Ashtar was one of the original extraterrestrial entities who appeared among the flying saucer contactees of the 1950s. In his booklet, I Rode a Flying Saucer!, George Van Tassell (1910-1978) claimed that he had begun to receive messages from alien beings from a planet named Shanchea. These channeled messages were directed toward the people of Earth, warning that humanity's warlike ways, in the development of super atomic weapons, threatened the peace not just of Earth, but of the solar system and beyond. Van Tassel began receiving these messages in January of 1952, but it was not until July that an entity named Portla sent the following message: "Approaching your solar system is a ventla [flying saucer] with our chief aboard, commandant of the station Schare in charge of four sectors." The commandant soon introduced himself to Van Tassell as "Ashtar, commandant quadra sector, patrol station Schare, all projections, all waves." Ashtar's subsequent messages would expand upon the anti-atomic weapon theme developed by his extraterrestrial colleagues.
Of all the entities with whom Van Tassel claimed contact, for reasons not altogether clear, Ashtar turned out to be the one to whom people responded and within a few months messages from Ashtar began to be received and spread by other channels. The term "channel," a reference to the new phenomenon of television, began to be used among contactees for one who was receiving messages telepathically from outer space beings. It replaced the Spiritualist term "medium," one who received messages from the deceased.
As the scientific effort to study UFOs emerged and ufology separated itself from what was seen as the lunatic fringe of flying saucer believers, the contactees assumed a role analogous to religious prophets and the extraterrestrial entities who spoke through them emphasized a message that continued the teachings previously advocated by Spiritualists and Theosophists. Ashtar assumed a status similar to such previous spiritual entities as White Eagle and El Morya.
After Van Tassell passed from the scene, in the 1980s a new contactee, Thelma B. Turrell, better known by her public name Tuella, emerged as Ashtar's primary spokesperson. In 1985, she collected many of Ashtar's messages in a book called simply Ashtar: A Tribute, and through the 1980s a number of other people around the world continued to receive messages by and about him, including no less a personage than New Age channel Ruth Montgomery. Ashtar came to be seen as the Supreme Director in charge of the spiritual program for the Earth, and those he led as the Ashtar Command. He was in charge of the 20 million space brothers (and sisters) who were lowering their own vibratory rate so to be enabled to work with earthlings and prepare them for their future evolution.
Messages from the Ashtar Command flourished as the New Age Movement peaked and continued through the 1990s. By the end of the decade, however, so many varied descriptions of Ashtar existed that it became impossible to depict his likeness, and so many contradictory bits of information about him had been written, that it has been difficult to write his biography. Some channels picked up on the positive millennialism of the New Age; others joined in the dark apocalyticism warning of imminent catastrophic events that have repeatedly appeared on the fringes of Western society through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Ashtar's spokespersons resonated with the public anxiety over the hydrogen bomb, but as the threat of nuclear holocaust faded from the public consciousness, a notable shift to more traditional warnings of natural disasters, such as pole shifts, occurred. Ashtar literature continues to circulate in New Age circles and has found its place on the Internet.
Clark, Jerome. "UFO Reporter: Our Friends from the Ashtar Command." Fate 42, no.11 (November 1989): 37-41.
Montgomery, Ruth. Aliens Among Us. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1985.
Tuella [pseudonym of Thelma B. Turrell], ed. Ashtar: A Tribute. Salt Lake City, UT: Guardian Action Publications, 1985.
——. Project World Evacuation: By the Ashtar Command. Salt Lake City, UT: Guardian Action Publications, 1982.
Van Tassell, George. I Rode a Flying Saucer! The Mystery of the Flying Saucers Revealed. Los Angeles: New Age Publishing, 1952.