech should come off as an amusing experiment at the very least. I, for one, was impressed with Alli’s down-to-earth and compact interpretation of the Tarot’s Major Arcana, and with Alli’s insistent encouragement that we each make our own Tarot. The whole tone of the book is DIY and self-empowering, rather than suggesting we trust some narrow, elitist authority or join a coven, or some sort of sterile shaman’s association, if such a thing even exists (I hope not, but probably). However, if you are interested in taking a class, Antero Alli is apparently still at it and periodically teaches the “8 circuit brain” from Angel Tech at a school set up by the now deceased Robert Anton Wilson called the Maybe Logic Academy:
– G. Lee Young, PhD