Friday, October 30, 2009

Revel and Ritual in the Post-Prosperity Age (UPDATE)

In America, one of the lingering legacies of our Puritan roots is a simultaneous mistrust and economic exploitation of holidays and festivals. It really wasn't until the late 19th Century that holidays like Christmas and Halloween became popular- or even tolerated in some quarters. But there's still a strange sense of impropriety about it all, as if we should feel guilty about the act of celebration.

In addition, our holidays have become a minefield of commercial exploitation, which -surprise, surprise - only feeds into our alienation. Christmas has all but been destroyed by commercialism and sectarianism. It needs a major makeover and will probably get one if the economy continues to tank. Given the current political climate, it would probably need to be some kind of generic Winter Solstice festival, but that's where most of the familiar Christmas trappings- the cool ones, at least- originally come from anyhow.

At their roots all of our holidays are keyed into the rhythms of nature, which we have almost completely divorced ourselves from in our denatured existence. But there are signs of change. A lot of this is bleedover from the gay community, a lot of is coming from the neopagan and goth communities. You also have the equivalent of holidays-slash-pilgrimages with the convention circuit in different fan communities as well.

When you think about how we go through the workaday week, you realize it's these kind of holidays that give structure to our day to day life. It may be counterintuitive, but I don't see why Christmas and Easter (read: Ishtar) can't be celebrated by everybody, since they are in fact impossibly ancient holidays that were Christianized solely for political reasons.

I'm very encouraged by the Halloween revival and all of the Burning Man offshoots out there. The Super Bowl, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, St. Paddy's, Easter, Cinco De Mayo, Summer Solstice, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve- hell, bring it on. Get together and dress up and celebrate and drink and screw and eat and laugh and puke. It may end up being the closest thing to a social glue we have.

Meanwhile, I'll just sit in my space capsule here and try to parse the meaning of it all. And one meaning I've parsed is that not only are these festivals increasingly independent of belief systems, they may actually be better off without them. The meaning is the act of the celebration itself. But again, at their core these festivals are based in those rhythms of nature that religious narratives were later imposed on.

The corporatization of our culture breeds alienation and isolation, and the result of that is paranoia. The cure for that debilitating disease is community, gathering, interaction, networking. And this new model of holiday gives these processes a compelling structure. The gay community has traditionally used festival and celebration as a way to deal with alienation and isolation, as have marginalized immigrant communities.

Now that we are all made to feel alien and expendable, it's only natural for this process to spread into the mainstream.

In their purest form, holidays give us an opportunity to reconnect with symbol and with ritual, which can't help but feed the Dreaming Mind. But only if these rituals are taken back from the pimps and ripoff artists who've been controlling them for the past hundred years.

UPDATE: This is interesting. Cheers to Astronut.

Please tell me this is a joke:

Earlier this week the Catholic Church in Spain also condemned the growing popularity of Halloween, saying it threatened to overshadow the Christian festival of All Saints' Day.

The Bishop of Siguenza-Guadalajara, Jose Sanchez, said there was a risk that Halloween could "replace Christian customs like devotion to saints and praying for the dead."

Uh, excuse me, your holiness but don't you have it the wrong way round?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Secret Sun on X-Files News Podcast

I recently did an interview with the very cool gals at X-Files News, where we talked about the series as well as parapolitics, UFOs and 9/11. Check it out here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Astronaut Theology: Thetans or Titans?

...Zeus or Xenu? Does the evil trapped within these meat-prisons come from the auras of ancient Thetans or the ashes of ancient Titans? Depends on who you ask....

Director Paul Haggis is the latest celebrity Scientologist to come out and renounce the church, which always gets me to thinkin' how much Mysto-Gnosto-sci-fi there is in Hubbard's theology. This is particulary striking in the Church's secret original sin theology, that only 'super clears' or 'Level 9s' or whomever once heard. First, the Thetans and Xenu, the ancient astronautic overlord:
Xenu was supposed to have gathered up all the overpopulation in this sector of the galaxy, brought them to Earth and then exterminated them using hydrogen bombs. The souls of these murdered people are then supposed to infest the body of everyone. They are called "body thetans". On the advanced levels of Scientology a person "audits out" these body thetans telepathically by getting them to re-experience their being exterminated by hydrogen bombs. So people on these levels assume all their bad thoughts and faulty memories are due to these body thetans infesting every part of their body and influencing them mentally.

Insanely-awesome sculpture 'The Rites of Dionysus' from The Eden Project

Now the ancient myth that found its way into the pagan Gnostic sects, which don't get as much press as the Christian ones do:
A variant from of Greek mythology given in Orphic theology, known from Neoplatonist sources, told an alternative version of the Titan myth, which also involves the separation of body parts but suggests a dual nature for human beings. In this variant, it is said that the young god Dionysos was dismembered, cooked, and eaten by the Titans, acts for which Zeus subsequently punished them by destroying them with a thunderbolt.
Human beings were then created out of the ashes of the Titans; this suggests that, as part of our identity as humans, we have not only a tendency towards violent criminal acts, from the Titans, but also something good, from the parts of Dionysos they had consumed before their own destruction. Dionysos himself was reborn from the one remaining part of his body, the heart, which the goddess Athena preserved.
The Orphic literature influenced many Bacchic mystery groups in antiquity; initiates seem to have regarded the body as a ‘prison’, and believed that they must liberate the divine ‘Dionysiac’ part of humanity from the evil ‘Titanic’ part.-
...which in turned influenced the creation of original sin doctrine. Plus ça change, kids, plus c'est la même chose. I once thought the L-Rons would eventually take over Hollywood, but now I have my doubts. What it reminds me of than anything else is Christian Science, which too once had a big celebrity following. Whether or not there will still be movie stars as we understand them is an open question, and I don't see the L-Rons bagging any big game other than Hancock lately.

SYNC LOG UPDATE: Wow, this is timely.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Week in 17 Mini-Marathon (UPDATED)

Well, it's that time again- time to wrap up random news stories with significant mentions of 17s and try to discern any meaningful patterns within. Pretty quiet week overall, but then again my attention's been focused elsewhere. BTW, that magazine cover reminds us that in July 1946 the first bikinis went on sale at the same time nuclear tests were being done on Bikini Atoll. Zany.

ITEM: In airborne news, there's this heartwarming tale:
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – A baby boy who made a surprise arrival on board an AirAsia flight this week will be given free flights for life with the budget carrier, as will his mother, the airline said Friday.

"The baby was safely delivered when flight AK 6506 was approaching Kuala Lumpur for landing at 2,000 feet," the airline said in a statement...

ITEM: Then there's this wacky aeroplane story as well:
Northwest Flight 188 from San Diego had overshot Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport by 150 miles, winding up in Wisconsin before turning around to land safely at MSP. Federal officials say the pilots apparently became distracted. Military jets had been on standby to track down the jet after it dropped out of radio communication for about 75 minutes.

ITEM: Strangey points us to this story, in which according to NAZCA NASA, the Atlantis is due to launch November 17 (ish):
If the Atlas V fails to launch on the first attempt (November 14), Atlantis may be reduced to a two day window – depending on the amount of time it would take to reconfigure the range – with Atlantis then holding the range for the 17th and 18th.
ITEM: I can't think "NASA" without automatically thinking "Egypt", which reminds me there was a more tragic transportation story this past week, involving a deadly train crash on Egypt's Giza plateau that has claimed 18 lives. Then there was this, which reader Alan points us to:
...a British nuclear expert fell to his death from the 17th floor of the United Nations offices in Vienna yesterday. Police and UN spokesmen said there were no suspicious circumstances in the death of the man, who has not been named, or any other person involved.

ITEM: Speaking of religion, there's also this gruesome story coming out of Nova Caesarea:
CHATHAM, N.J. – An arrest in the brutal slaying of a Roman Catholic priest has brought little solace to this bucolic, upscale community, which widely views the suspected role of the longtime church janitor as a second tragedy.

More than 150 people at St. Patrick's Church for Sunday's early Mass prayed for the Rev. Ed Hinds, whose body was discovered in the church rectory Friday, and for Jose Feliciano, who is charged with stabbing the priest 32 times with a kitchen knife.

Feliciano had worked at the church 17 years and his family is part of the parish.
ITEM: This past week found The Vatican working up its final merger/takeover plan of the Anglican Church, which recently hit a snag when the 'Global South' bishops nixed the plan. Plenty of Anglican action stateside, too:

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. – The Diocese of South Carolina voted Saturday to distance itself but not completely split from the national Episcopal Church because of church positions on same-sex unions and ordination of gays.

Eighty-seven clergy members voted to pass the resolution after a nearly hour-long debate during a special convention in Mount Pleasant, Canon Kendall Harmon said, with 17 voting no.

Guess what US highway Mount Pleasant is on?

ITEM: Here's some happy news to end this mini-17 marathon- Halloween, like other entertainment and fantasy activities like comic conventions, is experiencing a major resurgence as recession-battered Americans look for ways to take their minds over the systematic dismantling of their economy:
Despite the recession, Halloween is hotter than ever. According to IBISWorld, a market-research firm, Halloween sales will reach a record-breaking $6 billion in 2009, up 4.2% from last year. Retailers from Biloxi, Miss., to Brooklyn, N.Y., are reporting strong Halloween revenue. Over the past four years alone, the Halloween industry — which includes costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards — has grown a remarkable 48.5%.

UPDATE: The Guardian obtains a copy of a spotter card used at political demonstrations. Note the division name Oracle 17. Fascinating.

UPDATE: Cardinals beat Giants 24-17 at Giants Stadium, located at intersection of routes 3 and 17.

UPDATE: New York amnesiac Jane Doe identified as Kacie Peterson, originally of Colville, Washington, which is located on US 395 (=17)

UPDATE: Soapie pointed this out recently- the "All Powerful" Alienware M17X!

UPDATE: Some bad news-
Poverty. The U.S. poverty rate, about 17 percent, is third worst among the advanced nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In that sample, only Turkey and Mexico are worse.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Flesh and Blood- Hammer Horror documentary

Watch Flesh And Blood - The Hammer Heritage Of Horror Part 1 in Entertainment

Well, it's a rainy Saturday afternoon, just the kind of gloomy day when I'd sit at home and watch Creature Double Feature on channel 56. My favorites were always the Hammer horror films, which always seemed to come across as being more serious and intense than the 50s stuff that CDF usually traded in.

Here's a BBC documentary on the Hammer horror films, hosted by none other than Christopher Lee himself. You may have to watch the whole thing over at Veoh, so I kept the handy links attached.

Watch Flesh And Blood - The Hammer Heritage Of Horror Part 2 in Entertainment

If you're hankering for some contemporary, real-life horror, there's always Take a good, long look at America's future, which is far scarier than any horror film.

Friday, October 23, 2009


UFO/Fortean researcher Mac Tonnies passes on, apparently of natural causes. He seemed very young, this is tragic. Mike C! had long been planning a podcast with Mac and I and I'm sorry now that will never come to pass.

More info here and here.

One more, thanks to Emperor.

Trailer Trash: Prophecy and Stolen Property

Hollywood's idea of originality is knocking off a well-known older film (or in this case, a series of films) and throwing a lot of CGI on top of it, giving it a new name and reselling it. This is the trailer for the original Christopher Walken film, The Prophecy. Not a masterpiece by any means, but a fun little romp. The sequels were the usual diminishing returns, but back when I was paying by the month for rentals (35 bucks, unlimited) I believe I watched the whole series one weekend.

The original also stars the great Elias Koteas, who somehow found himself in Lost Souls, in which Winona Ryder played the world's sexiest exorcist. He probably changed agents around that time.

Here's the remake of The Prophecy, now called Legion. I have no idea about the provenance of all of this and to tell the truth, I don't much care. Even in 1995, The Prophecy was a retread, here's it's just Constantine redux. Apparently the same team is doing a vampire spin on the concept called Priest. Boy, they'll beat the Preacher adaptation to the screen, those clever chaps.

Me, I'll wait for the non-knockoff version, particularly since John August is writing it. Plus, the only Legion I want to see onscreen is The Legion of Super-Heroes. My recommendation for the weekend is you skip all of this nonsense, and watch Atom Egoyan's Exotica, starring Elias Koteas, Bruce "Cap'n Pike" Greenwood and Mia Kirshner.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Asterix goes AAT

How did I miss this? I used to be a huge Asterix fan- it kept me interested in the comics form during the hideous early 90s. Granted, I stuck mostly to the classics but had a volume or two of the post-Goscinny material. If nothing else, I dug on the art.

There's a piece on the BBC today about the controversy over Uderzo's stewardship of the franchise which meant pretty much nothing to me until I saw that the most recent volume had Asterix and Obelisk squaring off against ancient astronauts! Not only ancient astronauts, but aliens who looked like our sun god (or 'Superman', in the vernacular) and our Anglo-Saxon fertility sprites, aka 'The Teletubbies'. Strangely enough this was volume #33 (# 17 was called Mansions of the Gods).

Of course, there was the usual cognitive dissonance- critics trashed it but it still sold in the millions. Funny how that works, just like Crystal Skull and Revenge of the Fallen.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to track down an English-subtitled copy of the Asterix meets Cleopatra movie. Monica Bellucci? Rowr.

Where do I sign up?

Is truth funnier than fiction?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Myth, Synchronicity and the Widening Gyre (UPDATED 2030EST)

Having recently discussed Hercules and shamanism and voyages to the underworld, I was flipping through one of my Essential Thor's, where I can upon this splash-page from one of the crucial comics of my early days. I was quite chuffed to see 'The coming of Hercules' plastered on a picture of Thor wrestling a 'witch-doctor' who found Thor's 'Norn-stone' and developed the powers of a 'demon'.

I figure Kirby was plotting these stories by this time and Stan was scripting them. The connections then make perfect sense, given whatever Jack had tapped into. Then there was the Eleusinian bit with Thor descending into the underworld to rescue Hercules, who'd unwittingly signed on as king of Hell. Interesting spin, there.

Journey to the Underworld- Cover dated July 1966

Which brings us to this story, that still boggles my mind: Falcons’ Elam has a ‘frustrating day’
Jason Elam left it in the bullpen on Sunday.

After what he said was his best practice week of the preseason and a good pre-game warm-up, the Falcons kicker had one of the worst days of his 17-year career. Seven points went missing.
Falcons? Elam? This is a joke, right?

The great Egyptologist Flinders-Petrie wrote that the Falcon tribe - who brought Horus into Egypt - came from the land of Elam:

The distinctive character of the 1st dynasty, which separates it from all that went before, is the conquest and union of the whole land of Egypt. It became thus subject to the falcon-bearing tribe of Horus, which was the natural enemy of the Aunu, the Set-bearing tribe. This falcon tribe had certainly originated in Elam (modern -day Iran), as indicated by the hero and lions on the "Araq knife handle". They went down the Persian Gulf and settled in the "horn of Africa."
Iran, the Persian Gulf, the Horn of Africa? Why, this Horus tribe seems to have hit all of the hotspots circulating in the news these days, no?

Finally, speaking of Horus, there's this story:
Nev. man accused of DUI for 3rd time in 17 days

RENO, Nev. – A 50-year-old Reno man has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving for the third time in less than three weeks. Reno Police Sgt. Tom Robinson said the man was stopped Monday afternoon on a U.S. Highway 395 off-ramp...
Oh Synchronicity, such a saucy maiden...

UPDATE: This just in from Dubai...

UPDATE: Actually, this just in from Dubai. Seven stars for synch-searching SoapFan.

UPDATE: I'm sorry, this is f***ed.

The 43-year-old told the AP in a series of interviews this week that by the time the sweat lodge ceremony began, the participants had undergone days of physically and mentally strenuous events that included fasting. In one game, guru James Arthur Ray even played God.

At one point, someone lifted up the back of the tent, shining light in the otherwise pitch-black enclosure. Ray demanded to know who was letting the light in and committing a "sacrilegious act," Bunn said.

The account marks a significant revelation in the investigation because it portrays Ray as driving participants to stay in the lodge despite signs all around him that the situation had gone horribly awry. Until now, few details had surfaced about Ray's actions inside in the sweat lodge.

Interesting timing, given that Elizabeth Clare Prophet just passed away. Prophet's apocalyptic, authoritarian, neo-Theosophist, Christo-Buddhist cult was big in the late 80s but her predicted Apocalypse never came, as is so often the case with those stubborn ol' Armageddons. The problem was is that her followers quit their jobs and holed up in Montana with guns and such for the occasion.

Speaking of the Gyre, Prophet's Church Universal and Triumphant was most likely the model for the 'Church of the Red Museum' from The X-Files. Prophet was stricken with Alzheimer's for the last decade or so.

Here's an MP3 of Prophet's 'Invocation for the judgement against and destruction of rock music'. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Can some explain to me what this woman is saying? Does she think the sweatlodge deaths were a blessing?

UPDATE: From luxury to heartache:

VALHALLA, N.Y. — Former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik is now just another number in the county jail. Westchester County jail spokesman Justin Pruyne says Kerik was given the number 210717 and a single-bed cell when he arrived Tuesday afternoon.

And of course Valhalla ties back to the Thorniverse, doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Suffer Little Children

While all the cable stations are busy worrying about the Balloon Boy and Reptilians and the like, there's another story they just happened to overlook. Not that I blame them, I mean, they have the public's trust to present us with the information that we really need. So I can see why a story like this just fell through the cracks...

Churches denounce African children as “witches”

His family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism. It spilled as he struggled, burning away his face and eyes. The emaciated boy barely had strength left to whisper the name of the church that had denounced him — Mount Zion Lighthouse.

A month later, he died.

Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of “witch children” reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files.

Some of the churches involved are renegade local branches of international franchises. Their parishioners take literally the Biblical exhortation, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

Renegade? No.

No way.

American Church leaders know full well this is going
on in their branch parishes in Africa and elsewhere, it's just bad for business to try to stop it.

Don't believe me? Then read this: "Rick Warren's African Allies Tied To Massacres, Sex-Slavery, Forced Labor, Concentration Camps."

It all gets much, much worse, but there's only so much I can take.

UPDATE: This was on Red Ice this morning: US diocese delays sex abuse trial with bankruptcy move.

UPDATE: You knew this was coming. That is, if you read The Secret Sun...

UPDATE: The always-wonderful Acharya S slices through the media-induced Theist/A/Theist duopoly and opens door number three- free thought.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Balloon Boy Dad: The New Wilhelm Reich?

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.- Karl Marx

By now, we've all heard that the Flight of the Falcon in the mushroom-shaped UFO is believed to be a hoax, all part of a bid for a reality series by the somewhat intense Richard Heene and his family.
"It has been determined that this is a hoax, that it was a publicity stunt and we believe we have evidence at this point to indicate that this was a publicity stunt in hopes to better market themselves for a reality show," Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden told reporters at a press conference. Deputies searched the home of the boy's parents Saturday night, carrying away several boxes and a computer.
We've also heard that Heene and his wife subscribe to unorthodox ideas about UFOs and the like (horrors!), and it appears he follows the work of David Icke. In the words of a co-plotter on a previous hoax attempt, Heene said this about the 'Reptilians':
...there are alien beings that walk among us and are shape shifters, able to resemble human beings and running the upper echelon of our government. Somehow a secret government has covered all this up ...and the only way to get the truth out there raise Richard to a status of celebrity...As the weeks progressed, his theories got more and more extreme and paranoid.
Aside from the Icke/V Reptilian theory, Heene believed in the solar-apocalypse theory we saw in Knowing, which would take place in 2012:
A lot of it surrounded 2012, and the possibility of there being an apocalyptic moment. Richard likes to talk a lot about the possibility of the Sun erupting in a large-scale solar flare that wipes out the Earth. (Heene said) we're running out of time, we're running out of time, the end of the world is coming.
The Heene family are also storm-chasers, and Heene also subscribes to the magnetic earth theory vis a vis extreme weather:
Richard Heene is a proponent of an electromagnetic explanation for atmospheric vortices such as tornadoes, dust devils, and tropical cyclones. This is in contrast to the predominant view within the scientific community, which favors a fluid dynamics explanation (i.e., air pressure changes, inherent spin or vorticity of air, etc.).
Heene also believed that if he created a suitably-convincing UFO, that alien UFOs would be attracted to it (I'm shorthanding like hell here). Quoted in Gawker:
Can we attract UFO's with a homemade flying saucer? We will modify a weather balloon, so that it resembles a UFO and will electrically charge the skin of the craft (Biefield-Brown Effect). ....This will be the most significant UFO-related news event to take place since the Roswell Crash of 1947, and the result will be a dramatic increase in local and national awareness about The Heene Family, our Reality Series, as well as the UFO Phenomenon in general.

Well, the minute I heard about this guy and his theories, the first thing I thought of was Wilhelm Reich, the former Freud apostle. Reich developed similar ideas to Heene about energetic fields and weather, eventually developing the 'cloudbuster', which he claimed could control the weather by accumulating 'orgone', which Reich thought was the libidinal radiation that animated all life on earth:
In order to study the effects of this radiation, he designed a specially-constructed box to house and concentrate this energy. Boxes were constructed to house lab animals. Eventually larger boxes were constructed in which a person could sit comfortably.
Reich also believed that UFOs were a threat, and was also planning his own war against them:
"There is no doubt that I am at war" with the UFOs, Reich wrote hours after four bright pulsating lights hovered for hours over Orgonon, his research facility in rural Maine. "What seemed only a possibility one year ago is certainty now."

The UFOs had been menacing Orgonon since Reich began experiments with super-charging his "cloudbuster" weather-control device with small amounts of radioactive material.
Reich was seen by most scientists as a quack, but the US Government saw him and his work as a national security threat. Reich was arrested for fraud, and his books and papers were confiscated and burned.

Reich died in federal prison in 1957.

Needless to say, I'm not overly optimistic about the Heene family's future prospects. The charges might not add up to much, but when you piss off government officials in front of the worldwide media, there's usually a pretty stiff price to pay. But by the same token if they intended to become media celebrites from the hoax, they certainly got their wish.

In 1985, Anglo-Irish druidess Kate Bush recorded a tribute to Reich called 'Cloudbusting.' This is the video for the single, which features Donald Sutherland looking absolutely nothing like Reich and the bodacious, curvaceous Bush making for a particularly-unconvincing preteen boy.

One not named Falcon, as far as I know.

UPDATE: Oh, now Yahoo uses the c-word. Media rule #1- never use the word "conspiracy" in anything pertaining to government, corporations or the clergy. Anything else is fair game.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hercules. Ancient Astronauts. This is UPDATED.

Here's the pitch, cobbled together from a couple IMDB reviews.
An alien race from the moon lands in ancient Greece, terrorizing the nearby city of Samar, and taking the population’s children as human sacrifices. Hercules is summoned to oppose the evil Queen Samara, has made an alliance with the aliens in order to awaken a moon goddess and rule the world. Now it’s up to Hercules to save the day and free the oppressed townspeople.
That's actually Maciste, not Hercules, but there's no appreciable difference. If you'd like some smarmy nerd humor to go along with it, check out the Mystery Science Theater version here.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's....Hercules

Did you know that Hercules was worshipped as a 'personal savior' in ancient times? Did you know his Greek name is derived from Horus? Did you know he was the original celebrity bisexual? Or that he was the patron of Florence during the Middle Ages? Did you know that Obama sought Hercules' endorsement during his election campaign? Or that Hercules is the star of nearly 100 films as well as a number of TV series? Or that he appears in the most important movie ever made?

There are hundreds of strongmen in mythology- why is this one hero so popular? All I can say is that the Greeks and the Romans had a long time to perfect the character, so they must have done something right. Or perhaps it's because as classical scholar Walter Burkert claimed and Hercules arose from shamanistic trances and 'voyages to the underworld'.

Self-explanatory. Bonus factoid: Hercules took over the Hulk's comic book in 2007.

Greg is not an alien.

UPDATE: Shhh, don't ask or tell Frank Miller about this skit.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

TVOD: Lost on the 17th (UPDATED)

We watched this on the Satellite a while back, but I thought it'd be worth taking another look at, given the date and all. The spiel is that the Jupiter II lands back on Earth, but due to a time warp the landing date is October 17, 1947, the real action is in all the double-entendre and subtext. Nice diversion for a Saturday afternoon, and has a cast of thousands, Lost in Space-wise. Very interesting bits of dialogue that reward close attention.

UPDATE: Yep, Saturday morning is where ledes go to be buried. Or where photos go to be shopped. You decide- "NASA moon crash did kick up debris plume as hoped."

UPDATE II: Saw this one coming, too.

The X-Files, in a nutshell....

SYNC LOG: I just turned on Technicolor Web of Sound for my daily dose of Psychedelia and what comes on but 'Terrapin' by Syd Barrett. Which is featured in the X-Files episode "Lord of the Flies," one of my favorites of the uneven final season. And of course, the alien dream and the widening gyre, which a reader had inquired about recently.

It's the Only Way to Live.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Trailer Trash: UFOs and Sea People (UPDATES)

Here's a movie that I saw and kinda wish I didn't- the TV adaptation of Stephen King's Quatermass and the Pit ripoff tribute, The Tommyknockers. I read the novel and found it was just like all of King's later work- a brilliant setup ruined by careless follow-through. The movie is completely miscast and tries to pass off New Zealand as Maine. But if you see it cheap somewhere, pick it up- there might be a sync or two in it for you.

Here's a movie I need to see- Dennis Hopper in what must be history's only Lovecraftian Beatnik horror film featuring a dyed-in-the-wool occult superstar (Jack Parsons' widow Marjorie Cameron playing one of the "Sea People"). Watching this trailer I got a definite Darker Than You Think meets Dagon vibe...

UPDATE: Was Lovecraft riffing on the 'Great Gods' of Samothrace in his Chthulu mythos?

UPDATE: Speaking of evolutionary throwbacks and hideous rites....

UPDATE: I have no idea what this means, but my gut tells me it means something...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Septumdecim Sempiterna: Bend it like Obama ("Falcon, Falcon!")

Et tu, Beckham? And what's all this about you being the Barackobamun of Footie?

Dow closes above 10,000- Ten thousand-seventeen, that is..

Now what's all this then?: CAIRO (Reuters) – Archaeologists have unearthed the site of a pharaonic-era sacred lake in a temple to the Egyptian goddess Mut in the ruins of ancient Tanis, the Culture Ministry said on Thursday.

Weren't we just talking about Egyptian lakes?

UPDATE: Battle of the cosmic triggers? From CNN:

Nevada continued to be the worst-hit state with one filing for every 23 households. But even tranquil Vermont, where the foreclosure crisis has barely brushed the housing market, saw foreclosure filings jump nearly 170% compared with the third quarter of 2008. Still, that resulted in just one filing for every 5,023 households in the state -- the best record in the country.

The untold story here is the role of the "Prosperity Gospel" in driving the overall economic crisis.

UPDATE II: Here's a man-bites-dog story if ever there was one, from the Sept. 17 issue of Queens Tribune- a Republican candidate is also a practicing Heathen (Nordic paganism). I like the big bonus Q next to the scantily-clad maiden.

Bonus lousy research tidbit:

Theodism relies upon an interlocking ring of honor, wisdom and generosity to motivate the individual members to achieve a spiritual evolution. "Any earthly life that a man doesn't die out of as a better and worthier man than he was born into it is seen, in these terms, as a wasted life, ultimately bound for Hel [sic] after death," Halloran wrote on his Web site.
Uh, not sic- Hel is the Norse goddess/realm of death, idiot. AKA Hela in the Thorniverse.

UPDATE: Since snark is ecumenical here on the Secret Sun, let me point out that the Sedona sweat lodge deaths (aka the Route 17 tragedy) were on the compound of a New Age prosperity huckster. Hey, here's an idea- how about not pretending you can drop in on someone else's religion for a weekend, particularly when the stated goal of the "retreat" is antithetical to said tradition?

UPDATE: Six year old boy trapped in runaway (and deflating) air balloon. Let's all hope/pray/wish for his safe return.

UPDATE: Oh, no.

The boy was not inside the helium aircraft when it landed, CNN affiliate KMGH reported. A sibling saw the boy get into the craft Thursday morning. Officials were concerned that the boy may have fallen out of it, an undersheriff said.

Margie Martinez of the Weld County Sheriff's Office said a sibling saw Falcon Heene climb into the basket before the balloon took off from his parents' Fort Collins, Colorado home.

UPDATE: Hopeful news-
"At this point, we are thinking that he did not fall out of the balloon and is somewhere on the ground," Larimer County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Eloise Campanella said. "The basket itself was not breached. It does not look like he fell out of it, but again, this is all conjecture."

FOUND! It turns out to have been a hollow flight after all. Now the media can start attacking the family for having unconventional beliefs. Note also that young Falcon lives right off of US 287.

UPDATE: A jury in Australia finds five men guilty of conspiring to commit terrorist attacks after a trial of more than 170 days.

UPDATE: There you have it.

Hollow Flight

Hey, remember LCROSS? No?

You know who else doesn't? The news media.

Go figure. Me, I'm still waiting to hear how a rocket traveling several thousand miles an hour hits anything without leaving a mark.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Astronaut Theology: The Queen of Heaven and 10/13

As many of you know, Jacques Vallee believes that the events at Fatima- where the Queen of Heaven appeared to three young girls and set off a chain of events culminating in the so-called "Miracle of the Sun"- were a mass-scale UFO sighting. As Vallee writes:

"The last episode was the miracle itself. It was seen by seventy thousand persons, among whom were pious individuals and atheists, clergymen and reporters from a socialist newspaper. As promised, it happened on October 13 at noon.

(Professor Almeida Garrett) described the phenomena in the following terms: 'It was raining hard, and the rain trickled down everyone's clothes. Suddenly, the sun shone through the dense cloud which covered it: everybody looked in its direction. IT LOOKED LIKE A DISC, OF A VERY DEFINITE CONTOUR. It was not dazzling. I don't think that it could be compared to a dull silver disk, as someone said later in Fatima. No. It rather possessed a clear, changing brightness, which one could compare to a pearl...This clear-shaped disk suddenly began turning. It rotated with increasing speed. Suddenly, the crowd began crying with anguish. The sun (disk?), revolving all the time, began falling toward the earth, reddish and bloody, threatening to crush everyone under its fiery weight...'"
This event happened during the convulsive events of World War I, and are generally well-known to anyone interested in UFOlogy or the paranormal. In one of the secrets revealed to the girls, the Queen of Heaven predicted another world war and advised that everyone on earth pray to her, resist Communism and pledge their allegiance to the Pope.

What is less well-known is that another Queen of Heaven appeared during the Punic Wars* in Rome, accompanied by even more startling omens and portents. It was during this period that Cybele, the Phrygian counterpart to Isis-Demeter came to prominence in Rome.

We've looked at Cybele before, in the context of Solaris, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Masonic Manhattan, and so on but I hadn't known until recently that her rise to power (she'd largely replace Juno as Mother of the Gods, and would later be syncretized with Isis), was foreshadowed by such a rash of Fortean nuttiness it would have modern religious hysterics hiding in their basements forever. From Livy's History of Rome:
Prior to the departure of the consuls religious observances were kept up for nine days owing to the fall of a shower of stones at Veii. As usual, no sooner was one portent announced than reports were brought in of others. At Menturnae the temple of Jupiter and the sacred grove of Marica were struck with lightning, as were also the wall of Atella and one of the gates. The people of Menturnae reported a second and more appalling portent; a stream of blood had flowed in at their gate†.
Subsequently a second nine days' observance was ordered in consequence of a shower of stones which fell in the Armilustrum... a fresh report came, this time from Frusino, to the effect that a child had been born there in size and appearance equal to one four years old, and what was still more startling, it was impossible to say whether it was male or female...they enclosed it alive in a box, took it out to sea, and dropped it overboard.
The pontiffs also decreed that three bands of maidens, each consisting of nine, should go through the City singing a hymn...while they were practicing it in the temple of Jupiter Stator, the shrine of Queen Juno on the Aventine was struck by lightning. The diviners were consulted, and they declared that this portent concerned the matrons and that the goddess must be appeased by a gift.

Two suns were said to have been seen; there were intervals of daylight during the night; a meteor was seen to shoot from east to west; a gate at Tarracina and at Anagnia a gate and several portions of the wall were struck by lightning; in the temple of Juno Sospita at Lanuvium a crash followed by a dreadful roar was heard....the reception of Mater Idaea was also being anxiously discussed.

Scipio was ordered to go to Ostia, accompanied by all the matrons, to meet the goddess...the matrons, each taking their turn in bearing the sacred image, carried the goddess into the temple of Victory on the Palatine. All the citizens flocked out to meet them...and from all lips arose the prayer that she would of her own free will and favour be pleased to enter Rome. The day on which this event took place was 12th April, and was observed as a festival...

April 12 was also the Cerealia, based in the ancient drug cult of Isis-Demeter-Ceres. Isis was also called Queen of Heaven, Star of the Sea, Mother of the Gods, and on and on.

There are three separate parts to the predominant theme I've been digging into here on the blog. There is "alien", "dreaming" and the "widening gyre." The Alien is otherness, influences beyond our understanding. This could be ETs, UTs or anything, really. There is the Dreaming, which incorporates all of the manifestations of the unconscious mind, from hallucination to dreams to visions.

And then there is the Widening Gyre, which is the immense havoc that the first two are wreaking on our collective consciousness. It seems neither of these are anything new at all.

UPDATE: Davidly is reminded of this recent footage...

PS: Blogger originally autosaved this to publish at 3:17.

* The Punic Wars gave us the phrase Mare Nostrum.
† Strongly reminscent of the sea of blood in The Sixth Extinction

Monday, October 12, 2009

TVOD: The True Eye Addendum

Fringe is trying desperately to become my new favorite show- it lifts mercilessly from The X-Files, takes place in my old stomping grounds (Harvard Square was a particular favorite after-school hangout for me, what with The Million Year Picnic and all) and just to twist the knife, it moved production to Vancouver, as all sci-fi shows should be required by law to. It's also lifting riffs from Altered States, as we see again in this episode.

The Queen of Heaven...

Ah, yes- Alien Dreaming and the Widening Gyre- what The X-Files is really all about. And so too is Fringe. (Non-US readers, you know what to do...)

UPDATE: Californication had a mushroom subplot last night....

UPDATE II: This one's for Mike C!...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Exegesis: The True Eye

Truer words...

I've been neck-deep in the Mystery religions, which are pretty well-documented by ancient sources. What's crystal-clear to me is that the Mysteries of Isis-Demeter, Cybele, Osiris-Dionysus, Horus-Mithras and the rest* were Entheogen cults, who for many centuries were deeply threatening to the political and religious authorities of their time.

Maybe in ways we don't yet understand: almost as soon as they finally became widely acceptable, Rome suddenly- and inexplicably- changed its state religion° and wiped the Mysteries out (calling William Bramley, white courtesy telephone).

What's also crystal clear to me is that the Mysteries began in Egypt a long time ago, when its climate was moist enough for mushooms to grow wild. I also stumbled upon an important paper in which a writer argues (persuasively in my opinion) that the Egyptians later cultivated these mushrooms for use in rituals.†

Hence the high position given to the lowly dung beetle (Scarab)- mushrooms often grew on cow manure. This also explains why Osiris-Dionysus was identified with the bull. The Road to Eleusis argues that the Mysteries of Isis-Demeter were probably based around psychedelic compounds derived from ergot, a parasitic fungus which grows on cereal grains.

The True Grail

These are incredibly exciting times for anyone interested in ancient religion or mythology, because I'm convinced that the "mystery" behind these wild, ecstatic cults has been lost for 17 centuries, which led to all of the weird corruptions and distortions (including some pretty stupid ones) that have been used to kill and dominate people. It may take at least another century for it all to sink in, but I've sensed a grudging acceptance to the entheogenic paradigm of ancient religion amongst academics. Maybe because most of those in charge of the Ivory Tower themselves had experience with these compounds in their youth.

The paper I mentioned is "The entheomycological origin of Egyptian crowns and the esoteric underpinnings of Egyptian religion" by Stephen R. Berlant. Here's the synopsis:
In this paper, I theorize that the Egyptian White and Triple Crowns were originally primordia of the entheogenic Psilocybe (Stropharia) cubensis, which an Egyptian tale known as Cheops and the Magicians allegorically explained grew on barley, and that Osiris was the God of spiritual rebirth because he personified this and other entheogenic mushrooms. I go on to theorize that the plant known commonly as the Eye of Horus, which the Egyptians included in cakes and ales designed to spiritually rebirth the living and the dead, was an entheogenic mushroom cap entirely analogous, if not identical, to Soma. Finally, I explain why so many scholars failed to discern these identities and relationships for so long.
Here's a quoted passage from the Ambrosia Society website:
But the Eye of Horus was heretofore unexplainably also a plant from which the Egyptians made an elixir and cakes they believed could confer immortality on people, about which E.W. Budge wrote: "The gods nourished themselves with celestial food which was supplied to them by the Eye of Horus, that is to say, they supported their existence on the rays of light which fell from the sun which lit up heaven, and they became beings whose bodies were wholly of light. According to one myth the gods themselves lived upon a ‘wood or plant of life,’ which seems to have grown near the great lake in Sekhet-hetep, round which they were wont to sit . . .. In other places we read of ‘bread of eternity’ and ‘beer of eternity.’" (Budge, 1969a,b, vol. I, p. 164)

...In addition, eyes, like suns, are very appropriate symbols of entheogenic mushroom caps, because ingesting such caps induces the luminous phenomena that solar and lunar symbols so aptly describe metaphorically. Hence, such caps were reputed to give people the ability to see into other realms of reality.
Now, what's fascinating about these ancient cults is that they were by no means a bunch of stoners. Like the Mesoamerican shamans, they took their practices seriously. The Greater Mysteries of Eleusis (Greek for "Advent") were only experienced once in a lifetime, though there were lesser mysteries open for repeat visitors. But partaking in these sacraments required discipline, study and the strictest morality.

Anyone else think this formula was originally a recipe?

But as I said, they were wiped out in a pretty brutal fashion by the Church (the old "eliminate the competition" routine). And that led to 17 centuries of people trying to figure out just what the hell the Mysteries were about. Out of that came some strange corruptions, like some of the secret societies of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, which in turn inspired the garbled slanders against the Mysteries you still see out mouldering in the conspirasphere, all of which ultimately spring from the hysterical hausfrau mentality of Fundamentalism.

When I'm done with the book I'll return to the Alien Dreaming and the Widening Gyre series, which I recommend to anyone who has stumbled across this blog. Also watch (or re-watch) The Pharmacratic Inquisition- I can't possibly recommend that film highly enough.

Finally, let me just reiterate that I approach this material as a student of mythology, not as a communicant, so I have no ulterior motive in disseminating this information. I'm not proselytizing- this is about historical truth.

PS: Also read Michael Tsarion's appendix on his Irish Origins of Civilization website for more mycological symbolism.

° To realize how shocking Constantine's "conversion" was, just imagine if Tony Blair converted to Islam. No more than 1 in 10 Roman subjects were Christians at the time and most of these were in the lower classes.

† Read up on theories on the Manna from Heaven from Exodus.

* Not a news flash, but Demeter and Dionysus are simply Greek adaptations of Isis and Osiris. By late antiquity, they were widely known as Isis-Demeter and Osiris-Dionysus. Apollo and Horus were understood to be the same, but Harpocrates- or Horus the Child- was recognized separately in the Roman Isis cult and symbolized the Mysteries themselves.
I'd argue that Mithras and Horus are probably drawn from the same Mesopotamian source, somewhere in modern-day Iran.
Horus is also associated with the Tauroctony in the Book of the Dead.