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Archive for April 22nd, 2012

Nocturnal Adventures

Posted by Admin on April 22, 2012

Nocturnal Adventures
by Owen K Waters

Other than a few remembered dreams, our nighttime slumbers seem to be one big twilight zone of consciousness where nothing much happens at all.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

A curtain of forgetfulness is drawn across our consciousness each time we awake from sleep. What really happens at night is actually more vivid, more alive, and more real than anything that happens during the day in the physical world.

At night, we travel in a more subtle world than the physical one. Human consciousness has many ‘bodies,’ or shells of consciousness, each of which functions at a different level of awareness. The more dense bodies used by each human being are the physical body, its etheric energy counterpart, and the astral or spirit body. The less dense ones begin with the soul ‘body,’ which is a nonphysical field of consciousness that exists beyond the limitations of time and space, and then go on up the frequency scale of consciousness from there.

To understand where these bodies fit into the grand scale of universal consciousness, realize that there are 12 density layers of consciousness. Some people refer to the different density layers as ‘dimensions.’ As physical beings today, we exist in third density and are in the process of transitioning into fourth density. Fourth density has been traditionally the home of the spirit realms. It still will be after The Shift to higher consciousness has been completed, but the spirit realms will move up to higher sub-layers within fourth density as the physical realm moves in.

The spirit realms are referred to in the plural as there are many sub-layers of consciousness within fourth density. The spirit or astral realms are also known as the afterlife. They vary from the lower astral realms, through the highly-populated middle realms, and on into the higher astral realms or heavens.

When you eventually pass on from the physical realm, as we all do eventually, you will find yourself located in the exact spirit realm that corresponds to your normal frequency of consciousness. If you have strong issues to resolve, they will hold you back a little until you have worked through them by a process of integration. The whole experience of the afterlife is dedicated to the integration of whatever issues of separation were generated during a person’s physical lifetime. If they became polarized against a particular person, i.e. grew to hate them, then they will learn to see the situation from a higher perspective and heal that issue of separation through the forgiveness of themselves and the other person. Then, as the healing of any issues occurs, they rise higher in consciousness within the spirit world.

The mentality of 3D (the third density physical world) is SEPARATIVE in nature and 4D (the fourth density spirit world) is INTEGRATIVE, or healing, in nature. 3D resonates to the human solar plexus energy center, with its mental development and its competitive nature, while 4D resonates to the heart.

The higher aspect of heart consciousness is the first stage of spiritual awareness. It is here that, as a principle, the good of the many is recognized as being more important than immediate benefits to the self. This leads to a sense of service where the person wants to help ensure that the best is available to everyone.

This is the foundation of a world which is supportive rather than competitive. In such a world there really is more for everyone; much more, because the energy that was spent in competition against others is now funneled into productive work.

At night, when you leave the awareness of your physical body behind, it is not because your brain has shut down for the night. It is because your attention has shifted into your spirit body. Your spirit body rises out of your physical body and prepares to begin your nocturnal adventures.

Next week, we’ll take a tour of the spirit world and see what options you have for the best of nocturnal adventures. And, we’ll go on to discuss how to develop better dreamtime recall so that you can remember those adventures.

*If you enjoyed today’s article, forward it to a friend! They will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Owen K Waters is the author of Freedom of the Spirit: Four Powerful Steps to Spiritual Freedom. This deeply insightful e-book combines some of today’s most proven and time-tested spiritual practices into one powerful and effective package.

Available now for immediate download at:
http://www.infinitebeing.com/ebooks/freedom.htm

 

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“They Live”, the Weird Movie With a Powerful Message

Posted by Admin on April 22, 2012

http://vigilantcitizen.com/moviesandtv/they-live-the-weird-movie-with-a-powerful-message/

By  | April 17th, 2012 | Category: Movies and TV | 246 comments

They Live’ is a science-fiction movie from the Eighties that features aliens, a WWF wrestler and a whole lot of sunglasses. What’s not to like? While, at first glance, the movie appears to be a bunch of nonsense, ‘They Live’ actually communicates a powerful message about the elite and its use of mass media to control the masses. Is the movie describing what we call the Illuminati? This article looks at the deeper meaning of John Carpenter’s strange but fascinating movie ‘They Live’.

Warning: Major spoilers ahead (get over it, the movie is 24 years old).

Watching They Live is a conflicting experience. It is an odd combination of eye-opening messages with lackluster acting, powerful social commentary with 1950′s B-movie special effects and gripping satire with odd punchlines. Constantly making viewers oscillate between “Wow, that was genius!” to “Wow, that was corny!”, it is difficult to properly evaluate the movie from a cinematographic point of view. However, from a “message” point of the view, They Live is gold. Based on Ray Nelson’s short story Eight O’Clock in the Morning, the movie is one of those rare subversive stories that forces viewers to question their world and their surroundings. Because, despite the fact that the movie is about ghoulish aliens, it communicates truths to the viewers that are only alluded to in mainstream movies. In fact, looking deeper into the storyline, one might realize that there’s probably more “science” than “fiction” in the story of They Live … especially when one has “truth-seeing sunglasses”.

The hero of the movie, played by WWF wrestler Rowdy Roddy Pipper, is a drifter that is apparently nameless. In the short story and the movie’s credits, he is referred to as Nada, which means ‘nothing’ in Spanish. While this nameless nothing is broke and homeless, he still manages to expose the alien’s hidden rule of the world. How did he accomplish that? With the only thing he’d ever need: The Truth. Oh, and also guns. He used a lot of guns. Most importantly, despite the fact that Nada was tempted several times to shut up in exchange for “generous compensation”, he kept his integrity and never agreed to sell out to the aliens. Now, that’s a role model. To top it off, he says the best things ever.

“I’m here to kick ass and chew bubble gum … and I’m all out of bubble gum”.

Are the aliens in the movie an imaginative way to portray the world’s elite, those who secretly run the world, those we call the Illuminati? Let’s revisit this cult classic and see how it describes the hidden rule of the elite.

The Premise

Right from the beginning, as we see Nada walking around Los Angeles with his backpack, the movie sets a particular mood: Something is not quite right. While Nada appears to be a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, the city is not happy and it is not too kind to happy-go-lucky kind of guys. Quite the contrary, there is a sense of impending doom in the air: Poverty is rampant, helicopters fly around the city and street preachers speak of soulless beings ruling the world.

“The venom of snakes is under their lips. Their mouths are full of bitterness and curses. And in their paths, nothing but ruin and misery. And the fear of God is not before their eyes! They have taken the hearts and minds of our leaders. They have recruited the rich and powerful, and they have blinded us to the truth! And our human spirit is corrupted. Why do we worship greed? Because outside the limit of our sight, feeding off us, perched on top of us from birth to death are our owners. Our owners — they have us. They control us. They are our masters. Wake up. They’re all about you, all around you!”.

Is the preacher’s description of the “masters” applicable to the Illuminati? I believe so.

As we follow Nada’s aimless drifting across the city, the camera often focuses on people gazing blankly at television screens, mindlessly absorbing the vapid messages it communicates. Regular Joes appear to truly enjoy their television shows … until an obscure organization hacks the airwaves to broadcast subversive messages about the hidden rulers of the world.

“Our impulses are being redirected. We are living in an artificially induced state of consciousness that resembles sleep. (…) The poor and the underclass are growing. Racial justice and human rights are nonexistent. They have created a repressive society, and we are their unwitting accomplices. Their intention to rule rests with the annihilation of consciousness. We have been lulled into a trance. They have made us indifferent to ourselves, to others. We are focused only on our own gain. Please understand. They are safe as long as they are not discovered. That is their primary method of survival. Keep us asleep, keep us selfish, keep us sedated.”

Can the above statement be applied to the Illuminati? I believe so.

The Average Joes who watch this pirated TV broadcast all get a massive headache – the raw truth is indeed too much for most people to bear. One such viewer switches the channel after telling the guy on TV: “Blow it out your ass”. Just like today, most people do not want to hear about this kind of stuff … they just want to go back to their mindless TV viewing.

Nada realizes that the street preacher and the man on television are connected through a local church. When he sneaks into the church, he discovers that it is actually the headquarters of an underground organization.

On a wall inside the church is written “They Live We Sleep”, a phrase that describes the fundamental difference between the elite and the masses. Those in power know the truth about the world and possess the means and the power to truly “live”. The rest of the population is sedated, dumbed-down and manipulated into a zombie-like status in order for it to be as easily manageable as possible by the masters. The masses’ ignorance equals a state of endless slumber.

Nada learns that the rebellious organization is attempting to recruit people to take down the rulers. However, a few days later, Nada discovers what happens to those who plot against those in power.

Helicopters, bulldozers and police in riot gear raid the place, destroy everything and violently arrest the members of the underground organization. That is how the elite responds to contrary views.

After witnessing the violent police shakedown, Nada begins to realize that something is wrong in America. The happy-go-lucky guy who believed in working hard and following the rules is starting to believe that something is amiss here.

Determined to learn more, Nada re-enters the church and finds a few interesting things.

The police painted over “They Live We Sleep”. Obviously, “They” don’t want that message to be known.

More importantly, Nada discovers a box full of sunglasses that allows his to see the world as it is. Added bonus: They also look pretty cool.

Seeing the Truth

While the sunglasses found by Nada appear on the surface to be worthless, they actually provide him with the greatest gift of all: The Truth. When Nada first puts on the sunglasses, the experience is shocking.

When he has his sunglasses on, Nada sees through the smoke and mirrors projected by advertisement and mass media . He only sees the core of their message and the only reason why they exist.

No matter which magazine Nada flips open, he sees the same subliminal messages, which tells a lot about the true function of “celebrity” and “fashion” magazines. Despite the fact that they are all different, they all ultimately serve the same purpose: To reinforce messages from the elite to the masses.

Nada also quickly understands the truth about money.

“In God We Trust”?

Nada’s most shocking discovery concerns people around him.

Some people are not human. They are from another race that has infiltrated society.

Nada realizes that they are everywhere and that they hold positions of power, like this politician giving a typical “politician” speech on television. Is this a way to portray the Illuminati?

Upon discovering this truth, Nada became pissed off. REALLY pissed off. How did he react to the situation? He did not go home and write a poem about it. Nope, he grabbed a shotgun and started shooting aliens.

When the aliens realize that Nada can see through their disguise, they immediately alert the authorities saying “I’ve got one that can see”. Being able to “see” is obviously frowned upon by the aliens – they do not like to be exposed. Nada quickly becomes a social pariah and aliens start closing in on him. Confronted with this situation, Nada says profound and timeless words: “I don’t like this ooooooooone bit”.

Many aliens are part of the police force as its sole purpose is to ensure that the alien’s rule is not disturbed. Most policemen are however regular humans and just follow the orders because that’s their job … a little like actual policemen who do the Illuminati’s work.

Nada and everyone in the city are constantly monitored by flying surveillance cameras that are oddly similar to the new unmanned drones that are currently appearing around the world.

Flying surveillance cameras were considered science fiction in 1988. They are reality today.

An actual, modern unmanned drone mounted with a video camera.

The concept of truth-seeing sunglasses is an interesting way to illustrate the importance of knowledge in one’s world perception. Two people can be looking at the exact same thing yet perceive two very different realities, depending on the level of information and awareness possessed by each person. Nada’s sunglasses can therefore represent one’s knowledge of the truth, which allows a clear perception of reality.

Looking for Others Who Know the Truth

Upon learning the shocking truth about the world, Nada feels the need to share this vital information with his friend Frank Armitage. Nada however quickly realizes some people do not want to hear about it. In fact, many actually get angry and offended at the simple mention of something that alludes to it. When Nada asks Frank to put on his sunglasses so he can see what he sees, Frank firmly refuses and calls him a “crazy motha…”. Nada replies with another classic line “Either you put these sunglasses on or start eating that trash can”.

Then ensues one of the longest one-on-one fight scene I ever seen (eight minutes of punching and kicking), a scene that is dragged out for so long that it becomes utterly absurd and even comical. While the scene maybe appear ridiculous, it says something about the difficulty of making regular, average people wake up from their blissful ignorance.

Frank finally sees the truth. All it took is Nada beating the crap out of him, sticking the sunglasses on his face against his will and forcing him to look around. Yes, convincing other people of the truth can be a hard task.

It takes a lot of effort on Nada’s part, but Frank finally sees the aliens controlling the world. The two pals are then invited to a secret meeting of the underground organization that is attempting to rid the earth from the aliens.

During the meeting, Nada and Frank are given truth-seeing contact lenses. The sunglasses gave truth-seers a nasty headache, especially when they are taken off. When first exposed to the truth, adapting to the new reality can indeed be difficult, and even painful. However, after a while, it becomes seamless part of the person. A little like wearing contact lenses.

During the meeting, Nada and Frank learn that humans are being recruited by the aliens in exchange for wealth and power. As the leader of the underground organization says: “Most of us just sell out right away”. It is rather easy to make a correlation between the movie and actual politicians and celebrities we’ve seen in previous articles on this site who readily sell out to the Illuminati in exchange for wealth, power and celebrity.

The meeting doesn’t last long, however, as police barge in the place and start shooting everyone there. They are designated a “terrorist organization” by the elite. Nada and Frank manage to escape and accidentally find themselves behind enemy lines, in the alien’s underground base.

Behind Enemy Lines

While exploring the aliens’ underground base, Nada and Frank stumble upon a party thrown by the aliens for human collaborators to thank them for their “partnership”. Although humans will never be considered equals to the aliens, those who sell out to them get monetary benefits … much like those who are not part of today’s elite who nevertheless sell out to push the elite’s New World Order Agenda.

“Our projections show that by the year 2025, not only America but the entire planet will be under the protection and the dominion of this power alliance. The gains have been substantial, both for ourselves and for you, the human power elite.”

Frank and Nada then discover the source of the aliens’ brainwashing signals: A television studio. The aliens use the network to broadcast hypnotic and subliminal signals to humans, blinding them from the truth about their rulers and the world. The message that is communicated here: Mass media is the elite’s favorite tool indoctrinate the masses and to keep them in servitude.

The TV station ‘Cable 54’ is used by the aliens to hypnotize humans. Is this science-fiction? Barely.

Nada realizes that the only way to save humanity from the grips of the aliens is to go to the roof of the TV station’s building and to take down the emitter of the subliminal messages, disguised as a satellite dish. Indeed, without an elite-controlled mass media, indoctrinating the masses will be a lot more difficult. So Nada and Frank start shooting their way towards the roof, not an easy task.

The Disinformation Agent

While this lady appeared to be nice at first, she tried to mislead, deceive and even kill Nada during his quest. She ends up shooting his pal Frank in the head.

Nada met Holly Thomspon, a Cable 54 network executive, at the beginning of his wild rampage. While Nada appears to be somewhat enamoured with her, she always somehow brings trouble. During the “terrorist organization” meeting, Holly infiltrated the group, posing as a sympathizer and claiming that Cable 54 “was clean” and was not the source of aliens’ signal, which was false and misleading. Today, disinformation is widely used by the elite to confuse and mislead those who attempt to discover the truth about the world.

During Nada’s rush towards the roof of the network’s building, Holly appears again, claiming that she wants to help him. However, she is simply trying to kill him before the mission is accomplished. She is therefore another human that sold out to the aliens being used to disrupt non-corrupted humans attempting to liberate themselves and others.

Taking Down the Aliens

Here’s the biggest spoiler of them all: Nada manages to take down the aliens’ transmitter and saves humanity. This heroic move gets him killed, however, as a policeman inside a helicopter shoots him dead. Nada therefore becomes the quintessential hero, sacrificing his life for the good of humanity – a martyr for human freedom from soulless rulers.

Even though it cost his life, Nada visibly does not regret exposing the aliens to the world. With his last once of strength, Nada gives the aliens a uniquely human parting gift: the finger.

Once the aliens’ satellite dish is down, the masses are able to see the world as it is: the alien’s ugly faces are exposed to the world.

TV viewers around the world now realize that those giving the daily news were also those who controlled them.

In Conclusion

Although They Live is usually described as “a science-fiction movie that criticizes consumer culture”, the scope of its message actually goes way beyond the usual “consumerism is bad” lecture. They Live can indeed be interpreted as a treatise on the thorough and systematic conditioning of human experience in order for a hidden elite to covertly control, manipulate and exploit the masses. In the movie, the rulers are portrayed as a completely different race that perceives humans as inferior – something that can easily be correlated to the attitudes about the bloodlines of the Illuminati. The presence of these strong messages in the movie is one of the reasons They Live became somewhat of a cult-classic, despite the fact that it was panned by movie critics. As the years go by, the movie’s message is becoming increasingly relevant … and freakishly realistic.

Many of those who seek the truth about the world realize that it’s reins are held by an un-elected elite, one that is essentially hidden from the public eye. As the movie’s promotional poster says:“You see them on the street. You watch them on TV. You might even vote for one this fall. You think they’re people just like you. You’re wrong. Dead wrong.” Working behind the scenes, this secretive elite constantly works towards the creation of a global system that would serve its interests: a New World Order, ruled by one world government. As a human collaborator says in the movie to justify his selling-out: “There ain’t no countries anymore. No more good guys. They’re running the whole show. They own everything. The whole goddamn planet!”  To facilitate the rulers’ work, the masses are kept in the dark and are distracted with the fake puppet show that is politics and the “no independent thought” programming that is mass media. Apathy, ignorance and indifference are the elite’s best friends.

Despite its unimpressive special effects and odd dialogue, They Live manages to describe the world elite’s motives and strategy in a way that can be understood by all. And that is no simple task. However, in order to fully understand the movie’s message, one must be wearing truth-seeing sunglasses. Do you have yours on?

 

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The Mysterious Connection Between Sirius and Human History

Posted by Admin on April 22, 2012

http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/the-mysterious-connection-between-sirius-and-human-history/

By  | May 10th, 2011 | Category: Latest News | 41 comments

Since ancient times and across multiple civilizations, Sirius, the dog star, has been surrounded with a mysterious lore. Esoteric teachings of all ages have invariably attributed to Sirius a special status and the star’s importance in occult symbolism is an attestation of that fact. What makes Sirius so special? Is it simply due to the fact that it is the brightest star in the sky? Or is it also because humanity has an ancient, mysterious connection with it? This article looks at the importance of Sirius throughout History and secret societies and will describe the symbolism surrounding it.

Sirius is located in the constellation Canis Major – also known as the Big Dog – and is therefore known as the “dog star”. It is over twenty times brighter than our sun and is twice as massive. At night time, Sirius is the brightest star in the sky and its blue-white glare never failed to amaze star gazers since the dawn of time. No wonder Sirius has been revered by practically all civilizations. But is there more to Sirius than meets the eye?

Artifacts of ancient civilizations have revealed that Sirius was of a great importance in astronomy, mythology and occultism. Mystery schools consider it to be “sun behind the sun” and, therefore, the true source of our sun’s potency. If our sun’s warmth keeps the physical world alive, Sirius is considered to keep the spiritual world alive. It is the “real light” shining in the East, the spiritual light, where as the sun illuminates the physical world, which is considered to be a grand illusion.

Associating Sirius with the divine and even considering it as the home of humanity’s “great teachers” is not only embedded in the mythology of a few primitive civilizations: It is a widespread belief that has survived (and even intensified) to this day. We will look at the importance of Sirius in ancient times, analyze its prominence in secret societies and we will examine these esoteric concepts as they are translated in popular culture.

In Ancient Civilizations

In Ancient Egypt, Sirius was regarded as the most important star in the sky. In fact, it was astronomically the foundation of the Egyptians’ entire religious system. It was revered as Sothisand was associated with Isis, the mother goddess of Egyptian mythology. Isis is the female aspect of the trinity formed by herself, Osiris and their son Horus. Ancient Egyptians held Sirius in such a high regard that most of their deities were associated, in some way or another, with the star. Anubis, the dog-headed god of death, had an obvious connection with the dog star and Toth-Hermes, the great teacher of humanity, was also esoterically connected with the star.

The Egyptian calendar system was based on the heliacal rising of Sirius that occurred just before the annual flooding of the Nile during summer. The star’s celestial movement was also observed and revered by ancient Greeks, Sumerians, Babylonians and countless other civilizations. The star was therefore considered sacred and its apparition in the sky was accompanied with feasts and celebrations. The dog star heralded the coming of the hot and dry days of July and August, hence the popular term “the dog days of summer”.

Several occult researchers have claimed that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built in perfect alignment with the stars, especially Sirius. The light from these stars were said to be used in ceremonies of Egyptian Mysteries.

“This ancient people (Egyptians) knew that once every year the Parent Sun is in line with the Dog Star. Therefore, the Great Pyramid was so constructed that, at this sacred moment, the light of the Dog Star fell upon the square “Stone of God” at the upper end of the Great Gallery, descending upon the head of the high priest, who received the Super Solar Force and sought through his own perfected Solar Body to transmit to other Initiates this added stimulation for the evolution of their Godhood. This then was the purpose of the “`Stone of God,’ whereon in the Ritual, Osiris sits to bestow upon him (the illuminate) the Atf crown or celestial light.” “North and South of that crown is love,” proclaims an Egyptian hymn. “And thus throughout the teaching of Egypt the visible light was but the shadow of the invisible Light; and in the wisdom of the ancient country the measures of Truth were the years of the Most High. 1

Recent scientific discoveries relating to the Great Pyramid and its mysterious “air shafts” have lead researchers to further confirm the importance of Sirius within the pyramid.

Star alignment with the Great Pyramid of Giza. Orion (associated with the god Osiris) is aligned with the King’s Chamber while Sirius (associated with the goddess Isis) is aligned with the Queen’s Chamber.

A fascinating aspect of Sirius is the consistency of the symbolism and meanings attached to it. Several great civilizations have indeed associated Sirius with a dog-like figure and viewed the star as either the source or the destination of a mysterious force. In Chinese and Japanese astronomy, Sirius is known as the “star of the celestial wolf”. Several aboriginal tribes of North America referred to the star in canine terms: the Seri and Tohono O’odham tribes of the southwest describe the Sirius as a “dog that follows mountain sheep”, while the Blackfoot call it “Dog-face”. The Cherokee paired Sirius with Antares as a dog-star guardian of the “Path of Souls”. The Wolf (Skidi) tribe of Nebraska knew it as the “Wolf Star”, while other branches of knew it as the “Coyote Star”. Further north, the Alaskan Inuit of the Bering Strait called it “Moon Dog”. 2

THE DOGON TRIBE AND ATLANTIS

In 1971, the American author Robert Temple published a controversial book entitled The Sirius Mystery where he claimed that the Dogons (an ancient African tribe from Mali) knew details about Sirius that would be impossible to be know without the use of telescopes. According to him, the Dogon understood the binary nature of Sirius, which is, in fact, composed of two stars named Sirius A and Sirius B. This lead Robert Temple to believe that the Dogons had “direct” connections with beings from Sirius. While some might say “you can’t be Sirius” (sorry), a great number of secret societies (who have historically held within their ranks some of the world’s most influential people) and belief systems teach about a mystic connection between Sirius and humanity.

In Dogon mythology, humanity is said to be born from the Nommo, a race of amphibians who were inhabitants of a planet circling Sirius. They are said to have “descended from the sky in a vessel accompanied by fire and thunder” and imparted to humans profound knowledge. This lead Robert Temple to theorize that the Nommos were extraterrestrial inhabitants of Sirius who travelled to earth at some point in the distant past to teach ancient civilizations (such as the Egyptians and Dogons) about the Sirius star system as well as our own solar system. These civilizations would then record the Nommos’ teachings in their religions and make them a central focus of their Mysteries.

The Dogon’s mythology system is strikingly similar to the ones of other civilizations such as the Sumerians, Egyptians, Israelites and Babylonians as it includes the archetypal myth of a “great teacher from above”. Depending on the civilization, this great teacher is known as eith Enoch, Thoth or Hermes Trismegistus and is said to have taught humanity theurgic sciences. In occult traditions, it is believed that Thoth-Hermes had taught the people of Atlantis, which, according to legend, became the world’s most advanced civilization before the entire continent  was submerged by the Great Deluge (accounts of a flood can be found in the mythologies of countless civilizations). Survivors from Atlantis travelled by boat to several countries, including Egypt, where they imparted their advanced knowledge. Occultists believe that the inexplicable resemblances between distant civilizations (such as the Mayas and the Egyptians) can be explained by their common contact with Atlanteans.

“Was the religious, philosophic, and scientific knowledge possessed by the priestcrafts of antiquity secured from Atlantis, whose submergence obliterated every vestige of its part in the drama of world progress? Atlantean sun worship has been perpetuated in the ritualism and ceremonialism of both Christianity and pagandom. Both the cross and the serpent were Atlantean emblems of divine wisdom. The divine (Atlantean) progenitors of the Mayas and Quichés of Central America coexisted within the green and azure radiance of Gucumatz, the “plumed” serpent. The six sky-born sages came into manifestation as centers of light bound together or synthesized by the seventh – and chief – of their order, the “feathered” snake. The title of “winged” or “plumed” snake was applied to Quetzalcoatl, or Kukulcan, the Central American initiate. The center of the Atlantean Wisdom-Religion was presumably a great pyramidal temple standing on the brow of a plateau rising in the midst of the City of the Golden Gates. From here the Initiate-Priests of the Sacred Feather went forth, carrying the keys of Universal Wisdom to the uttermost parts of the earth.

(…)

From the Atlanteans the world has received not only the heritage of arts and crafts, philosophies and sciences, ethics and religions, but also the heritage of hate, strife, and perversion. The Atlanteans instigated the first war; and it has been said that all subsequent wars were fought in a fruitless effort to justify the first one and right the wrong which it caused. Before Atlantis sank, its spiritually illumined Initiates, who realized that their land was doomed because it had departed from the Path of Light, withdrew from the ill-fated continent. Carrying with them the sacred and secret doctrine, these Atlanteans established themselves in Egypt, where they became its first “divine” rulers. Nearly all the great cosmologic myths forming the foundation of the various sacred books of the world are based upon the Atlantean Mystery rituals.” 3

Is Thoth-Hermes-Trismegistus the equivalent of the Dogon’s Nommos, who are believed to originate from Sirius? Ancient texts concerning Hermes describe him as a teacher of mysteries who “came from the stars”. Furthermore, Thoth-Hermes was directly connected with Sirius in Egyptian mythology.

“The dog-star: the star worshipped in Egypt and reverenced by the Occultists; by the former because its heliacal rising with the Sun was a sign of the beneficient inundation of the Nile, and by the latter because it is mysteriously associated with Toth-Hermes, god of wisdom, and Mercury, in another form. Thus Sothis-Sirius had, and still has, a mystic and direct influence over the whole living heaven, and is connected with almost every god and goddess. It was “Isis in the heaven” and called Isis-Sothis, for Isis was “in the constellation of the dog”, as is declared on her monuments. Being connected with the Pyramid, Sirius was, therefore, connected with the initiations which took place in it.” 4

“The Trismegistic treatise ‘The Virgin of the World’ from Egypt refers to ‘the Black Rite’, connected with the ‘black’ Osiris, as the highest degree of secret initiation possible in the ancient Egyptian religion – it is the ultimate secret of the mysteries of Isis. This treatise says Hermes came to earth to teach men civilization and then again ‘mounted to the stars’, going back to his home and leaving behind the mystery religion of Egypt with its celestial secrets which were some day to be decoded.” 5

Interpreting the mythology of ancient cultures is not an exact science and connections are inherently difficult to prove. However, the symbolic link between Sirius and occult knowledge has constantly appeared throughout History and has seamlessly traveled through the ages. In fact, it is as revered today as it was millenniums ago. Modern secret societies such as the Freemasons, the Rosicrucians and the Golden Dawn (which are considered to be Hermetic Orders due to the fact their teachings are based on those of Hermes Trismegistus) all attribute to Sirius the utmost importance. An educated look at their symbolism provides a glimpse at the profound connection between Sirius and occult philosophy.

Sirius in Occult Symbolism and Secret Societies

To claim that Sirius is “important” to Hermetic Orders would be a gross understatement. The dog star is nothing less than the central focus of the teachings and symbolism of secret societies. The ultimate proof of this fact: many secret societies are actually named after the star.

IN THE TAROT

The seventeenth numbered major trump is called Les Étoiles, (French for The Star), and portrays a young girl kneeling with one foot in water and the other on and, her body somewhat suggesting the swastika. She has two urns, the contents of which she pours upon the land and sea. Above the girl’s head are eight stars, one of which is exceptionally large and bright. Count de Gébelin considers the great star to be Sothis or Sirius; the other seven are the sacred planets of the ancients. He believes the female figure to be Isis in the act of causing the inundations of the Nile which accompanied the rising of the Dog Star. The unclothed figure of Isis may well signify that Nature does not receive her garment of verdure until the rising of the Nile waters releases the germinal life of plants and flowers. 6

IN FREEMASONRY

In Masonic lodges, Sirius is known as the “Blazing Star” and a simple look at its prominence in Masonic symbolism reveals its utmost importance. The Masonic author William Hutchinson wrote about Sirius: “It is the first and most exalted object that demands our attention in the Lodge.” The same way the light of Sirius made its way into the Great Pyramid during initiations, it is symbolically present in Masonic lodges.

“The Ancient Astronomers saw all the great Symbols of Masonry in the Stars. Sirius glitters in our lodges as the Blazing Star.” 7.

Sirius, the Blazing Star, at the center of the Masonic mosaic pavement.
The Blazing Star shining upon members of a Masonic lodge

“(The Blazing Star) originally represented SIRIUS, or the Dog-star, the forerunner of the inundation of the Nile; the God ANUBIS, companion of ISIS in her search for the body of OSIRIS, her brother and husband. Then it became the image of HORUS, the son of OSIRIS, himself symbolized also by the Sun, the author of the Seasons, and the God of Time; Son of ISIS, who was the universal nature, himself the primitive matter, inexhaustible source of Life, spark of uncreated fire, universal seed of all beings. It was HERMES, also, the Master of Learning, whose name in Greek is that of the God Mercury.” 8

In Freemasonry, it is taught that the Blazing Star is a symbol of deity, of omnipresence (the Creator is present everywhere) and of omniscience (the Creator sees and knows all). Sirius is therefore the “sacred place” all Masons must ascend to: It is the source of divine power and the destination of divine individuals. This concept is often represented in Masonic art.

Masonic art portraying Sirius, the Blazing Star, as the destination of the Mason’s journey.

To achieve perfection, the initiate must successfully understand and internalize the dual nature of the world (good and evil; masculine and feminine; black and white, etc.) through alchemical metamorphosis. This concept is symbolically represented by the union of Osiris and Isis (the male and female principles) to give birth to Horus, the star-child, the Christ-like figure, the perfected man of Freemasonry – who is equated with the Blazing Star.

“The sun and moon … represent the two grand principles … the male and the female … both shed their light upon their offspring, the blazing star, or Horus.” 9
The Egyptian hieroglyph representing Sirius has been esoterically interpreted to be a representation of this cosmic trinity.
The hieroglyph representing Sirius contains three elements: a “phallic” obelisk (representing Osiris), a “womb-like” dome (representing Isis) and a star (representing Horus).

This concept is so crucial for Freemasons, that it was embedded in some of the most important structures in the world.

The Washington Monument, an Egyptian obelisk representing the male principle, is directly connected with the dome of the Capitol, representing the female principle. Together they produce Horus an unseen energy represented by Sirius. (For more information, read the article Mystical Sites – The U.S. Capitol on The Vigilant Citizen).

As stated by Albert Pike above, the Egyptian god Horus and the star Sirius are often associated. In Masonic symbolism, the eye of Horus (or the All-Seeing Eye) is often depicted surrounded by the glittering of light of Sirius.

A Masonic tracing board depicting the sun above the left pillar (representing the masculine), the moon above the right pillar (representing feminine) and Sirius above the middle pillar, representing the “perfected man” or Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris. Notice the “Eye of Horus” on Sirius.
The Eye of Horus inside a triangle (symbolizing deity) surrounded by the glow of Sirius, the Blazing Star
The All-Seeing Eye inside the Blazing Star in Masonic art.

Given the symbolic correlation between the All-Seeing Eye and Sirius, the next image becomes self-explanatory.

The light behind the All-Seeing Eye on the American dollar bill is not from the sun, but from Sirius. The Great Pyramid of Giza was built in alignment with Sirius and is therefore shown shining right above the Pyramid. A radiant tribute to Sirius is therefore in the pockets of millions of citizens.

ORDER OF THE EASTERN STAR

The symbol of the OES is an inverted star, similar to the Blazing Star of Freemasonry.

Considered to be the “female version” of Freemasonry (although men can join), the Order of the Eastern Star (OES) is directly named after Sirius, the “Star rising from the East”. A “general public” explanation of the origins of the Order’s name claims it originated from the “Star of the East” that lead the Three Magis to Jesus Christ. A look into the occult meaning of the Order’s symbolism however makes it clear that the OES is a reference to Sirius, the most important star of Freemasonry, its parent organization.

OES art depicting Sirius above the Great Pyramid.

MADAME BLAVATSKY, ALICE BAILEY  AND THEOSOPHY

Helena Blavatsky and Alice Bailey, the two main figures associated with Theosophy, have both considered Sirius to be a source esoteric power. Blavatsky stated that the star Sirius exerts a mystic and direct influence over the entire living heaven and is linked with every great religion of antiquity.

Alice Bailey sees the Dog Star as the true “Great White Lodge” and believes it to be the home of the “Spiritual Hierarchy”. For this reason she considers Sirius as the “star of initiation”.

“This is the great star of initiation because our Hierarchy (an expression of the second aspect of divinity) is under the supervision or spiritual magnetic control of the Hierarchy of Sirius. These are the major controlling influences whereby the cosmic Christ works upon the Christ principle in the solar system, in the planet, in man and in the lower forms of life expression. It is esoterically called the “brilliant star of sensitivity.” 10

Not unlike most many esoteric writers, Bailey considers Sirius to have a great impact on human life.

“All that can be done here in dealing with this profound subject is to enumerate briefly some of the cosmic influences which definitely affect our earth, and produce results in the consciousness of men everywhere, and which, during the process of initiation, bring about certain specific phenomena.

First and foremost is the energy or force emanating from the sun Sirius. If it might be so expressed, the energy of thought, or mind force, in its totality, reaches the solar system from a distant cosmic centre via Sirius. Sirius acts as the transmitter, or the focalising centre, whence emanate those influences which produce self-consciousness in man.” 11

ALEISTER CROWLEY, THE A.A. AND KENNETH GRANT

In 1907, Crowley started his own occult order called the A.A. – short for Argentium Astrum, which can be translated to ‘The Order of the Silver Star’. The ‘Silver Star’ was, of course, a reference to Sirius. Even if Crowley almost always referred to the dog star in veiled terms, the whole of his magickal philosophy, from his development as a young Freemason through to his final years as the Head of the O.T.O, is wholly in accordance with the Sirian influence, which was identified and expressed by other writers of his era. His alleged contact with his Holy Guardian Angel that later led to the channelling of ‘Liber AL: The Book of the Law’ is believed to have originated from Sirius.

If Crowley used code words to describe Sirius, his protégé Kenneth Grant has explicitly and extensively written about the dog star. Throughout his numerous books, he often described Sirius as being a powerful center of magickal magnetic power. His belief that the star holds the central key to unlocking the mysteries of the Egyptian and Typhonian traditions has strengthened over time and became a central focus of his research. One of Grant’s most important and controversial thesis was his discovery of the “Sirius/Set current”, which is an extra-terrestrial dimension connecting Sirius, the Earth and Set, the Eyptian god of Chaos – who was later associated with Satan.

“Set is the initiator, the Opener of mans’ consciousness to the rays of the Undying God typified by Sirius – the Sun in the South.” 12

“Sirius, or Set, was the original “headless one” – the light of the lower region (the south) who was known (in Egypt) as An (the dog), hence Set-An (Satan), Lord of the infernal regions, the place of heat, later interpreted in a moral sense as “hell”.” 13

Although each occult philosophy describes Sirius in a slightly different matter, it is still consistently regarded as the “sun behind the sun”, the true source of occult power. It is perceived as the cradle of human knowledge and the belief of the existence of a strong connection between the star and planet Earth never seems to become outdated. Is there a true link between Sirius and Earth? Is the dog star an esoteric symbol representing something happening in the spiritual realm? It is both? One thing is for sure, the cult of Sirius is not a “thing of the past” and is very alive today. An in-depth look at our popular culture, which is heavily influenced by occult symbolism, reveals numerous references to Sirius.

Sirius in Popular Culture

Direct references to Sirius in popular culture are too many to enumerate (e.g. see the name and the logo of the most important satellite radio in the world). A more interesting aspect of popular culture to analyze are the coded references to Sirius. Important movies have indeed made veiled yet profound references to the dog star (apparently intended to those “in the know”), where the star plays the role it was always given by the Mysteries: as an initiator and a divine teacher. Here are some examples.

In Disney’s Pinocchio, based on a story written by Freemason Carlo Collodi, Gepetto prays to the brightest star in the sky to have a “real boy”. The Blue Fairy (her color is a reference to Sirius’ light-blue glow) then descends from the heavens to give life to Pinocchio. Throughout the marionette’s quest to become a boy (an allegory for esoteric initiation), the Blue Fairy guides Pinocchio towards the “right path”. Sirius is therefore represented as a source of life, a guide and a teacher. (For more information see the article entitled The Esoteric Interpretation of Pinocchio on The Vigilant Citizen).

The theme song of the movie Pinocchio is also an ode to Sirius.

When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you

If your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star as dreamers do

(Fate is kind, she brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing)

Like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and sees you thru
When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true

In Harry Potter, the character named Sirius Black is most likely a reference to Sirius B. (the “darker” star of Sirius’ binary system). He is Harry Potter’s godfather, which makes Sirius, once again, a teacher and a guide. The wizard can turn into a big black dog, another link with the “dog star”.
In the Truman Show, a spotlight – used to imitate the light of a star in Truman’s fake world – falls from the sky and nearly hits him. The label on the spotlight identifies it as Sirius. Truman’s encounter with Sirius gives him a glimpse of “true knowledge” and prompts his quest for truth. Sirius is therefore the “star of initiation”. It caused Truman to realize the limitations of the his studio world (our material world) and lead him to freedom (spiritual emancipation).

In Conclusion

From the dawn of civilization to modern times, from remote tribes of Africa to the great capitals of the modern world, Sirius was – and still is – seen as a life-giver. Despite the disparity between cultures and epochs, the same mysterious attributes are given to the dog star, which can lead us to ask: how can all theses definitions synchronize so perfectly? Is there a common source to these myths about Sirius? The dog star is invariably associated with divinity and is regarded as a source of knowledge and power. These connections are particularly evident when one examines the teachings and the symbolism of secret societies, who have always taught about a mystical link with this particular celestial body. Is there a secret link between human evolution and Sirius? Unlocking this secret would mean unlocking one of humanity’s greatest mysteries.

  1. Marshall Adams, The Book of the Master 
  2. J.B. Holberg, Sirius: Brightest Diamond in the Night Sky 
  3. Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages 
  4. Helena Blavatsky, Theosophical Glossary 
  5. Robert Temple, The Sirius Mystery 
  6. Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages 
  7. Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma 
  8. Ibid 
  9. Pike, op. cit. 
  10. Alice Bailey, Esoteric Astrology 
  11. Alice Bailey, Initiation, Human and Solar 
  12. Kenneth Grant, The Magical Revival 
  13. Ibid. 

Posted in Exopolitical Interventions, Rated R, The Esoteric Agenda of Humanity, Vigilant Citizen | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Mysterious Connection Between Sirius and Human History

The FBI Makes Secret UFO and Celebrity Files Available Online

Posted by Admin on April 22, 2012

http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/the-fbi-makes-secret-ufo-and-celebrity-files-available-online/

By  | April 9th, 2011 | Category: Latest News | 82 comments

The FBI has launched “The Vault”, a searchable database of declassified documents that were previously unavailable online. The most notable ones are those about the Roswell UFO and pop culture icons such as Jimi Hendrix, Notorious B.I.G., the Grateful Dead, Marilyn Monroe (who was apparently heavily monitored), Janis Joplin and many others. The documents I’ve reviewed wereheavily redacted and probably do not contain earth-shattering revelations (or they would probably not be made available for download) but still contained interesting information. For example, a 1997 document on Tupac Shakur states that he was receiving death threats from a “domestic terrorist group”. Here’s an excerpt of it:

“During the interview, (censored) advised writer that (censored) and others yet unidentified have been extorting money from various rap music stars via death threats. The scheme involves (censored) and other subjects making telephonic death threats to the rap star. Subjects then intercede by contacting the victim and offering protection for a fee. The victim and their family are taken to a “safe haven”, usually a private estate, and are protected by gun-totting body guards associated with the JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE (JDL). The subjects convince the victim they have worked  a “deal” out with the person(s) making the death threats and the threats cease. The victim then pays the subjects for protection services rendered and resume their normal lifestyle with no fear of further death threats.”

The dossier also contains numerous news clippings relating to Tupac and his death, proving that the FBI keeps a close watch on the contents of the press. Here’s an article from the The Australian Telegraph about the newly released documents.

FBI upgrades online public records, featuring searchable dossiers

FEATURING searchable dossiers on characters as wide-ranging as Al Capone, Notorious B.I.G. and the 9/11 hijackers, the FBI has upgraded its online public records.

FOXNews.com reports more than 2000 digitised documents have been added to “The Vault”, a fascinating new electronic reading room that can be accessed atvault.fbi.gov.

“The new website significantly increases the number of available FBI files, enhances the speed at which the files can be accessed and contains a robust search capability,” David Hardy, chief of the FBI’s Records Management Division, said.

UFOs

More importantly, it also contains stuff about UFOs.

One document, for example, pertains to Guy Hottel, a special agent in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, who sent a memo concerning flying saucers at Roswell to the FBI’s director in March 1950.

“An investigator for the Air Force stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico,” according to the memo dated March 22, 1950.

“They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only three feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed flyers and test pilots.

“According to Mr. (redacted) informant, the saucers were found in New Mexico due to the fact that the Government has a very high-powered radar set-up in that area and it is believed the radar interferes with the controlling mechanism of the saucers. No further evaluation was attempted by SA (redacted) concerning the above.”

Carl Sagan and the space shuttle Columbia

One file relates to an incident recorded in 1983 when iconic astronomer Carl Sagan received a letter that appeared to show prior knowledge of a terrorist group sabotaging the space shuttle Columbia.

It states: “On November 23, 1983, there will be a terrorist bomb attack on a market or warehouse that is distributing free food to a crowd in San Salvadore. This will be a diversion for an attack on a fuel storage facility in the vicinity. If Columbia goes as scheduled, there will be an explosion in the rocket due to a fuel leak.”

This purported to come from a “M. Springfield”, but the only person of such name in the area had died 10 years earlier. Sagan himself died in 1996, seven years before the Columbia exploded on re-entry from its 28th mission.

9/11 attacks

Some of the documents include a detailed chronology of the hijackers’ movements prior to September 11, 2001, including their ATM withdrawals, mobile phone activity and training flights taken in Florida, New Jersey and elsewhere.

A chronology of events – the “Hijackers Timeline” – is a 150-page spreadsheet detailing the terrorists and their associates.

Beginning with Mohamed Atta, who crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, the document lists each subject’s country of origin, date of birth and tracks every known movement they made leading up to the attacks.

Notorious B.I.G.

FBI agents on both coasts participated in a nearly two-year investigation aimed at finding out who gunned down rapper Notorious B.I.G. and whether any Los Angeles police officers were involved.

The inquiry ended in early 2005, after federal prosecutors concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue a case against any officers or another man implicated in the 1997 shooting death.

The decision was made after agents in Los Angeles, San Diego and New York tried to track down potential suspects and witnesses who might shed new light on the unsolved killing that came months after another rap superstar, Tupac Shakur, was shot dead in Las Vegas.

The investigation started out as a civil rights violation and public corruption review, but efforts were made to solve the homicide case. The FBI’s file included police reports.

Informants told the FBI that the killing of B.I.G., whose real name was Christopher Wallace, may have been aided by corrupt police officers. The heavily redacted files include several mentions of sources who wouldn’t talk to Los Angeles police investigators about Wallace’s death because of suspicions about corruption.

Gangsters and pop culture

Users of the FBI’s new system can also search through topics like counterterrorism, the Gangster Era and Popular Culture, where they will find the FBI’s file on subjects like Usama bin Laden, George “Machine Gun” Kelly and Malcolm X, respectively.

And thanks to new technology developed by the FBI, users can also search for keywords within individual files.

Many of the older records, however, include handwritten notes that are not easily searchable.

The best place to start, however, is here, at The Vault Index.

– with AFP

Could this site highly publicized site contain purposeful disinformation (i.e. 9/11)? Everything is fair game in the information war.

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How Companies Learn Your Secrets

Posted by Admin on April 22, 2012

http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/how-companies-learn-your-secrets/

By  | February 22nd, 2012 | Category: Latest News | 100 comments

Here’s an interesting article from the New York Times on the intensive research and data mining companies conduct on their customers in order to learn about them and to predict their future needs. It also describes some of the psychological techniques used in marketing in order to modify behavior and to create new habits. As it was stated in the Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media, marketing does not simply seek to sell a product, it taps into psychological reflexes and instincts to create needs and to modify habits. Powerful stuff.

How Companies Learn Your Secrets

Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that? ”

Pole has a master’s degree in statistics and another in economics, and has been obsessed with the intersection of data and human behavior most of his life. His parents were teachers in North Dakota, and while other kids were going to 4-H, Pole was doing algebra and writing computer programs. “The stereotype of a math nerd is true,” he told me when I spoke with him last year. “I kind of like going out and evangelizing analytics.”

As the marketers explained to Pole – and as Pole later explained to me, back when we were still speaking and before Target told him to stop – new parents are a retailer’s holy grail. Most shoppers don’t buy everything they need at one store. Instead, they buy groceries at the grocery store and toys at the toy store, and they visit Target only when they need certain items they associate with Target – cleaning supplies, say, or new socks or a six-month supply of toilet paper. But Target sells everything from milk to stuffed animals to lawn furniture to electronics, so one of the company’s primary goals is convincing customers that the only store they need is Target. But it’s a tough message to get across, even with the most ingenious ad campaigns, because once consumers’ shopping habits are ingrained, it’s incredibly difficult to change them.

There are, however, some brief periods in a person’s life when old routines fall apart and buying habits are suddenly in flux. One of those moments – the moment, really – is right around the birth of a child, when parents are exhausted and overwhelmed and their shopping patterns and brand loyalties are up for grabs. But as Target’s marketers explained to Pole, timing is everything. Because birth records are usually public, the moment a couple have a new baby, they are almost instantaneously barraged with offers and incentives and advertisements from all sorts of companies. Which means that the key is to reach them earlier, before any other retailers know a baby is on the way. Specifically, the marketers said they wanted to send specially designed ads to women in their second trimester, which is when most expectant mothers begin buying all sorts of new things, like prenatal vitamins and maternity clothing. “Can you give us a list?” the marketers asked.

“We knew that if we could identify them in their second trimester, there’s a good chance we could capture them for years,” Pole told me. “As soon as we get them buying diapers from us, they’re going to start buying everything else too. If you’re rushing through the store, looking for bottles, and you pass orange juice, you’ll grab a carton. Oh, and there’s that new DVD I want. Soon, you’ll be buying cereal and paper towels from us, and keep coming back.”

The desire to collect information on customers is not new for Target or any other large retailer, of course. For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code – known internally as the Guest ID number – that keeps tabs on everything they buy. “If you use a credit card or a coupon, or fill out a survey, or mail in a refund, or call the customer help line, or open an e-mail we’ve sent you or visit our Web site, we’ll record it and link it to your Guest ID,” Pole said. “We want to know everything we can.”

Also linked to your Guest ID is demographic information like your age, whether you are married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you’ve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit. Target can buy data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or got divorced, the year you bought (or lost) your house, where you went to college, what kinds of topics you talk about online, whether you prefer certain brands of coffee, paper towels, cereal or applesauce, your political leanings, reading habits, charitable giving and the number of cars you own. (In a statement, Target declined to identify what demographic information it collects or purchases.) All that information is meaningless, however, without someone to analyze and make sense of it. That’s where Andrew Pole and the dozens of other members of Target’s Guest Marketing Analytics department come in.

Almost every major retailer, from grocery chains to investment banks to the U.S. Postal Service, has a “predictive analytics” department devoted to understanding not just consumers’ shopping habits but also their personal habits, so as to more efficiently market to them. “But Target has always been one of the smartest at this,” says Eric Siegel, a consultant and the chairman of a conference called Predictive Analytics World. “We’re living through a golden age of behavioral research. It’s amazing how much we can figure out about how people think now.”

The reason Target can snoop on our shopping habits is that, over the past two decades, the science of habit formation has become a major field of research in neurology and psychology departments at hundreds of major medical centers and universities, as well as inside extremely well financed corporate labs. “It’s like an arms race to hire statisticians nowadays,” said Andreas Weigend, the former chief scientist at Amazon.com. “Mathematicians are suddenly sexy.” As the ability to analyze data has grown more and more fine-grained, the push to understand how daily habits influence our decisions has become one of the most exciting topics in clinical research, even though most of us are hardly aware those patterns exist. One study from Duke University estimated that habits, rather than conscious decision-making, shape 45 percent of the choices we make every day, and recent discoveries have begun to change everything from the way we think about dieting to how doctors conceive treatments for anxiety, depression and addictions.

This research is also transforming our understanding of how habits function across organizations and societies. A football coach named Tony Dungy propelled one of the worst teams in the N.F.L. to the Super Bowl by focusing on how his players habitually reacted to on-field cues. Before he became Treasury secretary, Paul O’Neill overhauled a stumbling conglomerate, Alcoa, and turned it into a top performer in the Dow Jones by relentlessly attacking one habit – a specific approach to worker safety – which in turn caused a companywide transformation. The Obama campaign has hired a habit specialist as its “chief scientist” to figure out how to trigger new voting patterns among different constituencies.

Researchers have figured out how to stop people from habitually overeating and biting their nails. They can explain why some of us automatically go for a jog every morning and are more productive at work, while others oversleep and procrastinate. There is a calculus, it turns out, for mastering our subconscious urges. For companies like Target, the exhaustive rendering of our conscious and unconscious patterns into data sets and algorithms has revolutionized what they know about us and, therefore, how precisely they can sell.

Inside the brain-and-cognitive-sciences department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are what, to the casual observer, look like dollhouse versions of surgical theaters. There are rooms with tiny scalpels, small drills and miniature saws. Even the operating tables are petite, as if prepared for 7-year-old surgeons. Inside those shrunken O.R.’s, neurologists cut into the skulls of anesthetized rats, implanting tiny sensors that record the smallest changes in the activity of their brains.

An M.I.T. neuroscientist named Ann Graybiel told me that she and her colleagues began exploring habits more than a decade ago by putting their wired rats into a T-shaped maze with chocolate at one end. The maze was structured so that each animal was positioned behind a barrier that opened after a loud click. The first time a rat was placed in the maze, it would usually wander slowly up and down the center aisle after the barrier slid away, sniffing in corners and scratching at walls. It appeared to smell the chocolate but couldn’t figure out how to find it. There was no discernible pattern in the rat’s meanderings and no indication it was working hard to find the treat.

The probes in the rats’ heads, however, told a different story. While each animal wandered through the maze, its brain was working furiously. Every time a rat sniffed the air or scratched a wall, the neurosensors inside the animal’s head exploded with activity. As the scientists repeated the experiment, again and again, the rats eventually stopped sniffing corners and making wrong turns and began to zip through the maze with more and more speed. And within their brains, something unexpected occurred: as each rat learned how to complete the maze more quickly, its mental activity decreased. As the path became more and more automatic – as it became a habit – the rats started thinking less and less.

This process, in which the brain converts a sequence of actions into an automatic routine, is called “chunking.” There are dozens, if not hundreds, of behavioral chunks we rely on every day. Some are simple: you automatically put toothpaste on your toothbrush before sticking it in your mouth. Some, like making the kids’ lunch, are a little more complex. Still others are so complicated that it’s remarkable to realize that a habit could have emerged at all.

Take backing your car out of the driveway. When you first learned to drive, that act required a major dose of concentration, and for good reason: it involves peering into the rearview and side mirrors and checking for obstacles, putting your foot on the brake, moving the gearshift into reverse, removing your foot from the brake, estimating the distance between the garage and the street while keeping the wheels aligned, calculating how images in the mirrors translate into actual distances, all while applying differing amounts of pressure to the gas pedal and brake.

Now, you perform that series of actions every time you pull into the street without thinking very much. Your brain has chunked large parts of it. Left to its own devices, the brain will try to make almost any repeated behavior into a habit, because habits allow our minds to conserve effort. But conserving mental energy is tricky, because if our brains power down at the wrong moment, we might fail to notice something important, like a child riding her bike down the sidewalk or a speeding car coming down the street. So we’ve devised a clever system to determine when to let a habit take over. It’s something that happens whenever a chunk of behavior starts or ends – and it helps to explain why habits are so difficult to change once they’re formed, despite our best intentions.

To understand this a little more clearly, consider again the chocolate-seeking rats. What Graybiel and her colleagues found was that, as the ability to navigate the maze became habitual, there were two spikes in the rats’ brain activity – once at the beginning of the maze, when the rat heard the click right before the barrier slid away, and once at the end, when the rat found the chocolate. Those spikes show when the rats’ brains were fully engaged, and the dip in neural activity between the spikes showed when the habit took over. From behind the partition, the rat wasn’t sure what waited on the other side, until it heard the click, which it had come to associate with the maze. Once it heard that sound, it knew to use the “maze habit,” and its brain activity decreased. Then at the end of the routine, when the reward appeared, the brain shook itself awake again and the chocolate signaled to the rat that this particular habit was worth remembering, and the neurological pathway was carved that much deeper.

The process within our brains that creates habits is a three-step loop. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future. Over time, this loop – cue, routine, reward; cue, routine, reward – becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward become neurologically intertwined until a sense of craving emerges. What’s unique about cues and rewards, however, is how subtle they can be. Neurological studies like the ones in Graybiel’s lab have revealed that some cues span just milliseconds. And rewards can range from the obvious (like the sugar rush that a morning doughnut habit provides) to the infinitesimal (like the barely noticeable – but measurable – sense of relief the brain experiences after successfully navigating the driveway). Most cues and rewards, in fact, happen so quickly and are so slight that we are hardly aware of them at all. But our neural systems notice and use them to build automatic behaviors.

Habits aren’t destiny – they can be ignored, changed or replaced. But it’s also true that once the loop is established and a habit emerges, your brain stops fully participating in decision-making. So unless you deliberately fight a habit – unless you find new cues and rewards – the old pattern will unfold automatically.

“We’ve done experiments where we trained rats to run down a maze until it was a habit, and then we extinguished the habit by changing the placement of the reward,” Graybiel told me. “Then one day, we’ll put the reward in the old place and put in the rat and, by golly, the old habit will re-emerge right away. Habits never really disappear.”

Luckily, simply understanding how habits work makes them easier to control. Take, for instance, a series of studies conducted a few years ago at Columbia University and the University of Alberta. Researchers wanted to understand how exercise habits emerge. In one project, 256 members of a health-insurance plan were invited to classes stressing the importance of exercise. Half the participants received an extra lesson on the theories of habit formation (the structure of the habit loop) and were asked to identify cues and rewards that might help them develop exercise routines.

The results were dramatic. Over the next four months, those participants who deliberately identified cues and rewards spent twice as much time exercising as their peers. Other studies have yielded similar results. According to another recent paper, if you want to start running in the morning, it’s essential that you choose a simple cue (like always putting on your sneakers before breakfast or leaving your running clothes next to your bed) and a clear reward (like a midday treat or even the sense of accomplishment that comes from ritually recording your miles in a log book). After a while, your brain will start anticipating that reward – craving the treat or the feeling of accomplishment – and there will be a measurable neurological impulse to lace up your jogging shoes each morning.

Our relationship to e-mail operates on the same principle. When a computer chimes or a smartphone vibrates with a new message, the brain starts anticipating the neurological “pleasure” (even if we don’t recognize it as such) that clicking on the e-mail and reading it provides. That expectation, if unsatisfied, can build until you find yourself moved to distraction by the thought of an e-mail sitting there unread – even if you know, rationally, it’s most likely not important. On the other hand, once you remove the cue by disabling the buzzing of your phone or the chiming of your computer, the craving is never triggered, and you’ll find, over time, that you’re able to work productively for long stretches without checking your in-box.

Some of the most ambitious habit experiments have been conducted by corporate America. To understand why executives are so entranced by this science, consider how one of the world’s largest companies, Procter & Gamble, used habit insights to turn a failing product into one of its biggest sellers. P.& G. is the corporate behemoth behind a whole range of products, from Downy fabric softener to Bounty paper towels to Duracell batteries and dozens of other household brands. In the mid-1990s, P.& G.’s executives began a secret project to create a new product that could eradicate bad smells. P.& G. spent millions developing a colorless, cheap-to-manufacture liquid that could be sprayed on a smoky blouse, stinky couch, old jacket or stained car interior and make it odorless. In order to market the product – Febreze – the company formed a team that included a former Wall Street mathematician named Drake Stimson and habit specialists, whose job was to make sure the television commercials, which they tested in Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Boise, Idaho, accentuated the product’s cues and rewards just right.

The first ad showed a woman complaining about the smoking section of a restaurant. Whenever she eats there, she says, her jacket smells like smoke. A friend tells her that if she uses Febreze, it will eliminate the odor. The cue in the ad is clear: the harsh smell of cigarette smoke. The reward: odor eliminated from clothes. The second ad featured a woman worrying about her dog, Sophie, who always sits on the couch. “Sophie will always smell like Sophie,” she says, but with Febreze, “now my furniture doesn’t have to.” The ads were put in heavy rotation. Then the marketers sat back, anticipating how they would spend their bonuses. A week passed. Then two. A month. Two months. Sales started small and got smaller. Febreze was a dud.

The panicked marketing team canvassed consumers and conducted in-depth interviews to figure out what was going wrong, Stimson recalled. Their first inkling came when they visited a woman’s home outside Phoenix. The house was clean and organized. She was something of a neat freak, the woman explained. But when P.& G.’s scientists walked into her living room, where her nine cats spent most of their time, the scent was so overpowering that one of them gagged.

According to Stimson, who led the Febreze team, a researcher asked the woman, “What do you do about the cat smell?”

“It’s usually not a problem,” she said.

“Do you smell it now?”

“No,” she said. “Isn’t it wonderful? They hardly smell at all!”

A similar scene played out in dozens of other smelly homes. The reason Febreze wasn’t selling, the marketers realized, was that people couldn’t detect most of the bad smells in their lives. If you live with nine cats, you become desensitized to their scents. If you smoke cigarettes, eventually you don’t smell smoke anymore. Even the strongest odors fade with constant exposure. That’s why Febreze was a failure. The product’s cue – the bad smells that were supposed to trigger daily use – was hidden from the people who needed it the most. And Febreze’s reward (an odorless home) was meaningless to someone who couldn’t smell offensive scents in the first place.

P.& G. employed a Harvard Business School professor to analyze Febreze’s ad campaigns. They collected hours of footage of people cleaning their homes and watched tape after tape, looking for clues that might help them connect Febreze to people’s daily habits. When that didn’t reveal anything, they went into the field and conducted more interviews. A breakthrough came when they visited a woman in a suburb near Scottsdale, Ariz., who was in her 40s with four children. Her house was clean, though not compulsively tidy, and didn’t appear to have any odor problems; there were no pets or smokers. To the surprise of everyone, she loved Febreze.

“I use it every day,” she said.

“What smells are you trying to get rid of?” a researcher asked.

“I don’t really use it for specific smells,” the woman said. “I use it for normal cleaning – a couple of sprays when I’m done in a room.”

The researchers followed her around as she tidied the house. In the bedroom, she made her bed, tightened the sheet’s corners, then sprayed the comforter with Febreze. In the living room, she vacuumed, picked up the children’s shoes, straightened the coffee table, then sprayed Febreze on the freshly cleaned carpet.

“It’s nice, you know?” she said. “Spraying feels like a little minicelebration when I’m done with a room.” At the rate she was going, the team estimated, she would empty a bottle of Febreze every two weeks.

When they got back to P.& G.’s headquarters, the researchers watched their videotapes again. Now they knew what to look for and saw their mistake in scene after scene. Cleaning has its own habit loops that already exist. In one video, when a woman walked into a dirty room (cue), she started sweeping and picking up toys (routine), then she examined the room and smiled when she was done (reward). In another, a woman scowled at her unmade bed (cue), proceeded to straighten the blankets and comforter (routine) and then sighed as she ran her hands over the freshly plumped pillows (reward). P.& G. had been trying to create a whole new habit with Febreze, but what they really needed to do was piggyback on habit loops that were already in place. The marketers needed to position Febreze as something that came at the end of the cleaning ritual, the reward, rather than as a whole new cleaning routine.

The company printed new ads showing open windows and gusts of fresh air. More perfume was added to the Febreze formula, so that instead of merely neutralizing odors, the spray had its own distinct scent. Television commercials were filmed of women, having finished their cleaning routine, using Febreze to spritz freshly made beds and just-laundered clothing. Each ad was designed to appeal to the habit loop: when you see a freshly cleaned room (cue), pull out Febreze (routine) and enjoy a smell that says you’ve done a great job (reward). When you finish making a bed (cue), spritz Febreze (routine) and breathe a sweet, contented sigh (reward). Febreze, the ads implied, was a pleasant treat, not a reminder that your home stinks.

And so Febreze, a product originally conceived as a revolutionary way to destroy odors, became an air freshener used once things are already clean. The Febreze revamp occurred in the summer of 1998. Within two months, sales doubled. A year later, the product brought in $230 million. Since then Febreze has spawned dozens of spinoffs – air fresheners, candles and laundry detergents – that now account for sales of more than $1 billion a year. Eventually, P.& G. began mentioning to customers that, in addition to smelling sweet, Febreze can actually kill bad odors. Today it’s one of the top-selling products in the world.

Andrew Pole was hired by Target to use the same kinds of insights into consumers’ habits to expand Target’s sales. His assignment was to analyze all the cue-routine-reward loops among shoppers and help the company figure out how to exploit them. Much of his department’s work was straightforward: find the customers who have children and send them catalogs that feature toys before Christmas. Look for shoppers who habitually purchase swimsuits in April and send them coupons for sunscreen in July and diet books in December. But Pole’s most important assignment was to identify those unique moments in consumers’ lives when their shopping habits become particularly flexible and the right advertisement or coupon would cause them to begin spending in new ways.

In the 1980s, a team of researchers led by a U.C.L.A. professor named Alan Andreasen undertook a study of peoples’ most mundane purchases, like soap, toothpaste, trash bags and toilet paper. They learned that most shoppers paid almost no attention to how they bought these products, that the purchases occurred habitually, without any complex decision-making. Which meant it was hard for marketers, despite their displays and coupons and product promotions, to persuade shoppers to change.

But when some customers were going through a major life event, like graduating from college or getting a new job or moving to a new town, their shopping habits became flexible in ways that were both predictable and potential gold mines for retailers. The study found that when someone marries, he or she is more likely to start buying a new type of coffee. When a couple move into a new house, they’re more apt to purchase a different kind of cereal. When they divorce, there’s an increased chance they’ll start buying different brands of beer.

Consumers going through major life events often don’t notice, or care, that their shopping habits have shifted, but retailers notice, and they care quite a bit. At those unique moments, Andreasen wrote, customers are “vulnerable to intervention by marketers.” In other words, a precisely timed advertisement, sent to a recent divorcee or new homebuyer, can change someone’s shopping patterns for years.

And among life events, none are more important than the arrival of a baby. At that moment, new parents’ habits are more flexible than at almost any other time in their adult lives. If companies can identify pregnant shoppers, they can earn millions.

The only problem is that identifying pregnant customers is harder than it sounds. Target has a baby-shower registry, and Pole started there, observing how shopping habits changed as a woman approached her due date, which women on the registry had willingly disclosed. He ran test after test, analyzing the data, and before long some useful patterns emerged. Lotions, for example. Lots of people buy lotion, but one of Pole’s colleagues noticed that women on the baby registry were buying larger quantities of unscented lotion around the beginning of their second trimester. Another analyst noted that sometime in the first 20 weeks, pregnant women loaded up on supplements like calcium, magnesium and zinc. Many shoppers purchase soap and cotton balls, but when someone suddenly starts buying lots of scent-free soap and extra-big bags of cotton balls, in addition to hand sanitizers and washcloths, it signals they could be getting close to their delivery date.

As Pole’s computers crawled through the data, he was able to identify about 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed him to assign each shopper a “pregnancy prediction” score. More important, he could also estimate her due date to within a small window, so Target could send coupons timed to very specific stages of her pregnancy.

One Target employee I spoke to provided a hypothetical example. Take a fictional Target shopper named Jenny Ward, who is 23, lives in Atlanta and in March bought cocoa-butter lotion, a purse large enough to double as a diaper bag, zinc and magnesium supplements and a bright blue rug. There’s, say, an 87 percent chance that she’s pregnant and that her delivery date is sometime in late August. What’s more, because of the data attached to her Guest ID number, Target knows how to trigger Jenny’s habits. They know that if she receives a coupon via e-mail, it will most likely cue her to buy online. They know that if she receives an ad in the mail on Friday, she frequently uses it on a weekend trip to the store. And they know that if they reward her with a printed receipt that entitles her to a free cup of Starbucks coffee, she’ll use it when she comes back again.

In the past, that knowledge had limited value. After all, Jenny purchased only cleaning supplies at Target, and there were only so many psychological buttons the company could push. But now that she is pregnant, everything is up for grabs. In addition to triggering Jenny’s habits to buy more cleaning products, they can also start including offers for an array of products, some more obvious than others, that a woman at her stage of pregnancy might need.

Pole applied his program to every regular female shopper in Target’s national database and soon had a list of tens of thousands of women who were most likely pregnant. If they could entice those women or their husbands to visit Target and buy baby-related products, the company’s cue-routine-reward calculators could kick in and start pushing them to buy groceries, bathing suits, toys and clothing, as well. When Pole shared his list with the marketers, he said, they were ecstatic. Soon, Pole was getting invited to meetings above his paygrade. Eventually his paygrade went up.

At which point someone asked an important question: How are women going to react when they figure out how much Target knows?

“If we send someone a catalog and say, ‘Congratulations on your first child!’ and they’ve never told us they’re pregnant, that’s going to make some people uncomfortable,” Pole told me. “We are very conservative about compliance with all privacy laws. But even if you’re following the law, you can do things where people get queasy.”

About a year after Pole created his pregnancy-prediction model, a man walked into a Target outside Minneapolis and demanded to see the manager. He was clutching coupons that had been sent to his daughter, and he was angry, according to an employee who participated in the conversation.

“My daughter got this in the mail!” he said. “She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?”

The manager didn’t have any idea what the man was talking about. He looked at the mailer. Sure enough, it was addressed to the man’s daughter and contained advertisements for maternity clothing, nursery furniture and pictures of smiling infants. The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again.

On the phone, though, the father was somewhat abashed. “I had a talk with my daughter,” he said. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”

When I approached Target to discuss Pole’s work, its representatives declined to speak with me. “Our mission is to make Target the preferred shopping destination for our guests by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and exceptional guest experience,” the company wrote in a statement. “We’ve developed a number of research tools that allow us to gain insights into trends and preferences within different demographic segments of our guest population.” When I sent Target a complete summary of my reporting, the reply was more terse: “Almost all of your statements contain inaccurate information and publishing them would be misleading to the public. We do not intend to address each statement point by point.” The company declined to identify what was inaccurate. They did add, however, that Target “is in compliance with all federal and state laws, including those related to protected health information.”

When I offered to fly to Target’s headquarters to discuss its concerns, a spokeswoman e-mailed that no one would meet me. When I flew out anyway, I was told I was on a list of prohibited visitors. “I’ve been instructed not to give you access and to ask you to leave,” said a very nice security guard named Alex.

Using data to predict a woman’s pregnancy, Target realized soon after Pole perfected his model, could be a public-relations disaster. So the question became: how could they get their advertisements into expectant mothers’ hands without making it appear they were spying on them? How do you take advantage of someone’s habits without letting them know you’re studying their lives?

Before I met Andrew Pole, before I even decided to write a book about the science of habit formation, I had another goal: I wanted to lose weight.

I had got into a bad habit of going to the cafeteria every afternoon and eating a chocolate-chip cookie, which contributed to my gaining a few pounds. Eight, to be precise. I put a Post-it note on my computer reading “NO MORE COOKIES.” But every afternoon, I managed to ignore that note, wander to the cafeteria, buy a cookie and eat it while chatting with colleagues. Tomorrow, I always promised myself, I’ll muster the willpower to resist.

Tomorrow, I ate another cookie.

When I started interviewing experts in habit formation, I concluded each interview by asking what I should do. The first step, they said, was to figure out my habit loop. The routine was simple: every afternoon, I walked to the cafeteria, bought a cookie and ate it while chatting with friends.

Next came some less obvious questions: What was the cue? Hunger? Boredom? Low blood sugar? And what was the reward? The taste of the cookie itself? The temporary distraction from my work? The chance to socialize with colleagues?

Rewards are powerful because they satisfy cravings, but we’re often not conscious of the urges driving our habits in the first place. So one day, when I felt a cookie impulse, I went outside and took a walk instead. The next day, I went to the cafeteria and bought a coffee. The next, I bought an apple and ate it while chatting with friends. You get the idea. I wanted to test different theories regarding what reward I was really craving. Was it hunger? (In which case the apple should have worked.) Was it the desire for a quick burst of energy? (If so, the coffee should suffice.) Or, as turned out to be the answer, was it that after several hours spent focused on work, I wanted to socialize, to make sure I was up to speed on office gossip, and the cookie was just a convenient excuse? When I walked to a colleague’s desk and chatted for a few minutes, it turned out, my cookie urge was gone.

All that was left was identifying the cue.

Deciphering cues is hard, however. Our lives often contain too much information to figure out what is triggering a particular behavior. Do you eat breakfast at a certain time because you’re hungry? Or because the morning news is on? Or because your kids have started eating? Experiments have shown that most cues fit into one of five categories: location, time, emotional state, other people or the immediately preceding action. So to figure out the cue for my cookie habit, I wrote down five things the moment the urge hit:

Where are you? (Sitting at my desk.)

What time is it? (3:36 p.m.)

What’s your emotional state? (Bored.)

Who else is around? (No one.)

What action preceded the urge? (Answered an e-mail.)

The next day I did the same thing. And the next. Pretty soon, the cue was clear: I always felt an urge to snack around 3:30.

Once I figured out all the parts of the loop, it seemed fairly easy to change my habit. But the psychologists and neuroscientists warned me that, for my new behavior to stick, I needed to abide by the same principle that guided Procter & Gamble in selling Febreze: To shift the routine – to socialize, rather than eat a cookie – I needed to piggyback on an existing habit. So now, every day around 3:30, I stand up, look around the newsroom for someone to talk to, spend 10 minutes gossiping, then go back to my desk. The cue and reward have stayed the same. Only the routine has shifted. It doesn’t feel like a decision, any more than the M.I.T. rats made a decision to run through the maze. It’s now a habit. I’ve lost 21 pounds since then (12 of them from changing my cookie ritual).

After Andrew Pole built his pregnancy-prediction model, after he identified thousands of female shoppers who were most likely pregnant, after someone pointed out that some of those women might be a little upset if they received an advertisement making it obvious Target was studying their reproductive status, everyone decided to slow things down.

The marketing department conducted a few tests by choosing a small, random sample of women from Pole’s list and mailing them combinations of advertisements to see how they reacted.

“We have the capacity to send every customer an ad booklet, specifically designed for them, that says, ‘Here’s everything you bought last week and a coupon for it,’ ” one Target executive told me. “We do that for grocery products all the time.” But for pregnant women, Target’s goal was selling them baby items they didn’t even know they needed yet.

“With the pregnancy products, though, we learned that some women react badly,” the executive said. “Then we started mixing in all these ads for things we knew pregnant women would never buy, so the baby ads looked random. We’d put an ad for a lawn mower next to diapers. We’d put a coupon for wineglasses next to infant clothes. That way, it looked like all the products were chosen by chance.

“And we found out that as long as a pregnant woman thinks she hasn’t been spied on, she’ll use the coupons. She just assumes that everyone else on her block got the same mailer for diapers and cribs. As long as we don’t spook her, it works.”

In other words, if Target piggybacked on existing habits – the same cues and rewards they already knew got customers to buy cleaning supplies or socks – then they could insert a new routine: buying baby products, as well. There’s a cue (“Oh, a coupon for something I need!”) a routine (“Buy! Buy! Buy!”) and a reward (“I can take that off my list”). And once the shopper is inside the store, Target will hit her with cues and rewards to entice her to purchase everything she normally buys somewhere else. As long as Target camouflaged how much it knew, as long as the habit felt familiar, the new behavior took hold.

Soon after the new ad campaign began, Target’s Mom and Baby sales exploded. The company doesn’t break out figures for specific divisions, but between 2002 – when Pole was hired – and 2010, Target’s revenues grew from $44 billion to $67 billion. In 2005, the company’s president, Gregg Steinhafel, boasted to a room of investors about the company’s “heightened focus on items and categories that appeal to specific guest segments such as mom and baby.”

Pole was promoted. He has been invited to speak at conferences. “I never expected this would become such a big deal,” he told me the last time we spoke.

A few weeks before this article went to press, I flew to Minneapolis to try and speak to Andrew Pole one last time. I hadn’t talked to him in more than a year. Back when we were still friendly, I mentioned that my wife was seven months pregnant. We shop at Target, I told him, and had given the company our address so we could start receiving coupons in the mail. As my wife’s pregnancy progressed, I noticed a subtle upswing in the number of advertisements for diapers and baby clothes arriving at our house.

Pole didn’t answer my e-mails or phone calls when I visited Minneapolis. I drove to his large home in a nice suburb, but no one answered the door. On my way back to the hotel, I stopped at a Target to pick up some deodorant, then also bought some T-shirts and a fancy hair gel. On a whim, I threw in some pacifiers, to see how the computers would react. Besides, our baby is now 9 months old. You can’t have too many pacifiers.

When I paid, I didn’t receive any sudden deals on diapers or formula, to my slight disappointment. It made sense, though: I was shopping in a city I never previously visited, at 9:45 p.m. on a weeknight, buying a random assortment of items. I was using a corporate credit card, and besides the pacifiers, hadn’t purchased any of the things that a parent needs. It was clear to Target’s computers that I was on a business trip. Pole’s prediction calculator took one look at me, ran the numbers and decided to bide its time. Back home, the offers would eventually come. As Pole told me the last time we spoke: “Just wait. We’ll be sending you coupons for things you want before you even know you want them.”
– Source: New York Times

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