One of our reporters interviewed a recent 'victim' of astral junk mail; The High Priestess of the New Reformed Orthodox High Church of Wicca (Wymeswold Branch), Marjorie Pebble.
"It's awful. Why only last week we invoked the Goddess, and instead of getting the advice I wanted to heal our Sharon's bad knee, all I got was a repeating message to subscribe to 'Occult News Monthly' or something. It's getting so bad that every time I meditate I get all these jingles running through my head selling Aeon-share holidays or ozone-friendly Demon-repellant."
Last month, a public meeting of occultists at Conway Hall was thrown into chaos when, following a Pathworking, several members of the audience complained about seeing 359 formation-dancing Angels advertising the new Qabalistic treatise by 'Z'em Bang Hafesh Wang'. Visitors to Glastonbury have also reported feeling a strange 'empty' sensation when climbing the Tor, which can only be assuaged by visiting Russell Wobble's Astral Health food and Orgone-free Wine Bar. The problem appears to become particularly bad during the festivals, full moons, and in the run-up to Yuletide.
But some occultists, notably those in the business sector, are fully behind astral advertising. We spoke to Angel Moonflower of the 'Have A Nice Day' New Age Centre, Stow-on-the Wold:
"Well, I prefer to think that it gives consumerism a spiritual dimension. All our crystals have been charged with the messages "buy me" and "buy one more". But really, you know you can never have too many crystals. I think that little blue one in the corner likes you..."
After a long and arduous ritual (including intermission & commercial breaks) we managed to find the inner-plane adepts masterminding astral advertising in the UK, the shadowy A... A..., Inc. They were out to lunch, but we left a message with the Guardian of the Threshold. Later, in a channelled interview through their solicitors, Shem, Ham & Phorash, the A... A... said:
"This is only the beginning. We can train a good neophyte in six months to project an image & soundtrack, and thanks to the Butterfly Effect it'll stay coherent on the astral for months. Of course, whenever someone picks receives the advert, their contact feeds more energy into the thought-form. Our first takers were a consortium of Chaoists doing a special offer 'try our Chaosphere on the astral for 90 days before you buy'. Then the OTTO hired us to project an advert of Crowley endorsing one of his own books. Anyone doing the Gnostic Mass for the next few months should be able to pick it up. That's the beauty of it - not only is it cheap, but you can target your audiences. And it's not only occultists who are taking advantage of our services. A major soup company has offered us a substantial amount to market 'Olive Twitch's Instant Cook-in-a-Cauldron Noodles', using a dopple-ganger of Gerald Gardner and the New Forest Coven. In the next few months we're to begin beaming out a series of coffee ads starring several members of the Greek Pantheon. It's amazing what some of those old deities will do for a bit of media attention. We're particularly pleased with the one featuring Zeus, 2 Nymphs, several goats and a jar of Nescafe Gold Blend."
"But" we said, "Isn't this getting a bit out of hand?"
"Not at all. The occult needs to move with the times, and we're using 1% of our income to help general spiritual enlightenment with sponsored pathworkings for minor demi-gods; posting 'Keep the Planes Tidy' notices at all major portals, and computerising the Akashic Records."
But some traditionalists are not convinced. Hercules Wobble of the Order of the Nine Blades; head of the Surbiton Branch of the 'Clean Up the Astral' campaign told us:
"It's bloody disgraceful. Yesterday we performed a full evocation of Asmodeus and his 99 legions for a Channel 4 Astral Broadcast Unit, and all the little buggers turned up wearing 'Norse Gods Comeback Tour' T-Shirts!"
Despite the controversy, it looks as though Astral Advertising is here to stay. Since we complained on behalf of suffering readers, the A... A... have generously offered a simple astral 'noise filter' meditation. It costs a mere £500 and is available from Mammon Investments direct. Simply visualise the A... A... logo - a dollar sign inside a triangle, and, on hearing the astral bell, simply chant your name, address, and Karmacard number.