TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Showing posts with label Tarot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tarot. Show all posts

Monday, October 29, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: The CERN Tarot Deck and The Cybernetic Seance


The Knight of Swords in the CERN tarot deck connects early computers and the founding of IBM (originally established in Poland) to the Holocaust. Image Source: Hexen 2.0. Click to enlarge all images.

Even if you only follow the mainstream, you don't have to go very far before you come across horrors which are worse than anything found in the ancient stories. Not even Salome could ask for what passes for statecraft these days.

There are misattributed photos now circulating online of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 and came out in chopped-up pieces. The photos, posted on disreputable sites, include a skinned head, with the face spread on the floor in front of the meaty skull. Warning: the linked material is gory and linking does not imply my endorsement of values expressed in linked material.

These scenes immediately reminded me of Clive Barker's Hellraiser; Barker's horror fiction describes demons walking the earth and entering it by way of certain portals. His  famous Books of Blood from the mid-1980s opened as follows:
"The dead have highways.

They run, unerring lines of ghost-trains, of dream-carriages, across the wasteland behind our lives, bearing an endless traffic of departed souls. Their thrum and throb can be heard in the broken places in the world, through cracks made by acts of cruelty, violence and depravity. Their freight, the wandering dead, can be glimpsed when the heart is close to bursting, and sights that should be hidden come plainly into view.

They have sign-posts, these highways, and bridges and lay-bys. They have turnpikes and intersections.

It is at these intersections, where the crowds of dead mingle and cross, that this forbidden highway is most likely to spill through into our world. The traffic is heavy at the cross-roads, and the voices of the dead are at their most shrill. Here the barriers that separate one reality from the next are worn thin with the passage of innumerable feet." ("The Book of Blood" in Clive Barker's Books of Blood, vol. 1 (London: Sphere Books, 1985), p. 1.)
It is almost as though the Khashoggi case created one of those broken places in the world, a rent in the fabric of reality between the worlds of the living and the dead, created by an act of cruelty. France 24 denied the authenticity of the Khashoggi photos; its reporters found that the photos hailed from Mexico and Egypt in 2017:
"The two photos that show the arms and the legs date back to August 2017, and were taken in Giza, Egypt. These body parts belonged to a man described as 'elderly' in the Egyptian press, who report that his body parts were found scattered between two different parts of town.

The photo showing the skull, the scalped face, the pair of eyes and the penis had already been published online back in July 2017. According to a blog specialised in Mexican drug trafficking-related crime, these body parts belonged to a police commander in Tecoman, Mexico, who was killed by a cartel."
Nevertheless, the photos are real, even if they are not part of the Khashoggi story, and the latter is bad enough without misattributed photo evidence. All of it confirms that something has gone wrong behind the façade of normal authority and current affairs.










More clues of the state of affairs come from CERN, the autonomous quantum physics research organization. It turns out that CERN has an artist's residency. This year, the artist in residence, Suzanne Treister, created a CERN tarot deck. Out of all the things Treister could have developed to describe CERN's attempt to crack the building blocks of matter, she chose magic (Hat tip: Dark Journalist; see his dedicated video on this tarot deck, here). All tarot images are © S. Treister and found here.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: The Formula for Consciousness




To unlock the mysteries of today's technology, some say you would have to start your investigation on the ballet stages of the 1840s. To get a flavour of European dance from that revolutionary period, today's post features some scans from a little book I own, published in 1948 by Batsford, entitled The Romantic Ballet. A centennial edition, it reprinted 1840s' coloured prints of prima ballerinas who were celebrated from 1840 to 1850. Click the images to enlarge.


These reprinted images from the 1840s display an occult visual vocabulary. For example, the three graces are three Greek goddesses - culture, beauty and creativity - later translated into the Christian theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. They are represented in the tarot deck as the Three of Cups.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: Magic and the Technological Revolution


Donald Trump's uncle, John G. Trump, developed ultra-powerful X-rays. This is the historical first X-ray image, taken by Wilhelm Röntgen of his wife's left hand on 22 December 1895. Image Source: National Library of Medicine / The Scientist.

The new Tech Revolution is human. The top designers in Silicon Valley plainly understand a secret which they do not share with their customers. Technology is not a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, a desktop. It's not a mechanical thing. It's not a smartwatch or a game console. It's not a Virtual Reality headset. It's not a robot, an android, or an AI entity like the HAL9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Don't look at technology as something that helps you order your Starbucks coffee. Look at it as an advanced behavioural modifier.

Technology is the human being who is transformed through interaction with a machine. The revolutionary technology is you, as your behaviour, values, beliefs - as your brain and soul - have changed while you punched keys; listened to the radio, then podcasts; stared at the TV, then videos; took selfies; talked through texts, or on the telephone, or through video calls. Technology is you as you entered the social media reality, indulged in the Internet's arcane, entertaining hivemind, and became a different person. The changed person is a type of technology. The Technological Revolution refers to an irrevocable transformation of, and assault upon, the human condition.

From my previous post on Julian Assange and his possible relationship to the Trump family: in this cinematic depiction of MK-Ultra mind control, the controllers cryptically refer to the brainwashed person, not the brainwashing itself, as a technology. The Manchurian Candidate (7/7) Movie CLIP - Decisions (2004) HD (22 November 2011) © Paramount Pictures. Reproduced non-commercially under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

While body modifications, identity politics, and behavioural changes will be the most obvious outward signs that this process is running its course, the main assault will be waged internally, on human consciousness. In other words, technology is a state of transformed mind. The Technological Revolution implies an absolute, no-going-back overhaul and control of the human brain and the larger capabilities of the human soul.

If that doesn't terrify you, it should. Everyone must recognize and guard the weirder gray areas where technology overlaps with human mentalities, or they will relinquish sovereign control over the space inside their craniums, and they will never see it coming.

Competing factions appear to be vying for the right to dominate this process. They have different visions of what they want to achieve in terms of the revolutionized human being. This is partly why politics is becoming so urgent and divisive, and why the economy is on the verge of collapse. Both were geared toward an earlier, more human age and both are transforming to encase the new transhuman state.

Traditions of Organic Betterment

For thousands of years, there have been attempts to improve, control and alter the human being. One difference in the 21st century is the speed at which the augmentations are taking place. The other Millennial distinction is the use of gadgets as prostheses, which deceives the user into thinking that the process is in the user's control, and outside the user's existential state of being.

Greatest Martial Artists in History • Brief Martial Arts (18 December 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The 2011 documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi chronicled the extreme discipline necessary to become the top sushi chef in the world. Jiro Dreams of Sushi - Trailer (24 July 2012). Video Source: Youtube.

Unlocking Human Capability - Dr. Devi Shetty with Sadhguru (16 February 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The traditional ways people have augmented their awareness are organic. Even if they use tools, the physical and mental states are the main concerns: a karate master who smashes a stack of boards is not obsessed with the boards as his or her source of strength. These practitioners balance mind and body through well-honed methods. Disciplined study results in rational improvement of brain functions; regular physical training brings the body to peak performance; meditation and spiritual explorations challenge and awaken the soul. Each form of augmentation has resorted to techniques and aids, developed over centuries or longer.

The highest level of this augmentation builds human consciousness to a legendary moment when biochemical, magnetic and electrical brain functions become metaphysical. For a long time, the tools used to create the altered human were mystical or magical; these are ways of dealing with rare information such that those exposed to it have earned the right to engage with it and produce seemingly inexplicable, paranormal, or superhuman results of their actions. This level of activity involves a highly sophisticated interaction through the mind, body, spirit and soul with symbolic abstractions of time, matter and energy. In our era, technological gadgets are usurping the old, supra-organic, magical role of the symbol.

Are Psychic Powers and Telepathy Real? Dr. Devi Shetty with Sadhguru (30 November 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

Transhumanism: Weaponized Consciousness?

Brain-to-Brain Interface: The Next Gen Social Network (7 October 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Much of the Internet believes that the CIA Project MK-Ultra was developed out of Nazi research and that the second half of the 20th century developed the technological means for psychological manipulation and spiritual instrumentalization. That research has supposedly continued to the point where its torturous, hypnotic techniques have been widely disseminated via the Internet and the Internet of Things, with the whole collective's reactions continuously monitored. This approach marks a sinister appropriation and abandonment of the old school attempts at human self-betterment, as through western magic, eastern mystics and Asian martial arts. This new path weaponizes human consciousness through propaganda, education, marketing, and insidious, invasive mental bombardments. By any standards, the potential application of MK-Ultra techniques via mass technology signifies a catastrophic turn down a dark, misguided path.

Patreon-supported alt-documentary on the history of MK-Ultra: The Minds of Men | Official Trailer | Documentary by Aaron & Melissa Dykes (16 July 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Technological gadgets are being invented to mimic or replace capabilities which have traditionally belonged to 'magic,' the human psychic realm, or if you prefer, a conscious mastery of one's unconscious to the point where it affects one's outer material existence.

There is a terrible warning here, for to use a crutch to attain a faux superlative human condition is, by definition, psychopathic. For an example of this progression, consider that some gurus believe that paranormal abilities such as telepathy exist and can be cultivated through intense and profound training. By contrast, a report from October 2018 (the 23 September 2018 scholarly publication is here) confirms that mechanical prostheses are now being built to create 'BrainNet,' a synthetic, mechanized telepathy, transmitted over the Internet. We are at a point where brain-to-tech interfaces are being used by the US military, soon to follow on social media. It's not woo. It's not a ghost story. It's real, and soon it will be at your Apple Store with a price tag on it.


Magical Technology

All of this implies that the top leaders of the Technological Revolution were and are well-versed in older techniques of achieving the superlative human, the disciplines necessary to fine-tune behaviour. In addition, they know about the mind control research and propaganda and education campaigns of the mid-to-late 20th century. And they are diverting all this knowledge into their own, hideous transhuman experiment.

In short, that means that there's some magic misapplied in the development of high technology. Officially, high tech gadgets, apps and networks are so addictive because people like the founders of Facebook embedded psychological games and tricks in their platforms. Unofficially, it is theorized the Technological Revolution was founded in dark occult mysteries and practices.

Even if you don't believe in this type of thing, others do. If Silicon Valley was founded by magicians, and its products imbued with spells, wouldn't you want to know who did this, how, and with what incantations and intentions?

Monday, October 1, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: The Order of the Dragon and the Vampire Ouroboros


Vampires are connected to the ouroboros, an ancient Egyptian symbol linking life and death. This is "an engraving of a woman holding an ouroboros in Michael Ranft's 1734 treatise on vampirrs." Notice the hourglass balanced on its edge in the bottom left corner, and the satyr playing the triangle above the woman. Click to enlarge. Image Source: Wiki.

Welcome to the month of October! Every year, this blog joins dozens of other blogs to count down to Hallowe'en (check out other participants here). I reserve this countdown for topics which are too weird, frightening and creepy to cover during the rest of the year. This month, I will be publishing new Hallowe'en posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Vampires open the countdown this year. Vampire and other horror stories tie in strongly to modern conspiracy theories. During this countdown, I cover strange and sometimes offensive material. That doesn't mean I personally believe in, or endorse, those ideas.

The Old Vampire Ouroboros: The Order of the Dragon

The German poet and diplomat, Oswald von Wolkenstein (1376-1445), wearing an Order of the Dragon brooch with the serpent eating its tail. Portrait from the Innsbrucker Handschrift (1432). Notice the closed right eye, now a common gesture in photographs of celebrities. Image Source: Portrait in the Innsbruck manuscript of 1432 (Liederhandschrift B)/Wiki.

Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović using two snakes to cover her right eye and neck. Image Source: e-flux conversations.

The word 'Dracula' comes from the title granted the Wallachian rulers of Transylvania who were members of the chivalric Order of the Dragon, a group founded in 1408 to keep the Turks out of Europe.

The order started in Germany and Italy, but spread to the princely houses of Central Eastern Europe. Members of the order carried the signum draconis, the sign of the dragon, later displayed on the coats of arms of certain Hungarian noble families: Báthory, Bocskai, Bethlen, Szathmáry, Benyovszky, Kende and Rákóczi.

Engraving of an ouroboros by Lucas Jennis, in the 1625 alchemical tract, De Lapide Philosophico. Image Source: Wiki.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: Psychic Vampires and Ambrosia's Blood Elixirs


Image Source: Etsy.

There is a disturbing subculture on social media which is devoted to teaching people how to siphon off the life force of others in order to gain power and control in society. Immersed in the dark occult, these self-proclaimed 'psychic feeders' and 'psychic vampires' like to go to public areas, workplaces, or social gatherings to drain the positive energy from young families, the negative energy from sick people, and everything in between. They use holiday periods such as Christmas to exploit the prana'chi' or 'qi' of others. They regard this ability as a honed skill. Even if you don't believe in any of this, there are people who do, and they are worth avoiding.

Image Source: Humans are Free.

You may not recognize them. Psychic vampires intentionally steal life energy from sexual interactions and will feign love or sympathy for people in order to partake of others' spiritual forces. They 'store' this energy inside themselves, or inside crystals and objects, so they may direct these forces later at other people. They are so malevolent that I will not embed their how-to videos, or link directly to their material, on this blog. However, you can see searches for their videos, with typical results, here and here.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Venezuela's Pyramid Shopping Mall Torture Chamber


Al Jazeera: Venezuela faces food and medical supply shortage (24 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

From the WSJ (23 June 2017), a follow-up from my earlier post on Venezuela's crisis, as the country defiantly departed the Organization of American States:
"Almost two decades after Venezuela’s late president, Hugo Chávez, came to power in an electoral landslide, his country’s transformation seems to be taking an ominous new turn. A country that was once one of Latin America’s wealthiest is seeing its democratic institutions collapse, leading to levels of disease, hunger and dysfunction more often seen in war-torn nations than oil-rich ones.

Mr. Chávez’s successor, President Nicolás Maduro, has called for a National Constitutional Assembly to be elected on July 30 to draft a new constitution, in which ill-defined communal councils will take the place of Venezuela’s traditional governing institutions, such as state governments and the opposition-dominated Congress. The new assembly appears to be rigged to heavily represent groups that back the government.

The Maduro government says that the new assembly will find a peaceful way forward for a country enduring an economic depression and standing on the brink of civil conflict. The government says it is building on the legacy of Mr. Chávez, a military man who vowed to fight corruption, dismantle the venal old political establishment and be a voice for millions of poor Venezuelans. But the opposition, which is boycotting the assembly vote, calls it a naked attempt to end democracy and turn the country into a Cuba-style communist autocracy. The government’s own attorney general calls the vote illegal.

The 545-member assembly, a modern-day soviet, would hold unlimited power while it writes a new governing charter, which could take years. Meantime, the assembly is widely expected to scrap next year’s presidential elections.

'This is the last battle for democracy in Venezuela,' says David Smilde, a Venezuela expert at Tulane University.

For the U.S., the prospect of a new Cuba sitting atop trillions of dollars of oil reserves is profoundly unpleasant. For the past decade, Venezuela has aligned itself with Russia, China, Iran and Syria. Whether it thrives or implodes, Mr. Maduro’s petrostate could cause far greater headaches to the U.S. and Latin America than isolated Cuba. An implosion could mean bigger shipments of cocaine to Central America and the U.S., as well as a massive increase in the current flow of tens of thousands of refugees already fleeing the country for the U.S., Colombia, Brazil and elsewhere. And a consolidation of power could let Mr. Maduro deepen his partnership with U.S. adversaries.

The Trump administration has criticized Mr. Maduro’s plans to change the constitution, urging 'respect for democratic norms and processes.' The U.S. has called for Venezuela to free political prisoners, respect the opposition-controlled congress and 'hold free and democratic elections.'

Mr. Maduro’s move has aggravated Venezuela’s political crisis. The opposition, sensing a do-or-die moment, plans to ramp up daily street protests. Some 80 people have died in such demonstrations in the past three months, and the president is unlikely to ease off on the tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons.

'Maduro’s ultimate aim is to turn Venezuela into Cuba. And we will not accept being put in that cage,' says Julio Borges, the head of the opposition-dominated National Assembly.

Venezuela’s momentous new step isn’t taking place amid the kind of revolutionary euphoria that Mr. Chávez may have imagined before he died of cancer in 2013. Rather, it is being pushed by an unpopular government trying to keep power amid an economic implosion.

By year’s end, Venezuela’s economy will have shrunk by nearly a third in the past four years—a plunge similar to Cuba’s after the fall of the Soviet Union, and one rarely seen outside of conflict zones. In a nation estimated to be sitting on as much oil as Saudi Arabia, it is common to see poor families rummaging through garbage for food, even as the wealthy pack nearby gourmet restaurants.

Inflation was estimated by the International Monetary Fund at 720% this year; it is expected to surpass 2,000% next year. Shortages are so acute that three out of four Venezuelans lost an average of 18 pounds last year, according to a survey by Venezuelan universities. Diseases not seen there in decades, such as malaria, are back."

Protestas en Venezuela 22 de junio 2017 (23 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube. More from 22 June here.

Political prisoners in Caracas are transported to a former drive-in shopping mall, now prison, called the Helicoide. Failed Architecture provides a full history on the ominous building, which already had a negative, creepy reputation. There are rumours that there are underground tunnels under El Helicoide which reach out into different parts of the city. Image Source: arquitecturayempresa.

The Washington Post reports that political prisoners are transported to a pyramid-shaped complex called the Helicoide, where they are forced to eat pasta mixed with excrement:
"The headquarters of the Venezuelan intelligence service is a vast pyramid-shaped edifice known as the Helicoide, a former shopping mall which now functions as an interrogation pen for political prisoners and protesters.

The 30-year-old economics student had heard enough about the infamous building to be terrified as he was led into a dank cell in early April — his eyes blindfolded, his wrists bound by his shoelaces.

'You’re going to die here,' a guard informed him, he later recalled.

The student had been detained after throwing rocks at an anti-government protest. During the 12 hours he spent inside the Helicoide, he said, the guards pummeled his torso, gave him electric shocks and ignited a type of powder in his cell that had the effect of tear gas, causing him to press his face into the concrete floor to escape the fumes."
One Youtuber denies it all; he says no one is hungry and the neighbourhoods in Caracas are almost all quiet. You can watch his dashcam video from 23 June 2017 here. The video had a high number of dislikes. Another video from the same day, via El Pais, shows a scene with a man heard yelling in the distance, supposedly from a prison cell, that he is being tortured. A fortune teller read Tarot cards to predict Venezuela's future.



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Awaken the Amnesiacs 7: The Economist Predicts the Year 2017


The Economist predictions for 2017, released November 2016. Image Source: The Economist.

When I saw that The Economist's tarot spread cover for its special issue predicting next year, my heart sank. After the American election, #proofoflife at WikiLeaks, and the impeachment of the South Korean president, I did not want to think about any more political weirdness. In case you have had enough too, here is my TL;DR on The Economist's message:

The cover may or may not predict a terror attack in Europe or a nuclear threat in Asia in the first quarter of the year, cementing Trump's presidency in the second quarter. Despite the fact that Trump will backtrack on promises, his ability to mesmerize the populist masses will grow. A huge upheaval is expected in the third quarter, with Merkel likely to lose the German election and Wilders and LePen gaining in earlier elections in the Netherlands and France. A divided body politic must find middle ground. After watching this unfold, the globalist liberal establishment will renew itself by December through the debut of exciting new technology, increased connectivity in developing countries, and a redoubled effort to control the public space, both online and off, with figures from government, banking, entertainment and academia entering online discourse in earnest. They will absorb formerly independent Internet enterprises, recapture lost ground, go on the attack, and flip the populist script.

On Youtube, I sensed the alt-right, alt-media types didn't want to look at The Economist. They are weary. "They do this to us every year," sighed one Youtuber after making three videos on the subject. Even the conspiracy theorists are sick of conspiracy theories. They only reviewed this Planet Trump thing out of a dogged sense of obligation to keep up their end - New World Order, Illuminati, Trump, Pizzagate, yadda yadda. They were all sure about one thing. The cover contains a hidden message.

I envy the flat rationalist, who would scoff before imagining anything arcane here. This is merely an illustrator's whimsical reference, as though the editors had chosen a picture of a woman reading the future in a crystal ball. I hope it is true.

Perhaps the editors did this as a tongue-in-cheek layout to bait crazy conspiracy theorists. Actually, I think the editors at The Economist do not care how the cover is received by the alt-media, who are beneath their contempt. If so, then this is another tone-deaf, top-down misconception of the impact of the Internet on the public debate. On the Internet, mimetics, semiotics, virality and truth excavations rule the day, not inside jokes and polished arguments to a select audience. A tarot spread confirms the worst conspiracy theories about magic infecting high politics. To give evidence of this - straight from the horse's mouth - strengthens the alt-media, which cannot be good for The Economist.

In an earlier post, Magic, Numerology and the IMF, I observed that Christine Lagarde did not realize that she now had to speak to two audiences. Every speech she made would be channeled into the old MSM theatre, as well as the alt-media. She plainly did not understand the latter at all. Her clever asides would be taken the usual way by the old establishment, but on Youtube, they would feed the independent machine of conspiracy theorizing and populism.

To make matters worse, she seemed to confirm the conspiracy theorists' fears about a magic-obsessed establishment. Lagarde was making predictions for the year 2014, peppering her predictions for the coming year with numerological nudge-nudge-wink-wink-hint-hints, which promised (precisely, down to the day) the manipulation of oil prices to hurt Russia. To the alt-media, this made it look like her policy speech had a magical subtext and potency. The liberal democracies are supposed to be secular, humanist, and rationalist; they should not be run by the rules of parlour games, or by people who believe that parlour games are real. I argued that parlour games should stay in the parlour.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Hallowe'en! Soul Cakes and Trumpkins


In England, people originally carved faces in turnips, not pumpkins, on All Hallows' Eve. English colonists began carving pumpkins in the New World. Image Source: Telegraph.

Happy Hallowe'en! Today's post is dedicated to Samhain soul cakes, and how Donald Trump made Jack o' Lanterns great again. Below the jump, see some pumpkin carving competition winners before - and after - The Donald announced his presidential candidacy. The whole nation is carving Trumpkins in 2016.

Soul cakes and pumpkin-carving are offshoots of cooking, preserving and baking which are part of harvest festivals in the northern hemisphere. To absorb the power of Gaelic Samhain (October 31; pronounced SAH-win), the Catholic Church combined harvest festivals with pagan funerary rites and ancient spring death rituals. In the 5th century BCE, Greek women visited graves with libations and cakes; the Romans adapted that custom to placate lemures, or ghosts, with beans and salted flour cakes during the festival of Lemuria in May. Later traditions from Ireland, to Germany, to Jamaica, to colonial America, buried the dead with small cakes, scones, or biscuits, while mourners drank liquor or port; graveyard ceremonies in Hungary and Estonia also often involved drinking special fortified wines. All of these traditions combined to inspire the American trick or treat candies, chocolates and potato chips. You can see modern recipes for Samhain soul cakes here, here, here, here and here.

The graveside consumption of cakes and wine may have led to the term 'cakes and ale' coined by William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night (1601-1602); merry-making and a wanton good life symbolized by cakes and ale defend us from death. But they also remind us that death is never far away and bring us closer to it:
"Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?"
With one line, Shakespeare summarized the religious injunction against the pleasures and temptations of mortal life when one contemplates mortality. Yet contemplating mortality makes us want to indulge. This time of year is about losing and rediscovering a balance between life and death, light and dark. Cakes and wine ease the grief of the living, and calm the spirits of the dead. Overindulge, and religious authorities warn, you will find yourself possessed by forces beyond your will.

My friend C. suggested the BBC Radio 4 recording from 2011So You Want to Be an Exorcist. Other BBC shows on exorcism are on Youtubehere. The exorcists interviewed for the BBC Radio 4 show claimed nearly anything can open you up to demonic possession, including ouija boards, street drugs, sexual immorality (which can be code for homophobia), astrology, yoga, New Age spirituality, and tarot cards. Apparently, the Anglican Church now has an official exorcist on call in every diocese due to rising demand, which I find hard to believe.  It sounds like they realized the Catholic Church has cornered the market, and they want their own Indy 500. I can just see the C of E promotional television series about an Anglican exorcist, starring Helen Mirren. That doesn't exist yet, but you can watch the terrifying new American television FOX series, The Exorcist, online here or here. The trailer is here. In 2010, The Daily Mail reported here on 21st century exorcists.

Samhain soul cakes. Image Source: My Witch's Kitchen.

The Starbucks seasonal pumpkin scone with spiced glaze follows the ancient soul cakes tradition. Image Source: Starbucks via pinterest.

To celebrate the pumpkin harvest, here is a pumpkin scones recipe, inspired by Starbucks. I checked the best cookery book which collects the historic recipes of colonial America, and offer this pumpkin pie recipe, altered and adapted from: Helen Duprey Bullock, A National Treasury of Cookery, vol. 1, Early America (New York, New York: Heirloom Publishing Company, 1967), p. 54.

2 9-inch unbaked pie shells
2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin
3 eggs, well beaten
1.5 cups heavy cream or 1 14-ounce tin of sweetened condensed milk
3 tbsp. rum
0.5 tsp. vanilla extract
0.25 cups granulated sugar
0.25 cups brown sugar
0.18 cups molasses
0.5 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground mace
0.5 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. finely-grated candied ginger or fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground cloves or allspice

Make the pie shells and refrigerate them, or thaw frozen commercial pre-made pie shells in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, cream or condensed milk, rum and extract, sugar, salt, spices. Blend well. Pour into chilled pie shells. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Reduce heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 45 minutes.

Best pumpkin spice latte you can make at home. Video Source: Youtube.
Different pumpkin spice latte recipes are here, here and here.

History Channel's history of Hallowe'en explains the origins of Jack o' Lanterns. Video Source: Youtube.

A pumpkin carved by Scott Cully, "the Northwest's legendary pumpkin carver," Parkplace Mall, Kirkland, Washington, USA (2008). Image Source Mickeleh / flickr via Daily Picks and Flicks.


Cully's 2010 lantern, lit. Image Source: pinterest.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Awaken the Amnesiacs 6: Mona Lisa's Trump Card


The famous Mona Lisa or La Gioconda (1503-1506), 'lady of light' or 'light-heartedness'; Lisa sits between two columns, with only their bases barely visible. Image Source: Wiki.

In an earlier post, I argued that scientists and technologists ironically inspire the primal and anti-rational because they are transforming life, breaching boundaries, and not always weighing long term consequences of their innovations. To understand that process, one must analyze it with ideas from the arts and humanities. With regard to the impact of the Internet, part of the answer comes from visual artists, who are preoccupied with how we see the world and how the world sees us. In my previous post in this series, I discussed Gerhard Richter's mirror paintings and their resemblance to computers as mirrors.

Perhaps the most famous symbolic depiction of the mirror looking at us is Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa (1503-1506). Mona Lisa is smiling so mysteriously because the painting may not be about its enigmatic subject, Lisa del Giocondo (nĂ©e Gheradini), at all. The symbolism in the Mona Lisa indicates that the portrait represents an archetypal mirror, which is actively watching you. Understand the Mona Lisa, and one starts to understand our present circumstances on the Internet. The next few posts in this series describe how the symbolism of the Mona Lisa provides clues to our Millennial mentality. Given the uproar over Donald Trump's presidential candidacy, it is fitting that today's post also explains the meaning of the word 'trump' in Renaissance card games, and it discusses why the Mona Lisa depicts a trump card and concept.

For a taste of medieval walled town life from Leonardo da Vinci's time, this is PĂ©rouges, France, built in the 14th and 15th centuries around wine and weaving industries in the Ain River Valley, near Geneva; it is a seven hour drive by car to Florence, Italy. Video Source: Youtube.

The medieval town of Gradara is known for a castle which was finished in the 15th century, and would have been new in Leonardo da Vinci's youth. The castle features in the fifth canto of Dante's Divine Comedy, at the climax of the adulterous love story between Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta. Video Source: Youtube.

Florence in da Vinci's time, in a 1493 woodcut from Hartmann Schedel's Nuremberg Chronicle. Image Source: Wiki.










Interiors of Palazzo Davanzati, a restored medieval-Renaissance Florentine palace, built in the late 14th century. The palace reveals a claustrophobic, walls-within-walls mentality, with everything being enclosed: towns, compounds, houses, inner houses, locked rooms, hidden chambers, and secret passages. Inhabitants sought ever greater security from outside conflicts, which became more elaborate and complex. Images Source: Walks Inside Italy and Sailko/Wiki and Museums in Florence. 

Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa at the turn of the 15th-to-16th centuries during the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. The Mona Lisa contains triumphal allegorical symbolism which was very popular at the time. These allegories were everywhere. They were a cultural shorthand for a whole range of accepted ideas about the way the world worked. At this time, noble families and guilds presided over life inside walled towns. Constantly in conflict to amass power and consolidate control, they revived the old Roman tradition of triumphal processions to celebrate victories in battles. The Renaissance, according to Joseph Manca, was "the age of the trionfo." Parades took on symbolic qualities to enable noble families to assert their historical continuity with the greatness of imperial Rome.

Triumphal Victory Parades

Thus, 'triumphs' were parades, which became associated in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance with spiritual allegories. This transition from a real military victory march to a symbolic parade to celebrate certain social values is evident in Francesco Petrarch's poem, I Trionfi (1356-1374), written mainly at the Visconti Court in Milan. Petrarch's love poems describe his unrequited love for Laura de Noves (1310-1348). In I Trionfi, Petrarch (1304-1374) claims his love for Laura made him face ever more demanding physical, emotional, philosophical, and spiritual challenges. At each stage, a higher virtue or stronger allegorical figure triumphed and held a victory march. Peter Sadlon:
"In the first triumph, Love as Cupid conquers the gods and men (including Petrarch). In the second triumph, Chastity defeats Love, reflecting Laura's ladylike rejection of Petrarch's advances. In the third triumph, Death defeats Chastity (Laura was a victim of the Black Death). In the fourth, Fame defeats Death (her reputation lives after her). In the fifth triumph, Time defeats Fame, and finally (sixth), Eternity conquers Time (with the promise that Petrarch and the object of his love will be united at last in the afterlife)."
The poem, in Italian and English, is here. The victories of ever-higher allegorical figures are depicted in the illustrations below.

The triumph of Love.

The victory of Chastity.

The march of Death.

The parade of Fame.

The procession of Time.

The victory march of Eternity. Images Source: Peter Sadlon. ("The images shown here are from Bernard Quaritch's edition of Works of The Italian Engravers of the Fifteenth Century, with introduction by G. W. Reid. Reid denies the credit for the Petrarch prints to Nicoletto da Modena and supports the authorship of Fra Filippo Lippi.")

Tarot Card Trumps

Triumphant allegorical figures, or 'trumps,' were then included in the invention of the tarot deck, a kind of Game of Thrones card game for nobles. The earliest tarot cards look a lot like medieval illuminated manuscripts, but were adapted to woodblock printing, introduced in the 15th century. The Visconti di Modrone deck of tarot cards, which is officially dated around 1466, but may date from the 1440s, is one of the most prized possessions of Yale University's library.

The first established tarot card decks were created in the 1400s through the early 16th century. The Florentine Minchiate deck of 97 cards, developed in the early 1500s when Leonardo da Vinci lived in the city, was used to play a game with a catalogue of hermetic archetypes. 'Minchiate' means 'nonsense' or 'bullshit'; so this was a 'fool's game,' a bit like chess, and a bit like early poker, with some allegorical lessons, astronomical archetypes, and fabulistic morals thrown in for good measure. The World of Playing Cards:
"The game, like other Tarot games, is a trick taking game in which points are scored by capturing certain cards and sets of cards. However, the deck has also been popular with card readers who see it as a variant of the esoteric tarot because of the allegorical and symbolical content. The Cavaliers [knights or jacks] are man/beast creatures. The Valets (or Pages) are male for clubs and swords, and female for cups and coins. Further features include the replacement of the Papess, Empress and Pope by the Western Emperor, the Eastern Emperor and the addition of the Grand Duke. Some scholars believe that these cards may have served as teaching aids, because several trump allegories (Virtues, Elements, Zodiac signs) belong to categories upon which classical learning was based at that time."

This is a 1995 Lo Scarabeo limited 'Etruria' edition reproduction of a 1725 version of the Florentine Minchiate tarot deck. There was also a 1996 mass-produced deck and a 2011 reprint. According to Tarot Heritage, the first mention of a 'tarot' deck, comes from a 1440 Florentine diary. Video Source: Youtube.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Aquarius Season


Image Source: Archillect.

Your Aquarian blogger is on a birthday break until 20 February 2016. The post featured for the interim on the right-hand sidebar covered the 600th birthday celebration of Prague's astronomical and astrological clock in 2010. The Aquarian season is associated with several festivals which anticipate spring, renewal, and an awakening of the mind after winter's sleep and constrictions. The Gaelic Imbolc, the Celtic Brigid's Day or Saint Brigid's Day, together reflect a fire festival marking the halfway point on 1 and 2 February 2016 between the northern winter solstice and the spring equinox. The Christian Candlemas, a ritual for the purification of Christ's mother Mary on 2 February 2016, is represented in secular form in North America as Groundhog Day (in French Canada, it is known as Jour de la Marmotte). And the lunar new year on 8 February will be observed in Asia in 2016 as the start of the Year of the Yang Red Fire Monkey. You can find your Chinese zodiac sign here, although that gives only the simplest idea of the Chinese astrological system and another calculator is here. The celebrations run until the Lantern Festival on 22 February 2016.

Below the jump, see some tarot Star cards associated with the sign of Aquarius. Leigh McCloskey explains the archetypal message of the Star, which liberates people by encouraging them to consider their smaller values and concerns in terms of ever larger perspectives:
The Star archetype is concerned with the gradual emancipation of personal awareness by offering it a greater field of vision which evolves into a more impersonal or universal understanding of the self and its proper role. Existence begins to be viewed as inclusive rather than exclusive, other people's beliefs, traditions, and religions begin to be seen not as wrong but simply different and appropriate to their needs. This new tolerance ushers in a flow of potential, which was impossible, as long as former emotional patterns and thought structures remained crystallized.
In the Major Arcana deck, the Star card follows the Tower card; the latter symbolizes harsh, rapid collapse, change, and lessons. Thus, the Star card indicates deeper wisdom after trials, disappointments, and hardships, and a phoenix-like light from the ashes. The American film, Groundhog Day (1993) was admitted to the United States National Film Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" in 2006. It depicts the cyclical learning curve and mental and spiritual awakening symbolically associated with this time of year.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Awaken the Amnesiacs 3: The Hermetics


The hermetic principle of silence. Image Source: Lilipilyspirit.

Dark days behind us: today is the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere (04:49 UTC). The December solstice refers to birth or rebirth of the weakened sun in northern countries, often described in allegorical terms, as one New Age writer puts it: "The sun is dawning after the increasing darkness of winter. The Winter Solstice is nature’s physical equivalent of a spiritual awakening and enlightenment." From Theosophy Northwest:
At the winter solstice the universal currents of life help human consciousness to enter divine spheres. At the same time spiritual energy can descend from higher worlds into the human arena: the gods "descend into hell" to garner experience in their underworld -- our own world -- thereby bringing inspiration and enlightenment to humanity. At this time each of us also may undergo a new birth. Nature has opened the door, and it is up to us to recognize this and take a step further.
For denizens of the New Age Internet, this solstice is the culmination of 2015's online spiritual awakening, perhaps a Fifth Great Awakening in the United States, occasioned by a proclaimed end to the war between the sexes. When combined with hermeticism, discussed in today's post, the gnostic truce between the sexes attacks all polarized categorizations of identity. Online gurus argue that only hardened egoists prosper in an environment where inflexible categorizations of identity are the norm. Spiritual commentators prefer to cultivate a continuum of identities and they expect that spectrum to expand social compassion.

The winter solstice at Stonehenge. Image Source: Stonehenge Trips.

In the aftermath of the supposed collapse of egocentric western dualism, hermeticists pick up the pieces, to recover cultural memory and allow their amnesiac followers to 'remember' earlier ways of identifying with the physical, rational, emotional and spiritual aspects of existence. The hermetic part of this phenomenon makes the now-gender-neutral collective unconscious 'conscious' in practical senses, as with the establishment of new political movements. Of course, the shift in values is not widespread or universal. Nor are gnostic-hermetic solutions necessarily good ones, whatever their devotees may expect.

One must step back from the arcane language and beliefs to observe the actual trend behind them. Online debates on these subjects in mid-late 2015 indicate a tipping point, wherein interaction in virtual reality has begun to change behaviour and awareness on deeper levels. The Internet is breaking down and synthesizing demarcated experiences, whether between mind and body, between the genders, between the individual and the collective, or between the local and global. Perhaps hermeticism and gnosticism are the most durable ideas available in western culture to describe flexible identification, as individuals find themselves simultaneously immersed in virtual reality and 'real' reality.

China's One Belt, One Road Initiative (2015). Image Source: Roman Wilhelm/MERICS/The Diplomat.

One may ask how spiritual issues pertain to hard reality. Why does the New Age Internet matter, when China is building naval bases in the South China Sea, the Red Sea, and on the west coast of Africa? These online trends matter because societies rise and fall according to their adaptability when confronted with jumps in technology, social changes, and ensuing geopolitical conflicts. World War III, when (or if) it arrives, and everything that leads up to it, will depend on global connectivity. How our brains respond to connectivity and the ideas we discover or rediscover through that response may be essential to cultural resourcefulness and survival.

To ask these questions about western values now is akin to asking how the introduction of the printing press in Germany (1439-1440) led to the Protestant Reformation (1517-1617) and the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). The spiritual and moral outlook of a society is indexed to its level of technology and prosperity. When the latter two factors change, so does the former. Anomie and aporia, experienced then as now, will lead to experiments to develop values better suited to new ways of living. But that process emerges through trial and error. Societies sometimes depend on war to determine a new dominant narrative.

My treatment of these topics comes with a caveat. While I may comment on unusual online material here, I do not personally identify with evidence I uncover. Hermetic traditions and politics can be weird, occult, radical, fringe or extremist. My comments in this series of blog posts do not constitute my endorsement of these beliefs. They are presented here as part of an examination of the cultural historical impact of the Internet on western values, under increasingly universalized, yet decentralized and chaotic conditions. I also do not personally agree with conspiracy theories mentioned here, but rather regard them as signs of contemporary mentalities.