Stephanie and I were in Portugal over the weekend to do an evening talk in Lisbon and a workshop the next day in Sintra, which is a beguiling small town in the hills outside the city, full of greenery and tangerine trees. Byron loved it, and it was here that Aleister Crowley staged his fake suicide to spice up the passion of his latest relationship. If my memory is correct he left his cigarette box with a suicide note on a rock by the sea and then legged it back to Paris on a train. I can’t remember if his reunion with his lover was wildly passionate as a result or whether she hit him with a wet fish. But I was talking to our Portuguese hosts about this story and they told me of an urban legend that still drifts around Portugual like a hazy mist – that Crowley never really left the country, but lived to a ripe old age somewhere in the countryside – ‘Deep Portugal’ as they call the hinterland.
On Sunday we struck inland – into Deep Portugal – and got half way towards the Spanish border. I had discovered the existence of a mysterious-sounding organisation and I wanted to learn more about them. And there in the middle of nowhere it was – the campus of the Institute of Projectiology, a division of the International Academy of Consciousness.
Here they have built strange igloo-like laboratories to facilitate astral travel and explorations of consciousness. We were kindly shown around by the directors of the Institute and their colleague and were very impressed. One laboratory, made of wood, was carefully placed within a tree and was designed to explore the energy field of the tree and its effect on our awareness. Another was a giant concrete egg, painted white which you enter and that houses a platform floating in the centre of the egg with a bed on it, to be used for experiments in consciousness projection.
Truly the world is an extraordinary place. There are so many exciting projects being undertaken. Mysteriously my camera wouldn’t function at the Institute, but it started working again when we entered a prehistoric vehicle for astral travel (perhaps!): Portugal’s Stonehenge, just west of Evora – the cromlech of Almendres. Notice the three circles marked on this stone (which are ancient and are not graffiti), beside which stand our hosts and the two most accomplished publishers in Portugal, Alexandre and Sofia of Zefiro Editions:
And notice here the cup markings on this stone: