Monday, July 14, 2008
Heroes: The Nine (Wonders of the World)
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
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.
SECRET SUN READING LIST
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