I’m writing this testimonial under a pseudonym, and with a couple of place-names changed to protect my real identity. There are various reasons for this. For one, there is nothing to be gained from revealing my real name when there are so many defamers around who would wish to harass anyone in public life who was prepared to stand up for Laura Knight-Jadczyk and her work. If it’s needed, I can always testify under my real name in a document prepared and attested by the proper legal authorities. But for the moment I want to preserve a measure of anonymity. That in itself, however, doesn’t detract from what I have to say. It’s just a responsible recognition of the sort of world we live in.
I’m a priest in the Church of England. As a religious professional it’s my job and my responsibility to investigate spiritual matters, for the benefit of society at large. For many in our secularized society, this must seem a strange vocation – but it’s valued in many quarters, and has a long-standing tradition behind it. A common belief about priesthood is that it’s seen as inherently conservative, and there’s a lot of truth here – although it works two ways. One way might be termed the way of the literalist, the priest seeking simply to keep the tradition he or she has received. The other way might be termed the way of the seeker. And here the priest, while keeping the tradition, is nevertheless exploring the deeper implications of it.
Ideally, any priest who is useful to his or her society has probably started off from a literalist stance, and is later exploring what it actually means. And the same might be true of any Christian. Speaking from my own tradition, the Church of England, there is nothing peculiar in this way of thinking. It’s exemplified by the common-sense exploratory work of the English medieval mystics such as Julian of Norwich and the unknown author of The Cloud of Unknowing, and by the later Anglican divines, who had little time for hogwash, lies, or easy sentiment. Their understanding was that Christianity was a robust faith, which didn’t need protecting. It could stand on its own two feet without apologetics. And this is my point of view too, because it allows for the sort of open-mindedness and open-heartedness where the Holy Spirit can be free to move as it wishes, and show forth the mysterious ways of God.
I started off in the faith as a teenager who found much of value in the Bible – particularly in the words of Jesus. Having attended Anglican and Methodist churches, I then went to university to study ancient languages, primarily those from ancient western Asia, which meant a familiarity with the Old Testament. I also worked as a student archaeologist for some months in the region. Having wanted to devote my life to God, I entered a monastery in Suffolk after graduation, and after the appropriate training there, helped to set up a new monastery in Uzbekistan. After this, I was trained for a further three years in pastoral theology before ordination as a priest.
In my parish work it became abundantly clear that simple adherence to a literalist understanding of Christianity was not enough for those who came to church. The inner pain many Christians experience might be alleviated by their faith, but they clearly needed more. And so I set out to explore further the depths of this faith. And in 2004 I came across Laura’s work on the internet. I’d been looking for further information on psychopathy, and I found a wealth of material on this subject on the Cassiopaea website – together with some very profound spiritual insights about the Christian faith.
Laura and I sent various emails to each other on Biblical topics, and she was able to bring some of my reading on the Bible up to date, which was an enormous help. Laura herself is a brilliant student of the Bible, and has some profound insights, which have helped me enormously in my work to understand how it was put together. At universities around the world there is a great deal of ongoing work on this subject, which sadly doesn’t always filter down to most Christians – which is a great shame, as the ramifications of this work are potentially of great significance for us all. Laura’s work on the Bible, the depth of her theological erudition, and her writings on the subject – all founded on her own clearly evident devotion to the divine – have been of immense significance for me in understanding more of the ways of the Holy Spirit. For that I cannot thank her enough.
We met for the first time in January 2010, when she invited me to her house, and I’ve since spent something like three months in total as her guest working on Biblical material. As a person she’s down-to-earth and approachable, with an enormous fund of practical common-sense. She is generous with her encouragement, and has a truly nurturing spirit. I’ve also attended a couple of her experimental sessions in superluminal communication using a spirit board, and I can assure anybody that these are well-controlled affairs carried out with respect and courtesy for the unknown, but in a chatty and lively environment. These sessions were neither seances with the dead, nor were they in any sense a “dabbling” with the occult: they were serious scientific experiments, with no sense of the dramatic or untoward.
A lot of people have shown some trepidation about spirit boards, and perhaps this is all for the best. The spiritual world, about which we have little scientific understanding as yet, is something of a jungle, as many priests can bear witness. Laura herself has conducted what the Church would term “exorcisms” as an extension of her work and training as a certified hypnotherapist, and it takes a good deal of maturity, not to mention courage, to pit oneself against what we might euphemistically term an Evil Spirit. This isn’t to say that the Church itself completely understands such things – and is usually frank in saying so, at least in private – but the reality of the intensity of spiritual evil in certain afflicted individuals is something that society expects the Church to be able to deal with. It’s worthy of special note that Laura has conducted herself with particular competence and psychological insight on such occasions. I know this to be true because I’ve listened very closely to the tape-recordings from one of these exorcisms.
Two things stand out for me here: she never faltered, even under the psychological onslaught of a directed evil that would have knocked the wind out of most of us, and she didn’t fall prey to the temptation to set herself up as master of the evil spirit. That takes an extraordinary wisdom and humility, in the face of something palpably evil and actually very much an unknown quantity.
That kind of background stands Laura well in dealing with the spiritual world, where there are certainly dangers, but also potentially much of benefit for humanity as a whole. Although, as with any information gained from a spiritual source, constant checking is required to verify it – and for that reason as much as anything, much of the work done by Laura is dedicated research at a high academic level. She’s certainly the most well-read person I have ever met, as well as a brilliant writer on spiritual matters – itself not an easy task, where a great deal of modern writing on the subject can be rather light-weight or prone to mystification. Laura, though, is neither of these things. She is clear, direct and deep.
This might all seem somewhat abstruse – but Laura’s work has real-world implications. Our world is beset by evil on many fronts. Some of this is just plain old ignorance, while other forms are quite direct in intent. The work on psychology that Laura continues to forge ahead with has focused on the damage done in narcissistic family and relationship settings, and this has clear pastoral implications as her online forum bears evidence. She has also investigated the barriers to an individual’s own progress to become more mature and responsible. Such tools for deeper self-knowledge are invaluable – and the work continues to find out more. A notable success here was the recent development of Eiriu Eolas, a set of breathing techniques which relaxes the mind and body profoundly, and releases deeply-seated emotional blocks.
Laura and her associates have also focused particularly on the damage done by psychopaths – people without a functioning conscience. The havoc and turmoil they cause has had an abiding impact on each of us as individuals. My own studies have revealed that psychopaths have been the primary cause of the ongoing deterioration of society as a whole, which has been skewed out of shape and degraded by them. In business and politics, not to mention the sciences, there has been much damage done. It’s now clear that much of the misery of war and economic exploitation has largely been caused by such people.
Laura was instrumental in publishing a particularly important book, Political Ponerology, by the Polish psychologist Andrew Lobaczewski, which explores the mechanisms whereby society is broken down by psychopaths in positions of political power. And indeed there are many such people in positions of national leadership, which should be cause of grave concern everywhere. Psychopaths, as well as their enablers, the authoritarians – a large bloc of people who simply go along as they’re directed by whoever they perceive to be an authority figure – continue to be instrumental in causing untold suffering. Indeed, religious life itself has been deeply corrupted by such people.
In shining a light on such things, Laura and her allies have understandably come under attack. Such people as those who attack her thrive in the darkness. Detractors have attempted to portray Laura’s group as a cult, hoping that if they sling enough mud, some of it will stick long enough to raise people’s suspicions. This is why I have written this testimonial. I am a witness to the truth and that truth is that Laura is an investigator. That’s what pushes her forward – the search for truth, insofar as we can know it. That necessarily makes it a search which is scientific but also spiritual. This might seem unusual in a world where research tends to be somewhat fragmented, but it’s by no means unheard of. It is, after all, fully in line with the “seeker” mode of mature Christianity, and a holistic approach to the sciences. Her team of fellow-investigators, including her husband – a well-respected academic physicist – follows this approach too, and there is a strong sense of fellowship among the members of what is essentially a research association.
For all these reasons, I heartily commend Laura and her Cassiopaea project as a brave and honest endeavour to understand more about ourselves and our situation, in our material as well as spiritual context.
10 April 2011