The first thing I'd like to do here is reframe this narrative. The prism we should see this through is that of the story of the theme song to what was at one time the most watched television show in the world, namely House MD.
And subsequently we're also looking at the backstory of a music video that's gotten over 48 million views on YouTube. Those are Beyonce numbers.
So rather than try to figure out why this incredibly strange and impossible chain of events has focused on a couple singers most people have never heard of, let's approach it all under that context.
This is a story tens of millions of people have been exposed to without realizing what it is they're hearing.
I'd also like to let it be known that this isn't a story that ended twenty years ago. As we've seen Chris Cornell- whose death continues to make headlines- somehow found himself wound up in all this, both through his close relationship with Jeff Buckley but also through his unlikely connection to the mythos we're unfolding here.
And into the midst of it all comes the announcement that Elizabeth Fraser is appearing at Royal Albert Hall in July:
John Grant will chat to Cocteau Twins vocalist Elizabeth Fraser about her iconic indie group’s 1988 album, Blue Bell Knoll, with all proceeds from the show going to gay rights charity Stonewall.
The event on Sunday 23 July is a rare chance to see Fraser talk about her distinctive, indelible music, which influenced an entire generation of performers, including Grant, with his exquisite electro-balladeering.
Where to begin? Let's try this, from the must-read VISUP site.
(Robert Anton) Wilson is primarily responsible for bringing the 23 enigma to public attention. Wilson in turn partly became obsessed with the number 23 after supposedly receiving telepathic messages from an alien race based upon Sirius after performing a Crowley-inspired ritual on July 22, 1973. The next morning he found a peculiar message in his 'magickal diary' stating "Sirius is very important." This led Wilson to doing some research.
"The Skeptic went to town and browsed in the public library. Imagine my state of mind when I discovered that this very day, July 23, when I had received the message 'Sirius is very important,' is the day when, according to Egyptian tradition, the occult link (through hyperspace?) is most powerful between Earth and Sirius.
"Celebrations of the Dog Star, Sirius, beginning on July 23, are the origin of the expression 'dog days,' meaning the days from July 23 to September 8, when the last rituals to Sirius were performed."- The Cosmic Trigger Volume I, pg. 87What Wilson is referring to is the heliacal rising of Sirius, often associated with July 23:
The heliacal rising: the first visible, though brief, appearance of a star on the eastern horizon before sunrise. On the previous morning, sunlight made the star invisible.Sirius is often identified with Isis, who plays a major role in our story here:
As the star Sopdet (Sirius (in Greek Sothis)), she heralds the life-giving inundation.July 23rd has also been connected with the Ancient Egyptian New Year:
Ancient Egyptian culture was closely tied to the Nile River, and it appears their New Year corresponded with its annual flood. According the Roman writer Censorinus, the Egyptian New Year was predicted when Sirius—the brightest star in the night sky—first became visible after a 70-day absence.July 23rd is also identified with Our Sweetheart, the Drunk:
This massive party was tied to the myth of Sekhmet, a war goddess who had planned to kill all of humanity until the sun god Ra tricked her into drinking herself unconscious.Which turned her into the love goddess Hathor. And then there's this little detail here:
In ancient Egypt, the helical rising of Sirius coincided with the annual rising of the Nile at Memphis.Wait: did they say Memphis? I thought so.
Elizabeth Fraser last appeared at Royal Albert Hall with the Cocteau Twins, touring the Milk and Kisses album, which included a number of songs written about Jeff Buckley.
Blue Bell Knoll is a luscious album, the musical equivalent of having warm honey dripped on your head while you're taking a milk bath on really good drugs, but its title has a darker meaning:
In folklore, the flowers assist mortals in seeing fairies or seeing into their reality, but were regarded by some as unlucky because they could also reveal or even attract malign spirits, including the Devil himself... They are also called Dead Men's or Dead Man's Bells, because hearing the bells ringing is an omen of death.Remembering the line from Song to the Siren, "Did I dream you dreamed about me? Were you hare when I was fox?", note that bluebells are also known as harebells:
Campanula rotundifolia is associated with the fairies and with witches...The name Harebells may also allude to a folk belief that witches used juices squeezed from this flower to transform themselves into hares.And hey- milk again.
These juices lent the flower another Scottish folk name, "Milk-ort" (milk herb).More importantly, the bluebell also connects to the central conceit of our story- the seemingly inexplicable symbolic overkill connected to the ancient myth of the goddess (variously associated with sex, war, music and the Moon) and her shepherd-boy consort.
Shepherd-boy being the literal translation of Buckley.
As it happens milk plays a very major role in that ur-myth as well.
From the first known telling of the story, The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi
Make your milk sweet and thick, my bridegroom
My shepherd, I will drink your fresh milk
Wild bull Dumuzi, make your milk sweet and thick
I will drink your fresh milk.
Elizabeth Fraser's dedication on Milk and Kisses plows the same metaphorical furrow, addressing her Shepherd Boy.
Milk and kisses for the first man, my old man
Love and a thousandfold rose for BuckleyThe bluebell has also been named for Endymion, the young shepherd consort of the goddess Selene, who fell in love with and put under a spell of eternal sleep so that she alone might enjoy his beauty. Selene was also known as Phoebe and one of the key tracks on Blue Bell Knoll is "For Phoebe, Still a Baby."
And here were have another goddess-consort sad story. Albert was husband of Queen Victoria, herself named after the Roman goddess of victory. And for those of you who don't know the rest:
Albert died at the relatively young age of 42, plunging the Queen into a period of deep mourning in which she rarely appeared before her subjects.CARNIVAL OF LIFE AND DEATH
We saw that that Jeff Buckley drowned on the evening of the Carnival Memphis. As it happens it seems that he and Fraser began their courtship on the eve of the original Carnival...
This would be the night of March 4th, when both Buckley and the Cocteau Twins were playing in Atlanta. Significantly, the Twins performed "Road, River, and Rail" that night.
Simon Raymonde of The Cocteau Twins remembers Jeff being introduced to them as Tim Buckley's son while they were touring America in 1991.
Having recorded an ineffably beautiful version of Tim's ‘Song For The Siren’ (as This Mortal Coil) they were pleased to meet the young man, who was in turn awestruck by their music, especially the spectral voice of Elizabeth Fraser.
Three years later it was their turn to see him perform. Simon and Liz went together to a small bar in Atlanta. "It was just Jeff and his little Fender guitar and amp. He sang for two hours and he knocked me sideways. Liz and I spent some time with him over the next few days."It's likely that Fraser connected (or reconnected) with Buckley on what is technically March 5th, since the Twins had their own concert to do the night of the 4th. But what is the significance of March 5th?
Ididis Navigium, or alternatively Navigium Isidis, means Vessel of Isis. The festival gets its name from the main offering to Isis. In Apuleius’ Metamorphosis he describes the grand procession of worshippers from the temple of Isis to the harbor.Harbor. And the connection to Carnival?
Modern carnival resembles the festival of the Navigium Isidis, and some scholars argue that they share the same origin (via carrus navalis, meaning naval wagon, i.e. float – later becoming car-nival).Reminding us again the Carnival Memphis is centered around Ancient Egyptian symbolism:
The twelve Grand Krewes that Carnival Memphis recognizes are the Mystic Society of the Memphi, Osiris, Sphinx, RaMet, Ennead, Phoenix, Aani, Ptolemy, Kemet Jubilee, Ptah, Luxor, Queen Bee...The Grand Krewes of Memphi, Osiris, RaMet and Sphinx are "old-line" Grand Krewes and were all started in the 1930s as the original secret societies of the Memphis Cotton Carnival.And let's remember this Carnival centers of the appointment of the new Queen Isis and King Osiris:
Our Queen Isis has always been known for her beauty and membership in a prominent family. She wears the Ring of Isis, engraved with her hieroglyphic symbol.
The identity of King Osiris is revealed at the Banquet of Past Kings. He and all Past Osiris Kings wear the King’s Medallion on a scarlet and white ribbon at all Osiris and Carnival events.And this:
Many elements of Carnival were in turn appropriated in the Corpus Christi festival, most prominently in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal).Jeff Buckley recorded "The Corpus Christi Carol" on his first album.
Then there's this:
Thus Plutarch tells us that Osiris was murdered on the seventeenth of the month Athyr, and that the Egyptians accordingly observed mournful rites for four days from the seventeenth of Athyr. Now in the Alexandrian calendar, which Plutarch used, these four days corresponded to the thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth of November, and this date answers exactly to the other indications given by Plutarch, who says that at the time of the festival the Nile was sinking, the north winds dying away, the nights lengthening, and the leaves falling from the trees.Which would mean, according to this reckoning, that the "Lamentations of Isis and Nephthys" took place either on or right before November 17. Why is this significant?
Jeffrey Scott Buckley (November 17, 1966 – May 29, 1997), raised as Scott Moorhead, was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist.
Next we'll take a closer look at the prophecies involved and why they might have gotten some unwanted attention.
TO BE CONTINUED
UPDATE: Darren reminds us of that famous Beatles song that namedrops Albert Hall and also tells us of another doomed young prince, Tara Browne, dead exactly a month after Jeff Buckley was born. More 17s:
On 17 December 1966, Browne was driving with his girlfriend, model Suki Potier, in his Lotus Elan through South Kensington at high speed (some reports suggesting in excess of 106 mph/170 km/h). He was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time. Browne failed to see a traffic light and proceeded through the junction of Redcliffe Square and Redcliffe Gardens, colliding with a parked lorry. He died of his injuries the following day. Potier claimed that Browne swerved the car to absorb the impact of the crash to save her life."A Day in the Life"On 17 January 1967 John Lennon, a friend of Browne's, was composing music at his piano whilst idly reading London's Daily Mail and happened upon the news of the coroner's verdict into Browne's death. He worked the story into the song "A Day in the Life", which was later released on the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
John Lennon's "Good Morning Good Morning" - also from Sgt Pepper - was the first song you heard on the last episode of The Monkees.
"Song of the Siren" was its swansong.