The Macrobiotic Genius of Walter Russell

By John David Mann

Copyright 1989 John David Mann


"The Times of July 21 [1930] contains an article stating
that Walter Russell challenges the Newtonian theory of
gravitation. This artist, who is admittedly not a scientist, goes
on to say that the fundamentals of science are so hopelessly
wrong and so contrary to nature, that nothing but a major
surgical operation upon the present primitive beliefs can ever
put them in line for a workable 'cosmogenetic synthesis'...
"It seems to me it would be more fitting for an artist of
Mr. Russell's acknowledged distinction in his own field, to
remain in it, and not go trespassing on 'ground which even angels
fear to tread'.
"For nearly three hundred years no one, not even a
scientist, has had the temerity to question Newton's laws of
gravitation. Such an act on the part of a scientist would be akin
to blasphemy, and for an artist to commit such an absurdity is,
to treat it kindly, an evidence of either misguidance or crass
ignorance of the enormity of his act..."

-- Dr. John E. Jackson, The New York Times, August 3, 1930.

"Dr. John E. Jackson's letter to you, a copy of which he
graciously sent to me, is a perfectly natural letter of
resentment for which I do not blame him in the least.
"It is true that I have challenged the accurateness or
completeness of the Newtonian laws of gravitation, and will just
as vigorously attack the other "sacred laws" of Kepler, and any
others, ancient or modern, that need rewriting...
"I am sorry an artist had to do it, but Sir Oliver Lodge
said that no scientist could make the supreme discovery of the
one thing for which science is looking and hoping. He said that
such a discovery would have to be the 'supreme inspiration of
some poet, painter, philosopher or saint'
"Newton, for example, would have solved the other half of
the gravitation problem if he had found out how that apple and
the tree upon which it grew got up in the air before the apple
fell. I challenge the world of science to correctly and
completely answer that question..."

-- Dr. Walter Russell, The New York Times, August 17, 1930.

"I now wish to modify my statements and criticisms, for,
since writing that letter, my viewpoint has somewhat changed...
"What I considered to be the overnight inspiration of a
'crank' might be, instead, the result of an intelligent and
prolonged study of Nature.
"I am immensely intrigued by Russell's 'two-way' principle,
for it gives this universe of motion a meaning to me that it did
not have before. In fact, we know very little of the why of
"Why did not some scientist think of this instead of waiting
300 years for an artist to tell us about it?... I invite the
collaboration and criticism of my fellow scientists at large to
join me in this... If Russell is right, and he surely thinks he
is, his claim that science needs 'a major surgical operation' is

-- Dr. John E. Jackson, The New York Times, November 9,

Dr. John E. Jackson was furious. What educated person would
have the audacity to challenge Newton and Kepler? For months the
debate raged in the New York Times' "Letters" page. Prompted by
the release of an artist's heretical views on science, Nature and
the universe,
the Times' 1930 filibuster culminated in Dr.
Jackson's dramatic reversal -- what began as a caustic attack was
transformed into a call for his colleagues' support that had the
fervent ring of religious conversion. Dr. Jackson, whoever he
was, had caught a glimmer of the genius of Walter Russell.
But in the end, Dr. Jackson notwithstanding, the world of
science did not embrace Walter Russell, nor have sixty years of
progress changed that position
. Today, despite the wide sphere of
contacts and influence generated by Russell and his wife and
colleague, Lao, their teachings largely await unearthing.
However, the time for that rediscovery may be at hand; for
the Russells' vision suddenly has burning relevance to an
acknowledged urgent matter of global health. And the role of
advocate for the Russell perspective may best be fulfilled by
those in the macrobiotic movement -- for the macrobiotic world
view and Russell's practical cosmology have much in common.

Cloud Over the Ozone
Our story begins some ten miles above the Earth's surface in
the stratosphere, home of the planet's ailing ozone skin and
birthplace of the emerging global awareness of the limits of
man's technology. In 1974, two scientists at the University of
California made an announcement that shocked the world. When Drs.
Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina warned of possible global ozone
depletion, they touched off a controversy that was to involve
scientists, industry, policy-makers, the press and the public.
The "Ozone War," as it came to be called, was principally
responsible for ushering in a new era of planetary policy. [See
Fifteen years later, the ponderous gears of human response
are finally grinding into action. Aimed at coping with the
infamous "ozone hole, a spate of local and global policy-making
is pushing its way forward in an unprecedented atmosphere of
international cooperation. Rep. Al Gore (D-TN), the seasoned
environmental advocate who helped uncover Love Canal and has
stalked the Greenhouse effect for years, recently introduced
legislation to ban production of CFCs (the chemical generally
thought responsible for the ozone crisis) within 5 years. As Gore
observed this February:
"The political sentiment is changing very rapidly... I think
people are mad about this and ready for dramatic action."
But are they the right actions? Not according to Walter
Russell, who predicted the ozone dilemma 35 years ago -- a full
20 years before the Rowland/Molina research made headlines -- and
ascribed it to an entirely different cause.

If Russell's views were correct, then the chlorine chemistry
of CFCs is not the prime culprit [see sidebar], and no one is
looking in the one direction that matters most. In fact,
according to Russell, there is one overarching solution to the
atmospheric emergency: stop making nuclear stockpiles --

A Different Scenario
The year is 1954. Sherwood Rowland's ozone prognosis is two
decades in the future; Three Mile Island is a quarter century
still to come. To most of us, the "Greenhouse effect" connotes
little more than a better way to grow tomatoes. The word
"ecology" scarcely exists in the mainstream lexicon.
This is the year atmospheric bomb testing has begun, both by
the Soviet Union in Siberia and by the United States on the
Bikini atoll. John Wayne and a company of actors and movie
personnel are filming a Western in Nevada, and emerge from long
days' of shooting covered with radioactive fallout. Years later,
it will be discovered that nearly all of them have just received
a death sentence. But all of that is many years away; for now,
most of us are caught up in the promise of Eisenhower's "Atoms
for Peace."
This year, Walter and Lao Russell write their warning in a
privately circulated newsletter to their students: Oxygen and
radioactive stockpiles cannot coexist. Digging up the Earth's
heavier elements, concentrating their reactions and releasing
their products into the atmosphere is a recipe for disaster.
Three years later the Russells publish a book, Atomic
, whose principle message is that the development of the
nuclear weaponry and industry, if allowed to continue, will
eventually destroy the planet's oxygen
"The element of surprise which could delay the discovery of
the great danger, and thus allow more plutonium piles to come
into existence, is the fact that scientists are looking near the
ground for fallout dangers and other radioactive menaces. The
greatest radioactive dangers are accumulating from eight to
twelve miles up [in the stratosphere]. The upper atmosphere is
already charged with death-dealing radioactivity, for which it
not yet sent us its bill. It is slowly coming, however, and we
will have to pay for it for another century, even if atomic
energy plants ceased today."
(Atomic Suicide?, page 18.)
Later in the book, they predict that the oxygen-destroying
effects of radiation would not be noticed "until the late

Atomic Prophesies
It was an uncannily accurate forecast: ozone depletion was
first noticed over the Antarctic in 1982 -- and scientists have
since concluded that it first appeared in 1979. But then, as now,
the Russells' voice received little notice.
The somber prediction of Atomic Suicide? was not the first
time Russell had gone out on a limb with scientific prophecy.
His spiral charts of the atomic table, copyrighted in 1926,
predicted the discovery of the transuranic elements Plutonium and
Neptunium, as well as the now-familiar elements of "heavy water,
Deuterium and Tritium" -- years before they were isolated in
research labs.

Some have claimed that the 1926 Russell charts (for which he
later received an honorary doctorate from the American Academy of
) and his years of New York City lectures on the subject
led directly to the laboratory research that resulted in these
elements' later discovery. It is difficult to document such a
claim at a half century's distance, but this sequence certainly
is feasible. Russell himself evidently exerted considerable
energy for years urging the research labs of Union Carbide,
Westinghouse, General Electric and others to verify his atomic
In any case, the exclusion from the mainstream of Russell's
charts is perhaps one of the most unfortunate snafus in the
history of science. For in neglecting to credit Russell with
these pivotal atomic discoveries
, the world also lost track of
the other side of the Russell equation: the larger scientific
understanding in the spiral charts
, the pragmatic warnings that
accompanied them, and the breathtaking scope of macrobiotic
thought his life and work revealed.

Who Was Walter Russell?
Russell's stunning achievements in science were but one
facet of a career that was unconventional, astonishingly
successful, dazzlingly versatile and unabashedly mystical. Often
called "the 20th Century's Leonardo" and "the man who tapped the
secrets of the universe," Russell maintained that a firm grasp of
nature's universal principles would permit anyone to excel in any
area of endeavor; thus genius was all human beings' birthright.

His own accomplishments exemplify this belief. A largely
self-taught Renaissance man, Russell carved out his first
successful career as an artist, achieving international
reputation in such diverse fields as portraiture, poetry,
sculpture and architecture. His accomplishments as a portrait
painter and sculptor, in particular, won him commissions from
dozens of era notables, such as Mark Twain, Thomas Watson (the
founder of IBM), both Roosevelts (Teddy and FDR), and Thomas
Edison. He also designed buildings and urban layout -- New York
City's famous Hotel Pierre, for example, is a Russell creation.
Forays into the world of athletics earned him prestigious awards
in figure-skating, horsemanship and race-horse training.
To Russell, such bravura performance was significant mainly
for its value as a demonstration that Divine Law and Balance
could be tapped by human effort, and the world of art was only a
starting point. Russell's yearning to imbue the social fabric of
his era with principles of universal justice led to his long
association with the Twilight Club, a contemporary "think tank"
of artists and social philosophers.
Through the Twilight Club, whose direction he assumed in
1895, Russell formed bonds that were to endure throughout his
life; in the early decades of the century the work of the
Twilight Club members, under the influence of Russell's teaching
of Divine Law and Universal Order, produced a virtually endless
procession of social innovations, such as the creation of child
labor laws and child welfare laws, Better Business Bureau and the
elimination of sweatshops.

The Living Universe
It was in science, however, that Russell left his least
known and perhaps his greatest legacy. While steeped in the
discoveries and frontiers of his own time, Russell's science
essentially is a thorough reworking of a Taoist or pre-Socratic
world conception in modern terms. Freely blending mystic and
religious imagery with rigorous mechanical logic, Russell's
scientific cosmology is rooted in the idea that all phenomena,
from star systems to atomic systems, arise from the same infinite
source to live, grow and die by precisely identical processes.

Hence, there is no fundamental difference between animate and
inanimate matter in Russell's universe -- all are living
manifestations of God's universe.
"All bodies in all the universe are the same in all
respects, whether they are electrons, cells, rocks, metals,
trees, men, planets or suns. All of them live and die in the same
manner. All breathe in the charging breath of life and breathe
out the discharging breath of death. All of them compress heat
and polarize when they breathe in, and expand, cool and
depolarize when they breathe out." (Atomic Suicide?, p. 9.)
Thus, Russell's universal mechanics hinges on a
reinterpretation of the ancient "unified field" theorem of yin
and yang. Life -- not only biological life, but the existence of
planets, gases and metals as well -- is caused by increasing
compression; and death, by expansion. These two processes, which
he also terms "charging" and "discharging," are not seen as
separate forces but as opposite stages and directions of one
process, much like the winding up and subsequent unwinding of a
spring. Life dominates every form from its inception to the point
of maximum compression, when the spring cannot be wound any
tighter; compression then begins to decrease, radiation assumes
dominance, and the process of releasing life's charge -- of dying
-- unfolds.
To Russell, the elements of matter are also living entities
in various stages of birth, growth and decay. "Carbon, the basis
of organic life, is the expression of matter at maturity;
elements of higher atomic weights are already dominated by the
aging side of the pendulum's swing. In the heaviest elements, the
force of decay reaches near-total dominance over the force of
life -- thus radioactivity is death incarnate." [See sidebar,
"The Spiral of Elements."]

The Secret Life of Plutonium
The key to grasping Russell's understanding of radioactivity
and ozone is the realization that all the elements, like all life
forms, are ideally suited to existence within their own natural,
local ecology. Thus, all the elements, when left in their natural
dimension, serve beneficial and life-giving purposes, including
Urium -- later dubbed "Plutonium."
Put another way, each octave or dimension of matter has its
own natural pressure zone. [For an explanation of the octave
idea, see the sidebar, "The Spiral of Elements."] The five
elements of organic life (C, H, N, O and Si) all need the normal
pressures found at the Earth's surface to exist normally. The
natural dimension for the supercompressed, naturally radioactive
elements (radium, uranium, plutonium, et al.) is deep
underground, where they are widely dispersed in solid rock.
Here, far from being deadly or poisonous, they actually have made
possible organic life on Earth's surface: through billions of
microscopic explosions, they have gradually caused the
surrounding rocky crust to break down and release water and other
lower-octave elements -- something like a geological compost.
"Water and soil are decayed and dying rock. They are,
literally, dead rocks. Out of death in Nature life springs...
Think of the hundreds of millions of years Nature has to work to
decay solid rock and metal planets sufficiently to create enough
decayed surface, and an atmosphere, for organic life to become
possible. The radioactive metals made that possible. Radioactive
metals are dead and dying bodies. They belong underground just as
dead animal bodies belong underground. They are not poisons in
their own environment... Man makes them poisonous by removing
them from their purposeful environment."
"Just as the slight decay of an overripe peach will not hurt
you, while a fully decayed one might kill you, so, likewise, the
'overripe' chemical elements of the earth which are not too far
from carbon [potassium, selenium, iodine, etc.] will not hurt
you, while the further they are beyond carbon the more deadly
they become, and the more impossible it is to guard yourself from
their quick death." (Atomic Suicide?)
In short, said the Russells, the only structures naturally
suited to exist together with the radioactive elements are rocks.
Even concrete, durable metals, "glassified" tombs or salt beds
-- structures presently considered to contain high-level
radioactive wastes -- will eventually decay in proximity to the
concentrated pressures of such supercompost. The soft tissues of
the fourth and fifth octaves, including our bodies, vegetation
and the atmosphere itself, certainly cannot endure such a
powerful unwinding.
So, then, what would happen? In Russell's estimation, the
lighter pressures of the stratosphere would retain the majority
of radioactive fallout, and would be the first region that would
reveal the wholesale destruction of oxygen. That's oxygen, not
just ozone: if played through to the end, the last act of the
nuclear drama would see the disappearance of all oxygen on the
planet, whether as ozone, water or the O2 we breathe. In this
context, the ozone hole, as serious as it is in its own right,
emerges as an early warning sign.

Our Depleted Personal Ozone
In addition to destroying ozone, Russell's logic would also
seem to predict other early effects, including the destruction of
oxygen mechanisms within our bodies; for the body concentrates
far more radiation within its tissues than exists freely in the
atmosphere. Dr. Tim Binder, a leading spokesman for the Russells'
, has postulated that "radiation may affect the oxygen-ozone
in our white blood cells that is one of the principal [immune
system] mechanisms used to destroy pathogens."
This line of thinking may already have been confirmed. For
decades, a body of surprising data on health and radiation has
been observed by a number of researchers, notably Dr. Alice
Stewart in England and Dr. Ernest Sternglass in the US. Their
figures show that long-term, relatively low-level level radiation
may wreak up to 1,000 times more biological havoc than currently
accepted "risk levels" predict. The mechanism responsible for
this dramatic trend was first discovered in 1972 by a Canadian
researcher named Abram Petkau, and has since been confirmed by
other researchers. [This issue's article by Sara Shannon details
the Petkau effect and its dietary implications -- Ed.]
The little-publicized "Petkau effect" occurs through the
creation of highly reactive oxygen molecules with a "negative
charge" (the negative ion O2). But according to Russell, Nature
produces no such thing as a "negative charge." All matter, he
maintained, exhibits both charging and discharging properties;
and all charges, whether of male or female polarity, are
positive. In Russell's terms, what Petkau observed is not a
"highly reactive negative ion" but a changed form of oxygen that
is abnormally balanced towards discharging its energy rather than
charging -- unwinding rather than winding.
Thus, what Petkau first documented in 1972 and what Rowland
and Molina first suggested two years later may prove to be
precisely the same symptom, only on different scales. Perhaps we
are already suffering from internal "ozone depletion;" or put
another way, perhaps the Earth's ozone crisis amounts to
radiation burn -- Gaia herself is already suffering from the
Petkau effect.

Rx For Disaster
A problem without solutions is not worth unearthing, and
Russell's life was centered on practical solutions. As an
immediate measure, Russell recommended that all nuclear
stockpiles be dismantled and their materials dispersed in deep
desert trenches. His reasoning here is three-fold. First, the
goal ought to be to return these elements to their natural
context -- that is, underground -- where they originally were
harmless. Secondly, concentrating them in massed piles is a big
mistake: they should be widely dispersed, as they occur in
nature. Thirdly, remote desert regions should be selected as an
added precaution, assuming that it will take some time for us to
master Russell's atomic mechanics sufficiently to repatriate the
volatile materials properly and, if possible, correct the
existing stratospheric damage.
The key to such proper treatment may lie in the intriguing
science of atomic transmutation, which holds that elements can
change into one another freely within normal conditions (i.e.,
not requiring the tremendous heat and pressures of a high-tech
particle accelerator.) Also like Georges Ohsawa, Russell
asserted that low-energy, "table-top" transmutation of elements
was eminently possible.
Fueled by an early conviction that the civilization of our
present time would require new sources of energy, Russell
developed an approach to derive free hydrogen from the atmosphere
through atomic transmutation. [The recent claims of several teams
of scientists to have achieved "table-top" nuclear fusion may
finally have provided mainstream evidence of this claim; as of
this writing, not enough information has been released to
evaluate the nature of the news-making discoveries -- Ed.]
Other energy sources suggested by Russell's work include
devices using the winding-up "life principle" of nature, rather
than the winding-down "death principle" exemplified by explosive
technologies of combustion and atomic fission. In other words,
Russell maintained that so far we have employed only half the
possibilities the two-way universe presents. Examples of such
technologies include an "implosion engine" and a logarithmic
solar amplifier. [Forthcoming issues of Solstice will report on
the present state of several of these technologies -- Ed.]
This is a radical concept; it is not hard to see why the
great electrical science pioneer Nikola Tesla once told Russell
he should "lock up his work in a vault in the Smithsonian for a
thousand years" to keep it for future generations who might be
developed sufficiently to understand it.

Challenge to Science
Meanwhile, back at the labs of established science and the
chambers of policy-making, it is highly unlikely that anyone is
talking about Russell's assessment of the problem -- let alone
his suggestions for solving it. Achieving such a discussion is an
undertaking even more ambitious than it would first appear. For
scientists to consider the hypothesis, they will have to face its
author. And taking a hard look at Dr. Walter Russell may not be a
pill much easier for science to swallow in the 1990s than it was
in the 1930s.
This is not hard to understand. For one thing, in the eyes
of most scientists Russell always remained an artist -- a
non-scientist. Moreover, his work is not merely unconventional:
it overturns many of the cherished tenets of science.
But what makes Russell's work so difficult for mainstream
acceptance is that it spurns all divisions between physics and
metaphysics, and proposes a comprehensive, logical explanation
for God and atomic physics in the same breath. What are
scientists to make of a man who writes:
"What is Atomic Energy? In answering this question let it be
remembered that God is love, and that this universe is founded
upon love. Every action and its reaction in Nature must be in
balance with each other in order to carry out to the purposeful
intent of the Creator.
As we suggested earlier, those involved in macrobiotics may
be best positioned to understand the scope and practicality of
Russell's views, and thus to help break ground where established
scientists hesitate to tread. A pivotal question, then: how has
Russell fared in the macrobiotic world?

Walter Russell and The Macrobiotic Movement
Considering the sheer scope of his vision and his remarkably
practical understanding of the yin/yang principle, Russell would
seem to cry out for macrobiotic attention. In fact, many of his
most radical scientific positions have been echoed by the
macrobiotic science of Georges Ohsawa and Michio Kushi. For
example, Russell contended that matter is not held together by an
attracting force generated from the center of mass, but by
compression generating from the outside toward the center. This
view, one of the Russell statements that flies most abruptly in
the face of accepted scientific tenets (and the one that got Dr.
Jackson's goat in 1930), is echoed precisely in Kushi's
cosmology, where conventional "gravity" is discarded in favor of
centripetal "Heaven's force."
Moreover, the Russells' application of the yin/yang
principal to physical entities, human relationships and the
social order seems extraordinarily direct and simple to grasp,
and as such would seem a valuable complement to the macrobiotic
health/dietetic tradition.
While he did not proselytize any specific dietary regimen,
he was meticulous in his own personal habits. (For example, while
he maintained a prodigious work schedule, he carefully rotated
projects so that his focus changed to a different problem or
medium every two hours -- a rhythm known in macrobiotic circles
as corresponding to the energy cycle of acupuncture meridians.)
To his strict adherence to natural law he credited his legendary
ability to work long hours with ceaseless good humor and without
fatigue -- quintessentially macrobiotic ideals, which he
maintained until his peaceful passing, on his birthday, at the
age of 92.
The following passages from his 1957 Atomic Suicide? shed
some light on Russell's views on diet and health:
"The blood is of first importance of all the elements which
compose the body. The nervous system could be entirely paralyzed
and the body would still function, but the blood has deep
instinctive awareness of its existence, and the body which does
not have a happy, rhythmic blood condition cannot possibly retain
its normalcy.
Even the food one eats should be 'happy.' It should be
cooked with love and eaten joyfully, and there should be a joyful
realization of love in one's deep breathing and exaltation during
the process of taking food into one's body. The food you eat
becomes blood and flesh of your body, and the manner in which you
eat it, and your mental attitude while eating it, decides your
blood count, the balance between acidity and alkalinity of your
digestive machinery, and your entire metabolism. Your Mind is you
and your body is the record of your thoughts and actions. Your
body is what your Mind electrically extends to it for recording."

Curiously, though, his work has elicited little recognition
even from within the nominal macrobiotic movement. This is a
significant loss for a community purporting to be ever on the
lookout for Western cultural and philosophical roots: for Dr.
Walter Russell may well represent the apex of what the West has
to offer in original macrobiotic thought.
Two notable exceptions to this record of macrobiotic neglect
have been the writings of Jerry Canty and the educational efforts
of Dr. Tim Binder. Canty -- a long-time student of the Russells
and himself a bit of a maverick even within the world of
macrobiotics -- has drawn heavily on the Russells' work in his
own books, The Eternal Massage, The Sounding of the Sacred Conch,
and the privately issued Spiral, Lord of Creation. None of them
has really entered the "macrobiotic mainstream" (though The
Eternal Massage enjoyed a fairly wide readership in the 1970s);
they stand today as several of the lesser known but most
challenging and adventurous books in the macrobiotic literature.
Binder, a naturopathic doctor whose client list includes
John Denver and other well-connected environmental advocates, has
studied and championed the Russell teachings along with
macrobiotics, the climate crisis/soil mineralization thesis of
John Hamaker, and other vital fields of perspective. Where Canty
introduced Russell's thinking to a venturesome circle of
macrobiotic students a generation ago, Binder is now emerging as
the Russells' leading contemporary standard-bearer.
Recently appointed president of the Russells' University of
Science and Philosophy in Swannanoa, Virginia, Binder has
undertaken the massive project of reintroducing Russell's
revision of science. Next month (June 2-4), Binder and the
University host an international symposium at Aspen, Colorado,
entitled World Balance, aimed at exposing the core of Russell's
teaching and related perspectives both to the larger scientific
community and to the public at large.
While his own interests naturally lean towards matters of
human health and diet, Dr. Binder has thrown the University's
focus and resources full-force into documenting and publicizing
the possible ozone-radiation link. For Binder recognizes the
irony of the situation: the imperative of the ozone crisis may
provide the opportunity at last for the world to reconsider the
thinking it rejected 60 years ago.

In Pursuit of Evidence
As the centerpiece of this effort, Dr. Binder is
coordinating a thorough scientific effort to test, verify and
document radioactivity's role in ozone depletion. Combining an
exhaustive review of existing literature with new laboratory
experimentation, the project owes its impetus in part to Binder's
frustrated efforts to obtain accurate data from past
Last year, to explore mainstream views on the possible
radiation-ozone connection, Binder visited the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder, Colorado, where
he spoke with NOAA researcher George Mount. He was told, "Oh,
yes, we know that radiation destroys ozone, but we don't consider
it significant." Pressing further, Binder learned of an earlier
"insignificant" government finding: "during the bomb tests in the
60s [before the ban on atmospheric testing drove the detonations
underground] they found a 2 percent reduction in ozone [emphasis
ours]." Given the current alarm over a global reduction of 1.7
to 3 percent, 2 percent would certainly seem to us to be
Binder was told that a review of this data was in process;
when he later tried to obtain this information in print, he
received reports with figures that contradicted Mount's
[Subsequently, we contacted Sherwood Rowland's office at the
University of California; Sherwood himself was out of the
country, but we spoke with one of his associates about the
possible radiation-ozone connection. Offhand, he didn't see how
radiation would be likely to have this effect, though the
hypothesis apparently had never been suggested to him before.]
Commenting on his investigations, Binder offered this
conclusion: "As the government is now reviewing the old data on
the 60s' testing, it sounds like they are reconsidering the
nuclear connection to ozone destruction, but don't want to tell
[us] about it yet.

Beyond Ozone: The Human Factor
Shortly before her passing in May, 1988, we had the
opportunity to meet Mrs. Russell at her mountaintop home in
Virginia. The moment we met she looked directly at us and said,
"I'm so glad you've come. You know, we really must do something
about this ozone hole. The Doctor and I warned about this in
1954; nobody would listen to us then. Now the situation is
absolutely urgent."
Oddly, despite the dire nature of her subject, there was
nothing dark or gloomy in her words nor in her demeanor. Her
measured statements emerged in a melodious flow that was at once
precise and comfortable; they seemed uplifted by a quiet,
unshakable faith. We sensed a conviction that all events fall
into their natural time and place, with ultimate benefit for the
Later that day, she addressed the assembled group: "There is
one central answer to all these terrible environmental problems,
and that is a change in the nature of human relationships.Ó It
was impossible not to understand what she meant, and agree.
Thoroughly versed in her husband's cosmology and scientific
perspective, Lao Russell held that technical solutions alone, no
matter how cosmologically conceived, would not bring about the
changes so urgently needed. That change, she taught, would come
about only through the transformation of human beings, that we
might realize our awareness of the infinite Source, the Law of
Balance, and the Divine potential in ourselves and in each other.
In a 1986 message to her students she wrote, "Only the power of
Love put into practice can put an end to all of the violence.
Love will not come into the world until mankind understands Who
and What he is. When he does understand, he will know that when
he destroys another, he is in truth destroying himself."

The modern bull in the stratospheric china shop, whatever
its identity may prove to be, is tearing holes in more than the
ozone and its underlying biological fabric. It has already begun
to clear away a stagnant web of parochial policies and human
priorities. Perhaps it will even have the force to open a gap in
our staunchly entrenched view of the world and our role within
The cloud over the ozone may yet reveal a silver lining. If
it succeeds in prompting a closer look at the heretical
macrobiotic science of Walter Russell, it may open a window to a
two-way universe -- a universe seen in an altogether different

Part2:[Continued from part 1]


An Early Warning
August, 1954. "It will not take many years to utterly
destroy the... encircling protective walls which surround this
planet and protect the earth from burning up by the sun's hot
rays," Walter and Lao Russell, Newsletter of the University of
Science and Philosophy.
April 6, 1989. "Scientists reported yesterday that for the
first time they have detected an increase in "biologically
relevant" levels of ultraviolet radiation reaching the ground as
a result of the ozone hole over the Antarctica. This is the first
indication that the depletion of ozone... is beginning to cause
the potentially harmful effect that has long been predicted."
(Washington Post)

A Riddle Wrapped in an Enigma
In a way, the abrupt emergence of Russell's astonishing
hypothesis is in keeping with the peculiar tradition of the
ozone story, a tale rife with riddles and ironies. "One of the
most striking features of the ozone controversy [is] the extent
to which 'outsiders' played a crucial role in identifying the
threats to the ozone layer." (The Ozone War, page 11.)
It was James Lovelock, now famous as the author of the
controversial Gaia Hypothesis, who first found CFCs persisting in
the stratosphere. Making the historic measurement required an
ultra-sensitive device. Unable to obtain any funding for the
research (he was dismissed as a "crank"), Lovelock built the
delicate tool himself, using his family's "grocery money."
Ironically, Lovelock thought the chemicals might serve as
useful "tracers" for atmospheric study, and said they posed "no
conceivable hazard." "I bombed," Lovelock frankly admits. "It
turned out I was sitting on a time bomb." (The Ozone War, page
Sherry Rowland, who while on a "fishing trip for new ideas"
happened to hear early rumor of Lovelock's measurements at a
conference coffee klatch, was no more a part of mainstream ozone
research than Lovelock. In fact, he was not an atmospheric
scientist at all, but a chemist specializing in, of all things,
the chemistry of radio-isotopes. He and Molina, a young research
assistant fresh from receiving his PhD, never imagined that their
study would plunge them into the eye of a national cyclone of
If Russell is right, and manmade nuclear reactions prove to
be at the root of stratospheric ills, then Sherry Rowland's
involvement provides one further irony: prior to his becoming
interested in the fluorocarbon work that led to the ozone
finding, he was funded by the Atomic Energy Commission. His area
of research? -- the chemistry of atoms produced in nuclear

Russell the Artist
The story of how Dr. Russell came to sculpt his famous bust
of Edison is an example of his legendary versatility. At the age
of fifty-six, Russell had been an accomplished painter, but had
never handled clay in his life. As President of the Society of
Arts and Sciences, he felt compelled to make good on a commission
for the bust, which a fellow artist had accepted but was unable
to complete. He promptly got some clay and wired Mrs. Edison that
he would go and do it himself -- akin to a great conductor
suddenly picking up the violin for an unrehearsed recital.
"It was a very unwise thing to do, perhaps, because with
such a great man as Edison as my subject, I might not have
survived a failure," he later remarked. "But I never let the
thought of failure enter my mind... The inspired belief that I
should do this thing as a demonstration of my belief in man's
unlimited power made me ignore the difficulties that lay in the
way. So I went to Florida with a mass of clay, but on my way
down, I spent the entire time absorbed in inspirational
meditation with the Universal Source of all inspiration."
The resulting sculpture was to be one of the great mileposts
in his career; other commissions followed immediately, producing
busts of Franklin Roosevelt, General Douglas MacArthur, Thomas
Watson, George Gershwin and Leopold Stokowski, and finally a
twenty-eight figure monument to Mark Twain and the famous "Four

Russell the Social Reformer
Founded 20 years earlier as an "ethical and moral movement
to bring culture, character and the Brotherhood of Man principle
into world human relations," the New York-based Twilight Club
brought together a network of such luminaries as Ralph Waldo
Emerson, Mark Twain, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Walt Whitman, Edwin
Markham and Alexis Carrell. (Alexis Carrell wrote Man The Unknown
-- a perennial favorite in macrobiotic circles -- during his
association with Russell and the Twilight Club.)
Russell's long collaboration with Thomas Watson, another
Twilight Club member and the founder of IBM, led to the
introduction of moral standards and ethical principles in the
world of business. In his first of many meetings and lectures for
IBM personnel, Russell said he was "shocked" with the "jungle
philosophy of every man for himself" that then permeated the
business world, and he effectively replaced the philosophy of
"business is business" with the concept "that equal interchange
of goods and services between buyer and seller is the keynote of
tomorrow's business world." (The Man Who Tapped the Secrets of
the Universe, p. 24-25.)
During the Depression years when so many businesses failed,
IBM continued to thrive. When asked the secret of their success,
Watson replied, "Go talk with Walter Russell."
Abandoned during the WWII years, the Twilight Club was later
revived as the University of Science and Philosophy at Swannanoa,
Virginia. After Russell's passing in 1963, his work was carried
on at Swannanoa by Lao Russell, his co-equal partner in work as
in marriage.

A Living and Dying Universe
Walter Russell often asserted that God's universe "is a
two-way, not one-way universe." The death force or "winding
down" principle is familiar to us as the force of entropy, the
famed Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Law of Entropy states
that all systems gradually lose energy (that is, energy becomes
less organized and therefore unavailable to perform work) through
dispersal of heat; hence, the universe is destined to die a "heat
Russell disagreed, and detailed the mechanics of an
opposite, balancing force -- the life-organizing force, which he
also termed "generoactive." This force is the answer to the
riddle of Newton's apple, to which Russell alludes in his 1930s
Times letter. (Years later, Buckminster Fuller coined the term
"syntropy" to describe entropy's complement.)
Russell also
likened these twin forces to the charging and discharging of a
, or the winding and unwinding of a spring.
How rapidly or gradually a system unwinds after reaching
maturity depends on a variety of factors, principally its degree
of balance within its local environment. Thus the relaxation and
dissolution of life may occur as slow fermentation, decay, a
burst of flame or an explosion.
"We do not say that a decaying tree, which takes fifty years
to go back into the ground, is exploding. If you burn it,
however, the flame is a series of quick explosions which will do
in two hours what Nature intended should take fifty years."
(Atomic Suicide?, page 23.)
Central to Russell's scientific conclusions is this
observation: the state of rest, the source from which all life
arises and to which it ultimately returns, is the "normal" state
(to which Russell often refers as God, Mind or Magnetic zero.)
In other words, it takes increasing effort to "wind up" into
greater density (to live), while it takes literally no effort at
all, once a system reaches maximum compression, to unwind again
-- to die. Most significantly, the force of the unwinding/death
phase is proportionate to the total effort expended in winding up
to that point.
For example, it may take many years of consuming steak and
ice cream, perhaps along with exposure to chemical contaminants,
to reach the condition disposing one to bowel cancer. The effort
expended by the individual, the food industry, the chemical
factories and even the cattle involved, are considerable; at the
point of maximum compression (when the body cannot hold itself
together any tighter) that mass of effort reverts into a
forceful, effortless unwinding. What goes in, must come back out.
To arrest the course of the disease at this point requires a
tremendous, renewed exertion of compression and life effort,
commonly observed as the "will to live" factor or, in macrobiotic
thought, as the capacity to self-reflect and change one's
personal habits.
In the case of human illness and dying, such a reversal
through renewed compression is often possible, just as it is
possible to arrest the burning of a tree with cold water, or to
slow fermentation with salt. It is not so easy to halt the
unwinding process of gunpowder, an electrical short-circuit --
or the decay of radioactivity.

The Spiral of Elements
As in the life of his contemporary Georges Ohsawa, the
modern founder of the macrobiotic movement, Russell was absorbed
in his later years with both the cosmic meaning and the immediate
dangers of atomic science. Also like his Oriental counterpart,
Russell vividly and brilliantly expressed his grasp of universal
dynamics in a spiral chart of the elements.
Russell's atomic charts placed all the atoms as points along
a continuous spectrum of increasing compression, much like the
notes of an ascending musical scale
. The musical simile is not
casual: Russell's atomic scale is harmonically organized in
, with the inert gases (helium, neon, argon etc.) acting
as the "keynote" of each octave. (Not surprisingly, Dr. Russell
was also an accomplished composer.)
Russell held that the hydrogen octave, far from being the
beginning of the atomic scale, was in fact preceded by three
"inaudible" atomic octaves, yielding a full spectrum of nine
octaves. These first three octaves, involving wavelengths too
vast to measure, would be beyond the threshold of physical
sensing (that is, beyond detection by normal instruments of
science). It was the lack of this knowledge, Russell contended,
and the misconception of hydrogen as the first element that
forced scientists to view deuterium and tritium (which he had
originally called Ethlogen and Bebegen -- now well-known as
components of the "heavy water" used in today's nuclear
reactions) as isotopes of hydrogen instead of true tonal elements
in their own right. ("Isotopes" might be compared to the
"accidentals" -- sharps and flats -- of single musical notes.
On the other hand, he asserted, that many of the higher octave
"elements" in fact are but isotopes of higher-octave versions of
Carbon, lying in the center of the fourth octave, is held to
be the balance point of perfect stability and the mature
expression of the entire spectrum, and as such serves as the
basis for organic life. Russell pointed out that roughly 98
percent of organic life forms are composed of carbon and four
other elements (hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and silicon) which all
are grouped together with carbon in the fourth octave (except
silicon, a transmutation of carbon in the next octave up, which
forms the basis of the Earth's crust and of soil). In a sense,
the "purpose" of the entire atomic spectrum is to create carbon
life forms.
The further one compresses past carbon, the more readily
will the pressure and heat of compression explode into decay.
The supercompressed elements of the 7th, 8th and especially 9th
octaves (radium, plutonium, etc.) are simmering at the breaking
point -- hence the tremendously explosive pressures of the
radioactive metals.

Encountering the Russells
On a quiet afternoon in 1979, I sat in a coffee shop
preparing my Kushi Institute lecture for that evening. As I
sipped my coffee -- I was allowed to, after all, I was a teacher
-- I was interrupted by two friends, both "senior" teachers.
(This particular coffee shop served as a hangout and meeting
place for macrobiotic teachers.) They joined me and began
discussing the usual topic of the day: How to get everyone else
to eat macrobiotically so as to establish one peaceful world.
One of the seniors noticed my recently acquired book, Dr. Walter
Russell's The Secret of Light, lying on the table beside me; and
they asked me who Dr. Russell was and what the book was about.
After the first few sentences of my reply, they both proceeded to
criticize both the book and its author for a good half hour.
In the Boston macrobiotic community where I lived at that
time, I soon learned, to mention the Russells and their work was
like admitting that you did not understand the unique principle
of macrobiotics. The philosophical and scientific works of the
Russells were (and perhaps still are) considered unclear,
confusing and impractical. I, like my fellow students and
teachers, certainly did not want confusing or "foreign"
philosophical ideas to disrupt our established belief system
concerning the nature of macrobiotics. As far as we were
concerned, the macrobiotic truth existed here, and only here, in
our little community. The sun flag was raised high, and I was
dedicated, loyal, stubborn and very confused. So, I laid the
Russells' work aside, along with all else that did not fit into
my small world of dogma.
Several years later, being a little older, not necessarily a
little wiser, but a whole lot more curious and frustrated with
apparent inconsistencies and impracticalities in my own
understanding of macrobiotics, I secretly began to explore the
works of Dr. and Mrs. Russell. At first I became more confused
and found myself resisting, especially when I read such bold
statements as, "Opposites do not attract," or "Like attracts
like." Wait a minute, I thought. Maybe my macrobiotic friends
were right about Russell -- there do seem to be inconsistencies
here. I soon discovered that the inconsistencies I was
encountering were not in their works, but in the limitations of
my own prior understanding. Gradually a new comprehension began
to open up.
Their words penetrated deep into my soul. They were honest
words, words of wisdom, of love, and they were steeped in the
unifying principle of macrobiotics. Their expression was
extremely clear and to the point. The message was practical and
not at all confusing. There was nothing there to instill guilt or
They spoke of the difference between knowing and thinking,
and how we all know all there is to know, yet do not always admit
it to ourselves. Dr. Russell was a perfect example of one who
knew. He had very little formal education, and used this to his
advantage. Through inspiration he became an accomplished
scientist, philosopher, artist, sculptor and musician.
They spoke of how we as human beings can reinspire others,
yet can only be inspired by the One. And most of all, for me,
they explained the mechanism and process of the logarithmic
spiral -- the foundation of macrobiotics. The more I absorbed
their understanding, the more it seemed to add to rather than
detract from or conflict with my prior macrobiotic learning.
Through the years that followed I began to incorporate their
understanding of macrobiotics into my own teaching and
counselling, always with the thought that I would meet Mrs.
Russell some day. For the past eight years I traveled throughout
the United States, teaching and encouraging people to study the
Russells' works, and giving out the address of the University of
Science and Philosophy. During this period I had not once
contacted the University to introduce myself. Why? I have no
idea. In 1987 I moved to Charlottesville, Virginia from New York.
Why? I have no idea, other than it seemed to be the proper move
for me. I soon learned that the University of Science and
Philosophy was only a twenty minute drive away.
I called the University and introduced myself, and said I
would like to meet Mrs. Russell; I was given an appointment.
Days later, I drove out to Swannanoa with John Mann, who had
recently relocated Solstice from upstate New York to
Charlottesville. [Editor's Note: Why had we abruptly relocated?
We had no idea.] Arriving at the requested time, I introduced
myself to the staff and they said they would inform Mrs. Russell
that I was there. I stood among a group of approximately twenty
other visitors and watched as the most elegant lady I have ever
met began to descend the carpeted stairs.
We had never met, yet she recognized me in the crowd
immediately, and invited me upstairs. As we sat, she proceeded to
tell me my life story in detail, from the beginning to the
present. She spoke as if she knew me when I was a child. She did!
And that wasn't all she knew -- for she, too, was a living
example of her and her late husband's philosophy.
We spoke for a few hours on many subjects. She told humorous
stories about Dr. Russell and herself as if he were still alive.
"He is!" she said, "You can never die!" She spoke with a simple,
quiet conviction that was utterly disarming, and I felt as if I
were in the presence of honesty incarnate. Meeting Mrs. Russell
was an experience I will cherish forever.

-- Steve Gagne Editor's Note: Mrs. Russell was a perceptive person. Early
in our conversation, she looked straight at us again and said,
"This started in 1954." She was referring to the '54 University
Newsletter, no doubt; but she spoke so emphatically, Steve and I
could not help glancing at each other -- could she have known
that we were both born in 1954? She smiled. Later, she abruptly
turned to us and nonchalantly commented, "You know, Dr. Russell
never smoked cigarettes or drank coffee." Bingo, I thought.

-- Ed.


"Atomic Suicide?" (1957, 304 pp.), discusses the nature of matter and its relation to the world of spirit. It also provides a broad introduction to Russell's general cosmology. One fascinating section is devoted to excerpts from the contemporary
popular media about the dangers of nuclear power. A lengthy
introduction by Lao Russell includes a biographical essay on
Russell's life. (Solstice Library)

"The Secret of Light" (1947, 288 pp.) is a thorough exposition of
Russell's cosmology, more completely and systematically presented
than in Atomic Suicide? (Solstice Library)

"The Man Who Tapped the Secrets of the Universe," by Glenn Clark
(1953 edition, 57 pp.), is a short, highly accessible biography.
(Solstice Library)

"Home Study Course." Available from the University, this is a
thorough, comprehensive course of study of the Russells' work in
all its dimensions. (See ad this page for the Home Study Course
and other Russell books.)


"Holoscene" (formerly "Spiral, Lord of Creation"), by Jerry
Canty; 144 pp. Canty's most thorough explanation of Russell's
work to date. Available directly from Canty in photocopy for $25
ppd. Jerome Canty, Box 5256, Chico CA 95927.

"The Atomic Age and The Unique Principle," Georges Ohsawa.
Written towards the end of his life, The Atomic Age presents
Ohsawa's most incisive perspective on the atomic frontier and the
20th century challenge. (Solstice Library)

"World Crisis Solutions Foundation Newsletter," issues 1-4.
Written by Dr. Tim Binder, these four newsletters contain brief
overviews of some of Dr. Russell's insights and Dr. Binder's
efforts to pursue the radiation/ozone-depletion connection. The
Newsletters also contain condensed articles on a variety of other
vital health and environmental issues. $20 for set of four. NW
169 Blodgett Camp Road, Hamilton MT 59840 (406) 363-4041.

"The Ozone War," Lydia Dotto and Harold Schiff, Doubleday & Co.,
1978. A fascinating account of the discoveries and controversies
surrounding Sherwood Rowland's work with the Ozone Hole.

"Protecting the Ozone Layer," Chapter 5 of The State of the World
1989, Worldwatch Institute, NY.


Editor's Note:

The following article originally appeared in _Solstice_ magazine,
May 1989. _Solstice_ magazine is now defunct. Reproduced here
with the express permission of Randolph Byrd.

Please see Appendix A. for a description of "Project Argus,"
which was the high-altitude atmospheric nuclear weapon testing
during the 1940s and 50s that created artificial radiation belts
(Van Allen) of charged particles ringing the earth. See also
MindNet Journal, Vol. 1, No. 51 for a detailed description of
these artificial radiation belts and their intended use by
Project HAARP for communications and weather modification.
MindNet Journal, Vol. 1, No. 28 further details the dangers of
HAARP and the logical outcome of the predictions made by Walter
Russell in the following article.

It is this editor's opinion, as well as a number of other
writers and researchers, that HAARP is a possible delivery
system for worldwide atmospheric mind control of all humans.


Hey guys,

I see you've posted the article on Walter Russell. Two requests: 1) spell Steve's name right (Gagne, not Gagna) and provide a link to his site ( and 2) provide a link to my site, too: Also, can you make it clear that the Appendices ou've added are NOT part of the original article?

Now that I'm looking more carefully: Randolph Byrd (whose name you've also misspelled) was never editor of Solstice: I was the only editor of Solstice throughout its existence. Please credit correctly, and again, refer to my site.


Hope people read it. Russell deserves to be known. -- J.D.M.

i have changed steve gagna

i have changed steve gagna to gagne, and added ive provided a link to, and removed the appendices, and corrected it to randolph byrd, and removed the mention of editor of solstice.

i also hope that people will read it :)

Walter Russell

Mr. John David Mann,

Fascinating how things work out. I was researching copies of Russell P. Williams' book, 'HOW TO WHEEL AND DEAL YOUR WAY TO A FAST FORTUNE' on and found a book about Mrs. Russell.(REMEMBERED FOR LOVE, I believe was the title) That led me to google Swannanoa/Walter Russell, which brought me to this article. :-)

Fascinating couple. I believe it was Mrs. Russell I spoke briefly to on the telephone about thirty years ago when I called up asking about more information after having read 'THE MAN WHO TAPPED THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE, which I had been directed to by a Church of Religious Science librarian when I was enquiring about authors who could teach me how to become a genius.

They wrote a number of books, several of which I ordered, including, 'GOD WILL WORK WITH YOU, BUT NOT FOR YOU'.

Over the years I HAVE begun to think more like a genius, largely because of Clark's book, and the Walter Russell quote, "Mediocraty is self-inflicted. Genius is self-bestowed."

Perhaps we can strike up a correspondence, based on our mutual interest in the teachings of the Russells. Please feel free to contact me. :-)

The HAARP comments are interesting. The author of the biography of Dr.Patrick G. Flanagan called 'TOWARDS A NEW ALCHEMY The Millennium Science', by Dr. Nick Begich seems to have come to similar conclusions about it.

Robert M. Burns
E-mail address: [email protected]

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