In 2021, I saw a lot of posts, articles, and other references to what was touted as the “shift” from “3D to 5D” and that it was a kind of ascension. The not-exactly-scientific explanation goes like this: Humanity has been living in a three-dimensional world up to this point (evidenced by fear and anger), and people are “waking up” to the “truth” and are going through or have gone through some sort of spiritual transformation and are now living in five dimensions, where fear and anger have been replaced by love and joy. And it’s their job to wake up everyone else so that all of humanity can ascend to this “5D living” and usher in an age of harmony and love.
Sounds lovely on its face, though I do wonder where the unicorns and rainbows are in all this. And puppies. Can’t forget the puppies.
I thought at first I understood the difference between 3D and 5D. After all, one of my guides taught me back in the early 1980s about the difference between “reality with a lowercase r,” meaning the physical world that we can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell, and “Reality with an uppercase R,” meaning the world where everything is energy that vibrates at different frequencies.
Yes, one of my guides was teaching me a few of the basics of quantum physics before I even knew what “quantum” was. Or, really, “physics” for that matter. I mean, I was twelve.
So I thought maybe 3D meant reality and 5D meant Reality. I can get behind that.
But that turns out not to be how most people are using it. And how they are using it is a far cry from harmony, love, much less unicorns, rainbows, and puppies.
Before I get into explaining how most people are using these terms and why I reject it (remember, I’m also a suspense writer), I wanted to understand what my guides thought of this whole concept. Maybe I was the one noping out due to my own issues.
One thing many of the 3D-5D Shift folks claim is that this shift is new. It’s going on right now, the kids being born these days are allegedly already living in 5D, and all those who are considered lightworkers (though this term isn’t well-defined) are part of the shift and tasked with “waking up” the rest of the world. It’s not clear if this includes all generations (even Boomers) or if it’s only the special people who have somehow already made this shift to 5D no matter how old or young their chronological age.
As I do with any assertion that doesn’t immediately ring true in my own energy and body, I checked in with my guides. The response I received was this:
“This is no different than it has always been. There have always been those who come to teach and guide. Such intentions, however, do not make them more special than others, for you are all sparks of the divine, whether you are aware of it or not.”
When I asked about this alleged task of waking everyone else up to this new way of being, I received this response:
“Beware of hierarchy. This is the danger for those who refer to themselves as awakened in contrast to those they deem asleep. If such categorizations elevate them above others, then they are not seeing the true divine nature of every soul. Not every soul that incarnates intends to remember the truths about their Home during their incarnation. Some immerse themselves in the physical world and its dualities and extremes for other, equally important experiences. This does not render them in need of the teachings of those who have come to teach.”
This made more sense to me: whatever this shift is, however it might exist, is not new and it’s not for everyone.
But if it’s not new, then how old is it?
Time to go digging. I started with Amazon.
The Origins of 3D-5D
The earliest mention of the fifth dimension in book titles/subtitles (not counting novels, math/science textbooks, policy programs, or the musical group by this name) that I could find was Journeys into the Fifth Dimension, published in 1975 by Helena E. Ruhnau, who also authored another book in 1982 titled Light from the Fifth Dimension (The Heaven World). Consistent with this title, other books from the twentieth century also equate 3D to hell and 5D to heaven.
Further, in Light from the Fifth Dimension, Ruhnau identifies herself as “a spiritual messenger for The Great White Brotherhood,” to “bring about the Divine Plan,” and “the warnings and prophesy given by the Christ are being fulfilled” because “we are at the culmination of the Ages.”
Sounds a lot like this 3D to 5D shift. But the book and the terminology are now forty years old. So, not new. And definitely with a Christian lens, so this book is not for the six and half billion non-Christians around the world.
Also, did your eyebrows raise at the mention of “The Great White Brotherhood?” Mine did. I’ll return to this shortly. There’s more cringey stuff in the book’s description, including a reference to recognizing “inferior and psychic spirits.”
While I was wading through books (including out-of-print titles) that referenced this 3D-5D shift or ascension, a few authors of more recent books stood out as having multiple titles on the topic. Of note were Patricia Cota-Robles who in 2005 also wrote about The Violet Flame (I’ll return to this term later too) and Maureen J. St. Germain, who developed what she’s calling MerKaBa in the 1990s and defines it as “a rotating, geometric, crystalline Light-Energy field that extends around the body” and “was used to create this Universe.” Her work also includes what she calls the Christ Consciousness Grid, again implying a Christian lens.
What she doesn’t seem to acknowledge is that the original merkabah/merkavah (מרכבה) is a school of Jewish mysticism—a precursor to Jewish Kabbalah, in fact—and is more than two thousand years old. The Hebrew word merkabah means “chariot,” as in the chariots of Roman times but also the chariot in the prophet Ezekiel’s vision.
Many of these authors who write about this 3D-5D ascension also overtly support or make references to tenets of Theosophy, a religion (as determined by religious scholars) founded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891) in 1875 and based on her writings, which borrow from numerous other religions (especially Hinduism and Buddhism) as well as Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, and the occult. From Ancient Wisdom Revived: A History of the Theosophical Movement (1980), Bruce F. Campbell writes that Theosophy teaches that there are a core group of “Masters” throughout history whose job it is to guard the world’s ancient spiritual truths and represent “The Great White Brotherhood” (there it is again!) or White Lodge, a secret society that guides and informs humanity’s evolution. They also fight against the “forces of dark” or the Black Lodge or Black Magicians, which seeks to uphold the status quo or keep humanity “in a state of ignorance, bewilderment, and running after false gods.”
Now, those knowledgeable about Theosophy say that “white” refers to divine light and “brotherhood” is all-inclusive, and neither should be confused with race or gender. As I can find nothing to refute that statement, I’m willing to accept it as simply an unfortunate name that would never fly these days. However, that’s not to say that it can’t be used in a racist way by others, no matter how the Theosophists think of it.
The philosopher Jules Evans writes that some did take Blavatsky’s writings about how “the ‘sacred spark’ is missing” in some ethnic groups and developed those ideas into “aggressively racist theories” even though Blavatsky herself was not a white supremacist.
Blavatsky was also co-editor of the magazine Lucifer, which debuted in 1887, and was designed to “bring light to the hidden things of darkness.”
One of the most well-known “masters” identified by Theosophists is Count Saint Germain (1710-1784), credited with the Age of Aquarius and associated with the seventh ray of light, also known as the Violet Flame. (I did say I’d mention this again.) St. Germain (aka Master Rákóczi) is often referred to as an ascended master by Theosophists and believed to be a type of superhuman with the “ability to teleport, levitate, [and] walk through walls.” Numerous Theosophists and other practitioners of esoteric or occult traditions have claimed to have met him (or his spirit), even as recently as 2014.
Guy Ballard (1878-1939) is one of those who claims to have not only met St. Germain but, indeed, to have channeled a series of books dictated by St. Germain. Ballard, along with his wife Edna (1886-1971), founded what they called the “I AM” Movement, later expanded into the Ascended Master Teachings based on that same series of books claimed to be dictated by St. Germain. The Ascended Master Teachings evolved into a religious offshoot of Theosophy and is a precursor of the New Age (spiritual practices that began in the 1970s) movement. The “I AM” Movement considers themselves Christian because one of the most important ascended masters (and another person from whom Ballard claimed to have received dictated messages) is Jesus.
All of these terms—The Great White Brotherhood, the violet flame, St. Germain, I AM, and Ascended Master Teachings—are sprinkled throughout descriptions of this 3D-5D ascension.
But wait, there’s more.
Superhumans and Extraterrestrials
The “I AM” Movement, among others, claims that the ascended masters (but only those they have identified) are more than human—are superhuman or even supernatural—beings, and that through specific meditations, prayers, use of sacred geometry, and summoning the Violet Flame (generated by the I AM Presence) and related closely to the Christian Holy Spirit, an average person can “ascend” or raise their vibrations/energy/body to a higher dimension of existence (5D), similar to the ascension of Jesus. To do so properly and without danger, the I AM Movement stipulates following Ballard’s instructions carefully. Another way of thinking about this is “entering Heaven alive.” (Later, Edna Ballard walked back these statements and said entering the higher dimension was only done after physical death.)
This idea of becoming superhuman or even supernatural while still in human form is a common thread found in numerous spiritual and occult practices and books, including that of chiropractor Dr. Joe Dispenza in his book Becoming Supernatural (2017). Becoming Supernatural also mentions 3D and 5D, although Dispenza references it much the way my guides explained it to me (reality vs. Reality) all those years ago, and the only obvious overlap with the 3D-5D “ascension” is the use of sacred geometry to evoke mystical experiences.
Another strong believer in the idea that humans can become superhuman was Aleister Crowley, born Edward Alexander Crowley (1875-1947), who was a member of the secret society Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which focused on study and practice of the occult. The Golden Dawn and The Great White Brotherhood co-existed, and some people may have been members of both, but the organizations were not related except in content. The “secret chiefs” of the Golden Dawn and the “masters” of Theosophy are arguably similar in nature.
Crowley founded the religion of Thelema in the early 1900s based on numerous esoteric and occult philosophies and practices. He also co-founded the A∴A∴ or Silver Star in 1907, dedicated to the perfection of the human being through magic, mysticism, and spiritual advancement. He also called himself the “Great Beast 666” and his work included psychedelic drugs and extreme sexual practices.
A separate yet related school of thought believes that some of these “ascended masters” or “secret chiefs” were not so much humans who achieved superhuman status but rather hybrids between humans and extraterrestrials and their descendants. A similar idea was the basis for Brad Steiger’s Gods of Aquarius (1976), where he argued that some people weren’t originally human at all but aliens who were born into human bodies, amnesiac to their extraterrestrial origins until they began to “wake up” to their purpose and mission on earth.
Proponents refer to these extra-terrestrials-living-as-humans as starseeds or star people. Those who claim to be such starseeds will state their origins as from the Pleiades, Arcturus, the center of the Earth, or other planets or solar systems. Their awakening to their cosmic origins comes through codes such as repeating numbers (e.g.: 11:11) and synchronicities. Many (though not all) also view society with high skepticism, believing that human governments are engaged in mind control, brainwashing, and attempting to physically degrade the starseeds’ abilities and DNA through Western medicine, specifically medications and vaccinations.
Personally, I think it’s incredibly arrogant to think that humans are the only intelligent life in the universe, so yes, I do believe in life on other planets, in other solar systems, somewhere. Do I think they’ve visited Earth? I don’t know. There’s certainly some still-classified information that makes me wonder.
Do I think there are people who were extraterrestrials born as human? I don’t know. I mean, I’ve had a cluster of darker freckles on my upper left arm my whole life that are in the same position as the visible stars of the Pleiades, but I don’t think that means I’m an alien in that way. I believe all of us came from a place of energy (Source) and incarnated as humans, so in that sense, we’re all aliens.
Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), a trance clairvoyant and an American contemporary of Crowley and Ballard, claimed to have made contact with Arcturians, who, he said, were from “the highest civilization in our galaxy.” He believed that Arcturians came to Earth to help humans raise their vibrations to the fifth density (5D living). One of the ways this ascension is allegedly accomplished is by eliminating all negative influences, thus giving birth to the “good vibes only” sentiment.
Conspirituality and Pastel QAnon
There is one more link to this 3D-5D ascension that troubles me deeply. Over time, those “negative influences” that Cayce talked about have come to mean not only emotions like fear and anger (the so-called 3D world), but also all the ways in which such ascension is allegedly thwarted by those in power (“forces of dark” but also “deep state”) through disinformation, mind control and brainwashing by the media, physical alterations through Western medicine, abuse, kidnapping, and even disappearances and murder.
In other words, the beliefs that came out of secret societies like Theosophy also have a shadow side of paranoia and a weakness for adopting conspiracy theories.
This weakness was exploited and subsequently exploded in 2017 by QAnon, a far-right cult that hailed former President Donald Trump as the hero who would expose such “dark forces” operating in positions of power. QAnon often used the term “the storm” to describe the polarization and conflict in society that would usher in “The Great Awakening.”
The Global Network on Extremism & Technology describes QAnon’s “Great Awakening” as “an assortment of a myriad of ideologies, beliefs, political statements, conspiracies, popular culture, and even creative fantasy, blended to produce a comprehensive alternative reality, which outrightly rejects and vilifies the current mainstream socio-political, economic, ideological, and cultural system.”
QAnon also began co-opting language that came from the New Age movement, which itself came from Ballard and before him, Blavatsky, through yoga teachers, wellness/nutrition and fitness coaches, holistic healers, and the spiritual community (as if there is one cohesive community), especially on Instagram. Marc-André Argentino, a PhD candidate at Concordia University in Canada, collected many of these Instagram posts, some of which have been deleted from their original accounts. He referred to this incursion as “Pastel QAnon.”
These Q followers, using the language often found in mysticism and spirituality, inundated social media with warnings about the threats to believers (“the awakened”) from the mainstream media, government, and the “deep state.” Such warnings often referred to the “red pill,” itself a reference to the movie The Matrix, in which the red pill would free Neo “from the enslaving control of the machine-generated dream world.”
This casting of media and government as evil is easily an echo to Blavatsky’s Black Magicians.
Other terms originally associated with New Age and/or Theosophical beliefs were now being used by QAnon believers often in connection with conspiracy theories (what was dubbed “conspirituality” by sociologists Charlotte Ward and David Voas in 2011) about the so-called deep state, mainstream media (MSM), and big pharma:
- Company of Heaven
- Beings of Light
- New Earth
- Light Alliance on Earth
- Global Currency Reset
- Authoritarian oppression
- New World Order
- Waking up/Awake
- NESARA/GESARA (National Economic Security and Reformation Act) / Global Economic Security and Reformation Act)
- Divine Alchemy (moving from carbon-based [3D] to crystalline-based [5D])
- New paradigm/paradigm shift
Then, when SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, exploded around the world, those same “Pastel QAnon” influencers expanded their repertoire to include anti-mask warnings, allegations that COVID-19 was the work of a secret, evil cabal (often an antisemitic term) in the government to prevent the Great Awakening, and even calls to violence that led to the January 6, 2021 insurrection.
What I found
I could continue—this rabbit hole is deep—but here is what my digging has unearthed:
- The idea of moving from a 3D (anger/fear) world to a 5D (love/harmony) world is not new and advocates of it have been saying that it’s happening “right now” for well over a hundred years
- The 3D-5D “ascension” is heavily based in Christianity even if the believers in such do not themselves identify as Christian
- It creates a hierarchy of the advanced/awakened as endowed with abilities beyond that of those still asleep, who may believe themselves to be on the way to becoming superhuman
- Some who believe themselves to be awakened and living in 5D may also believe that they are originally from another planet or solar system
- There is a strong overlap between the 3D-5D shift/ascension and the use of specific meditations, prayers, incantations, magic, and occult practices to achieve that shift/ascension
- Because of the overlap between Q followers and the spiritual, health, fitness, yoga, nutrition, and healing communities, many spiritual teachers, healers, and coaches are also Trump supporters and believe the Big Lie that Trump only lost the 2020 election due to widespread fraud (the courts and the states themselves disagree)
- This overlap now also means that many spiritual teachers, healers, and coaches believe in conspiracy theories and have thrown in their lot with:
- White supremacy
- Predicting apocalyptic events (but ascending to 5D will “save” you)
- Trying to convince others to adopt their beliefs, often by citing YouTube videos and blogs
That is why, when people refer to the 3D-5D shift/ascension, I get nervous. As a Queer Jew who is pro-vaccination, pro-mask, and pro-racial and gender equality, I am well aware that it may not be in my best interest or conducive to my safety to trust these people. It’s not my place to tell them not to believe what they believe, but it is my place to choose with whom I affiliate.
I can hear the arguments from the 3D-5D camp now: “Sheyna, you’re living in your fear. That’s 3D emotion. When you ascend to 5D, you won’t be afraid of us!” Uh-huh. That’s no different from you telling me that I’m going to hell unless I accept Jesus as my lord and savior. This is all just repackaged Christianity. And one thing my guides have been clear on is that religion is a human construct. That would make religion “3D” (and wow, does Christianity deliver on the fear part). You can’t espouse a 100-year-old theology heavily based on Christianity and then tell me it’s not also a human construct.
But even among those who believe in this 3D-5D shift/ascension who do not in any way believe in conspiracy theories or Q-supported disinformation, I still reject it based on its history. It’s a reworked Christian theology masquerading as New Age spirituality. It makes me think of an updated version of the Crusades. Or in the words my friend Nicole shared with me, “It’s recycled rapture bullshit.”
One last thing: there may be a few folks out there who really are using 3D-5D in the way that I originally thought it was, the way that my guides explained the difference between reality and Reality to me. If so, great! I’m on board with that idea. But maybe, given the history and now the blurred commixture with QAnon and conspiracy theories, consider using a different term.