Francois Strachan, editor of the Aquarian Guide (1970) , in her summary of the Aetherius Society is pretty accurate:
‘Metaphysics, Flying Saucers, Spiritual Healing, the Coming of the Next Master, the Space Message, Yoga, Magic, Karma and Reincarnation…these are some of the occult subjects dealt with by The Aetherius Society, whose President, George King, is himself a renowned Western Yoga Master…’
Well, perhaps not totally accurate. Metaphysics, Yoga and Karma are not strictly ‘ occult subjects ‘. However, it’s true that this mish-mash of discrete topics were, and perhaps still are, part of what Aetherius is all about , and judging from its presence online the society is thriving.
And Strachan is also right in regarding the ‘ Reverend ‘ George King, or ‘Dr’ George King, DD, Th. D or sometimes George King D. Sc, D. Litt, or even George King, D Sc., Th. D as the presiding genius of the Society.
It all came about like this. One sunny day in May 1954 George King, a London cabbie, was washing dishes in the kitchen of his flat in Maida Vale when he suddenly became aware of a strange Voice. It didn’t come from within him, he later declared, but was an exterior presence, and it said to him in English:
‘ Prepare Yourself. You are to Become the Voice of Interplanetary Parliament.’
King later called this ‘The Command’ and although he hadn’t a clue what this Interplanetary Parliament was, and despite knowing nothing about Flying Saucers or beings from Outer Space, he paid serious heed to this Command. Soon afterwards a being from Venus which he dubbed Aetherius, visited him and explained what King was expected to do. He was to act as a conduit for messages from the Gods of Space. In the following year King set up The Aetherius Society to promote the wisdom of highly evolved intelligences from other planets ‘.
King’s background may have had some influence on his conduct. Born in Wellington, Shropshire in 1919, even as a boy King was interested in spiritual matters. At some point he became a Quaker and during the Second World War declared himself a Conscientious Objector, replacing military service with service as a Fire Officer during the Blitz. At about this time he became interested in yoga and practiced it for 8 – 10 hours a day—not for its health benefits, but for its spiritual qualities. During the ‘fifties, according to the Aetherius promotional material, ‘he honed his psychic abilities and entered some of the highest states of consciousness it is possible to achieve on earth’ as a Western Yoga Master.
The HQ of the Aetherius Society since 1958 has been at 757, Fulham Road, not too far from Parsons Green Underground station The premises were modest at first, but as the funds rolled in during the hippy era of the mid sixties, the floor space expanded and before long Mr King and his cronies had added a George King Chapel from which the Blessed Leader received messages from Outer Space. In the seventies the Reverend Doctor, at some point christened ‘ The Metropolitan Archbishop ‘, moved to California, where he died in 1997 aged 78. He left behind him a loyal following in many countries and several books (some hardly more than pamphlets) many of which can still be bought online. Titles include Jesus Comes Again, This is the Hour of Truth, Become a Builder of the New Age, Visit to the Logos of Earth: a True Contact with the Lords of the Flame, You are Responsible and Contacts with the Gods of Space. The blurb of the latter extols the virtues of ‘this fascinating book (which) explains the seemingly unexplainable, introducing an array of mind-blowing spiritual revelations on subjects including life beyond Earth, UFO’s, mediumship, Karma, reincarnation, Atlantis, Lemuria, Maldek, Cosmic Missions, Ascended Masters, life after death, spiritual energy, holy mountains, spiritual ecology, prophecy, and even the future of life on Earth !’ Also available are issues of King’s magazine, Cosmic Voice, dating back sixty years.
The Aetherius Society continues to expand. In 2013 it opened the Aetherius Temple in Kelvedon Road, adjoining the HQ. There is also a Health Food Shop nearby, which , according to the Society, is ‘ the oldest in London.
R. M. Healey