Once, when Anne Strieber asked her husband what our planet means to the visitors, Whitley Strieber instinctively replied, “The earth is a school.” This is recounted in Communion, his first book about his experiences with the visitors. But in a 1995 book, The Secret School, he described in detail a literal school the visitors held in the Olmos Basin of San Antonio when he was a child. In his memories, he and several other children (none of whom he recognized) would wander into the Basin by themselves in the dead of night and congregate in a wooden structure hidden in the woods. The female visitor Strieber thinks of as the “Ancient One” would lead the lessons.
Strieber believes he was a pupil at this secret school from the ages of 9 to 12 (1954-1957), but had no conscious memories of it until after he began remembering his December 26, 1985 abduction. He just sensed, from the age of 13, that he had lost significant parts of his childhood.
When he saw the Ancient One again in 1957, during a family abduction from a moving train, he felt calm and happy in her presence. But when he saw her again as an adult, he felt only abject terror. His recovered memories of these incidents, vague at first, gradually solidified into a complete, if mysterious, picture of what happened in the Basin. He can’t recall word-for-word what was told to him by the visitors, though. He recalls the lessons in the shape of concepts or childhood experiences, and in The Secret School he is deliberately vague about them, leaving ample room for flexibility and interpretation. The lessons involve:
- the mystery of Mars (Is Mars a ruined planet, once home to beings like ourselves? If so, what can the end of Mars as a life-sustaining planet tell us about our own relationship to Earth?)
- “angels” (there are people among us who offer invaluable wisdom, solace, and charity – even if they seem quite ordinary in every way)
- time travel (time is not as immutable as we sometimes think it is, and we may master it to better ourselves)
- shamanism (the shaman’s symbolic journey from life to death holds lessons for all of humanity)
- fear (our dread of the unknown holds us back from fully experiencing and learning; it must be overcome)
- the creation of Earth is something we don’t fully understand yet (the visitors explained to young Strieber that it involved meteor collisions, hinting that the seeds of life may have traveled to our planet from elsewhere in the universe)
- history (an understanding of what humans have done throughout our history and how their choices impacted future events will help us to evolve; that history is much richer and stranger than we currently know, involving highly advanced civilizations that were lost in cataclysms).
- the future (time travel is not the only way to predict future changes; our sciences can also aid us in determining where we are heading)
In other words: All of life on Earth is a school, and we are the pupils.
Happiest Holidays to you.