Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?
-- Robert Browning
The Planetarian Apocalypse is "the definitive work of the Cult of the Universal Spirit of the Planet Earth for the Planetarian Religion". A bold claim, seemingly, except that it would appear that it is the only work of this grandly named cult, and William Edwards Wootten may very well have been its sole member.
According to the Planetarians - if I may use the plural - our planet, as every other celestial body, is surrounded by a series of spiritual spheres of existence. From outside in:
0. Interplanetary Space: dominated by Cosmic Beings, Chaotic Monsters and Evil Fiends.
1. The True Astral: The Planetary Kingdoms of Heaven, the Devil-Gods, and Hell; a palace of the Dweller-by-the-Threshold, the Old-Man-With-the-Lamp, the Seven Judges, Priests of the Temples of Silence, Lords of Life and Death, and other Cosmic Beings. Approximately 1,000,000 miles in diameter.
2. The Land of Betwixt and Between: realms of thought forms; eternal records; fields of experimentation and planning; the "back door" of Eternity; strongholds of the Cosmic, the Planetary, the Evil, and the Chaotic. Approximately 500,000 miles in diameter.
3. The Physical-Astral: the realms of ascending spirits from the earthbound to those ready to rejoin their Entireties in the Temples of Silence. Seven major realms - planes indeterminate. Strongholds of the Cosmic, the Planetary, the Evil, and the Chaotic. Approximately 100,000 miles in diameter.
4. The Earth: which is the core, the Physical, the Mortal Realm of countless planes; strongholds of all Forces. Approximately 8,000 miles in diameter.
First hour of the Devil-Gods: 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
First hour of Heaven: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
Second hour of Heaven: 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.
Second hour of the Devil-Gods: 4:00 p.m to 8:00 p.m.
First hour of Hell: 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight.
Second hour of Hell: 12:00 midnight to 4:00 a.m.
If that sounds a bit routine, don't worry, there's one way guaranteed to relieve any boredom:
The sex act in the True Astral is performed as it is in Earth.
A less pleasant fact is that zombies, werewolves, animated mummies and vampires are all real, and obey the rules familiar to us from the film stables of Universal and Hammer:
[The vampire] cannot cross a threshold unless first invited. [...] He may float outside the bedroom of a loved one, and influence that person to dream of him. [...] He fastens his mouth upon the doomed one's throat, punctures the skin with his sharp teeth, and drinks his fill of blood.
Wootten has a novel take on the origin of disease:
From out of Chaos and Evil comes the disease germ - from the common cold to the vampire curse. The disease germ, conceived in Chaos and Evil, goes through its period of gestation in the astral shell of anyone whose vibrations are so hateful that it is hatched in a safe nest. This fact alone is sufficient to condemn anyone with a bad disposition as Public Enemy No. One!
Disease first breaks out in the Astral Shell. It works upward in vibration to infect the soul with spiritual illness, and works downward in vibration to infect the body with physical illness. If the astral shell, prepared by divine nature for just such conditions as this, is weak and is not supported by a strong spirit, another sickness works its way out into the flesh to contaminate humanity.
So the best means of warding off infection is "strong spirit". Brandy, perhaps?
Wootten is a practitioner of mediumship, and defends its reputation against accusations of fraud. Like the author of Ghostology, he proposes that apparent deceptions by mediums are the work of malicious forces trying to undermine their good work:
Again and again have Chaotic Monsters and Evil Fiends so rearranged articles and created situations in the seance room that the medium has been placed in a position that could not but arouse suspicion in the minds of the most impartial investigators.
Those dratted Evil Fiends! How's an innocent medium to make an honest crust? But eventually, everything will be OK:
Some day, how far removed depending on the fidelity, zeal, and ability of everyone, Chaos and Evil shall be eliminated from our entire solar system. [...] Everyone shall be in the human shape, but a thought-form creation shall provide scenery of surpassing loveliness, through which shall move thought-form creatures of every subhuman species desired. [...] Additional pleasure, as well as increased energy, will be provided by the most delicious and stimulating thought-form food and drink.
Not only "food and drink", but also "copulation" will play a major part in this vision of the end times, where finally:
[... ] Life, that is never to know Death, and clothed in Beauty absolute, on radiant wings shall soar through the brilliance of the Evermore.
No thanks, William. Soaring on radiant wings gets a little boring after a while. That's why they invented Tetris.
For all its absurdities, Wootten's vision is no more or less preposterous than those of more widely followed belief systems, so why has the Planetarian Religion failed to catch on? Marketing, or rather the lack of it, is my hypothesis. If only Wootten had sufficiently publicised the fact that his religion included werewolves and vampires, he would surely have won cultists in abundance. To any Planetarians reading this: get hip guys! These are the days of the Information Superhighway, and it's time to climb on board!