Founders: Ernest L. Norman (1904-1971), a.k.a. Archangel Raphiel and Ruth E. Norman (1900-1993), a.k.a. Archangel Uriel
Places of Birth: Uriel was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. Raphiel's birthplace is unknown.
Birthplace of Unarius: Los Angeles in 1954
Current Director: Charles Louis Spiegel, a.k.a. Antares (Update: Spiegel dies Dec 22, 1999)
Brief History The Unarius Academy of Science is a tax-exempt, non-profit educational foundation centered in El Cajon, California. The Academy's purpose is to teach the "connective and higher spiritual understanding of consciousness as an evolutionary mandate attainable by all individuals searching for the meaning of life." The word Unarius is an acronym for Universal Articulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science (Unarius Academy of Science: 4).
The Academy's founders, Ernest and Ruth Norman (archangels Raphiel and Uriel, respectively), met in Los Angeles in 1954 at a psychics' convention, where Ernest, a scientist, electronic engineer poet, and clairvoyant, was lecturing on "Inner Contact from the Higher Beings" (UAS: 6). It was at the convention that they conceived the Unarius mission. They soon founded the Unarius Educational Foundation to study the nature of man, his spiritual evolution, and his connection to the universe.
The next 17 years were building years for Unarius. During this time, the Normans participated in spiritualism conventions and events to spread their message. They also authored 20 books, including Ernest's Voice of Venus, an introduction to Unarius beliefs. The Normans were able to gather a small following before Raphiel's death or, in Unarius terms, his "transition to the higher planes of light worlds" in 1971 (UAS: 6).
Unarius underwent great changes after Ernest's death. Ruth, a charismatic and flamboyant new leader, provided a great infusion of energy and motivation to the group (Kossy). She founded Unarius' headquarters in El Cajon, near San Diego, in 1972. Three years later she created the Center for New World Teaching for the study of Unarius teachings and education of students. She also greatly increased the group's visibility by publishing books and videos about information on the interdimensional science of life that she had received from higher beings after Ernest's death.
By her death at age 93, Ruth had published about 80 books and helped create almost 100 videos and three full-length films (UAS: 6). She had also overseen the founding of other Unarius centers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Toronto, Vancouver, England, New Zealand, Nigeria, and Poland. Ruth was the foremost leader in achieving greater visibility for Unarius (Kossy). More Unarius centers are currently being planned for Madrid and Barcelona, Spain, Turin and Rome, Italy, Romania, and the Czech Republic.
After her death, Dr. Charles Spiegel (a.k.a. Antares) became director. A Unarius student and teacher since 1960, Spiegel (born in 1921) has authored or co-authored more than 30 books for the Academy, including I, Bonaparte, an autobiography about his past life as Napoleon of France. Antares experienced his first calling to Unarius while a student at the University of Southern California in the 1940s. Working one night at a post office, he had a vision of a beautiful woman smiling down on him. "I've never forgotten the feeling that someone loved me," he said (Rother: B1). Some years later when he met the Normans at their home in Glendale, he realized that his vision had been of Ruth. Spiegel was thus compelled to Unarius and has served the Academy ever since.
The media began to cover Unarius during the late 1980s, as the group claimed its membership had grown to about 10,000 and its appeal had become international. Local publications such as the Los Angeles Times and The San Diego Tribune began printing short feature stories on Unarius. Some of these stories, like Mike Granberry's "Spiritual Group Delves Into Past Lives for Answers," were met with hostility from the group. The Academy became the subject of great scrutiny by the media after the mass suicide of the Heaven's Gate group in March 1997. Its members insist, however, that Unarius has absolutely no plans for mass suicide, nor does it have any other apocalyptic tendencies. In stark contrast, the members emphasize the need to be alive when the Pleiadeans arrive in 2001. Most of all, Unarius looks forward to the arrival and the subsequent advent of peace and universal education on earth (Noriyuki: A3).
Sacred or Revered Texts: Unarius Academy of Science publications. The Normans and Spiegel have authored about 125 texts, which are printed by UAS' own publishing house. The authors claim to receive the material for the texts from advanced intelligent beings living on nonatomic, higher frequency worlds. The Normans and Spiegel have also published more than 100 video programs that currently air on 30 public access television stations.
Cult or Sect: Negative sentiments are typically implied when the concepts "cult" and "sect" are employed in popular discourse. Since the Religious Movements Homepage seeks to promote religious tolerance and appreciation of the positive benefits of pluralism and religious diversity in human cultures, we encourage the use of alternative concepts that do not carry implicit negative stereotypes. For a more detailed discussion of both scholarly and popular usage of the concepts "cult" and "sect," please visit our Conceptualizing "Cult" and "Sect" page, where you will find additional links to related issues.
Size of Group: Unarius claims to have more than 500,000 students worldwide. Adam Parfrey, a freelance writer whose investigation of Unarius has included observational research, claims that the number of home-study students is probably less than 1000. He notes that the lectures and meetings held weekly at the headquarters in El Cajon typically draw approximately 60 members (Parfrey: 16).
Back to NRM Index Back to NRM Profiles