Have you ever felt like you don’t fit in? Maybe you’re an alien born in a human body
These are two real things that happened. One: on January 6, 2021, an Arizona man named Jake Angeli (AKA Jacob Chansley, AKA the QAnon Shaman) stormed the US Capitol alongside a mob of fellow Trump supporters, wearing red-white-and-blue warpaint and a bison-horned headdress, and carrying a six-foot spear. In November that year, he was sentenced to 41 months in prison, but was released early last week to a halfway house in Arizona.
Two: on July 28, 2020, a TikToker named Unicole Unicron (who uses xe/xir pronouns) posted a video about xir experiences as an alien consciousness born into a human body. To date, the video has been watched over a million times, pushing viewers to xir self-described online cult, which features brainwashing, “spiritual sex tapes”, and promoting COVID conspiracy theories.
On the surface, the QAnon Shaman and Unicole Unicron are worlds apart. One is a relatively harmless aspiring cult leader, whose sceptical comments section and lacklustre engagement suggest that xir New Age beliefs aren’t particularly influential. The other seems like someone at the other end of the political spectrum, who has been considered the figurehead of a credible threat to Western democracy. So what brings them together? Well, both claim to be starseeds – alien beings that were born in distant stars, and walk on Earth by inhabiting human bodies.
First introduced as a concept in Brad Steiger’s 1976 book Gods of Aquarius, starseeds (or star people) are said to have originated as extraterrestrial beings, most commonly in star systems such as Sirius, the Pleiades, Arcturus, and the Andromeda galaxy, which are each aligned with their own special traits. According to believers, these beings can be born into human bodies, or enter them as “walk-ins” – but have no fear: these aliens come in peace. In fact, many starseeds see it as their mission to elevate human consciousness, taking us from the third dimension (a nasty place with solid matter and suffering, AKA the world as we see it today) to the fifth dimension, a place beyond human comprehension.
This noble aim differentiates starseeds from other alien creatures, notes Dr Susannah Crockford, an anthropology lecturer at the University of Exeter and author of Ripples of the Universe. “Typically, in UFO lore, the aliens are hostile,” she tells Dazed. “They’re coming to earth. They’re gonna invade. They want to make hybrid babies. They want to stick probes in you. They’re gonna abduct you. It’s a hostile thing.” People who claim to be starseeds, on the other hand, are saying: “‘Actually, no, we are the aliens and we’re here for a good reason.’”
Crockford first encountered starseeds while doing fieldwork in Sedona in 2012, long before the term hit more than a billion views on TikTok, where it’s spawned a new wave of New Age influencers and spiritual guides. She was living near the Grand Canyon, she explains, to observe a spiritual community drawn in by the special energy contained in the area’s vortexes – “basically rocks” – when she got talking to someone at the local vegan restaurant. “She told me that she had been in a wedding ceremony as the vessel for an alien being that this person was marrying,” Crockford explains. “So I was like, ‘So you technically married this person?’ And she was like, ‘No, I was just the conduit for the energy.’” When Crockford dug deeper, this person told her that she was aware of many others in Sedona who saw themselves as aliens in human bodies, though she didn’t personally buy into the starseed story. “I was like, well, that’s really interesting,” Crockford says. “I want to know more, because my whole point of being there was studying spiritual practice.”
what is it like to be a starseed?♬ join unicult - Unicole Unicron
Given her background researching starseeds in fringe spiritual communities, Crockford was interested to learn from her students that similar New Age beliefs – “ideas about energy and frequency and manifestation” – are proliferating online. Then again, it kind of makes sense. If the elites who rule the world are actually lizards in disguise, as many right-wing conspiracy theorists believe, then starseeds are basically their benevolent counterparts. Like in so many science fiction films, they are “fighting a war on the side of good” using powers that are said to include telepathy, radical empathy, and extrasensory perception.
“I am mainly clairvoyant and clairsentient,” says Lauren Scott Sbicca (AKA @goldenheartempress), a 27-year-old starseed, cosmic channeller and energetic healer based in London. “I have sensations and feelings show up in my body. I also see visual imagery of words and light beings.” In one video, for example, Lauren claims to be channelling a message from Pleiadian and Venusian beings. “In this particular video, I was channelling Lady Venus,” she explains. “I could see her as well as three other Pleiadian beings. They show me symbolism, and as a channel, I have to interpret that.”
Lauren first came across the wider starseed community in 2020, during an “accelerated spiritual awakening” that involved investigating her cosmic origin. Over the next couple of years, she became part of a thriving network of creators on platforms such as TikTok and YouTube. “Many are awakening right now, with a particular boom since COVID,” she adds. “I’m so happy to be creating a community of like-minded individuals to create awareness that we are much more than we are told we are.”
You might be wondering: how do you let someone know that they’re actually a host for an intergalactic being on a higher vibrational plane, playing 5D chess from inside a human body? As in many online communities, influencers tend to appeal to vague, generalised feelings of isolation and individuality, Crockford explains (see also: star signs, personality types). With starseeds, these are expressed as “symptoms” stemming from your alien origins, as in a TikTok by life coach Cristian Caminero with more than 500,000 views. Over ~mysterious~ music and stock images of ascendant beings, Caminero lists seven of these symptoms: a strong sense of being different, a strong sense of unfulfilled purpose, experiencing a spiritual awakening, possessing powerful intuition, being highly sensitive or an empath, feeling like an “old soul”, and getting on well with children and animals.
@cristiancaminero DO YOU BELIEVE YOU’RE A STAR SEED? ⭐️👽 #greenscreen #starseed #starseeds #history #spiritual #spirituality #spiritualtiktok ♬ original sound - CRISTIAN CAMINERO
“It really appeals to people who feel very left out,” says Crockford, of these types of videos. “They’re all these incredibly vague things that we’ve probably all experienced at some time. ‘Do you ever feel like you don’t fit in sometimes?’ Yes. That’s called the modern condition, right?”
It’s true that these symptoms do seem broadly applicable, and most of us have experienced any or all of them from time to time (apart from getting along with children – can’t relate there). But could that be because we can trace our origins back to outer space? Well, most scientists agree the elements that make up our bodies were formed in the hearts of stars over billions of years, but Lauren has an even more literal interpretation of our alien origins. “A little over half of the population right now are starseeds,” she says. “We are much more popular than what has been perpetuated!” This is convenient, since many of Lauren’s most-watched videos involve diagnosing celebrities as starseeds, whether they know it or not.
Lana Del Rey. Julia Fox. Bretman Rock. Hunter Schafer. All starseeds, according to Lauren’s TikTok. As are Austin Butler, Kanye West, XXXTentacion, and Grimes (to no one’s surprise). “I identify them through their soul profile,” she says. “As an Akashic record reader, I get my information from the Akash which is an energetic library in the eighth dimension. Within this library, you can go into clients’ personal records with permission. With celebrities, they’ve signed up to be on ‘show’ to a certain extent. I can see very basic things in this soul profile such as the main essence (star origin), divine gifts, and truth blocks. I can’t go into past lives or channelled messages from the higher self or spirit guides without permission.”
Reading spiritual records and channelling is a key part of how many starseeds earn a living, with a growing industry propelled by the rise of social media. People pay them to send bespoke readings over email, alongside one-on-one sessions over Skype or Zoom, where they might channel celestial beings to offer spiritual guidance or life advice. Others pay to sign up to their individual platforms, which might give them access to some kind of online community and a set of spiritual courses (something Crockford compares to online platforms run by the likes of Andrew Tate). Is this particularly harmful? Not really. “If you think you’re a star seed, it’s a way of joining a community with these other people who also think that their starseeds, which gives you validation,” says Crockford. “A lot of people are gonna think you’re nuts, but you can live this life online where you’re with other people who are fighting this amazing battle to save the universe.”
@goldenheartempress I love them all 🤩 heavily requested #starseedawakening #pleiadianstarseed #lyranstarseed #mintakanstarseed ♬ Lemuria - ARS.
Lauren suggests that providing spiritual guidance is just one of the various, benevolent reasons that starseeds “incarnate”. “Usually, they're on a double mission, meaning the soul has karma to resolve,” she says, “as well as serving humanity, [helping them] to ascend to their spiritualised selves alongside Mother Gaia, to reach 5D.” She also sees some starseeds joining the fight directly, she adds. “But we all choose to do this in our own way, whether that be on the front line, deconstructing the government, fighting for climate change and sustainable energy, or creating more community-based living! There are many ways to embody your purpose.”
Of course, like any viral, faith-based movement, the starseed movement isn’t without its extreme believers. This brings us back to the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, where Jake Angeli – the founder of a now-defunct group called the Star Seed Academy – entered the Senate floor in “shamanic attire” to protest the election of Joe Biden. Looking past Angeli’s QAnon links, or the theory that police aided his illegal entry into the building, is it possible that his New Age beliefs were part of what inspired his assault on the institution? Was this his effort to “deconstruct the government”, guided by an intuition that it was run by opposing aliens, such as the “negatively orientated” Draconians? Is Donald Trump... a starseed?
“If you think you’re fighting a war, you have to be pretty convinced that you’re on the right side, and then obviously people on the other side are going to think you’re on the wrong side,” says Crockford. “Which is how you can end up storming the Capitol and ending up in federal prison.” If he didn’t believe he was a starseed, then perhaps Angeli would have found some other justification for storming the Capitol, but the fact is he didn’t have to – maybe the idea that he was an alien being campaigning for the betterment of human consciousness was justification enough.
‘People like being religious... They like believing in things that they can’t see, but that give them faith and hope... those are really powerful emotions’ – Dr Susannah Crockford
“This sounds very unfashionable, but people like religion, they like being religious on some level,” says Crockford. “They like believing in things that they can’t see, but that give them faith and hope... those are really powerful emotions.” Lauren echoes this sentiment, saying that starseeds are drawn to a blend of spirituality, science, philosophy, and psychology to “try and find a deeper meaning to being human”. For her personally, she adds: “It ultimately gives more context to my sense of self, my multidimensionality and wholeness.”
Even if starseeds aren’t real (and I’ll leave you to make up your own mind), some believers do seem to extract a number of benefits from the idea that they’re aliens born in human bodies: a sense of community, motivation to campaign for good causes, stories and frameworks that can aid psychological healing. In this sense, starseed belief is similar to many religions (and it is, essentially, just a different brand of faith wrapped in the language of science and sci-fi). It also has its extreme outliers, like Angeli, or alleged grifters, like Unicole Unicron – but again, doesn’t every religion? As Crockford summarises: “As long as they’re not exploiting anyone or, you know, joining insurrections to overthrow the government, I think they’re fine.” Essentially, it seems sensible to regard starseeds as just another mythmaking device used to cope with our meaningless and messed-up world. And so what if we’re wrong? So what if starseeds are actually real? The worst that can happen is ascension to a higher dimension, and I, for one, am ready to see the world in 5D.
Header image: La Planète Sauvage (Fantastic Planet), 1973. Dir. René Laloux (Film Still). Courtesy New World Films
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