Unarius Academy of Science
UNARIUS ACADEMY OF SCIENCE
UNARIUS ACADEMY OF SCIENCE . Ernest Norman (1904–1971) and Ruth Norman (1900–1993) founded in 1954 the Unarius Science of Life, which began with a small circle of students and clients who requested psychic readings. Members refer to their practice as the "Science" and to themselves as "students." Ernest Norman purportedly possessed clairvoyant abilities that he used to read the past lives of people who requested the service and to contact ascended masters living in other realms of existence. Believing himself to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and other cosmic dignitaries, Ernest Norman channeled messages about his trips to Mars and Venus (Norman, 1956). He also channeled extended lessons in "highly advanced" Unarian Science that is sometimes called interdimensional physics. These basic lessons of Unarian Science are delineated in Ernest Norman's early work, The Infinite Concept of Cosmic Creation (1970). Ruth served as Ernest's helpmate as they built the small organization out of their series of homes in different locations throughout southern California. In 1971, Ernest Norman died, leaving Ruth in charge. Mrs. Norman carried on the "mission" with the help of two early followers, Thomas Miller and Charles Spaegal. Together they channeled messages from the cosmos, which they compiled into a book series called Tesla Speaks.
Ruth Norman and her followers opened a storefront center in 1975 in El Cajon, California. This center includes its own classrooms, library, offices, and print shop, and continues to serve as the spiritual hub of Unarian Science. Although Mrs. Norman claimed many distinguished incarnations, she is best known for her persona of Uriel the Archangel, or her higher self—the Goddess of Love and the Healing Archangel from what Unarians believe is the planet Aries. In order to display her divine nature as Uriel, Mrs. Norman would pose in an elaborate costume, complete with a glittering tiara, as she waved some type of a scepter. Frequently photographed and interviewed by news organizations, she promoted her prophecy of the coming of thirty-three spaceships that would save the earth in 2001.
According to Unarian millenarian prophecy, the Space Brothers, as the extraterrestrials are called, would usher in a new age of logic, reason, love, and peace for all the beings in the universe. They would solve all social and ecological problems by ending privation and want with their spiritual science. The large spaceships (usually depicted in Unarian art as flying saucers) would land on top of one another in order to form a towering university that would serve humankind. Using the construction materials brought by the ships, the Space Brothers would build a "Power Tower" that could supply every earthly energy need from a nonpolluting cosmic source. The planets of the Interplanetary Confederation that would supposedly send spaceships are called: El, Rey, Basis, Yessu, Luminus (once called Severus), Valneza, Osnus, Idonus, Vixall, Earth II, Vidus, Anzea, Po, Deva, Endinite, Dollium, Ballium, Dal, Shunan, Brundage, Kallium, Delna, Farris, Serena, Vulna, Emil, Sixtus, Eneshia, Glenus, Din, Zeton, Jena, and Myton. Each ship would contain one thousand Space Brother scientists, who could teach the people of earth how to use their advanced technology.
In anticipation of this prophesied landing, Unarius purchased acreage for the ships in nearby Jamul, California, during the 1970s. Despite the fact that no ships landed in 2001 as predicted, Unarians believe that the landing will take place "when earth people are ready." Unarians frequently receive clairvoyant channeled messages from the spaceships and their deceased leaders, which are published in their literature. An annual celebration that honors the prophecy and features a parade of the banners of the planets occurs every October.
Ruth Norman headed the Unarius Academy of Science until her death in 1993. Charles Spaegal, whose spiritual name was Antares, succeeded her by running the center until he passed away in 1999. Thereafter Unarius was guided by a board of directors composed of long-term committed students of the Science. All jobs that entail the daily running of the Unarian center are unpaid volunteer positions. Current local members attend classes at the center, where they study Unarian literature and give testimonial accounts of the benefits of their spiritual science. Although some followers expressed a deep prior interest in UFOs, adherents more frequently report a familiarity with beliefs in the paranormal before joining Unarius. The local core membership ranges from forty to sixty dedicated students, while considerably more people are in contact with the organization through various types of correspondence, such as phone, email, and letters. Unarius has translated some of their works into Spanish in an attempt to reach out to American Latinos and those in Central and South America. Thousands of people remain on the Unarian mailing list after having either seriously or casually contacted the group. Through mail-order supply, those interested in Unarian Science can take correspondence lessons, read books, and watch video lessons.
Unarians insist that their pursuit is a science not a religion. Unarius offers classes in past-life therapy, interdimensional physics, and art therapy. Trusted students who are considered advanced in the science facilitate the classes. When a person regularly attends classes and participates in the volunteer activities that keep the group operational, he or she is considered a good student, or good member, of the group. More responsibility falls to those students who are able to channel messages from the Space Brothers. In addition, Unarian channelers contact Ernest and Ruth Norman as part of the "Spiritual Hierarchy" that communicates with the group.
Although there is no tendency toward androgynous clothing or expression, gender roles tend toward an egalitarian model partly because of the strong belief in reincarnation. Members believe they have lived as both sexes in their past incarnations. They share tasks and cooperate without making reference to any gender specificity, except in the case of lifting heavy objects, when men are usually called upon to do the job.
Unarian philosophy focuses strongly upon healing through past-life therapy. Healing comes from the recognition of past-life imbalances and indiscretions that surface through feelings, visions, or dreams. Unarians welcome these so-called memories of past lives, a phenomenon called recovered memory in modern psychology. As a recommended healing process, members act out "memories" of past lives in psychodramas, which are often videotaped. Historically and contemporaneously, Unarian films have recorded many stories of past lives that are available to the general public when they play on local cable access stations in many American cities.
The Unarius Academy of Science remains significant because it is one of the oldest and most enduring UFO religions. The history of Unarius exemplifies a typical feature of such religions inasmuch as it initially functioned around charismatic leaders who telepathically communicated with supernatural extraterrestrials. Despite the eventual loss of both Ernest and Ruth Norman, Unarius continued to operate, and it even withstood a failed prophecy in 2001 without any appreciable loss of membership. Like other such groups, it considers the advent of extraterrestrials as a millenarian act of spiritual salvation, and this belief persistently gains adherents in the postmodern age.
Norman, Ernest. The Voice of Venus. El Cajon, Calif., 1956. Norman narrates his astral trip to Venus by describing life on the planet. See also The Truth about Mars (1956) by the same author, published by Unarius.
Norman, Ernest. The Infinite Concept of Cosmic Creation: Home Study Lesson Course. Glendale, Calif., 1970. This is the original, hard-to-find, large volume that explains Unarian Science. Individual lessons can be ordered through Unarius.
Norman, Ruth E. Tesla Speaks, Vol. 7: Countdown!!! To Space Fleet Landing, or George Adamski Speaks Again from Planet Venus. El Cajon, Calif., 1974. In this volume of the Tesla Speaks series, Mrs. Norman published one of the first predictions of a millenarian nature.
Norman, Ruth E. Interdimensional Physics: The Mind of the Universe. El Cajon, Calif., 1989. Channeled messages from outer space explain the physics of the universe.
Spiegel, Louis (Antares). I, Bonaparte: An Autobiography. El Cajon, Calif., 1985. Charles Spaegel, or Antares, explains his past lives, including one as Napoleon.
Tumminia, Diana. "How Prophecy Never Fails: Interpretive Reason in a Flying-Saucer Group." Sociology of Religion 59 (1998): 157–170. This theoretical and historical examination of the Unarian unfulfilled prophecies is supplemented by ethnographic information about the ways members rationalize away the evidence that does not support their beliefs.
Tumminia, Diana G. "In the Dreamtime of the Saucer People." Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 31 (2002): 675–705. This ethnographic work describes how knowledge in Unarius is constructed through dreams, visions, and psychic readings.
Tumminia, Diana G., and R. George Kirkpatrick. "Unarius: Emergent Aspects of a Flying Saucer Group." In The Gods Have Landed: New Religions from Other Worlds, edited by James R. Lewis, pp. 85–104. Albany, N.Y., 1995. This chapter in a popular anthology about UFO religions details some of the many beliefs held by Unarians; it also contains demographic information from an earlier study of Unarius students.
Uriel and Unarius students. The Proof of the Truth of Past Life Therapy. El Cajon, Calif., 1988. Unarius students give testimonials about their healings that resulted from the use of Unarian Science, and they explain how memories of their past lives surfaced.
Diana G. Tumminia (2005)