The dark historical roots of ‘starseeds’

Jules Evans
20 min readApr 29, 2022

I’d never heard of starseeds before January 6 2021, when one of them stormed the Capitol building in DC. In the days after, I was researching Jake Angeli, the ‘Qanon shaman’, and discovered he ran something called the ‘Starseed Academy. Like other ‘starseeds’, Jake thinks he is a highly evolved soul from another planet. I wondered what a psychedelic hippy alien was doing mixed up in a quasi-fascist insurrection.

Since then, I’ve dived deeper into the phenomenon of starseeds, and realized the idea of ‘starseeds’ has deep historical links with fascism and white supremacy. In fact, one of the pioneers of the idea was imprisoned 60 years before Angeli, for plotting a fascist uprising in the US.

This weird history has four parts:

1) The origins of UFO mythology in the far-right occulture of 1880s-1930s

2) White supremacy and anti-semitism in UFO culture in the 1950s-1990s

3) The idea of Starseeds from the 1970s to the present day

4) Finally, I’ll ask ‘why is the idea of being a Starseed so appealing to young people now?’

1) The origins of UFO mythology in the far-right occulture of 1880s-1930s

At the end of the 19th century, the public imagination was filled with the idea of voyages to space and encounters with extra-terrestrial civilizations. Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli had observed what looked like water channels on Mars, leading to excited speculations the planet was filled with artificial canals. In 1902, George Méliès made the first science fiction movie, A Trip to the Moon.

These fantasies found their way into the occulture. In 1900, French psychologist Theodore Flournoy published From India to the Planet Mars, an account of his hypnotism sessions with a medium, Helene Smith. In trance states, Helene recounted past lives on Earth, and also on Mars and Uranus.

At the same time, members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a fin-de-siecle occult society whose members included WB Yeats and Aleister Crowley, practiced ‘astral travel’ to other planets. These were extended visualization exercises in which the magicians sent their spirits out into space, where they sometimes encountered planetary and astral spirits…

Jules Evans