More than one third of American adults believe that on “…some level they’ve made contact with the dead”(Sagan and Druyan 203). JZ Knight is one of those adults; in fact she has quite the following of well educated, older adults that pay her a lot of money to contact the dead – in the case, Ramtha.
Who Is Ramtha?
Ramtha is a 35,000 year old warrior from the ancient city of Lemuria. The Lemurians were oppressed by highly advanced citizens of Atlantis because they believed the Lemurians were “soulless.” At age 14, Ramtha led a small army against the Atlantians and defeated them. More people joined his army, and he soon became a great warrior. He was stabbed severely during one battle, but miraculously he did not die. His enemies began to believe he was immortal. Ramtha “learned the mysteries of the unknown god and became enlightened” during the seven years he was recovering from his wound. He rose through higher levels of consciousness and eventually transformed into a being of light. He ascended as a God, but vowed to return.
Ramtha channeled through JZ Knight in 1977 while she was playing around with pyramids. Standing in her kitchen a mere ten feet from JZ was an enormous figure, dressed in flowing robes and surrounded by purple light. He proclaimed, “I am Ramtha, the Enlightened One. I have come to help you over the ditch.” He went on to say to a bewildered JZ: “It is the ditch of limitation and fear I will help you over. For you will, indeed, beloved woman become a light unto the world.” Ramtha then warned JZ that she was in danger and she must leave the house immediately, at which point he disappeared. JZ heeded this warning, moving her family into a new home. Days later, the house was ransacked by thugs. The trusting relationship between JZ and Ramtha was thus cemented.
From an early age, JZ Knight always had always experienced psychic and paranormal phenomenon, but the experience with Ramtha was life changing and in 1988 she started the Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment right here in Yelm, Washington.
Ramtha first spoke to the public in 1978, when he made an impact with his vast knowledge and insight. The local media soon picked up on this story helping Ramtha’s (and JZ’s) popularity to spread. The fact that Ramtha emerged in the heart of the New Age movement considerably helped his cause; people were lining up to hear him speak. JZ became a full time channel and began charging money for admittance (an idea brought to her by Ramtha himself). Even Actresses Shirley McLean and Joan Hackett became disciples of Ramtha (The Enlightened One predicted McLean would win the “highest award” for her role in Terms of Endearment). Knight’s popularity among the stars lead to her appearance on the Merv Griffin Show in 1985. JZ’s school has earned her millions of dollars and lots of adoration. She is among the leading New Age channelers with 3000 followers. Disciples come to her ranch in Yelm, Washington to learn the Great Work.
Ramtha’s teachings are encompassed in a work known as the White Book, and these ideas are based on ancient Gnosticism of the Mediterranean. The core principles of Ramtha’s School are 1) a supreme deity is a part of every man, and 2) the key to reaching the God within us is through Gnosis or knowledge. Ramtha himself does not wished to be revered as a God, but rather as an equal. He says in one of his channeling sessions, I am but a teacher, servant, brother unto you.
Ramtha’s origin story is difficult to grasp. The main point is that consciousness exists on multiple levels, with human form being the lowest; the higher the level, the greater the level of consciousness. The entities (Gods) used consciousness to create objects at their whim. In other words, they manifested their dreams to create all the objects in the world. The Gods came down to the lowest levels to experience life in its material form, but they still had their divine powers. The early humans could easily move between levels and manifest their dreams or desires. Over time, however, this ability was lost. Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment allows students to regain these powers, and carry on the task of Gods: to make known the unknown.
The Great Work of Ramtha’s teachings is literally manifesting dreams and desires. In essence, the Great Work requires reaching maximum potential of the mind. The key to manifestations lies in the cerebrum, which, according to Ramtha, has the power to make dreams a reality. In the past, humans would hold a dream or desire in their mind, and it would manifest. Today, humans play a passive role to manifestations. They absorb the world around them in their mind, and this then becomes reality. In a sense, they are trapped in the present reality. Ramtha desires to teach students the power to manifest any desire and make known the unknown.
JZ has undergone a lot of scrutiny as one of the most prominent American channelers. Her overall performance as Ramtha is seamless. While she is channeling, her posture, walk, voice and the color of her eyes changes. Actress Linda Evans, a student of Ramtha’s, argued that if JZ is a fraud then “she is the greatest actress in the world.” A skeptical psychologist became uncertain of JZ’s legitimacy when JZ put her hand on his head revealing such power that he could hardly take it. Even if Ramtha was not real, he said, there was definitely a power within her that science could not explain. Later, a team of scientists did tests on JZ during channeling episodes over the course of a year. The results of the test categorically ruled out fraud or multiple personality disorders. We know something’s going on here, said one of the researchers, we just can’t say, at this point, specifically what it is. Her students swear that JZ and Ramtha have entirely different personas leading them to believe that Ramtha is indeed channeling through JZ.
Other evidence points to the contrary. One of JZ’s business managers saw her “practicing” the Ramtha personality. Her husband Jeff Knight also noticed her slip in and out of the trance to take cigarette breaks (JZ, unlike Ramtha, was a smoker). And according to the Skeptics Dictionary Website: “…it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the likelihood of a 35,000 year old Cro-Magnon ghost suddenly appearing in a Tacoma kitchen to a homemaker to reveal profundities about centers and voids, self-love and guilt-free living, or love and peace, is close to zero.” It takes a great leap of faith to believe that JZ is a channeler, although scientific evidence may not be enough to discredit Ramtha.
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A 20/20 segment portrayed JZ as a fraud who was exploiting peoples’ beliefs in Ramtha for money. The show also claimed that Ramtha was teaching people that they are above morality due to their divine status. These beliefs, they surmised, could only lead to amoral behavior. The 20/20 exposure led to more attacks from the press on JZ and the School.
Today as Ramtha’s school continues to succeed; it is receiving “signs of a certain legitimacy among the religious community. JZ has an unprecedented number of students, and her books and tapes are selling well. Although Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment is surrounded by controversy, there is no clear evidence that JZ is a fraud or that the school is a danger to anyone. Sociologists and psychologists do not believe that students are “brainwashed” to follow this movement, nor are they held against their will. Ramtha’s students are searching for answers to life’s most important questions, and the School is helping them resolve these issues.
Carrol, Robert Todd. “Ramtha aka J.Z. Knight.” The Skeptics Dictionary. Web. 6 June
Diamond, Steve. “Into the Mystic: Ramtha Meets the Scholars.” The New Times.
Web. 6 June 2013. http://www.newtimes.org/issue/9705/97-05-jz.html
McDonald, Sally. “J.Z. Knight Channeling New Support.” Seattle Times May 9, 1998.
Web. 6 June 2013 http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com
McDonald, Sally. “Christianity vs. New Age.” Seattle Times May 9, 1998.
Web. 6 June 2013. t http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com
Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment – The American Gnostic School. 2013. Web. 6 June