Friday, April 30, 2010

Ronald Reagan, Manly P. Hall and America's Secret Destiny

Here's a revelation for occult politics junkies. Mitch Horowitz gave me the heads up on a piece he wrote for The Washington Post detailing Ronald Reagan's fascination with the occult, specifically the writings of Manly P. Hall:

In spring of 1988, White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater acknowledged publicly what journalists had whispered for years: Ronald and Nancy Reagan were devotees of astrology. A tell-all memoir had definitively linked the first lady to a San Francisco stargazer, confirming speculation that started decades earlier when Reagan, as California’s governor-elect, scheduled his first oath of office at the eyebrow-raising hour of 12:10 a.m. Many detected an effort to align the inaugural with promising heavenly signs. Fitzwater also confirmed the president’s penchant for “lucky numbers,” or what is sometimes called numerology.

There was more to the story than the White House let on. In a speech and essay produced decades apart, Reagan revealed the unmistakable mark of a little-known but widely influential scholar of occult philosophy, Manly P. Hall. Judging from a tale that Reagan borrowed from Hall, the president’s reading tastes ran to some of the outer reaches of esoteric spiritual lore...

...After publishing his great work, Hall spent the rest of his life lecturing and writing within the walls of his Egypto-art deco campus in L.A.’s Griffith Park neighborhood. He called the place a “mystery school” in the mold of Pythagoras’s ancient academy. It was there in 1944 that the occult thinker produced a short work, one little known beyond his immediate circle. This book, The Secret Destiny of America, caught the eye of the future president, then a middling Hollywood actor gravitating toward politics.
Read the whole thing here, as the kids like to say.

Here's a refresher course on the scandal that erupted over Nancy Reagan's astrologer back in the days of your moms and pops.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Secret of Europa and the Star of the Sea

The Secret is a straight-to-DVD supernatural soap opera starring David Duchovny and Lili Taylor and Olivia Thirlby. It's kind of a paranormal Freaky Friday - Duchovny plays an optometrist whose wife and daughter are killed in an traffic accident, but the daughter then returns to life possessed by the spirit and personality of her mother.

There are some stock Secret Sun name riffs- the family's name is "Marris" (which we'll get to in a sec), the wife's name is Hannah (derived from Inanna) and the daughter is usually referred to in the he/she diminutive, Sam. Ultimately, it's the kind of concept that could carry an episode of The Outer Limits, not necessarily a feature film (the vibe is a bit on the chick-flicky side and there's a slightly creepy incestuous undertone to it).

But since I'm always fascinated by themes of transmigration and soul transference, I picked up the DVD at the drug store. Didn't quite make it through the whole thing, but thought the imagery in the opening credits was interesting, in an enigmatic kind of way.

Such as this sunwheel, which opens the proceedings.

Then we see this hypnotic bit of CGI magic; dolphins frolicking in a placid ocean under a night sky (reminding me of Ecco the Dolphin or some reason), and then this strange object comes to the surface...

...which at a distance looks remarkably like a popular garden statue of the Virgin.

An impression that is furthered by this shot, resonating with the icon of the Virgin as the Stella Maris, the "Star of the Sea" (which connects us back to the "Marris" surname in the film).

But then this figure then sprouts fairy wings as the company logo appears onscreen. The juxtaposition of the flying sylph and the starry night sky is a powerful (and beautiful) image, even if the connection to "Europa" isn't exactly clear (at least to me).

We see the Europa credit in the next shot, an extreme closeup of a pupil and iris, strangely resonating the Black Sun. That in turn connects us back to the sunwheel up top.

The acting credits flash, certainly catching the attention of this old X-Files Mytharc hyperobsessive...

...resonating as it does to the opening credits in Season Eight. Bonus factoid: The Secret is a reunion for Duchovny and Lily Taylor, the actress having guest-starred in an amazing X-Files episode in Season Five. It's title?

"Mind's Eye."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Real Wonder Woman: Hypatia of Alexandria

I was waiting to see this film Agora, based on the life and death of Hypatia of Alexandria, but it never seemed to get a theatrical release. It's also very hard to find on DVD. Why is that? Well, it seems to have kicked up a controversy over its alleged anti-Christian bias and had a hard time finding an American distributor. Why?

Well, Hypatia was horrifically tortured and murdered by a Christian mob at a time when such events were business as usual. That's not a question of any kind of bias, it's simply a fact. Some apologists try to spin her murder as a result of political intrigue, but it's clear to any rational individual her death was a religious crime. Again, simply a fact.

The fact is that the Fifth Century was not a very enlightened time for the Church, especially in Egypt with its marauding monks wiping out what was left of the pagan world. Not only the temples and the statues, but also education, science, medicine, philosophy and the arts, all of which were seen as afronts to God.

To its credit, the Vatican has asked for forgiveness for many of these kinds of abuses in the past. But the lay groups that condemn movies like Agora are usually made of the kinds of people who are secretly nostalgic for heretic-cleansing. And that's where the trouble begins.

Here's an account of her death in the words of an early Church father (John, Bishop of Nikiu), who speaks quite glowingly of the event:
“And thereafter a multitude of believers in God arose under the guidance of Peter the magistrate -- now this Peter was a perfect believer in all respects in Jesus Christ -- and they proceeded to seek for the pagan woman who had beguiled the people of the city and the prefect through her enchantments. And when they learnt the place where she was, they proceeded to her and found her seated on a chair; and having made her descend they dragged her along till they brought her to the great church, named Caesarion. Now this was in the days of the fast.

And they tore off her clothing and dragged her through the streets of the city till she died. And they carried her to a place named Cinaron, and they burned her body with fire. And all the people surrounded the patriarch Cyril and named him ‘the new Theophilus’; for he had destroyed the last remains of idolatry in the city.”
In fact, a Fifth Century historian recorded that Hypatia's murder took place in a newly-built church, like some psychotic consecration:
(I)t was calumniously reported among the Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop. Some of them therefore, hurried away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, whose ringleader was a reader named Peter, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called Caesareum, where they completely stripped her, and then murdered her by scraping her skin off with tiles and bits of shell. After tearing her body in pieces, they took her mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them.
As brutal as that sounds, it wasn't unusual at all- it was policy. Not only pagans but Gnostics and other heterodox Christians were treated in a similar fashion as Hypatia from the time of Constantine on. And as was always the case in the ancient world- particularly in the absolute theocracy of the Roman Empire in the Fifth Century, those "political machinations" the apologists point to were religious at their core. Professor Michael Deakins:

This is the background to Hypatia's murder. In the year 412 Archbishop Theophilus died and was succeeded by his nephew Cyril. Although Theophilus had razed the temple of Serapis, he had never, in over 30 years, moved against Hypatia. In part this may very well have been a result of his friendship with Hypatia's influential and adoring pupil, Synesius of Cyrene. Synesius himself died in 413 or thereabouts, and so Hypatia was suddenly left without her powerful protectors.

Cyril, making use of a 500-strong private militia, began to exert his authority in the temporal as well as in the spiritual sphere, and thus he came into conflict with the civil governor, Orestes, in the course of a series of increasingly violent confrontations between the various factions in the city.

"Militia." Yeah, that's comforting, given current events. You see, that's the thing about history- it has lessons for us.

So who was Hypatia? Deakins again:

Imagine a time when the world's greatest living mathematician was a woman, indeed a physically beautiful woman, and a woman who was simultaneously the world's leading astronomer.
From another biography:

Throughout her childhood, Theon raised Hypatia in an environment of thought. Historians believe that Theon tried to raise the perfect human. Theon himself was a well known scholar and a professor of mathematics at the University of Alexandria. Theon and Hypatia formed a strong bond as he taught Hypatia his own knowledge and shared his passion in the search for answers to the unknown. As Hypatia grew older, she began to develop an enthusiasm for mathematics and the sciences (astronomy and astrology).

Most historians believe that Hypatia surpassed her father's knowledge at a young age. However, while Hypatia was still under her father's discipline, he also developed for her a physical routine to ensure for her a healthy body as well as a highly functional mind....

Hypatia's studies included astronomy, astrology, and mathematics. References in letters by Synesius, one of Hypatia's students, credit Hypatia with the invention of the astrolabe, a device used in studying astronomy. However, other sources date this instrument back at least a century earlier.

Here are some of the teachings of Hypatia, more relevant today than ever:

“Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fancies. To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing. The mind of a child accepts them, and only through great pain, perhaps even tragedy, can the child be relieved of them.”

“Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.”

“To rule by fettering the mind through fear of punishment in another world is just as base as to use force.”

“All formal dogmatic religions are delusive and must never be accepted by self-respecting persons as final.”

“Men will fight for superstition as quickly as for the living truth – even more so, since superstition is intangible, you can't get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable.”

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Matinee: The Lucid Dream and the Lathe of Heaven

Sometimes inspiration can come from the strangest places. A recent episode of American Dad got me thinking lucid dreaming again, something that hadn't really crossed my mind in a very long time. I don't think I ever took a serious crack at it, since my dream work was all about surrendering to the Unconscious and seeing how far it could take me on its own. I have journals filled with my reports from this process, though unfortunately my handwriting is illegible even to me.

But it wasn't a question of going back in the future to explore old dreams (never really a fruitful process for me) it was a question of exercising my recall, and forcing myself to explore what the dreams were trying to tell me. I think the process was an important part in my creative evolution, but also an important part of a lot of the work I do here- decoding symbols and secret messages, in order to understand the meanings buried within.

We are all in a state of semi-consciousness in many ways, which is an evolutionary response to the memetic bombardment we experience every day of our lives. In many ways, I feel as if our dreams have been colonized, and certainly the pressures of our lives intrude on the rhythms and cycles of the body and brain itself, inhibiting our ability to stay in communion with that deep and vast mainframe of symbol and wisdom locked inside our heads.

Which brings us to this 1980 television production of Ursula K. LeGuin's classic novel The Lathe of Heaven centers on a man who can't control his dreams- nightmares, more accurately- from coming true. He ends up in the care of your usual sci-fi mad scientist antagonist and things go as they usually do.

This production was legendary in the pre-home video era, and has its own kind of dream reality embedded within it, the kind that only cheap genre film produced by passionate outcasts could impart. It's the power of those who live desperately close to their dreams and cling to them as their own salvation in the bewildering environment of daily life. It's why so many of these kinds of films once played at midnight, when most uncommitted people would be inside their own dreams. Maybe that energy somehow fed the process that made these films so numinous.

Note: I've been very busy this past week, but I promise I'll catch up with your comments ASAP. As always, you guys feed this blog with your contributions, something I very much appreciate when I see the idiocy on some other comment sections, especially some of the big media sites out there.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sync Log: Grindhouses 'n' Globalism

I've been watching God Told Me To, a 70s grindhouse blitzkrieg filled to the brim with hardcore Secret Sun subtext of every imaginable variety. One of the subplots revolves around the 1931 World's Fair, either consciously or unconsciously linking to our discussions on the Dome and Obelisk. Well, it turns out that there's a new world's fair taking place in China (where else?), renamed the "World Expo." From HuffPost:

All eyes will be on Shanghai on May 1 as the glistening Chinese metropolis plays host to the 2010 World Expo.

Organizers expect more than 70 million visitors to visit the Expo over the course of six months, whose theme is "Better City, Better Life."

The grand plan for the Expo is impressive. More than 190 countries and more than 50 international organizations are currently registered to take part, with 100 world leaders expected.

"I believe the Shanghai World Expo will be successful, spectacular and unforgettable," said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.
I'm sure it will be. For all of us, eventually.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Atlantis Rising, Part 2: Mapping the Metastory

Before we start looking at a movie made a quarter-century ago, it's important to establish exactly why the film is still relevant...

It comes down to this; Cocoon is centered on two memes that have become increasing prominent on this blog - and in the culture at large - ancient astronauts and the Sirens. Linking the two is the Atlantis meme, which burst back into the Memestream shortly after the 2008 Election, with the jaw-dropping Atlantis Rising display in Dubai.

The story of Atlantis comes to us through Plato, who heard it during his initiation into an Egyptian mystery cult. Atlantis was said to be a technologically advanced city-state, based on an island continent somewhere past the Pillars of Hercules, the gates of the Mediterranean Sea. Having angered the gods with their arrogance, the Atlanteans were wiped out when the continent was destroyed during some calamity.

Some scholars today claim that Atlantis was a mythologized account of the destruction of a large island in the Aegean Sea, most likely during the eruption of the Thera volcano (with accompanying earthquakes and tsunamis), which some historians point to as the source of the Egyptian plagues in the Book of Exodus (strangely enough, Rush Limbaugh now claims that the Iceland eruption is Jehovah's punishment for Obamacare. Plus ├ža change).


Now, while poking around the web looking for syncs to the Atlantis narrative, I stumbled upon this remarkable string of headlines on The Daily Grail:

  • ‘Ocean census’ scientists taken aback by diversity.
  • Colony of microbes 'as big as Greece' found in ocean.
  • Saviours of fish'n'chips: British scientists find a way to breed sea fish in fresh water.
  • How an Icelandic volcano helped spark the French Revolution.
  • Get ready for decades of Icelandic fireworks.
  • Aerosols: From Ash in the Wind to Smoke from the Stack .
  • Iceland volcano: Photos show apocalyptic scene as wall of black fog covers Icelandic countryside in darkness.
  • Another photo gallery: Volcanic activity in the land of fire and ice.
  • The science behind the many seismic headlines: The public perception could easily be that we are undergoing a peak in global seismic activity, but the science suggests otherwise.
So, in addition to the alien themes in Cocoon, we also see other themes pertaining to Atlantis on the front pages of the international media. But within the cinematic memestream, Cocoon is ripe with meaningful connections, especially those of an esoteric variety:

• We looked at Ron Howard's resume in the first installment of this series, focusing on his early career. More recently Howard has been adapting the Dan Brown blockbusters to the screen, which has inspired the Pope to appoint an Opus Dei cultist as Bishop of Los Angeles. The Telegraph writes "the appointment was described as the Pope's revenge on Hollywood for filming The Da Vinci Code."

• Ron Howard escaped the clutches of the child-star curse in George Lucas' American Graffiti (the primary influence for the Happy Days juggernaut), which also starred Harrison Ford, Cindy "Shirley" Williams, Candy Clark and McKenzie Philips, among others. Clark went on to co-star with David Bowie in the AstroGnostic classic The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Philips starred in a particularly subversive ep of The Outer Limits that we looked at recently. And of course Lucas and Ford brought AAT roaring back into the Memestream with the most recent Indiana Jones film.

After Happy Days, Henry "Fonzie" Winkler went to a successful career as a producer (he also appeared a football coach (read: Zeus) in the Aquarian allegory The Waterboy). One of Winkler's biggest hits was Sightings, a UFO/paranormal newsmagazine. Another was MacGyver, which starred Richard Dean Anderson of Stargate SG-1 fame.

Happy Days spawned a number of spinoffs, one of which was the alien contact-themed Mork and Mindy. The Mork character made his debut in this cringe-inducing episode* of Happy Days, in which Ron Howard's character Richie has a close encounter with a manic, grating alien played by Robin Williams (this was Williams' star-making turn, believe it or not).

As we saw before, Cocoon was preceded by Splash, which is rife with Synchromystic easter eggs. Several of them punch you in the face in the movie poster.

Daryl Hannah's mermaid character shows up naked (albeit with strategically placed hair) at the feet of the Statue of Liberty.

We also get a few interesting shots of the Twin Towers, but none of the Stairway to Sirius, which hadn't been built yet.

The Twin Towers also feature in early versions of the home-video art. There's not necessarily anything to be inferred from that- the Twin Towers replaced the Empire State Building as the iconic NYC landmark for a while. But given all of the sub rosa semiotic connections, the placement does take on a bit more resonance than if we were looking at an ordinary romcom.

Speaking of Masonic Manhattan, Hannah's character in Splash is named "Madison," a name which recently figured in the Watchers-themed Event Horizon art installation around Madison Square (Madison means "Son of Maud," so technically it's a masculine name. Given the connection here, I wonder if there's a deeper, more esoteric meaning to the name).

And Splash ends up with this shot of Atlantis, alive and kicking beneath the waves.

Howard's daughter Bryce Dallas Howard played a mermaid/Siren several years later in M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water, a film Bruce Rux would certainly interpret as an alien contact allegory (and I wouldn't necessarily agree). Shyamalan is obviously no stranger to more explicit alien contact narratives.

Bryce has also appeared in installments of the symbolically-supercharged Terminator and Twilight franchises, spreading out little semiotic tendrils across the Synchrosphere. Note that like Daryl, both Bryce and Dallas are masculine names, an important detail given that the aliens in Cocoon seem themselves to be androgynous.


*Warning: Anyone who's ever been forced into proximity with that guy at the RenFaire or the comic con
who thinks he's hilarious (you know, the "Knights who say Ni" guy) will get the cold sweats watching "My Favorite Orkan."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

AstroGnostic: Archons are Always Lurking in the Shadows

Non-US readers click here.

One of the great and dangerous myths of America is that the "New World" was settled by brave and devout pilgrims, yearning to breathe free and practice their faith. The fact is that the Puritans (or "Separatists," as they called themselves) were little more than indentured servants to European corporate interests.

If history teaches us anything it's that cultists always make the best slaves, and captains of industry in Amsterdam and the City of London set up the plantations as proto-Jonestowns, using newly-created chartered companies like the Massachusetts Bay Company, the Virginia Company and the Dutch West India Company to siphon off the profits while the Puritans (my direct ancestors, mind you) slaved away and masochistically indulged themselves in misery and deprivation (and then eased their suffering with the ultimate narcotic: self-righteousness).

And as this article from Bible Discernment Ministries argues, the Puritans were little more than a Dominionist death cult, one bent on genocide in the name of Jehovah, quoting this passage from a history of the Puritan/Indian wars:
(T)he Puritan massacres of the Pequot Indian tribe on May 26, 1637, and again on July 14, 1637, were deemed by the Puritans to be directed by God -- Captain John Mason declared, "God laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven ... Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies" (Segal and Stinenback, Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny, pp. 111-112, 134-135).
But again- all this took place in a corporate colony- not a religious commune. Massachusetts and the other colonies were a giant corporate industrial park, not a state as we would understand it today. But any careful study of the history of any successful religion eventually leads to the rich and powerful, lurking in the shadows and pulling all of the strings from the get-go.

In light of all of that, this episode of The New Outer Limits is one of the most subversive and perceptive episodes of television I've ever seen. Anything more I can say about it would be risking spoilage, so all I can say is that this is an absolute must-see for anyone interested in the real (and secret) history of religion and empire, from ancient times to the colonial era to today (and sadly, tomorrow). This episode aired in 2001 but it more timely than ever before.

It's also ripe to bursting with Gnostic themes. Some are obviously borrowed from Dark City, but grafted on to a much more pointed and perceptive critique of the nature - and economics - of belief. It definitely rewards repeat viewing, given all of the subtext woven throughout it. Non-US readers click here.

UPDATE: Reader Jim speaks for me when he writes: "I never watched this show when it aired. Now It's quickly becoming one of my favorite all-time TV shows. So far all the episodes I've watched contain an important message and reveal truths that are only now being fully exposed."

No question about it. Thanks, Jim.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Event Horizon, or Watchers over Manhattan (UPDATE)

View more news videos at:

I first heard about the Event Horizon sculpture display on Red Ice:
...27 naked men, all anatomically correct, have been bolted to rooftops and ledges as part of installation Event Horizon.

But concerned locals have been calling 911 because they believed the statues, by British artist Antony Gormley, are real people on the verge of jumping off the buildings.
But it turns out that the exhibit was brought to New York from London:
The source of this wacky and impressive project, titled “Event Horizon,” is the British sculptor Antony Gormley, a 1994 Turner Prize winner known for his abstractions of the human body, usually his own. Invited by the Madison Square Park Conservancy and Madison Square Art, which commissions seasonal artist installations in the park, Gormley outdid himself by setting the figures, all cast from his own 6-feet-2-inch body in rusted iron or fiberglass, in places no one expects — on rooftop parapets and sidewalks around the park.
The Guardian dropped an interesting popcult reference in their review of the English installation, referencing a race of alien robots:
Gormley's mute figures appear oblivious to one another. Like Cybermen from Doctor Who, they are total strangers to the spontaneous gesture, to a look or a smile. Isolation and insulation are among the leitmotifs of Gormley's sculpture. However much they appear as watchers on the skyline, their mentality is one of totemic inwardness.
The Cybermen hailed from Mondas, Earth's twin and the one-time 10th planet of the Solar System. Bruce Rux- are you reading this?

But Event Horizon- whose very name is rife with cosmic portent- is not some boring exercise in modern art navel-gazing. Antony Gormley has claimed that a trip to the ancient civilization wings of the British Museum are his primary inspiration, citing the Assyrian winged bullmen and Ramses in this video interview.


But it's the "watchers" reference in the Guardian review that is the linchpin, at least for my purposes. Gormley's work is filled with angel imagery, and it seems that Event Horizon is inspired- at least subconsciously- by iconic images like this from Wim Wender's classic film Wings of Desire (1987), a story that ties into the Watcher and "fallen angel" mythology from the Bible and the Apocrypha.


A connection that is doubly fascinating, given the fact that Gormley's watchers look like angels whose wings have been torn away.

Philip Coppens has written on the Watchers, saying they are "in the Bible, where, in Genesis 6:1-4, they are listed as the sons of Gods who “fell” for the Earthly women, descended from heaven, chose women, and had children." The Watchers have since been incorporated in UFO lore, particularly in the Christian UFO sub-subculture. Others see the Watchers as a race of alien robots (there's that watcher-Cybermen link again) - or Igigi, if you like.

Doctor Manhattan, the naked Watcher

But there's an even more fascinating connection, given the Cybermen sync in the Guardian review. Coppens goes on to trace the Watchers back to Sumer, citing the controversial writings of Zechariah Sitchin, no stranger himself to 10th planet musings :
They first appear on the scene in Sumer. “Shumer”, it seems, literally means the “Land of the Watchers”. For the American author Zecharia Sitchin, they are alien beings whose specific task is to orbit the earth, monitoring events on Earth. For Sitchin, the Watchers are not a “race” or a “species”, they are merely a “job specification”. Their colleagues had abandoned their ships and had landed on Earth – they continued to orbit the Earth. Those who did land, either mated or genetically engineered Mankind into its present form. As a consequence, Mankind worshiped the Watchers as gods.

Carl Sagan once remarked that we still have no clear perspective about the origins of the Sumerian culture: “Their language is foreign; it shows no resemblance to Indo-European, Semitic or any other language. We can only map them by the actions of their successors, the Akkadians, who created a voluminous Sumerian-Akkadian dictionary.”

Gormley created this enormous sculpture, the "Angel of the North" (soon to be accompanied by the "Goddess of the North"), located in Gateshead, England. What caught my eye is that Gateshead borders the town of Washington, which gave America's first president -and most famous Freemason- his surname.


A connection which takes on added resonance given the fact that one of the statues in the English Event Horizon display was installed at Freemason's Hall, aka The Grand Lodge of England. Note the Blazing Star of Sirius.


The connections don't stop there- one of the statues in New York is installed at the Empire State Building on 33rd Street, and the Madison Square neighborhood hosts the Grand Lodge of New York aka "St. John's Lodge."

How about that?

But this isn't just any old Grand Lodge - it houses the Washington Bible, used to this day for Presidential Inaugurations (and there's that Washington link again):
St. John's Lodge, originally chartered in 1757, is the oldest operating Lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of New York. St. John's Lodge is the owner of what is now known as the George Washington Inaugural Bible. On April 30, 1789 it was upon this Bible that George Washington took his oath of office as the first President of the United States.
There's also a large obelisk in the neighborhood as well.


What interests me more than that though are little details like this- one of the Event Horizon statues facing the Empire State obelisk Building and the MetLife obelisk Tower but also that Monolith-looking building in the middle there, an eerie lookalike for the Millennium Hilton, aka the "Monolith Hotel."


Or the news story linking the installation to "The Gates"...


...and the waterfall at the Brooklyn Bridge. All of these installations seem to have interesting semiotic resonance below the surface, tying into popcult themes we've explored on The Secret Sun...


Such as this installation Gormley created at the spiral staircase in St. Paul's Cathedral in London.


I guess then it's a sync within itself that this illustration popped up when I was poking around the web for images of Watchers. I wonder if Gormley has seen this one as well.

UPDATE: A reader points us to this fascinating advertisement. Remember that Cupid/Eros was often identified with Harpocrates.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

AstroGnostic: Fantasy, Ritual and Transformation

If I were to create a new religion, I'd do so as a performance art exercise. Congregants would be told from the start that this was all fiction, it was all art. And believe me- I'd go whole hog with the liturgy. The smells, the bells, the chants, the vestments- all of that great ritualism that the Church stole from the Mystery religions.

But I'd make it absolutely clear that this was all fantasy. Because I believe that only as a role-playing exercise would people really let loose and put themselves into the ritual, heart and soul. And the Jungian in me knows that the ritual is the key to the transformation, not the purported "beliefs." And the movie geek in me knows that "act-as-if" is itself a transformative process.

There is an obvious precedent for this- The Burning Man Festival and its various offshoots. That too began as a performance art ritual, but has become a de facto pilgrimage for tens of thousands of Bohos. And one fact that's been gnawing at my brain the past few days is that the most successful new religious movement of our times- Scientology- was created as a "scientific" self-help program by a science fiction author, and only became a "religion" when Uncle Sam looked askance at said sci-fi author's scientific credentials.

It's always been my belief that the cult and New Age movements of the 60s and 70s were control-technique laboratories, seeing how most of their practices (and many of their beliefs) were later absorbed into the Evangelical and megachurch movements in the 80s and 90s. But there's been an interesting side effect in the process as well, in that many of the New Age beliefs that might induce cringing in a real world context make for amazing sci-fi and fantasy entertainment, whether in TV, movies or video games. Harry Potter and Heroes are the best examples of this, but by no means the only ones.

Here's a perfect example of the transcendent power of fictionalization- the Walk-In concept comes from Hinduism, but was revived in a different context by the UFO cults of the 70s. And it's also a concept that works great inside a fictional context, and not so much outside of it. Meaning that if someone came up to me and told me that they were not who they were born as, but were actually a ten-thousand year old extraterrestrial whose soul migrated through time and space and inhabited a new body while the previous host was experiencing a great personal crisis, I'd cringe over the encounter for years. But put that same tableau on screen in a sci-fi setting and man, I'm sold but good.

This episode of The Outer Limits is called "The Vessel" and presents us with a Walk-in situation, in which a cynical celebrity writer whose body is taken over by a Christ-like alien after a space shuttle explosion. There's an obvious influence from The X-Files- the alien is played by the same actor who played semi-regular hero-villain Billy Miles, who underwent a similar but more malevolent soul exchange. The effects are pretty rudimentary, but the story (as well as the luscious Vancouver scenery) here blows my mind. Even more interesting is the fact that this ep first aired on April 13th, the day the Apollo 13 drama began with an oxygen tank explosion.

Keep an eye out for some tasty little easter eggs of the Secret Sun variety. Non-US readers can view the ep here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Real McCain

A couple of people have asked me if I saw the Eye of Horus in the McCain campaign logo, as some have claimed. It could be an inverted udjat but the vertical and arc elements are missing (and there's no star in the Eye of Horus, either), which means it's just an eye, perhaps the Masonic Eye of Providence.

What the logo reminds me of more is the 33 encoded in the Bank of America logo, with the three stars and the two stripes acting as a visual 11- in other words, an encoded equation for 3x11. All of the 33rd Degree Masons I can think of off the top of my head were/are Republican Senators, so the cipher interpretation makes sense.

I could be wrong but the "cC" in the name resonates with 33 as well- note how the C's are aligned with the stars in the top logo.

Calling the elements here an udjat simply because of the eye element is like looking at horizontal line and calling it a cross. And don't forget that Masons insist that the All-Seeing Eye is that of Jehovah and not Horus, and get very irked at people who insist otherwise. Which makes all the more interesting that the eye is inverted, if an eye is what it's intended to be.

Restoration Addenda: The Deep Semiotics of Flight 549

What would I do without my Secret Sun readers? The smallest details can often be keys to very complex locks, revealing connections that often tie together seemingly-random memes, like a semiotic chain-reaction. And it's often you guys out there that furnish those keys.

So let's backtrack to the King Tut post and pick out some of those puzzle pieces...

We kicked off the Tut extravaganza with a clip of Steve Martin performing "King Tut" and speaking "Siriusly." Reader Robert then linked us to a clip from the Letterman show, in which Martin did a bit on being a passenger on Flight 1549, which had been name-checked in the first edition of the Tut post. What are the odds?

This is the image of Flight 1549 that I was thinking of (that we discussed for the Deep Semiotics of Flight 1549 post)...
...when talking about the powerful image of Anubis and the Statue of Isis in New York Harbor.

That in turn inspired another reader to remind me (and I can't believe I didn't make the connection myself) that the flight number of a crashed plane in one of my all-time favorite Mythology two-parters in The X-Files ("Tempus Fugit/Max") was 549.

Which state did the plane crash in? New York.

This episode had always troubled me, not only for the absolutely harrowing depicting of a crashing passenger plane, but for the disturbing connections to Flight 93 and the theories that it -like Flight 549- was actually downed by a fighter plane.

These connections become even more compelling when linked to a similar situation in a Millennium episode, that has strong 9/11 resonance and a remote viewing plotline (check out the "Grill Flame" post for further details).

In "Tempus Fugit" (episode 4X17), a longtime abductee named Max Fennig (the inspiration for the later Lone Gunmen characters- Gunman Dean Haglund actually audtioned for the Fennig role) is trying to bring stolen alien technology to Mulder and Scully. But the Syndicate has gotten wind of his plans and send this menacing hitman to stop him.

Here's where it gets really interesting.

The hitman is played by actor David Palffy, who also appeared in the Stargate SG-1 series. Which character did he play?


Stranger still, the two-parter opens with Scully's birthday party (at a bar called The Headless Woman, oddly enough) in which Mulder gives her an Apollo 11 pendant. Interesting that this episode deals with a government coverup involving spacecraft, no? But that's what The X-Files is all about- the story being told between the lines.

Better yet, the hero of Flight 1549, Chesley Sullenberger, served at Nellis Air Force base (home of Area 51), which is the site of the first scene (renamed "Ellens AFB") of the very first episode proper of The X-Files, "Deep Throat" (airdate 9/17/93).

Life and art sync up again, with the alien and AAT memes once again acting as the catalyst.

King Tut - Sacred Icon of the Restoration Revelation? (UPDATE 4/13)

Frequent Oscar host Steve Martin would like to talk "seriously"

There are no two ways about it- King Tut is an international superstar. There are two touring exhibits of his tomb's treasures (minus the priceless sarcophagus) that have been record sellouts across Europe and North America, moving hundreds of thousands of tickets during a global recession. The tours coincide with a endless parade of "discoveries" streaming out of Egypt that have put the imagery and iconography (and to some extent, the mythology) of the ancient civilization front and center in the global media.

And just like Batmania, we've been here before. I can't help but think of Steve Martin's 1978 hit single "King Tut" every time another Tut puff-piece makes the headlines. Especially since the single peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100.

And these days I can't think of Steve Martin without thinking about the Oscars, particular given the imagery we saw at this year's Oscars. The rising sun motif we see here is particularly interesting given Martin's Tut connection- the rising sun was identified with Harpocrates, who was a boy-king like Tut. The rising sun itself could be interpreted as a symbol of restoration, and plays also into the constellation of symbols we've been looking at in connection to the Stairway to Sirius itself. Intentionally or not, the two host format resonates with the binary Sirius system, and also the fact that the Pharaoh was called the "king of two lands."

And then there is the rising sun in the Obama logo, which we're all sick of hearing about by now. And that in turn tied back to Tut's stateside visit to Phila(e)delphia and the can of worms that opened here (an event that essentially began the second phase of this blog, I might add).

Again, while everyone was comparing Obama to Akhenaten, the Phila(e) connection confirmed his role as the new Tut (the polar opposite of Akhenaten), at least in my mind. This connection was cemented when Obama was continuously referred to the man who would "restore America." No less a figure than Bill Clinton used the term "restore" repeatedly in his DNC endorsement speech.

The term caught my ear because Tut's reign was characterized by restoration- the restoration of the old gods after a chaotic experiment in monotheism by Akhenaten. This isn't just a footnote- it's an event that set off an historical chain reaction that continues to this day. It's interesting to note that the various modern monotheisms are in a not-dissimilar state of chaos today, given all of the wars, the terror, the scandals and the fanaticism we're so tired of seeing in the news every day *

And continuing the Tut meme, Obama then traveled to Egypt and was anointed as the new Tut by no less a luminary than Zahi Hawass, the high priest of the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry. The trip was hailed as Obama's attempt to restore relations with the Islamic world, but given the fact that's he's continued the same policies that caused the rift in the first place, you can't help but wonder if the diplomacy was simply a way to get Obama into the Giza necropolis for some ritual purpose we can only guess at.

Obama seems to be a ceremonial figure in all of this, just as his predecessor was in the Big Apocalypse Fizzle in the Mesopotamian desert. But what interests me more is how Egyptian iconography is being fed into the collective consciousness, particularly with kids. Like the above photo-op from June '08 at the Dallas Museum, with Demeter and Angel showing off their tickets, both resonating Isis (Isis was identified with Demeter and the modern image of the winged angel comes not from the Bible but from depictions of the Winged Isis).

We saw the same kind of giftshop headgear during the ceremony at the South Street Seaport, which attracted no less a luminary than former Mayor Ed Koch. Interesting to note those look like Catholic schoolgirl uniforms.

We also saw the 2007 Anubis barge ritual from the Thames River repeated in New York, complete with these beauty shots of Anubis and his aunt Isis. Looking at these shots I can't help but thing of the Flight 1549 drama. I can't help but wonder if there's some strange kind of connection either.

UPDATE 4/13: Did I just say Flight 1549? Reader Robert points us to this mindboggling sync.

As if paying homage to the theme park aspect of the city, the Tut exhibit will be playing in Times Square (another Secret Sun hotspot) rather than at the Met.

Here's another fascinating shot that didn't make the wire services- Anubis accompanied by a water taxi, offering us a tantalizing parallel to a checker chariot or a solar barque.


At the same time we hear the usual (and inexplicable) "minor footnote, if not for Howard Carter" trope about Tut, this promo video for the touring exhibit elucidates the vital importance of King Tut to the state religion of Ancient Egypt, at a time when the state and its religion were not only inseparable, but identical.

It's hard to imagine a Pharaoh who is less of a footnote than Tut - at least to the powerful priesthoods and secret societies of Ancient Egypt- which leads me to question the entire narrative of the Tut discovery in the first place. Was this some stroke of luck, or was the revelation of Tut (whose death mask has become one of the most famous icons in the world) part of some secret plan we can only guess at?

Tut played a crucial role in Egypt's history. The patronage of the gods was vital to the health of the state (which we discussed in relation to ancient Rome), something the heretic Akhenaten threw into chaos with his monotheistic cult. Tut restored the old gods, something he was celebrated for in this ancient hymn.

The title of the hymn? "Tutankhamen's Restoration":
The good god, son of Amun, son of Kamutef [literally, Bull-of-his-Mother, title of Horus], the good son, the holy egg whom Amun created, father of the Two Lands, the one who makes the one who made him, the ba's of Heliopolis united in order to form him, to be King forever and ever, as Horus, living immortally.

He is the effective King who did what was good for his father and all the gods.

He restored everything that was ruined
, to be his monument forever and ever. He has vanquished chaos from the whole land and has restored Ma'at to her place.

He has made lying a crime, the whole land being made as it was at the time of creation.

Now when His Majesty was crowned King the temples and the estates of the gods and goddesses from Elephantine as far as the swamps of Lower Egypt had fallen into ruin. Their shrines had fallen down, turned into piles of rubble and overgrown with weeds. Their sanctuaries were as if they had never existed at all. Their temples had become footpaths.

The world was in chaos and the gods had turned their backs on this land.
If an army was sent to Djahy to extend the boundaries if Egypt, it would have no success.

If you asked a god for advice, he would not attend; and if one spoke to a goddess likewise she would not attend.
Hearts were faint in bodies because everything that had been, was destroyed.
Does that sound like a hymn to a "historical footnote" to you?

Again, Tut
is the Pharaoh who brought about the Restoration, the Reversal of Time to the Zep Tepi- the first time, the time when the sky gods ruled the world, something we've been looking at for a very long time here on The Secret Sun.

So why then has Tut become a worldwide superstar again today?

I'll leave that up to you to decide.

UPDATE: This is hilarious- McCain's campaign trashes Rep. JD Hayworth with clips from Dracula, Mars Attacks and best of all, The Lion King. Those of you have heard the late Bill Cooper's theories on The Lion King and its parallels to the 'Contendings of Horus and Set' will certainly find this ad extremely interesting.

As to Cooper himself, Bruce Rux has made a compelling case that Cooper never did in fact quit his disinfo gig at Naval Intelligence, which makes sense in light of the fact that the "underground classic" Behold A Pale Horse has been sold in the major book chains since its publication. It also makes a much grimmer kind of sense in light of Cooper's death, which is often how discarded intelligence assets are retired.

Remember- as always- that Kenya borders Victoria Lake, the source of the Nile River. I can't seem to shake that little fact out of my head.

*Whether or not there is such a thing as true monotheism is another discussion- even the most stringent varieties of Judaism and Islam have archangels and the prophets and other members of the heavenly host.