Thursday, July 31, 2008

So Much To Answer For



In many ways, you need to understand this music to understand the Secret Sun. Even though I was immersed in comics and mythology at a very early age, it wasn't until I discovered Post-Punk that it all began to click for me. I spent my childhood not only reading comics and the like, but I also kept my radio all the time, even when I slept. I developed an extremely intimate relationship to music. But it wasn't until when bands like Public Image Ltd (aka PiL) rolled into town that I began to truly appreciate the power of music to create landscapes in the mind. Which is a kind of magical power, isn't it? The point of this is that I spent quite a lot of time 28 summers ago imprinting- hell, engraving- PiL's Second Edition into my unconscious, and it was a literally life-changing experience.

One of the great lessons it offered was that anything can be taken apart piece by piece and reconstructed in ways not only more to your liking, but in ways that activate sectors of your psyche you never knew that you had.

My vote for most disturbing album cover ever

PiL was formed in the wake of the Sex Pistols split. John Lydon was always frustrated with the Pistols' musical conservatism (their music was at its core a stripped-down version of the Rolling Stones) and enlisted a Dub Reggae bassist (Jah Wobble) and a Prog Rock guitarist (Keith Levene) to really tear things up. They began creating a weird version of Punk, then a weird kind of Dub Funk with Metal Box, and after firing Jah Wobble made an album based entirely around aggressive tribal drum patterns (Flowers of Romance). These albums are magical totems for me. They exist in a very deep and primal unconscious space, essentially of their own volition. It's interesting to note that PiL were all toying with the occult at the time they made this music. And unfortunately, they were also toying with heroin and other hard drugs.

"Poptones" is sung from the point of a view of a murder victim whose body has been left in the English countryside. I had never heard anything even remotely like this at the time, and I'm not sure I've heard anything quite like it since. There is something very deep and strange about this song, something that still gets under my skin. This lyric may not mention Ian Brady and Myra Hindley by name (though "hindsight" may certainly be an unconscious slip) , but the theme of a body left in "foliage and peat" might very well have been unconsciously inspired by them. And I certainly hear strange echoes of "Poptones" in the Smiths' ode to Brady and Hindley's victims, "Suffer Little Children."



Truly disturbing- watch at your own risk.

It's not obvious at first, but the delicate guitar arpeggios in both songs make beauty out of terror. Both songs take their time wandering around a single chord and both feature a deep, heavy, modal bassline and mournful vocal. It's almost as if the crimes Morrissey is singing of are so much more real and profoundly horrible that they have to add that much more beauty to compensate. It's interesting to note that both Lydon and Morrissey are from Irish Catholic families yet both are so completely English.

The Moors Murders story has a very Catholic flavor to it- at least the child-hating, Jansenist variety that took root in Britain and Ireland and came to Boston in the 19th Century - as I saw last night in HBO's docudrama, Longford. It was a very strange synchronicity for me- I had been out walking at night listening to PiL and that movie awaited me later. Something was triggered deep in my subconscious, and a connection that some admittedly may not sense was made.

The poisonous climate of child hate and sexual psychosis that is the true legacy of religious extremism has created more monsters than you can name. But Hindley is certainly near the top of the list. The title "Longford" refers to Francis Pakenham, the deeply religious Anglo-Irish Lord who spent his time volunteering as an advocate for prisoners. A profoundly gullible and delusional (though well-intentioned) man, Longford may well be the "bleeding heart, looking for bodies" that Lydon was processing in "Poptones."

As brilliantly portrayed by Jim Broadbent, Longford was used to dealing with ordinary criminals, and his traditionalist Catholicism was no match at all for the elemental evil of Hindley and Brady. Samantha Morton does a wonderful job as Hindley, but has no trace of her subject's ice-cold hate in her soft, delicate features. But we see the decidedly erotic pull that Hindley had over both Lord and Lady Longford, and we see the destruction she wreaked on their lives from her maximum security prison cell. The wooly-headed idealism of the idle rich is also nicely contrasted with the instinctual revulsion of the poor when dealing with the killer.

The Moors Murders struck a very deep chord in a generation, as witnessed by "Suffer Little Children." Some processed the trauma in a different way. Throbbing Gristle dispassionately recounted the details of the crimes in "Very Friendly" and the punk band Crass attacked the tabloid obsession with Hindley in their song "Mother Earth." But for many English artists, the shattering of the innocent certainties of childhood meant that all bets were off. Everything would need to be called into question.

One question investigators have today is if Hindley committed 17 more murders than she had admitted to.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What We've All Been Reduced To

Solar 17


Sometimes there are stories that you can't help but wonder are planted in the media for some strange ritual purpose we're not meant to understand. This is one of them.

MIT students have created a solar cooker out of yak-wool canvas panels stretched over bamboo ribs and faced with reflective Mylar. Designed for rural Himalayan villages with help from students at Qinghai Normal University in Tibet, the lightweight unit seen above could cost as little as $17. An attachment for the system -- a metal coil -- can be added for home heating for $26 more. The idea was one of the winners of the MIT IDEAS competition and has garnered interest from local manufacturers.

Did that device really only cost 17 dollars to make? Why is there a big, glowing 17 on the photo? Was that photo really taken at 5:43 AM? It seems awful bright for that time of day. Or is it because 5x43=215 and 2+15=17?

You see this kind of thing a few thousand times or so and you really start to wonder.

Must See TV: Magical Egypt & The Shemsu Hor



Think about all of the topics we've been looking at recently while you watch this documentary. Think about the lines of succession West discusses, as well as those nagging questions of physics raised by all of that Egyptian stonework.

And as always, take away questions, not necessarily answers.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Old Grey Lady Takes on UFOs?

Nick Pope writes an op-ed for the Paper of Record? There is something very strange afoot...

New Podcast Interview: Culture of Contact

I recently had a very interesting discussion with Jeremy Vaeni at Culture of Contact. We tackled a wide range of topics, including UFOs, Mythology, and the abduction phenomenon. It was quite a spirited chat, I greatly enjoyed it. We explored many of the ideas that I've been mulling over lately and Jeremy offered some very keen insights. Let me know what you guys think.

Click here to check it out.

Contact listeners: You can find the post I refer to here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Brave New World, Indeed



Here on the Secret Sun- and in the wider Synchrosphere as well- we like to look at examples of pop culture prophecy. It's interesting to note that these examples tend to arise in instances of symbolic significance; it seems that when an artist really plugs himself into the Memestream, extraordinary perception is often the reward.

Very few visionary artists have immersed themselves in the deep waters of the unconscious mind than Aldous Huxley. In many ways, Huxley was rebelling against the militant reductionist materialism of his grandfather Thomas, who was known as "Darwin's Bulldog." Huxley was also deeply involved in the human potential movement, to the point that the performance hall at Esalen is named in his honor.

Huxley's cautionary fable, Brave New World, probably seemed like utter fantasy when it was released in 1932, but we're seeing it take shape before our eyes every day. More accurately, we're seeing society moving in sort of state of pre-conditioning for such a environment. We're seeing pop culture being used to not only separate various classes and groups, but we're seeing culture being used to aggressively dumb down the working and lower-middle classes.

In Britain, Hip Hop culture has given birth to the "Chavs," a hedonistic, white, working-class subculture whose adherents have sent Britain's violent crime statistics and other negative social indicators through the roof. The working class in England has always looked at askance at class mobility- the Chavs are ensuring its absolute destruction. Like other aftershocks of Hip Hop, the Chav vision of paradise is the Big Payday, where the heavens open up and bestow a windfall (usually through gambling) that allows the Chav to live a life of indolence and pleasure. But is their culture and their mindset setting themselves up for an entirely different future?

Brave New World postulates a class system that enshrines what we are seeing develop before our eyes. There are Alpha's- the decision makers, Beta- the knowledge workers, Gammas, the clerical class and skilled workers, Deltas- the semi-skilled workers, and the pitiable Epsilons- mindless drones bred for unskilled and usually hazardous labor.

In 1980, there was a TV mini-series adaptation of Brave New World (posted above), starring Keir Dullea and Bud Cort. It's not the greatest thing I've ever seen, but there were a couple of details that made me sit up and take notice.

Here is a Delta, doing some sort of busywork. Note modified baseball cap.

Here's a Chav, wearing his own kind of modified baseball cap.

Here are the lowly Epsilons, skulking around in their hoodies.

Here are the lowly Chavs, skulking around in their hoodies. This is all going nowhere good.

Don't think for a minute that's not the idea.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weekend Wibble: Good and Evil

Or should I say, Goode and Eebil...

Sunday Matinee: Star Wreck



We discovered this brilliant film at last year's Dragon*Con. Double-click if you want a full-screen version. This was made by a bunch of Finnish sci-fi fans, who seem a bit hipper to the imperialist undertones of Star Trek than your average Trekker in this country. They also toss in a Babylon 5 parody to sweeten the deal. Suffice it to say that this is how the whole Trek fantasy would play out in reality...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sync Log: Matt Groening



I'm not out at the San Diego Comic-Con this year, which is fine by me. The last time I went (2004) I was completely exhausted by the middle of the first day. And I must say that last time was sorely lacking in that San Diego magic; those wonderful syncs that used to pop up like mushrooms after a rainstorm at that con. Here's one of my favorites from 1998...

I was flying out with my main man, Kenny K. We'd just published our comic, Rivets & Ruby, and were out to promote it. On the plane, Kenny and I were ranting about The Simpsons, which was then at its peak. I told Kenny the thing I loved most about the show was how they'd pull out all of these obscure, anachronistic phrases from early 20th Century Americana. Though it was usually Mr. Burns who got these lines, the example I gave was Moe saying to Bart, "We hear all about your monkey shines." To make a long story short, we arrive at SD, go up to the hotel room and turn on the TV, and lo and behold, there's that very same episode of The Simpsons!

So, that night they held the Eisner Awards. And who do I run into in the lounge afterwards but Matt Groening. I tell him that story and he gets a big laugh. My old roommate is a director on The Simpsons, and there had been some confusion amongst my friends about a similarly named director, so I was able to settle the controversy with the big boss himself. Then I went off to mingle before I outlasted the man's courtesy.

However, syncs can cut both ways. Kenny and I were promoting Rivets & Ruby, but Matt Groening was promoting Futurama, which was uncomfortably similar to our project. Unintentionally, mind you, but it kind of killed any hope we had of ever selling R&R to an animation studio...

Friday, July 25, 2008

I Do Believe...

The new X-Files movie is f-ing great. This is not an effects bonanza- it's a very dark, disturbing and intimate thriller. It's getting a lot of negative reviews, so I was prepared to be disappointed. I drove home not only not feeling disappointed, but feeling extremely angry - yet again- at the reviewers, who seem more and more like lemmings every year. There's no doubt in my mind that most of the critics decided to hate this film a very long time before they saw it (and it was a terrible idea to open it a week after the new Batman). I don't have to tell any of my readers here that the media is full of shit, but I guess my vestigial idealism always gets the best of me.

I've rented several movies in the past few months because they got good reviews, and without naming names, I pretty much hated every single one of them. And watching the coming attractions tonight - how the hell does Vin Diesel have a new movie out?- I thanked God that The X-Files is a black sheep in our enervating and soul-deadening pop culture.

PS: Check out this interesting site- A Jungian exploration of the X-Files.


Praying to the Aliens



"Praying to the Aliens" is one of my favorite Gary Numan songs and the video for it is extremely unsettling. I'm not sure what this is supposed to be- is it primitive video art or some leftover MK-Ultra demo reel? It certainly fits the song, in a weird way. It also fits with my fears about the future. I recommend you not watch it if you have problems with epilepsy or any similar neurological issue.



Bowie not only name-checks the Templars in this video, he dresses up as one. Interesting reference for a song called "Loving the Alien," (a top 20 single in the UK) but Bowie would certainly know what he's doing, wouldn't he? Interesting to note he opens this very interesting video praying. One of his better tracks from a generally dismal period. Of the two, the Bowie lyrics are by far the most interesting, and the most troubling. Did Bowie believe that Numan hadn't fully explored the implications of his title, written five years earlier?


Watching them come and go
The Templars and the Saracens
They're traveling the holy land
Opening telegrams

Torture comes and torture goes
Knights who'd give you anything
They bear the cross of Coeur de Leon
Salvation for the mirror blind

But if you pray all your sins are hooked upon the sky
Pray and the heathen lie will disappear
Prayers they hide the saddest view
Believing the strangest things, loving the alien
And your prayers they break the sky in two
Believing the strangest things, loving the alien

Thinking of a different time
Palestine a modern problem
Bounty and your wealth in land
Terror in a best laid plan

Watching them come and go
Tomorrows and the yesterdays
Christians and the unbelievers
Hanging by the cross and nail



Given Bowie's prodigious knowledge of the occult, and his identification with aliens, it gives one pause to contemplate a song about a modern struggle between "Templars and Saracens" (complete with cryptic mentions of "terror" and torture") giving rise to a new alien religion. We've looked at powerful artists prophesying the future with their art before, and Bowie is among the most potent of our time.

When I was searching for the Gary Numan video an ad for this came up. I'm not sure praying to aliens is the type of association those guys are looking for, but who knows?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Secret Sun B-Side: Star Trek and the Solar Eschaton

OK, last month we were looking at Star Trek in the context of high initiate symbolism and its role in the transformation of our culture. We also puzzled over the phenomenon of a group of strange, disincarnate entities who have supposedly meddled with our dimensional reality. In between all of that, we were looking at the possibility that the sun the Egyptian god Ra represents is not our own.

Curiously enough, there was an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that deals with disincarnate entities specifically using symbol to alter the very nature of our physical reality. And surprise of surprises, the new reality that is create revolves around a ritual drama centering on the worship of an alien sun.

Read this synopsis of the episode "Masks" taken from an unofficial ST site.

While an alien archive transforms the U.S.S. Enterprise into its ancient society, Data is taken over by several different personalities from the extinct civilization.

Soon after a sensor scan of an 87 million-year-old comet commences, alien artifacts begin appearing around the Enterprise, as well as a mysterious compass-design symbol, and sets of alien-looking icons that are grouped together in the same compass formation. The crew investigates, but the ship's computer is unable to identify the icons. Riker and Geordi realize that some kind of alien information has been downloaded into the ship's main computers from within the comet during the sensor scan. They decide to melt the outer shell of the comet to find out what its core contains. Before they do, however, Data realizes that he somehow has the ability to interpret the unusual symbols.
A compass design symbol. OK, gotcha.

Here's a few snippets from a Memory Alpha synopsis:
When Data attends the next sculpture class, Troi notices that he made a mask and asks how he made it. Data tells her he used his imagination and for some reason the image of the mask appeared in his mind....their conversation is interrupted by Eric, who asks them if they can do something about his terminal because it is not working properly, strange symbols are moving around on the screen.

In engineering, Data, Commander Riker and Geordi La Forge begin to investigate the strange symbols which are not listed in the Federation linguistics database. La Forge has found that the strange symbols were downloaded into the Enterprise computer core and are reconfiguring their systems. Further investigation reveals that the sensor array and replicator systems were used to download the symbols.

In his ready room, Picard is investigating several artifacts when Riker tells him that they have confined the system corruption but the alien symbols are still in their computer systems. Riker believes that the artifacts are primitive and serve no purpose. Picard thinks that they are for ceremonial purposes and are deceptively primitive because only an advanced technological society could have build the object they've encountered. - Memory Alpha
Finally, Picard somehow over-rides the process with this strange invocation: "a line, as the unending horizon; a curve, as the rolling hillside; a point, as a distant bird; a ray, as the rising sun." I'm not up on my Pike; which chapter of Morals and Dogma is that taken from?

It's a very strange episode and probably has to be seen in a ritual context- a ritual within a ritual- to be understood. But it's also an interesting episode because in many ways what the episode depicts in a fictional setting is happening to our own society. Archaic symbols are being inserted into our own technological matrix and transforming our reality. The more technologically advanced we become, the more these atavistic echoes reverberate.

And, of course, "Masks" was the 17th episode in the final season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Though my gut tells me this was all some sort of Masonic joke we're not in on, it reflects an ongoing process of revelation that many people are trying to manipulate and harness, but no one yet seems to understand. These aren't just symbols we've been looking at, these are neural triggers that often seem to take on a life of their own once they are set loose in the Memestream.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Christian Bale Update

From the Daily Mail:

The source also claimed Bale had been deeply affected by the death of Ledger, who was found dead earlier this year from an overdose of anti-depressants and sleeping tablets. 'Without Ledger around, he's found it more and more difficult to communicate with those around him, especially his family.’ It was reported he found it hard to shake off the mental strains of the role, and told an interviewer he was having trouble sleeping.

'They had become very close during the making of The Dark Knight and Christian went into virtual hiding for the six weeks after Heath was found dead. He wasn't returning phone calls and he wasn't a happy man. It's foolish to think that he's been able to completely shake off that grief just as Heath and his work is finally being seen by audiences. He expected to share this moment with his friend, and now he can't.'

In a recent interview, Bale admitted that he has been depressed and has experienced bouts of insomnia.

"Mental strains," eh? Call me crazy, but I can't remember a film with more hardcore psychic juju emanating from it than The Dark Knight.

Dark Knight Templar

Of course the big story in pop culture this week is the record-breaking opening of The Dark Knight, the second installment in Christopher Nolan's radical re-imagining of the Batman franchise. Being the obsessive-compulsive that I am, I can't help but notice that the film was released at the same time of the year that Sirius rose in the night sky in the ancient world. The iconic poster tagline "Why So Serious?" takes on added significance in that light. Doubly so when you factor in Heath Ledger, the Synchrosphere's first martyr.

For old-school geeks like myself, the "Dark Knight" title has a powerful tug on the heartstrings. It was Frank Miller's own radical re-imagining of the Batman franchise, 1986's The Dark Knight Returns, that lit the fuse that would result in comic books taking over Hollywood.

Miller's work has been strip-mined by Tinseltown since not long after Dark Knight was first published- Robocop stole mercilessly from the landmark graphic novel as did more genre films than you can shake a stick at. Miller's post-superhero work- the nihilistic Sin City and the militaristic muscleporn fantasia, 300, have been adapted by other directors to make blockbuster films, and now Miller is taking the helm for his radical re-imagining of Will Eisner's Spirit. A risky move to be certain; though legendary in comics circles, the Spirit was never a popular character and putting a novice director in charge of a hallucinatory SPX orgy is problematic, at best.

Nolan seems to have studied Miller's work closely, since his backstory for Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins is liberally borrowed from Miller's backstory for Elektra (see Daredevil #190). We have the same exact scenario- following the death of her father, Elektra goes in search of the mountian retreat of a legendary band of ninjas, led by Stick (played by Terrance Stamp in the Elektra film). It all ends badly and she returns home to ply her trade as a freelancer.

In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne bonds with Ra's Al Ghul who presents himself as Henri Ducard, second in command of the venerable League of Shadows (based on the "League of Assassins" from the Batman comics). The name "Henri Ducard" caught my ear, since it sounds like a Templar name. And the whole scenario ties into the legends of the Templars and the Assassins, and their surreptitious alliance. Of course, the Assassins and the Templars both sprung up in Norman kingdoms, which only adds fuel to an already raging esoteric fire.

And you don't get any more semiotically loaded than Liam Neeson, who starred in the Templar-themed Kingdom of Heaven, portrayed Crowley fan Alfred Kinsey, voiced the Solar Christ in the Narnia films, and played Qui John the Baptist Jinn in Phantom Menace and on and on and on.

But Nolan might have been looking at other, non-Miller Batman stories for inspiration.

Like this one. In this 1982 story, "The Messiah of the Crimson Sun," Batman faces off with Ra's Al Ghul, who has reinvented himself as a cult leader named Adam. As in Batman Begins, Ra's plans to use the water supply to destroy Gotham City, albeit through different means. In this story, the contaminant will activated by...

"..the source of all life, all strength, all power." The messiah tag is apt, since Ra's is a dying-resurrecting figure who uses the Lazarus Pit (read "El-Osiris Pit") to rise whenever Batman happens to kill him.

Secret societies are part and parcel of the canonical Batman universe (in Secret Sun parlance, "canonical" means pre-1986 comics). Bruce Wayne's rebellion against the League of Shadows in Batman Begins has a direct precedent in Manhunter's rebellion against the Council, the secret society that raised him from the dead following an unfortunate encounter with an elephant. Manhunter, the ingrate, then works to destroy the Council, enlisting Batman in the landmark story, "Gotterdamerung," (Detective Comics #443, Nov. 1974)

Jack Kirby worked on Manhunter in the 1940s and following the character's death in "Gotterdammerung" (meaning "Twilight of the Gods"), created a new Manhunter. This character was a member of a secret society (The Manhunters) much like the League of Shadows, only considerably less evil and more overtly Masonic. The kind of secret society that Bruce Wayne would have stuck around with, probably. Note the cave and disembodied head- both are powerful John the Baptist signifiers.

Cults, secret societies, solar messiahs- quite a heady brew. I'm sure 99.99% of the fans grokking on Nolan's Batman movies have no idea about all of these influences, but being an old-school Batman fan from back in the days of your moms and pops, they smacked me square in the jaw when watching Batman Begins.

But wait- there's more!

17 years after writing "Messiah of the Crimson Sun," Mike W. Barr wrote Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty. Here's a smidge of the wiki synopsis.

Sir Joshua Wainwright, a crusader for the Knights Templar in the year 1222, battles the evil Vandal Savage, who tries to bring a mysterious meteor crashing to Earth. Savage, an immortal, gained his immortality from the meteor, and is trying to bring it back so he may gain even more power. After stopping Savage in this time period by hurling him into the sphere he was using to draw the meteor to Earth, Joshua swears an oath that he and his family will now and forevermore be sworn enemies of Savage and will prevent his mad schemes to protect the future. Unfortunately, Joshua himself is subsequently tried for heresy and burnt at the stake, prompting Savage to wistfully comment that he always wins.

Elseworlds stories are the very apotheosis of non-canon, but a fascinating sync nonetheless. Of course, any curious mind is going to eventually hit upon the Poor Soliders when pondering the "Dark Knight" nickname. It's interesting to note that a bunch of Batman fans start their own secret society called the Sons of Batman in Miller's Dark Knight, and Batsy fakes his own death and literally goes underground with them to start his own League of Shadows at the end of the story. Shades of The Passover Plot, and the Templars' own flight to Scotland following the big 10/13 crackdown.

It's also interesting to note that the plot of Batman Begins borrowed from a story about a solar messiah. Ra's Al Ghul's Templar links in the film also remind us that the Templar cross is actually the symbol of a pre-Christian solar cult, bringing it all full circle in a strange way. And, of course, the recently-arrested Batman actor Christian Bale ("Christ-John-Ba'al") got his big break in the Spielberg film, Empire of the Sun.

What do I take from all of this? I think this is an interesting object lesson in the power of symbols to impose themselves on the creative process. It's fascinating to see the same constellation of symbols- Solar, Templar, Egyptian- swirling around each other in unexpected places. When you work with powerful symbols, they often have a habit of taking control of you and your work. We've seen this over and over again. And one of the reasons the canonical era of comic books is so fascinating was its lack of self-consciousness helped summon all sorts of interesting archetypes and symbols into the culture at large. It's a process we will be continuing to look at closely on the Secret Sun.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Obama at Temple of Hercules

"Barack Obama strode onto the world stage on Tuesday with trademark audacity, or as his political enemies would have it, a dearth of humility, in the symbolic shadow of Jordan's Temple of Hercules." -Breitbart

Victoria, Hercules- who's next on Obama's pantheon tour? Cheers to Thracey for the tip.

Timm for Tuesday: Vampirella

Christian Bale Arrested for Assaulting Mother, Sister

LONDON - Batman star Christian Bale was arrested Tuesday over allegations of assaulting his mother and sister, police and British media said.

British media had reported that Bale's mother and sister complained they were assaulted by the 34-year-old actor at the Dorchester Hotel in London on Sunday night, a day before the European premiere of his latest film, "The Dark Knight." -Yahoo!

Weird.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Campaign Update


'No Values Voters' Looking To Support Most Evil Candidate

Obama to be Initiated at Obelisk



Obama Camp Chooses Site for Berlin Speech
Sen. Barack Obama's campaign said today that his speech in Berlin on the future of trans-Atlantic relations will be delivered in front of a Prussian war monument, rather than the Brandenburg Gate.

The announcement triggered criticism in Germany that the Victory Column, or Siegessaeule, was an inappropriate landmark for the Thursday speech, since the 226-foot column honors Prussian triumphs over Denmark, Austria and France.
Here's a close-up of Victoria (aka Nike), the Roman war goddess who stands atop this obelisk, which is 66.89 meters high. Note the Templar cross in her spear and the Apollonian laurel wreath. Again, we had a big controversy, since it was alleged Bush conveniently intervened to prevent Obama from speaking at Brandenburg, but this new site is so much more powerful symbolically, and perhaps in other ways as well.

Bonus factoid: Nice, France - where the latest members of the Jolie-Pitt army were born- is named in honor of Victory/Nike.

This site claims Victoria was one of the last goddesses to succumb to Christianity. Looks like they were a little premature.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Scottish Sunday: Music is Magick


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I've talked before about how the Early 80s was one of those threshold eras, when interesting ideas and vibrant cultures were accompanied by strange psychic forces. If I were to pick the absolute last place I'd imagine occultism to manifest itself in pop culture, it would be in the video for Aztec Camera's "Oblivious."

But, oh, how wrong I would be.

There's something faintly sinister about the proceedings here, especially in the context of a airy, summery pop standard. I'm not comfortable with the presence of children in a film that clearly has overt occult significance, that's for certain. It also ties in nicely with the Heath Ledger Sync-a-Thon, which hopefully will be in full swing when this goes up (hint, hint). Cheers to Peggy and Droidy for their contributions.

Bonus Rant: There's a lot of talk that the Scottish Rite isn't actually Scottish, and that it's actually of French origin. I'm not buying that (sorry, Alan). France and Scotland have traditonally had a very close relationship, especially at an esoteric level. And I think there may be an extremely compelling reason that the Templars decamped there, besides the fact that their Norman cousin Robert the Bruce was holding down the fort at the time. The more you look at that strange, rainy country, the more mysterious it becomes. The more you look at the British Empire- particularly in the 19th Century- the more Scottish you realize it actually is.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pope Calls for "New Age"

Pope Calls for a ‘New Age’ in Final Australia Mass

SYDNEY, Australia — In his final address to hundreds of thousands of young Catholics gathered in Australia on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI attacked the violence and materialism of the modern age, and called on his audience to build a “new age.”

"In so many of our societies, side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading: an interior emptiness, an unnamed fear, a quiet sense of despair," the pontiff said.

The 81-year-old pope said it was up to a new generation of Christians to build a world in "which God's gift of life is welcomed, respected and cherished — not rejected, feared as a threat and destroyed."

The aim was "a new age in which hope liberates us from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorption which deadens our souls and poisons our relationships," he said. - IHT
Absolutely fascinating. Again, remember who this man is. When he uses that term he knows exactly what connotations it has.

Who's Minding the Store?

The Pope- who wrote the Vatican's policy of coverup and denial of child sexual abuse - apologized again for the scandal Friday in a special mass in Sydney. That's an issue for another day- and maybe for another blog. What interests me here is that this very meticulous Pope, this man who is highly cognizant of symbolism and ceremony, is wearing the Knights Templar cross on his yoke. Not just the Maltese cross, mind you. He's wearing the red-on-white cross- the brand logo - of the recently-absolved ancient order during a very high-profile mass.

This is not insignificant by any stretch of the imagination.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Several Steps Beyond, Actually...



One of the amazing presentations at the Esalen symposium was on The Twilight Zone, given by Arlen Schumer. Not a lot of people realize this, but TZ had a predecessor; a show called One Step Beyond. This show was sponsored by -believe it, or not- Alcoa, and dealt with "real life" paranormal stories.

Vyzygoth recently interviewed John Kenneth Muir about the show and the Daily Grail recently linked to an episode of OSB called- wait for it- "The Sacred Mushroom." This amazing bit of television history not only links psilocybin and Psi research, but also features none other than Andrija Puharich himself, who also figures in the Council of Nine situation, which seems to be re-circulating in the high weirdness sector of Cyberspace. Now, Rod Serling may have been a lot cooler than John Newland, but did Serling ever trip on magic mushrooms on The Twilight Zone? I think not.

Strange days, indeed. Several memes are emerging, almost of their own volition, and making strange connections that seem to be pointing us into unfamiliar new psychic territory. Here are the other two segments.



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Visions of a Murdered Planet

Check out these amazing pictures of Mars and tell me that planet was not once teeming with life. Something happened that turned a paradise into a boneyard. Look at this enormous impact crater and tell me something didn't wipe the surface clean.

The odds of artificiality in Cydonia and elsewhere just increased.

Sit on It and Rotate


A lot of bloggers are looking askance at a new think tank for young people called the Zenith Global Citizenship Conference, which has been created to promote "(t)he concept of a ‘cosmopolitan citizenship’ (often interchangeable with global citizenship) suggests an allegiance to a new form of global civil society and a new global consciousness that conceptualizes a ‘cosmopolitan order transcending state boundaries and focusing on the rights of individuals.’" Now, no one seemed to pick up on it, but once I looked at their site I started to wonder what this might really be about.

I couldn't help but wonder if this group is merely a new model DeMolay for Rotary International; Rotary being yet another Masonic offshoot- and the primary sponsor of Zenith. I guess the Rotarians (which kind of sounds like an alien race on Star Trek) are taking the "International" bit a little more seriously these days. Nice little synch-up with the recent Pythias-Heroes symbolic overlap, if nothing else. The process of revelation continues to unfold in fascinating and unexpected ways.

Semiotically speaking, that blazing sun at the "zenith" certainly offers ample fodder for speculation, no? Good thing there's not some covert agenda to condition us for some new Solar religion or anything. Right?

Or maybe that's just supposed to be a UFO.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Attention Synchromystic Bloggers (UPDATE)

A reader sent me a huge motherload of Heath Ledger/Joker syncs that I was going to put up on Thursday, but I really don't have time to go through it all. If you have a blog and would like to post this information, please let me know. Just post a comment with your email address and I will delete your comment after I send you the material. It's all pretty much set, it just needs to be put up. There are several images and quite a bit of text. I'll link to your post when you get it up. If you could do so for Thursday, that would be super-spiffy. In fact, it would cool if several bloggers put it up and did their own "mixes" of the info.

Let me know...

UPDATE: And they're off! The syncs are in the mail, kids! Well, except for you, Droidy, Mr. No Email Leaving Person!

UPDATE 2: OK, I sent off all of the info to a bunch of top-rate researchers. Let's see something happen with this material! This is actually an interesting experiment for the Synchrosphere- I will put up a post with links and commentary once the pages go up.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Heroes: The Nine (Wonders of the World)

(note: You can read previous articles on Heroes here and here)

Hayden Panettierre did a little impromptu striptease on the set of Heroes (you can see the whole thing here). As eye-catching as that is, there was something else I found a bit more interesting- where she was doing it.

Hayden's little routine was performed in front of the old Belvedere Lodge of the Knights of Pythias. Never heard of them? Don't worry, you're not alone. But you'd best do a little reading on them. You can start with a list of well-known Knights:

Hugo Black, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
William Jennings Bryan - U.S. Senator from Nebraska
Warren G. Harding - U.S. President
Hubert Horatio Humphrey - U.S. Vice President
William McKinley - U.S. President
Nelson A. Rockefeller - U.S. Vice President
Franklin D. Roosevelt - U.S. President
Sun Ra - jazz musician, composer & band leader
Lew Wallace - general, author (Ben Hur), diplomat
Charles Schumer- U.S. Senator
Robert Byrd- U.S. Senator
Anthony Weiner- U.S. Congressman
Peter T. King- U.S. Congressman

Wow.

That's quite a list of heavy-hitters for a fraternity most people have never heard of. The last four names are some of the most powerful men on Capitol Hill as of this writing. The Pythians are yet another link in the worldwide Masonic chain; and given the fact that they were the first fraternal order chartered by the United States Congress, they're obviously a highly-influential one as well.

There are literally hundreds of powerful and little-known fraternal orders, many of which are higher in the worldwide Masonic pecking order than the Freemasons themselves. Many of these organizations were created by Freemasons during the Anti-Masonic Party era (who held their first convention on September 11, 1830). It was very much a hydra-like situation- the Anti-Masons may have driven the Brotherhood underground only to end up facing an uncountable host of quasi- and crypto-Masonic orders by the end of the 19th Century. Where the Knights are headquartered is another topic altogether, which we'll be looking at in the days to come.

The operating thesis of The Secret Sun is that all of these secret societies and fraternities are, in one way or another, offshoots of the original Brotherhood- the Shemsu Hor of Heliopolis. The Shemsu Hor were the keepers of advanced knowledge in sciences such as mathematics, astronomy, agriculture and guess what else? Why, stonemasonry, of course!

The purpose of this blog is to show how secret societies and esoterically-inclined groups and individuals have an incalculable influence on our popular culture, either directly or through cultural osmosis, or by means we've yet to understand. It's why I wrote Our Gods Wear Spandex, and it's at the core of my works-in-progress as well.

It's those other means that interest me with Hayden's little impromptu dance. I'm absolutely confident the young actress doesn't trouble herself with the tangled lineage of Masonic fraternities or how 19th Century Freemasonry lit the fuse that resulted in the modern superhero genre itself. But by unveiling in front of that semiotically-loaded engraving ("Theodore Belvedere" was the name of Jack Parsons' doomed alter-ego in an unpublished story the occultist wrote) she is synchronistically (if unconsciously) referring to my argument in Spandex. Namely, underneath it all the superhero genre is inherently esoteric. And often, downright Masonic (as with the original Captain Marvel and the Silver Age Green Lantern, for instance).

If my theory is correct, and the Masonic system itself is the descendant of the Shemsu Hor (meaning "Followers of Horus"), then there is some interesting symbolism to look at with Heroes. The word "hero" itself is derived from Heru, the Egyptian rendering of Horus. It's logo includes a solar eclipse, seen by the ancients as the wounded right eye of Horus. Maybe we should rename this series Horuses. And let's not forget Heroes is on NBC, which is headquarted at the giant, open-air Mithraeum known as Rockefeller Center. Which ties into my theory that Mithras was just a repackaging of Horus for a Roman audience, who found animal-headed gods to be distasteful.

The Shemsu Hor worshipped the Ennead, the nine primal gods of Creation. And just like Star Trek, nine seems to be a significant number in the Heroes universe.

We see nine characters in the promotional poster for the show.

And nine characters in this photo for an Entertainment Weekly feature.

There's a comic within the show called 9th Wonders, created by psychic/junkie hero Issac Mendez.
9th Wonders is also used for promotional artwork for the show.

The more I peel back the layers of the pop culture onion, the more connections I see. And yet, the simpler it all becomes in my mind. You just need to be willing to take a big leap that most people are unwilling to.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Scottish Sunday: Minds are a Terrible Thing to Waste



So many bands sold out so badly in the early 80s, I should have been inured to it. But watching the Simple Minds peak one year and come crashing down to 80s sellout hell the next was too much for me to take. There were several u2isms creeping in on their Sparkle in the Rain LP that I should have seen it coming, but I always thought America merely needed to catch up with what they were already doing. They didn't need to do John Hughes soundtracks or work with Jimmy Iovine.

Part of what killed the band was losing virtuoso bassist Derek Forbes, upon whose innovative riffs most of their best music was based around. Such as "Glittering Prize," their 1982 British hit.

Cheesy video, but interesting iconography here and there if you pay attention.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Must See TV: NASA UFO Transmissions



This is a very interesting documentary, but is very challenging to process. A Canadian satellite TV technician essentially recorded a large number of feeds from shuttle missions and found evidence of UFOs both monitoring and interacting with our space missions. It's pretty explosive stuff. If I had to take a wildly irresponsible guess, I'd say these objects might possibly be alien probes, keeping a close eye on our space programs. It would make sense that even if there were not manned craft visiting us, a far-flung civilization might send the kinds of probes that we send out to keep an eye on us. They don't seem to care if the astronauts notice them, but NASA might very much care if we knew about them.

I can't help but feel this is all going somewhere. People have said that before, of course, but we've got a lot more of this kind of evidence now than ever before.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pay Very Careful Attention


In the waning days of the so-called Clash of Civilizations, it's worth remembering that The Hammer of God, Arthur C. Clarke's asteroid-apocalypse potboiler prophesied a new hybrid religion rising from the smoke and ashes of a war in Arabia:

THE SUDDEN RISE of Chrislam had been traumatic equally to Rome and Mecca. Christianity was already reeling from John Paul XXV's eloquent but belated plea for contraception and the irrefutable proof in the New Dead Sea Scrolls that the Jesus of the Gospels was a composite of at least three persons. Meanwhile the Muslim world had lost much of its economic power when the Cold Fusion breakthrough, after the fiasco of its premature announcement, had brought the Oil Age to a sudden end. The time had been ripe for a new religion embodying, as even its severest critics admitted, the best elements of two ancient ones.

This may all seem like wishful thinking on Art's part, but stranger things have- and will- happen.

Perhaps like this- an obscure, heretical Islamic sect has built Canada's largest mosque. And look at some of the dignitaries who attended this grand opening:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the crowd that the Ahmadiyya Muslim community knows the importance of tolerance and peace because it has been the target of persecution itself since its founding in the late 19th century.

"In this mosque, we see the love and benevolent faith of Islam," Harper said. "Ahmadis embrace Canada and Canada has embraced you."

Opposition Leader Stephane Dion said the success of the Ahmadi community in Canada, as captured by the sacrifices made to build the Calgary mosque, is at the essence of what makes the country great.

"Canada will show the world that Muslim communities can flourish in a secular state like ours," Dion added.

He praised the Ahmadiyya community for teaching its followers that loyalty to their new homeland of Canada is an integral part of their faith.

Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier reminded the crowd of the cold, rainy June day in 2005 when the mosque's cornerstone was laid.

"What we see today is a testament to your faith and commitment to the community. Your mosque is a proud new landmark on Calgary's skyline," the mayor said.

Roman Catholic Bishop Fred Henry said Calgary Muslims and Christians share a common spiritual journey in their worship of God.

"My Muslim brothers and sisters, we also have a common concern for promoting moral values and addressing ethical concerns in our city through our ongoing dialogue and our work together," said Henry.

Sir Arthur wasn't just a novelist, he moved among some very interesting circles in the scientific - and military/industrial - world. There's no shortage of prophetic undertones in his speculative fiction, never mind that pesky Monolith building near the old WTC. Which, of course, is also on the cover of Childhood's End, a book which in light of my recent research seems more and more sinister to me, as does the author himself.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

"Science Rules"



I'm pretty burned out on the Roswell thing and didn't watch Larry King's special on it the other night. But I was interested to see that Bill Nye ("the Science Guy") acted like some unfunny parody of a CSICOP stooge (which you can see on this video) but apparently botched several important details, including making an erroneous claim that billionaire Steve Fossett vanished in a balloon crash. The Daily Grail is on the case:

Nye also claimed a photo showing a saucer-shaped object being taken from a box was faked. "That to me is not a very convincing photo...look at the words "Viking Project," Nye said. "They're not keystone, they're not - they don't have a vanishing point that's accurate." A subscriber to the UFO Updates mailing list pointed out that this was another terrible blunder on Nye's part:

It was downright embarrassing to hear him claim that a photo of a Viking aeroshell being removed from a box labeled "Viking" was instead a doctored photo of a flying saucer. The photo was from one of the Air Force's debunking reports, and had nothing to do with Roswell. The Air Force just included it to show that things that are saucer-shaped are not necessarily alien spacecraft..."

I'm not interested in the debate, to be honest. Whatever happened at Roswell, it has the stink of spookery all over it. As does Bill Nye, for that matter (he bragged that his mother was in Naval Intelligence on his Larry King appearance). Notice how Nye places himself at the apex of human evolution in his opening credits and then declares that "Science Rules!" All of which is actually telling you that he thinks Bill Nye rules. Do you understand that these guys don't want to hear anything about anyone ever being smarter or more advanced than them? Because if there is, these guys are left with nothing but shattered egos.

Nye pulled the usual corny old Randi tricks on Larry King, but to me the mocking, dismissive bit seems more desperate than confident. And Edgar Mitchell put him in his place for his rude behavior. I've developed a very interesting profile on Randi that I will publish some fine day, but haven't much attention to Nye, and to be honest don't really plan to. But, damn, the guy sure has had an interesting personal life.



Again, I have no dog in this Roswell fight. I'm not exactly certain that UFOs are extraterrestrial (meaning, not interdimensional), and if they are, I hope to God they just stay up there in the sky and leave us the hell alone. But I thought the timing was interesting, given my recent comments on these TV skeptics.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Too Easy...



Decode away, Synchsters.

Here's the phony controversy part of it.

Osiris 17 Moon Mission


NASA is preparing its return to the Moon with the Orion 17 mission and it looks like they're leaving nothing to chance. Here's a nice photo gallery featuring 17 pictures of the Orion 17 (that is, Osiris 17) preparations and some older pics from the Apollo 17 mission (the Horus 17 mission, in other words).

Check out the map for Moses Lake, WA where the new moon vehicles are being tested. Or check out the map for Hampton, VA, where the space capsule is being stored.



Then, if you haven't had enough wacky seventeenie fun, see if you can't find the hidden 3/17 in the Orion mission patch.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Illuminated Pyramids and Obelisks Across the World

Our recent look at the EU meeting in Siberia got me thinking about Masonic architecture. You know, obelisks, pyramids and benben stones showing up in unexpected places, particularly modern cities. But I wasn't just looking for any old pyramid or obelisk, I was looking specifically for illuminated pyramids. This is just the result of a brief search. Double-click images to enlarge for detail.

Atlantis, Georgia has an interesting kind of step pyramid benben (far left) a more standard benben to the right of it and yet another eight-sided -or octagonal benben to the right. Don't know if the Atlantis Hawks basketball team or the Atlantis Falcons football team tie into any of this symbolism.

Boston, home of America's first Masonic lodge, has an interesting truncated pyramid roof and a glowing light above it. If you're thinking "all seeing eye," I got your back. The Monolith next to it is the Hancock Tower. Note: The Atlantis Braves were originally the Boston Braves.

Chicago has an illuminated benben obelisk.

As does Cleveland, largest city in the 17th state of the US.

Des Moines is no slouch in the illuminated benben department.

Here's a surprise- Dubai has an illuminated-benben obelisk. Or maybe that isn't a surprise.

Neither is Frankfurt, the financial capital of Germany.

By that token, neither should Kowloon's Asian twist on the step pyramid and heavenly beam.

Reader Mark alerted me to this illuminated pyramid at London's Canary Wharf.

Minneapolis has a green illuminated capstone.

What's more, the ever-reliable Yahoo! News put up a beauty shot of it on its front page while I was preparing this article. How about that for Synchronicity?

Montreal has a obelisk without an illuminated capstone. What's that about?

Of course, we all know about the illuminated pyramid at the Louvre in Paris from The Da Vinci Code.

New York's got all sorts of interesting architecture, including the illuminated-benben obelisk on the left there.
As does Philly, the new City of the Sun.

Heading for the West Coast we see another truncated pyramid (this one eight-sided) and floating all seeing eye, similar to Boston's.

San Francisco is famous for its pyramid, which is actually more of an obelisk. Appropriately ambiguous for a city with so many gender-bending citizens.


Seattle has its own space age conflation of the obelisk/dome motif. Kind of like the Masonic lodge that George Jetson would belong to. There's an interesting green benben stone behind it, but the Space Needle is interesting for another reason...

...the Heavenly Beam it shoots out from time to time.

Shanghai goes for the obelisk/dome motif with an unbelievably phallic looking building in the center there.

Toronto also does the whole illuminated obelisk/dome thing, both of which reflect on Lake Ontario. Quite an interesting array of examples of this type of symbolism. What could it possibly all mean? Are they trying to tell us something?

Maybe the people who create these buildings aren't trying to tell us anything. Maybe they're only talking to each other. Maybe they don't care what you think about it at all.

There's a thought, huh?

SECRET SUN TOP TEN