Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Spirits Don't Speak Proper English




"The lord whose oracle is at Delphi neither speaks nor conceals, but gives signs."
Heraclitus, on Apollo  

From the very beginning I saw this story as one somehow centered on some kind of possession or channeling. And now that seems to be the only explanation for this endless parade of omen and ancient symbolism of the love goddess and her shepherd-boy consort.


And it only gets stranger and more impossible. 




In truth, I suspected Elizabeth Fraser was channeling something entirely different as soon as I heard "Sugar Hiccup" back in 1983. I grew up around professional musicians- my mother was a trained soprano- and I heard a hell of a lot of music. But somehow I knew something seemed to have come here from somewhere else.


It wasn't just me- you hear the phrase "otherworldly" used quite a lot to describe her singing. 


Even then it felt like something was revealing itself, something very big and strange, through this shy, vulnerable, troubled girl (she was only 19 when she sang "Hiccup") with the mile-wide howl and her art-damaged bandmates.


I just had no idea how big and strange it truly was.


UNDER APHRODITE'S SPELL




Nope, doesn't look possessed at all. No, sir.

Now, Elizabeth Fraser loved Jeff Buckley. I mean she really loved him. 

I mean she really, really, really loved him. 


This isn't conjecture on my part. She talked about it in interviews, saying her love for him was an "addiction" and that she was "maniacal." She sang that she was a "junkie" for him. Twice


Five years after his death she appeared in the "widow role" on a BBC documentary on Buckley and it was painfully clear that that love still burned inside her.


This is the kind of love that poets used to write epics about. The kind of love that Innana had for Dumuzi, that Selene had for Endymion, that Isis had for Osiris. The kind of love city-states used to go to war over.

She sang about this love. A lot. She wrote an entire EP about it, made a heart-wrenching (and startlingly-prophetic) longform music video about it, dedicated an entire album to it, and eventually wrote the best-known song of her career about it, a song which tens of millions of people have heard. 


And again, she recorded that song the day Buckley died.





So bear all this in mind as we take a deeper look into the prophetic foreshadowing in the Cocteau Twins' music and this increasingly impossible avalanche of omen and symbol, all leading to what very much looks like a real-time god-LARP of the one of the oldest stories known to history- one that's been retold many different times in many different places-  the love of the Love Goddess for a doomed shepherd-boy.

It's a story upon which the world's first great empire rose and fell.



ENTER APOLLO, THE POSSESSOR


Mapquest calls it "Wolf River Lagoon"

Directly overlooking the spot on the Wolf River Lagoon/Harbor where Jeff Buckley drowned is the Tennessee Welcome Center, which houses a statue of Elvis Presley that is curiously posed in a strange recreation of the same contrapposto stance that Apollo was customarily depicted striking in the Classical world, with a guitar in place of a lyre (same difference, really).

Elvis died in Memphis 20 years before Buckley did so (1977). He is also closely connected to the Carnival Memphis. 


"Kiss Out"- to deprive someone of their share

And of course Apollo is both the god of song and music and the god of prophecy.

 He was also known as Apollo Lyceus, or "Apollo the Wolf God." One of the grand old theaters in Memphis was named in honor of Apollo Lyceus, The Lyceum.

















Apollo's powers of prophecy came from a very interesting source, one that will play an important role in the story about to unfold here.
The Homeric Hymn to Apollo acknowledges that Apollo's gift of prophecy first came to him from three bee maidens, usually but doubtfully identified with the Thriae, a trinity of pre-Hellenic Aegean bee goddesses. 
Apollo imparted his prophecies to the rest of us through channeling and his oracles were variously known as the Sibyls or the Pythia ("Pythoness"). The latter of whom, before some asshole had to get all rapey, were originally teenaged girls (like Fraser was when she first recorded Garlands):
The Pythia (or Oracle of Delphi) was the priestess who held court at Pytho, the sanctuary of the Delphinians, a sanctuary dedicated to the Greek god Apollo. Pythia were highly-regarded, for it was believed that she channeled prophecies from Apollo himself, while steeped in a dreamlike trance.  

A Roman historian described how this channeling came about: 
At last Apollo mastered the breast of the Delphian priestess ; as fully as ever in the past, he forced his way into her body, driving out her former thoughts, and bidding her human nature to come forth and leave her heart at his disposal.  
(F)irst the wild frenzy overflowed through her foaming lips ; she groaned and uttered loud inarticulate cries with panting breath ; next, a dismal wailing filled the vast cave ; and at last, when she was mastered, came the sound of articulate speech... ” - Lukan- The Civil Wars
"Elizabeth, we'd like to speak with Apollo now..."


Now, again- see if all of that there- "loud, inarticulate cries with panting breath" and all the rest of it- doesn't sound a bit like this. 

Or this.

Or this.


VIVA HEAVEN OR LAS VEGAS


Perhaps more than anyone else, Elvis is nearly synonymous with Las Vegas. He first played there in 1956 (a month before appearing at the Carnival Memphis) and later began a long residency in the Dog Days of 1969 at the Las Vegas International which would eventually see him give over 700 performances there. 

There was even an Elvis Presley Museum in Vegas. There are still Elvis Wedding Chapels there.




And just as there is one overlooking the exact spot where Jeff Buckley ascended to Heaven, there is also an Elvis statue in Las Vegas.



So if in fact Fraser was first introduced to Buckley backstage in 1991 (and not 1994, when they began seeing each other), it would mean they met during the Heaven or Las Vegas tour.

It would mean Buckley saw the tour where "Wolf in the Breast," "Road, River and Rail" and "Mizake the Mizan" were first played onstage. "Mizake's" lyrics again.

Saw a mermaid in the
Lagoon Klisova
Become


So until the hour
My coeur cheri paiyaa
Honey
Grey water
Hoist and throw me down in the water
Drowning
Hoist and throw me down the waterfall

It would mean that Elizabeth serenaded young Jeffrey with a hit parade of personalized death omens, including 'Blue Bell Knoll', 'Lorelei', 'Road, River and Rail' and 'A Kissed-Out Red Floatboat'.


So just as this love story was beginning we saw a shockingly-specific new set of omens of how it would in fact end. 

I mean, have you read any of the Pythias' prophecies? Bloody amateurs in comparison.

"THE BREATH OF GOD IN MY MOUTH"

Elizabeth Fraser, Heaven or Las Vegas video
It was quite noticeable that he was borne along by a divine inspiration when he spoke, when from this so wise a mouth flowed in waves the words, which flew like flakes of snow. Then it seemed that his eyes filled with a shining splendor, and all over his face spread rays of a divine illumination. - Marsinus on Proclus, author of On the Signs of Divine Possession
And then there is the question of glossolalia, for which Fraser was world-famous:
Fraser's distinctive singing has earned her much critical praise; she was once described as "the voice of God." Her lyrics range from straightforward English to semi-comprehensible sentences (glossolalia) and abstract mouth music. For some recordings, Fraser has said that she used foreign words without knowing what they meant – the words acquired meaning for her only as she sang them.
So by assembling lyrics out of words in foreign languages she didn't understand, Fraser was literally "speaking in tongues." And it's in this and her use of glossolalia that Fraser was once again acting in the exact same manner as the ancient oracles:
Neoplatonist philosopher Iamblichus linked glossolalia to prophecy, writing that prophecy was divine spirit possession that "emits words which are not understood by those that utter them; for they pronounce them, as it is said, with an insane mouth and are wholly subservient, and entirely yield themselves to the energy of the predominating God."
And again, Fraser herself told the Melody Maker in December 1984 that she felt as if she were channeling some other entity and that her songs seemed to write themselves. Mind you, this is not a woman who was given to hyperbole or self-aggrandizement.

LULLABIES REVISITED

The Sibyl with raving mouth utters solemn, unadorned, unlovely words, but she reaches out over a thousand years with her voice by force of the god within her. - Heraclitus
The breath of God in my mouth
A love you can taste, God, get some paste
He and I, breath to breath -"Seekers who are Lovers"

This is really a work-in-progress here so forgive me as I go over a lot of the material. 

But please be aware we're getting grade-A hits here. This isn't some kind of "well, if A=B, then 5=ham sandwich" kind of leaping and stretching. There's no tortured Gematria wrangling or King Kill horseshoe tossing. 

It's all so right on the nose- past the point of overkill- that it's actually terrifying to me.  

UPDATE: Like this- the flower on the cover of Lullabies is the Calla Lily, a poisonous flower also called "The Green Goddess." (H/T Persephone J)
Calla lilies have become a common favorite in wedding ceremonies, but in contrast, lilies are also associated with death. They were often used on the graves of youths who suffered an untimely death.
When Venus, goddess of love, beauty, and desire, saw the lilies she was jealous of their beauty. She cursed their beauty by placing a large yellow pistil in the middle of the flowers. Because of this story, some associate the calla lily with Venus and thus with lust and sexuality. 
Lullabies is the EP the Cocteau Twins put out in 1982 after Garlands (again, Jeff Buckley died on Garlands Day, when sacrifices used to made to ocean gods). We looked at it before but we really need to look at it again.  

So let's decode these songs in reverse order:



And guess what? That's exactly what Apollo imparted onto his oracles. Exactly like someone or something seems to imparted onto the young Elizabeth Fraser.

And as some have noted- including Federico Garcia Lorca- lullabies have often been associated with death.

Now we get to the truly frightening part of the program.


  "The Pythia resembles a shamaness at least to the extent that she communicates with her [deity] while in a state of trance, and conveys as much to those present by uttering unintelligible words."  Martin Litchfield West, The Orphic Poems

And that's the incredibly-witchy 'Alas Dies Laughing'. What I wrote previously:

After two attempts at conventional choruses, the song breaks down into a bridge that has (a pre-transformation) Fraser moaning like the Pythia as the fumes rise. After the breakdown, she dispenses with the niceties and lapses into a repetitive chant about exactly how Alas died laughing:

Wake takes a lonely one
Wake takes a lonely one
Wake takes a lonely one
Wake takes a lonely one
Wake takes a lonely one
Wake takes a lonely one

(Note: I've listened to this song many times now and am convinced she's singing "Wake takes a lonely one" only she's Liz'ing the hell out of the syllables. It makes more sense with the rest of the lyrics- bone, stone, on)

I really should have taken a closer look at the verses though, because they are absolutely mind-boggling. I had to listen to this song about a hundred times to get the lyrics right but it was worth it. 

And note that like the Pythia, Fraser sounds like she's a trancelike state for the entire EP, even though she belted these songs out live like a trouper. It's actually unnerving. Especially on these lyrics:



Flaxen, the dress is bone
Crush a crushing stone
Tides touching walls
Wake takes a lonely one

Flaxen, the dress is on
Fingers, this dress is torn
Tides touching walls
Wake takes a lonely one

And look! Another handy graphic!



Now about "flaxen" linking us to Memphis:
Flax was cultivated in Mespoptania, Assyria, and Babylonia, but Egypt was known as the "land of linen." Linen was woven at least six thousand years ago; fragments of Egyptian cloth have been dated to 4500 B.C.  
And there's also the association with death ("Flaxen, dress is bone"). Of course.
Mummification, practiced from the first dynasty (2920-2770 B.C), required mountains of linen for bandage.

And just to get back to the ur-myth we're seeing acted out in all this....

The very first stanza of the very first telling of the myth of the Love Goddess and the Shepherd Boy-- the furiously-pornographic Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi-- is about- wait for it, now- flax.


The brother spoke to his younger sister.
The Sun God, Utu, spoke to Inanna, saying:
   
    “Young Lady, the flax in its fullness is lovely.
    Inanna, the grain is glistening in the furrow.
    I will hoe it for you. I will bring it to you.
    A piece of linen, big or small, is always needed.
    Inanna, I will bring it to you.”
Inanna: “Brother, after you’ve brought me the flax,
    Who will comb it for me?”
Utu: “Sister, I will bring it to you combed.”

LIKE AMERICAN GODS, ONLY REAL

Lastly, what connection does "Feathers Oar Blades," a garbled rowing term, possibly have with the Jeff Buckley drama?



It also refers to a paddle wheel mechanism (paddle and oar are synonymous as are paddle, float and blade in a paddlewheel).


A paddlewheel, like you have on a riverboat. 

Or a red floatboat.

So we basically have all the bullet-points of this tragedy as well as a reminder that what we are in fact seeing was a very American Gods-like retelling of that most ancient of ancient dramas. 

Only the stakes are real. And with Chris Cornell now drawn into the vortex it's anyone's guess where and how the story will be told yet again.

IN THE GOLD DUST RUSH

"What was essential to Delphic divination, then, was the frenzy of the Pythoness and the sounds which she uttered in this state which were interpreted by the Ὅσιοι [Osioi] and the 'prophet' according to some conventional code of their own."  Lewis Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States 
Then there's 'In The Gold Dust Rush', which features Fraser in full, howling, Pythia/avenging angel mode. Which is really strange because the lyrics don't make a lick of sense. 

On the face of it, I mean. 

Her honey mouth has got me all fool gold
Her honey mouth has got me all fool gold
Her honey mouth has got me all fool gold  

In the gold dust rush I only genuflect
In the gold dust rush I only genuflect
In the gold dust rush I only genuflect

Gold Dust Rush
Gold Dust Rush
Honey is Harbor
Gold Dust Rush
There's locusts in there
She's got the old fool gold
Honey is Harbor
Gold Dust Rush
There's locusts in there
She's got the old fool gold
Gold Dust Rush
She's got the old fool gold

Let's start with the title. Believe it or not, there's only one locality in the entire United States called "Gold Dust." 

Care to guess where it is?


In Tennessee. On the banks of the Mississippi. An hour and change upstream from Memphis.

Rush, of course,  refers to a river's current. And "Gold Rush" refers to the California Gold Rush, in Jeff Buckley's home state. Just an FYI, there.

Let's look at the first verse:

Her honey mouth has got me all fool gold
Her honey mouth has got me all fool gold
Her honey mouth has got me all fool gold  

Which is remarkably similar to this verse from - you guessed it- The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi:

My honey-man, 
My honey-man sweetens me always.
My lord, the honey-man of the gods,
He is the one my womb loves best.
His hand is honey, his foot is honey



But we saw Fraser sing of honey again in a song about drowning in a lagoon, didn't we?

So until the hour
My coeur cheri paiyaa ("sweetheart boy") 
Honey

And there is in fact the core issue we've been looking at here- channeled prophecy.
The Homeric Hymn to Apollo acknowledges that Apollo's gift of prophecy first came to him from three bee maidens...
So "her honey mouth" can also refer to the prophecies of the Bee Maidens in the context of well-established prophetic language rules. But "honey" and "mouth" also correspond to food and eating, so what's this "Fool's Gold" this prophetic voice has somebody?

I mean, we're prophesying a rock star's death here, right?

Well, how about the death of Elvis Presley? In Memphis? Will that do?

The peanut butter and banana sandwich with melted bacon grease has been referred as a favorite of Elvis Presley, who was renowned for his food cravings such as the Fool's Gold Loaf, a loaf of Italian bread filled with a pound of bacon, peanut butter, and grape jelly. 

 Huh; Elvis ("the old Fool's Gold") and Apollo's prophecies ("Her honey mouth") all in one verse. How about that? How do you top that?

Honey is Harbor
Gold Dust Rush
There's locusts in there
She's got the old fool gold

Wait- did she actually say "Honey is Harbor?" Yes, indeed she did. Believe me, I checked. Quite a few times.

What does "Honey is Harbor" possibly mean?

 Which reminds me- the mouth of the Wolf River ("her honey mouth") is in Frayser.

So let's add this up: "Her Honey Mouth"- Fraser, Wolf River, Bee Maidens' prophecy, Apollo- "Has got me all fool gold" Elvis' death in Memphis (largely caused by his horrible diet, including the PBJ-bacon combo, "the Fool's Gold").

So what about...

Honey is Harbor
Gold Dust Rush
There's locusts in there

"Honey" and "Locusts" are a cinch for any of you who didn't fall asleep in Sunday School. (Locusts are also famously linked to ancient Memphis- see Exodus 10:3–6)
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.  Mark 1:4-8
Baptized in the Jordan River. OK...
While John the Baptist's use of a deep river for his baptism suggests immersion, "The fact that he chose a permanent and deep river suggests that more than a token quantity of water was needed, and both the preposition 'in' (the Jordan) and the basic meaning of the verb 'baptize' probably indicate immersion.
Immersion in a river... Baptism...

Might that have anything to do with the first verse of Elizabeth Fraser and Jeff Buckley's legendary duet, "All Flowers in Time Bend Towards the Sun?"

My eyes a Baptism 
Oh, I am filth 
And sing her into my thoughts 
Oh phantom elusive thing, oh

So I guess "Baptist" is kind of important to this Mystery play, don't you think?

Now how do we put this last verse together?


Her honey mouth has got me all fool gold
In the gold dust rush I only genuflect
Her honey mouth has got me all fool gold 

Well, you genuflect in a church, right? 



How about the famous Historic Baptist Church on Beale St, just six short blocks from where Jeff Buckley's body washed up at the mouth of the Honey-is-Harbor?

Will that do?

So taken together, "her honey mouth has got me all fool gold," prophecy of death in Memphis' Wolf River Harbor ("honey is harbor") and "In the gold dust rush I only genuflect"- current of Mississippi River taking someone to a Baptist ("honey is harbor, there's locusts in there") Church ("I only genuflect"). At the mouth of the Wolf River Harbor ("her honey mouth",  Wolf River honey, "honey is harbor").

This is all either absolute and total insanity or the most ingenious cipher I've ever seen in my life. 

"In The Gold Dust Rush" is the first song on the second side of Head Over Heels. The next song is "Tinderbox of a Heart," which goes something like this:

How heavy you are, it's spitting you out
Tinderbox of a heart left a shell of that's all

It's believed the weight of Buckley's clothes and shoes contributed to his drowning.

The last song on Head Over Heels is a howling firestorm about the most famous doomed lovers of all, Romeo and Juilet.  The chorus is heart-ripping:

Tragedy end
Am I pretty enough?


A musical about Romeo and Juliet using Jeff Buckley's music would have a brief run 30 years after this song was recorded.

OK, I think I've established this woman's prophetic cred. I'd say she grinds Nostradamus into a bloody pulp.

But some of you might be wondering right now if any of this is true, why spend it all on a prophecy of the death of an aspiring rock star twenty years ago? 

Well, there are dozens of other songs and lyrics we're not looking at, many of which are not in English or any other consistent language. 

God only knows what prophecies are hiding in them

And there are some rather more momentous prophecies we've yet to get to.


UPDATE: Think all this is just Internet crazytalk? Reader Disposium drops this Peter Kingsley quote on us that sums it all up better than I could even try to:
"Above anything else (Apollo) was a god of oracles and prophecy - and the oracles he gave out were riddles, full of ambiguities and traps. It was the people who believed everything was bright and clear who ended up in trouble. 
"Often he's associated with bright music and song. And yet, especially in Anatolia, he had a very different side. There songs were sung in his honour that were full of strange words, sung in an incantatory language no one could understand. 
And his oracles were spoken by his prophet in a voice heavy with trance: oracles full of repetitions and riddles, expressed in a poetry that at times hardly seemed poetry at all. For Apollo was a god who operated on another level of consciousness with rules and a logic of its own."
What does Elizabeth Fraser herself have to say about this?  "I had no aspirations at all really. I just had a lot of something – what was it? So much sun, I suppose, running through me. All this wonderful sun! An Apollonian spirit, if that is a word."

Astonishing. I think it's very safe to say Fraser was quite probably prophesying a lot more than the death of her future lover.



TO BE CONTINUED

PS: Elizabeth Fraser quit the Cocteau Twins shortly after Jeff Buckley died and has produced very little music since. But even this has mythic echoes:

 Lost is her lovely lord, and with him lost her hallowed beauty. When Adonis yet lived Cypris was beautiful to see to, but when Adonis died her loveliness died also. -- Bion, The Fragments


71 comments:

  1. I am baffled, words escapes-me...
    Not only by the facts, but how *you* unveil all this...

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    1. Well, it certainly seems like a story that wants someone to tell it. Stories can be quite persuasive when they want to be told.

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  2. There is a lot of bizarre-ness going on in the music world at the moment, take the new celebrity version of the Simon and Garfunkel song 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' released by Simon Cowell for the Grenfell building fire.
    Art Garfunkel was born on November 5th, which is Guy Fawkes Night in the UK...remember, remember the 5th of November?
    I wrote a post about the weird synchs surrounding this song and the Grenfell/London Bridge incidents in the news lately -
    https://brizdazz.blogspot.com.au/2017/06/bridge-over-troubled-water-life.html
    My post maybe a bit 'X-Files'y, but hey, Paul Simon was born on 10/13, just like Chris Carter ;-)

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    1. I don't know... Bonfire Night is about the gunpowder plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament, but the bridge to get there is the Westminster Bridge, not the London Bridge. Sure, "Bridge over troubled waters" does look like a choice connected to London Bridge, but I'm not sure I'd read much into the dates.

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    2. How does that expression go? "Coincidence is the hidden architecture of reality?" Something like that...

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    3. Well, Maria what was the incident that was the prelude to the London Bridge attack, which was more or less to have a "Copy Cat Effect" as some other blogger might suggest?
      The Westminster Bridge attack in March where one person drowned from jumping/being hit into the same troubled water - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Westminster_attack
      "A fifth victim, Andreea Cristea, a 31-year-old tourist from Romania, fell into the Thames during the attack; she died in hospital as a result of her injuries on 6 April after her life support was withdrawn. Her Romanian boyfriend, who had planned to propose marriage during their trip to London, was also injured during the attack."

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  3. Hah - just this week my students had their tests, and one of the sentences in an exercise about relative pronouns was "Las Vegas is a city where an Elvis lookalike can perform a wedding ceremony".

    - Bruno

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    1. Stare into the Sync and the Sync stares back at you...

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  4. Here is some confirmation for you. From an interview (https://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/jun/24/elizabeth-fraser-meltdown-cocteau-twins) with Fraser, describing herself as a teenager: "No, I never thought of the next day," she says. "I had no aspirations at all really. I just had a lot of something – what was it? So much sun, I suppose, running through me. All this wonderful sun! An Apollonian spirit, if that is a word."

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  5. Don't know if you mentioned this in previous articles... but I watched "Lost Highway" for the first time tonight. The film uses "Song to the Siren" by This Mortal Coil... and of course from Mr. Buckley... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq0u5hNn1hM

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    1. That's interesting. I saw Lost Highway when it was first released, twenty years ago (the year Jeff Buckley died). And have made mention of that film here at the Secret Sun.

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    2. Great pick-up Anni-Moose (and great take on the anonymous commentators, I just hope you aren't wearing one of those stupid 'V for Vendetta' masks as you were writing this comment ;-) ) 'Lost Highway' was released in 1997, so that ties in well with the years ending in 7 theme that Chris eluded to a while back.

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    3. David Lynch is a major Cocteau Twins fan. So much so he hired a singer and a composer and made his own version of a Cocteau Twins album, Floating Into the Night. How interesting that this all welled up again with Chris Cornell the same time David Lynch is rolling out his masterpiece with the Twin Peaks revival, which came out the same year as Heaven or Las Vegas.

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  6. Also from the film "Lost Highway"... "There's no such thing as a bad coincidence."

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    1. And from the movie ' The Crow'... "Little things, used to mean so much to Shelly.
      I used to think they were kind of trivial...
      believe me, nothing is trivial."
      Eric Draven

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    2. The Crow released during the height of the Fraser-Buckley whirlwind....

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  7. "The Siren waits thee, singing song for song."
    -Walter Savage Landor

    "That was the big thing when I was growing up, singing on the radio. The extent of my dream was to sing on the radio station in Memphis. Even when I got out of the Air Force in 1954, I came right back to Memphis and started knocking on doors at the radio station."
    -Johnny Cash

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    1. Memphis certainly seems to have its own kind of magic. Baked into its landscape from the get-go.

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  8. Hi Chris,

    I am left speechless after reading your latest post. Having been in my 20's around the early 80's, I feel like the wind has been knocked out of me now after realizing what you are saying here.

    Where do these things originate? Are they part of our collective consciousness? Are the artistic among us the potential willing victims to which these inhabiting forces play out through their lives?

    And then: To what purpose does this play out for the rest of us and is it even *about* us?

    I am starting to feel like whatever this is, is feeding off of our responses as a culture to these events--both micro and macro in scope. And has done so for as long as there has been some kind of human civilization.

    This place you uncovered is actually terrifying. I feel like the more we dig, the closer we come to being like John Keel in the end; paranoid and suspicious of everything.

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    1. My take on this: You are right these things are part of our collective consciousness, or maybe the Jungian term is even better: the collective unconscious. Artists are often willing channellers... I wouldn't like to use the word "victim" because I think it's a bargain: they get something out of it, the opportunity to make a living doing stuff they love doing.

      As for why this plays out, I think it's to give us the opportunity to join in and contact these spirits ourselves, should we want and be able to. And it's all very much about us. What we are, where we come from and all those famous Big Questions that religions are supposed to answer but don't really give you very convincing answers.

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    2. I have to throw my hands and resort to the kinds of explanations the old Greeks and Romans served up. I'd love to offer up some brilliant Jungian exegesis that nails it all down and solves the mystery but I can't even hope to try. As to the Collective Consciousness- or rather Unconsciousness- I can say that a lot of people, myself included, were convinced that those early Cocteau Twins records had somehow reached into their dreams and pinched their soundtracks. I guess that's why the Cocteaus are considered the founders of the Dream Pop genre. Robin Guthrie deserves a huge share of the credit for this but it was Fraser's vocals that sealed the deal. So they were already deep into the Borderlands with their music.

      But here's what I think about the Story- I think there's some deep, deep hidden meaning to the myth of the Love Goddess and the Shepherd Boy- probably some astronomical allegory that has to do with the planet Venus and some passing asteroid. The fact that Venus loses her beauty after Adonis dies seems extremely suggestive to me, considering that Venus is believed to have lost its atmosphere. Maybe it's a warning to us in the same way all this symbolism was a warning to Jeff Buckley that he didn't have the tools to interpret.

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  9. It would be really, really interesting to check and see if any of Elizabeth's more incomprehensible lyrics bear a phonetic resemblance to the Enochian language.

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    1. Excellent observation, JB. I guess we'll have to wait for some AI program to figure it all out for us.

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    2. Given the emergent global AI's penchant for increasingly serendipitous search optimization algorithms the siren herself may well become aware of the connections presented here.
      Have you given any thought as to how Fraser might process such revelation?

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    3. To be honest, she probably already has to some extent. She's an extraordinarily intelligent woman who knows her mythology. I can't help but think that the combination of her early trauma, high intelligence and her tireless work ethic back then made her an especially tempting candidate for some hypothetical force.

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  10. Incredible things you're unearthing here. Another artist btw who also had a run-in with madness & used glossolalia in his performances was Antonin Artaud, not sure how prophetic he was, I suppose that's up to individual interpretation:

    http://rigorousintuition.blogspot.com/2006/02/there-is-no-more-firmament.html

    But there does seem to be a real connection between inspiration, musical/artistic genius, ego-loss/mental illness or imbalance & possibly possession & prophecy/precognition as well.

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    1. Couple thoughts here- Artaud was loosely associated with the Dada movement, which was born on the killing fields of Europe in World War I. Dada was a major influence on the post-punk movement that the Cocteau Twins emerged out of. And "There is No More Firmament" seems to correlate to my (admittedly half-assed) theory that the Love Goddess and the Shepherd Boy may be some kind of vestigial astro-disaster myth. Thanks for bringing that up, David.

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  11. Really enjoying this series, much food for thought...but am I the only person who prefers the original Song to the Siren??!

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    1. It's a beautiful song. Elizabeth Fraser said she really got into Tim Buckley's singing after they recorded their cover.

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  12. Great series chris, worthy of a book onto itself.....but what is the take away , "the gods" invade a willing host, (people the play around with occult powers) impart gifts (musical talent and prophecy) and then for their own bemusement act out mythical scenarios leaving dead humans in their wake, then they revoke the gifts and leave us scratching our heads... are we nothing more than meat puppets walking around unaware of the puppetmasters dictating our fate.....I can help but think that they are a bunch of assholes, are these what the gnostic referred to as the Archons? What other willing hosts have tapped into this power, so many talented musicians in our past (cornell,morrison,hendrix etc) that had seemed to have transcendent abilities in music beyond what seems like normal human skills, yet all have died untimely deaths, does this go with the whole sell your soul to the devil at the cross roads pact that is commonly discussed he knows , We truly live in a mysterious universe.

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    1. Who's to say an untimely death is untimely?
      It may just appear untimely to us mere mortals.

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    2. Now I'm certainly not an expert on the Gnostics, but I would say it's the opposite of an Archontic infection. Discovering one's true Divine Self is what the Archons are trying to keep you from doing. Colin Wilson's "The Mind Parasites" seems to nail on the head how that process works. Hendrix thought he had a demon in him... but really doesn't everyone have their demons? The Vatican now says yoga induces demonic possession... Anything outside of our normal prescribed boundaries of existence is of course weird and frightening... that's why not everyone goes there. "And if the elevator tries to bring you down... Go crazy! (Punch a HIGHER floor)."

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    4. Well, the Archontic scenario is a perfectly valid thesis, given how much suffering these events seem to leave behind them. But there's also the possibility that what was being laid out here was a warning, in typical Apollonian riddles. As I wrote back when I first began to suspect there was something more to this story, the omens would have been recognized 2000 years ago by old grannies and schoolkids. They would have looked at the entire situation and warned Jeff Buckley not to break this girl's heart or there'd be hell to pay. Everyone he knew would have warned him not to toy with her because she was clearly under the influence of a god, probably Apollo the Destroyer himself, who was casting around for an Adonis for a little tragedy LARP. And from the looks of it, he not only broke her heart he then turned around and got her hopes up then went and broke it again. Only an American could be so thoughtless and arrogant in the face of all the screaming, bright-red danger signs.

      But again, I can't help but wonder if there isn't a deeper warning to the overarching myth here which is why so many different cultures felt the need to retell it over and over. Maybe something about Venus in conjunctiion with Orion?

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  13. I'm talking about the acoustic version though, not the StarSailor one.

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    1. Yeah, the Monkees show one. Great stuff.

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  14. This is more than interesting. Not that long ago I finished my second time through Kingsley's 'In The Dark Places of Wisdom', and in it he talks a Lot about Apollo. In our nice sanitized rational materialist world our intellectual betters have seen fit to allow Apollo to serve as a metaphor for clean, bright, clear, rational, linear thought, but Kingsley writes:

    "Above anything else he was a god of oracles and prophecy - and the oracles he gave out were riddles, full of ambiguities and traps. It was the people who believed everything was bright and clear who ended up in trouble.

    "Often he's associated with bright music and song. And yet, especially in Anatolia, he had a very different side. There songs were sung in his honour that were full of strange words, sung in an incantatory language no one could understand. And his oracles were spoken by his prophet in a voice heavy with trance: oracles full of repetitions and riddles, expressed in a poetry that at times hardly seemed poetry at all. For Apollo was a god who operated on another level of consciousness with rules and a logic of its own.

    "...when magicians in the centuries after Christ wanted to experience revelation or receive knowledge through dreams, Apollo was the god they invoked through incubation in the darkness of the night.

    "Lairs and incubation, Apollo and incubation-"

    "Now it's so easy to assume that Apollo and the sun are all a matter of brightness and light. But that's to forget where the sun is most at home: in the darkness of the underworld."

    And here's a special zinger: " According to an Orphic poem Apollo and Persephone went to bed together, made love...

    "Apollo is a god of healing but he's also deadly."

    Somewhere in this wildly interwoven web of story and historical facts you are helping your readers to get ahold of some real insights, I think, into the ambiguous nature of Divinity. The wonderful and crazy and dangerous qualities of experiences like love, experienced by people who are deeply wounded, can lead to tragedy.

    Here's a thought. Kingsley mentions that the pre-Socratics had healers among them who were gifted in dream incubation and interpretation. The fact that such people are really hard to find nowadays (and which ones aren't complete frauds?) can only contribute to tragedies like the story you've been following. In some ways, we are so deprived!

    Most eagerly looking forward to your next instalment.

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    1. You get the Star of the Week award for this indispensible data dump. I have to get that book today. Luckily I have an Amazon gift card burning a hole in my pocket. I can't thank you enough for this. Really seals this entire story with a bow.

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    2. kingsley always delivers ime. thanx for sharing your thoughts.

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  15. So yesterday afternoon, after work I met my guy at the hipster tavern/watering hole across the street. As things were winding down at my vintage clothes shop I had checked out your latest post on this story as it has been an obsession.

    I mentioned to my guy as we met up to " checkout the latest Secret Sun..."

    We got our pints and as we were taking our first sips I overheard the barmaid talking to patrons seated at the bar, "Yeah, I used to dress very Cocteau Twins...you know...." and she went on to describe.

    My mouth dropped. And yeah it's weird I have a business dealing in the very clothes she described plus I'd just read your post.

    Only worthy of telling you because it lends one to think *it* is floating out there doing something.

    What is *it* though? Why are we to contemplate this story?

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    1. Well, like I said there has to be a deeper meaning to it all, some warning for us. I would never have dove back into this story if I wasn't so shaken up by Chris Cornell's death. I was done with it. And again we have massive Fraser-fan David Lynch popping up with Twin Peaks at the same time, going so far to cast Cocteau-clones The Chromatics in the reboot's premiere.

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  16. "But please be aware we're getting grade-A hits here. This isn't some kind of "well, if A=B, then 5=ham sandwich" kind of leaping and stretching. There's no tortured Gematria wrangling or King Kill horseshoe tossing."

    "It's all so right on the nose- past the point of overkill- that it's actually terrifying to me."

    This is where the rubber hits the road. Take it to its logical conclusion from a million different angles all outlined in this entire blog, in years of your work. Accept it, then you won't be scared anymore. It simply is the way it is.

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    1. Oh, I'll be plenty scared. If you're not terrified when doing your Synchromysticism you're not doing it properly. So much of it is about death, often mass death. That seems to be where the most powerful signals emanate from. We probably wouldn't pay attention otherwise. The human enigma.

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    2. Ask yourself the question, “How do I say yes”?

      What I know from personal experience is that when it seems like too much the only reason it is so is because I am holding on desperately to some semblance of my old way of understanding the world. Seeing reality in new ways does not mean devastation, regardless of what my ego says, so long as I finally let go. Free fall baby. Go with the flow. The sun will rise tomorrow and the world will seem brighter. Other than that, I know nothing. And this is me saying the same thing to myself.

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    3. Reality is endlessly negotiable. But letting go of your perception of it is much easier said than done.

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    4. Kevin, I can't read your messages. Please check my profile for my email. Thanks.

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  17. Whoa! You are indeed onto something here Chris. I found this:

    ~ In the BBC doc "Everybody Here Wants You"
    > at the 2:45 - 2:47 marks
    > Fraser onscreen and in audio foreground
    > Buckley singing in audio background:
    "shoes fill up with water"

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    1. Man, poor Liz. If you look at her eyes it's pretty obvious that they had to stop the filming at some point to let her cry it out. I think the term is "poignant."

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  18. Chilling, highly strange, impossible, and yet so very clear as you have laid this all out. I am going to have to come back to this so that I can read through again after I've taken some time to think on what you have described here. Gobsmacked as I have a couple of personal synchronicities with your post. .

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  19. Yes, you're right that she so sadly seems to teeter there on the verge of collapsing into grief. My focus in the comment above is related to the long odds that a songwriter would so precisely presage in song a determining factor of his own death; the shoes (boots) filling with water.

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    1. Oh, there are omens all over Buckley's lyrics. He's not a passive partner in this. Because of his identification with his father he was certain he too would die young. He nearly drowned in Australia the year before. Joan Wasser was teaching him to swim- he was practicing the strokes she taught him while he was swimming that night. He was a poor swimmer and he was fully dressed. That's how you drown while swimming in shallow water.

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  20. I'm not sure this counts as a case of synchronicity, but clicking through my Esoteric Bookmarks, I stumbled upon this...

    http://www.phantasmaphile.com/2017/06/salon-de-la-rosecroix-show-at-the-guggenheim.html

    ...at Pam Grossman's site.

    Now, I'm not so familiar with the myth of Orpheus, but seeing the name Orpheus, combined with that image, sort of made me have a WTF moment. I'm sure the details of the story are different... But the painting of the androgynously beautiful young man laying under the water (see the waves?), a tragic young man gifted with abundant musical talent by Apollo...

    I know the details of the story are different, but...

    You know?

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  21. An addendum to my recent comment. Ah, looking more closely, it's Orpheus' head resting on his lyre. And just his head. He didn't love fully enough? Well, people play for keeps in these stories.

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  22. This is magnificent, Chris. You really are quite gifted, brother. What stuns me personally is just how well this all syncs up with my own experiences at the moment. Baptism, for sure. Powerful stuff, my friend.

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  23. I also feel it should be emphasized in this drama that Elvis was probably (unwittingly) swimming in deeper water (to choose an appropriate phrase here) than what is generally considered of him. Interviews throughout his career have Elvis talking about how he is "helpless" to the music, how it "just takes over," and how he is "powerless" to not move his body to it. I am a huge fan of his early work on Sun records. That stuff feels loaded with sex, death, shadows, joy, and mystery. It's crazy to think a poor hillbilly mama's boy, only 18 at the time, could sound so authoritative and commanding—if not other-worldly. Jim Morrison called Elvis' voice at the time "mature and sex-wise." His concerts from that period were sending girls into ecstatic, screaming rapture and causing riots. With his start at Sun Records, and his nickname “The King,” I wonder if something Apollonic wasn’t coming in for a visit . . . to help provide much needed release and healing for a (white) culture very much out of touch and out of sync with its soul and body. Apollo, the god of healing and medicine after all . . .
    I wonder if some artists are purer channels for spirit in this way. Almost like the Loa choosing a "horse to ride" in Voudon ceremonies. This American music came from roots in West Africa--same as what became "voodoo." Music that was not divided into "sacred" and "secular." I think some people can sense, and are more susceptible (maybe chosen?) to the liberating medicine still pulsing in the DNA of the music--even generations now removed from its source--than others. But like with any powerful medicine, too much can be poison.

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  24. Somehow growing up in the 80's the Cocteau twins passed me by. But I remember spending much of 1985 deciphering lyrics from worn-out tapes. There was something in the water, I think. Your amazing post brings to mind 'New Moon on Monday'. Officially:

    'Shake up the picture, the lizard mixture'.

    Which I have down as 'blizzard mixture', a reference to a particularly famous television broadcast:

    Apollo, of course.

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  25. from the NY Times review -‘Twin Peaks’ Season 3, Episode 8: White Light White Heat

    "This is one of the most provocative ideas from the original series that these new episodes have been carrying forward: this sense that even the most well-intentioned humans are incapable of interpreting and acting on the messages coming from the gods, who neither think nor communicate as we do. That’s why the dark side keeps winning out...."
    Must be something about the Zeitgeist.

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/26/arts/television/twin-peaks-season-3-episode-8-recap.html?referer=https://t.co/BNdEZl335E

    On Saturday evening I listened to a Tom Waits song titled Phone call from Istambul and a line from the lyrics called my attention- "Never trust a man in a blue trench coat" After the song ended I turned on the TV and the first image I saw was Telly Savalas wearing a blue trench coat in a Kojak re run...
    The next day I found out that Tom Wairs and Tim Buckley collaborated on Buckley's album Sefronia in 1973

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  26. Wow just Wowza Chris!!
    I am enjoying this series so much I hope it never ends (a foolish hope in some ways maybe?)
    I don't have much to add as I pick my jaw up off the floor. But I wanted to say how much I also enjoy Lorca's poetry. There was a great 2008 movie called Little Ashes about Lorca, Bunuel, and Dali I. 1920s and 30s Spain. Sorry to go so off topic!
    Thanks again for this magnificent series!
    ATB,
    Devin

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  27. http://www.historic-memphis.com/memphis/expo-1897/expo-1897.html

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  28. Apollo has as one of his many epithets - Lycoctonus..."wolf" or "to kill." Why Lycoctonus -Cocteau
    Thank you for you diligent work

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  29. https://youtu.be/JnPvnIKCJYA

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  30. This is a follow up to my comments (on the supposed 1982 Cocteaus photo) which you chose not to publish.

    I'm assuming you, at least, read them, so...

    Further holes in your theory - lyric transcriptions

    "Wake takes a lonely one" - after reading this I listened again to studio, BBC and Amsterdam live versions. And in each case I hear the repeated line as beginning with "waiting..." not "wake takes..." Although maddeningly the rest of the line, which should be the song's focal point, never translates, for me, into recognisable words.

    "God get some paste"? I doubt it! Listening to both the album version and the proto-version performed on TV (The White Room), in both I'm hearing the line after "breath of God in my mouth" as "in love I can see sky-kissing....[something-or-others]"
    ("Sky-kissing" - ok, now try and draw Hendrix into your theory...)

    "Tragedy end / Am I pretty enough?" I don't hear that - I just hear repetitions of "tragedienne, Meridian" (the second word comes across very clearly on certain live recordings)

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    1. Thank you. Post again if you have actual evidence to back up your claims. Cheers.

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    2. It's clearly wake takes, which follows on tides touching walls. If you don't hear that then I don't know what to tell you.

      And stop posting anonymously. Use your Google account.

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  31. "But some of you might be wondering right now if any of this is true, why spend it all on a prophecy of the death of an aspiring rock star twenty years ago?"


    Because it wasn't really about pop singers, but about Baptist John III, his nature, in what manner he baptizes, what he baptizes for. The rest is just circular whisperings of Apollyon.

    The Ms.issippi is the heart-blood divider of the divided nation. Little Egypt is crux of the twin-eclipse, Carbondale for blackened beings of carbon. Shepherd dies, nation dies.

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