Monday, January 17, 2022

Five cornerstones

I recently received another batch of emails from a correspondent who keeps encountering repetitions of the number 5 (55, 555, etc.). This made me think of the Five Pillars of Islam, one of which is praying five times a day. Looking this up led to the discovery that, despite the universal translation pillars, the literal meaning of the first word in the expression arkān al-Islām is "corners" or "cornerstones." Well, one can see why the translation has been fudged! A building can be supported by any number of pillars, but cornerstones by their very nature come in sets of four, not five. What kind of structure would have five cornerstones? A pentagonal one -- or a pyramid.

I decided the pyramid was the best way of conceptualizing the Five Cornerstones of Islam: four on the ground, with the fifth -- or, rather, the first, "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his Prophet" -- at the apex. I wondered, though, if the Benben stone at the top of a pyramid could really properly be called a cornerstone.

Since I've been on a Tarot kick recently (oh, there's a new post up about the Visconti-Sforza Emperor cards), I also of course noticed the coincidental similarity of arkān, "cornerstones," to the Tarot term arcana, "secrets, mysteries." I realized that the Tarot also has a five-fold structure, with the four Minor Arcana suits (derived from cards used by the Muslim Mamluks) corresponding to the four lower cornerstones of the pyramid, and the Major Arcana to to the capstone.

I have been slowly reading Fundamental Symbols, a collection of René Guénon essays translated into English. Just a day after looking up the Five Pillars of Islam and having the thoughts described above, I turned the page in this book and found that the next essay was called "The Cornerstone." Guénon takes the text "The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner" (Ps. 118:22, Matt. 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11, 1 Pet. 2:7) and notes how strange the usual interpretation of it is. If we take "cornerstone" in its usual sense, as one of the four stones placed at the corners of the foundation, then there is no one unique "head of the corner" corresponding to Christ. Furthermore, the foundational cornerstones are the very first stones laid in the construction process, so how could any of them first be rejected by the builders only later to be incorporated into the building after all? Guénon makes a very strong case that Christ is actually being compared to the keystone, placed at the apex ("corner") of a domed building. This is initially rejected by the builders because it is not square in shape and is thus not suitable for use in the rectilinear lower part of the building. This very shape which caused it to be rejected at first, though, makes it uniquely suitable for use as a capstone. The parallel to my own thoughts about the Shahada as the capstone of Islam is obvious.

As I read further in this essay (I still haven't finished it), I was amazed to find this additional parallel to my thoughts of the day before:

We find other interesting information in the meanings of the Arabic word rukn, 'angle' or 'corner'. This word, because it designates the extremities of a thing, that is, its most remote and hence most hidden parts (recondita and abscondita as one might say in Latin), sometimes takes a sense of 'secret' or of 'mystery'; and in this respect, its plural, arkān, is comparable to the Latin arcanum which likewise has this same sense, and which it strikingly resembles; moreover, in the language of the Hermeticists at least, the use of the term 'arcane' was certainly influenced by the Arabic word in question.

Do the five arkān of Islam, then, correspond to the arcana of the Tarot? Most of the mappings are surprisingly straightforward. I have already said that the Major Arcana correspond to the capstone and thus to the Shahada. Of the four suits of the Minor Arcana, Coins obviously maps to almsgiving, Cups to fasting, and Wands (the pilgrim's staff) to the hajj. That leaves Swords and prayer, which are not obviously related. However, I remembered that earlier in the Guénon book I have been reading, there was an essay on "The Sword of Islam," so I went back and skimmed that. Guénon mentions that the khatīb -- the person who delivers a sermon during Friday prayers -- traditionally holds a sword in his hands. "The sword of the khatīb," he writes, "symbolizes  above all the power of the word, as should be obvious to anyone."

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Vader & Rome

In my last post, "The St. Benedict medal and the peck," I initially mistranslated "Vade retro Satana!" as "Get behind me, Satan!" -- but the Latin for that familiar biblical expression is actually "Vade retro me Satana!"

Then I realized that, if you change the spacing, "Vade retro me" is the same as "Vader & Rome" (the ampersand originally being a ligature of et) -- which reminded me of this.

The St. Benedict medal and the peck

An email correspondent has drawn my attention to the St. Benedict medal.

On the obverse, St. Benedict is flanked by a serpent and chalice (symbol of pharmacy) and a raven (corvid). These symbols refer to two attempts to poison the saint -- first with poisoned wine, and then with poisoned bread that was providentially carried away by a raven before the saint could eat it.

On the reverse, we have the initials of a Latin prayer:

Crux Sacra sit mihi lux
Nunquam draco sit mihi dux

Vade retro Satana!
Nunquam suade mihi vana!
Sunt mala quae libas.
Ipse venena bibas!

In English:

May the Holy Cross be my light.
Never may the dragon be my guide.

Get back, Satan!
Never tempt me with vanity.
What you offer me is evil.
Drink your poison yourself!

Friday, January 14, 2022

More whiteboard telepathy!

What I looked at on my computer at home just before going to my school:

What I found one of the kids had drawn on the whiteboard when I arrived:

See "A familiar face" and "Pondering his orb" for more examples of the same thing. This is starting to get a bit creepy! (Different kids every time, by the way. It's not like we have a special psychic kid or anything.)

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Lord's side

Bruce Charlton's recent post about taking sides made me think of Moses' famous question, "Who is on the Lord's side?" Being at the office when the thought occurred to me, and not having a paper Bible handy, I went to to look it up.

Before I had even typed anything into the search bar, though, I noticed the "verse of the day" highlighted on the site's homepage.

I may post later on what it means to be on the Lord's side, but for now I just wanted to note this striking synchronicity.

Friday, January 7, 2022

More on the U.S. presidency in 2022

Over at The Magician's Table, I have done another reading that goes into more detail about Biden, Harris, and the Ahrimanic power behind them. Lots of interesting coincidences!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Monday, January 3, 2022

Only ants of color are real ants.

White ants -- I mean white ants; I only capitalized it because it was the first word of the sentence -- are cockroaches.

A classic example of -- wait for it -- anty racism.

December 27 was apparently International Cole Slaw Pun Day

The Secret Sun, December 27, 2021:

Bizarro, December 27, 2021:

Ecstasy, April 22, and June 6

Just a note to self on some recent synchronicities.

On January 2, I was hiking with my wife, and she happened to ask me about the meaning of the English word ecstasy, which is the name of a popular clothing brand in Taiwan (and maybe elsewhere, too, for all I know). I explained. Hours later, we were in the car, listening to jazz on the radio, and one of the songs had the word ecstasy in the lyrics. "Hey, did she just say ecstasy?" my wife said. "That's quite a coincidence!"

Then I realized that just the day before, January 1, I had reread Whitley Strieber's little book The Key, of which ecstasy is one of the major themes. Doing a word search on the Kindle edition, I find that the word occurs 40 times in what is, in print, a 105-page book.

Also on January 1, I posted "Softly now," in which I mention twice encountering the date April 22 by chance; and "How the Nazis changed the future, according to The Key," in which I note in passing that the encounter described in that book had taken place on June 6, and that this was part of a theme of emphasizing the number six.

Today, January 3, I picked up Mark Twain's Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, which I have been reading very slowly for over a year now, dipping into it from time to time when the spirit moves me. I only read a few pages today, but on those pages:
  • Joan asks the narrator when she first began speaking of a wound that she was fated to sustain in the future. He replies, "Your Excellency spoke of it first to the King, in Chinon; that was as much as seven weeks ago. You spoke of it again the 20th of April, and also the 22d, two weeks ago, as I see by my record here."
  • Joan speaks of her Voices saying to her, "Go forward, Daughter of God, and I will help thee," and says, "When I hear that, the joy in my heart, oh, it is insupportable!" The narrator adds, "The Bastard [of Orleans] said that when she said these words her face lit up as with a flame, and she was like one in an ecstasy."
  • Joan has to muster an army on very short notice. The narrator writes, "A deal of the month of May had been wasted; and yet by the 6th of June Joan had swept together a new army and was ready to march."
I note that the other date mentioned in what I have quoted, April 20, is the birthday of Adolf Hitler, which syncs with the Nazi theme.

We'll see if anything further develops from these syncs. I post them here in case any of my readers can supply a missing puzzle piece or two.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

How the Nazis changed the future, according to The Key

Over at Winking Back from the Dark, I discuss a claim in one of Whitley Strieber's books about what would have happened if the Holocaust had not occurred, and what it implies about time and fate.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Justin Trudeau is right, but why?

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is being correctly labeled un psychopathe fasciste for his recent comments about the unpecked. (Original video here, in French with English subtitles.)

Yes, we will emerge from this birdemic through pecking. We know people who are still making up their minds, and we will try to convince them, but there are also people who are vehemently opposed to pecking. These are extremists who do not believe in The Science, who are often misogynists, often racists, too; it is a sect, a small group, but who are taking up space, and here we have to make a choice, as a leader, as a country. Do we tolerate these people? Or do we say, let's see, because most people, 80% of Quebecers did the right thing, that is, they got pecked, we want to get back to the things we like doing, and these people are not going to block us now.

Superficially, the part I have bolded seems outrageous -- what do racism and misogyny have to do with personal medical decisions? -- but he is observably correct. People who are skeptical of The Science -- defined as the consensus of all credentialed experts except those who have had their expert cards revoked for not agreeing with that consensus -- have a strong tendency to be equally skeptical of feminism, the sexual revolution, and "anti" racism. That is, to translate into Trudeau's native language of Newspeak, they "are often misogynists, often racists, too." (They are also often black, something that the fascist psychopaths conveniently overlook.) He could have thrown in "climate deniers" for good measure, the fourth of Bruce Charlton's litmus test issues.

In some old post by Scott Alexander, which I can't be bothered to look up at the moment, he discusses this sort of correlation among seemingly unrelated beliefs -- the fact that, for example, knowing a person's position on abortion would make it much easier to correctly guess his position on immigration, gun control, and many other issues -- and sees it as evidence that most people don't really think out each of their opinions but rather mentally "join a club" (such as "conservative" or "liberal") and accept that club's characteristic beliefs wholesale. Is that what's going on with Trudeau's "extremists," whose position on the pecks correlates with other positions which are objectively unrelated? Are they, as he calls them, "a sect"?

No. In fact, the phenomenon noted by Alexander is not always a symmetrical one.

Do you believe there's nothing wrong with celebrating birthdays? Then I can with a considerable degree of confidence guess that you also believe that blood transfusions are morally acceptable and that Jesus was executed on a cross rather than a stake. But why should any such correlation exist? What do modern medical procedures have to do with historical methods of execution? Do these beliefs appear together because they are the articles of faith of some ideological "club" (implied: cult) you have mentally joined? No, quite the opposite. They are all just normal things that people would naturally believe, and the majority of those who believe otherwise do so because they accept the authority of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Association, a.k.a. Jehovah's Witnesses. In this case, your correlated beliefs are not evidence that you belong to any particular sect but rather that you do not belong to one.

Jehovah's Witnesses are a small sect, and the Great and Abominable Church with which Trudeau is aligned is a large one, but the dynamics are the same. "These are infidels who do not believe in Muhammad," Trudeau is effectively saying, and -- quelle coïncidence! -- "many of them also ignore the Quran and fail to fast during Ramadan." 

I do not by these analogies mean to imply that the System is "a religion," which it very obviously is not. It is not even really a coherent ideology. Nevertheless, it is the System -- Their beliefs, not ours -- which creates the artificial correlation among the litmus tests. Why would you swallow the fake birdemic or accept the fake pecks unless you trusted the System? Why would you be a feminist or a sexual revolutionary unless you trusted the System? Why would the topsy-turvy morality of "anti" racism even enter your mind unless you trusted the System? Passing the litmus tests simply indicates that you are a normal, healthy person who rejects the System. And that is why it makes you intolerable to Trudeau and all the other psychopathic apostles of Inclusion.

But why would anyone reject the System? It takes a very strong spiritual motive. And that is why the litmus tests are such a reliable indicator of Christianity.

Softly now

Painting at the Buddhist temple on Mt. Bagua,
illustrating the 3rd hexagram of the I Ching

There's a certain hostility in my online circle to the observance of New Year's Day -- an arbitrary date, corresponding to nothing in astronomy or history or religion, and therefore "nihilistic" -- but I've always liked it for precisely that reason. The Kalends of January, representing nothing other than the passage of another year, allows us to focus on that and that alone, looking back on the year just passed and forward to the one just beginning.

I say the day has no religious significance, but this is not entirely true. It is the Octave Day of Christmas and as such marks the circumcision of Christ -- the day he underwent the ancient Abrahamic rite and was given the name Jesus, after the great warrior who was Moses' successor, leading Israel into the promised land where Moses himself could not go. (The original Jesus was, appropriately, called the "son of Nun" -- meaning "son of the Fish" in Hebrew, but in English also suggesting "son of the Holy Virgin" and "son of no one.") Is there not something of Janus in this event, looking back to the ancient Patriarchs and forward to the transcending of the religion of Moses?

This year, though, the Kalends has another primary meaning for me. It was one year ago today that the Maid of Heaven, known to history as Joan of Arc, manifested herself to me, twice in one day, with overpowering spiritual force. I had been anticipating a possible repeat of that experience -- as the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith on the same day for four consecutive years -- and I was not disappointed. It was a good deal subtler this time, though, and seemed to come not from some external Heaven but from within my own heart -- but it was still unmistakably her: a subtle whisper that said, "Yes, I am still here with you, but softly now. After the earthquake, a still small voice."

It was she who drove me up the Mountain of the Eight Trigrams and had me spend the first day of the year in a Buddhist temple, of all places. There, one of the old warrior gods, drawn sword in his hand and finger raised before his lips, reinforced her message of "softly now."

This is not an injunction to secrecy, but something else. The synchronicity fairies had seen to it that, less than hour before entering the temple, I had read these words from one of Whitley Strieber's strange visitors: "Form an assault on secrecy. . . . It is the greatest present evil," and "Human life is about freedom, and secrecy is the murderer of freedom."

(These lines are from a strange little book called The Key, and the key is one of the attributes of Janus, whose Kalends this is. According to René Guénon, Jesus Christ has sometimes been represented in the form of Janus because he is called in the old liturgy the Key of David -- an appellation ultimately deriving from Isaiah, 22nd chapter, 22nd verse.)

Why the Maid?, I've often asked myself this year. Of all the saints and angels and resurrected beings who could have taken an interest, why her? She is such an anomalous saint, so superlatively holy and yet devoted to a mission that seems so secular and political. Why was someone like her chosen for such a worldly mission as the liberation of France from the English? And why has she returned now, in an era when any involvement in politics seems like a spiritual death-trap, when one would have thought someone like St. Anthony the Great would have been more appropriate?

Joan was born among a French people who were no more holy than les goddams, as they called the habitually profane English, and she made them holy -- some of them, anyway, enough to make a difference. She drove the whores out of the camp, sent the soldiers to Mass, and transformed thousands of souls by the sheer force of her personality. I suppose that, rather than the military and political consequences that followed, was what really mattered.

Elsewhere in The Key, Strieber asks his visitor, "What is the most important thing that Christ said?" The answer: "The most important thing that Christ said was 'be as the lilies of the field.' It is a message for the next millennium" (this was in 1998). This seems to be enjoining a sort of passivity that is opposite of the warrior spirit of the Maid -- and yet at the same time it is a synchronistic link to her. "I had a standard," she said at her trial, "whose field was sown with lilies. There was a figure of Christ holding the world and on each side of Him was an angel. . . . Written above: Jhesus Maria."

In writing this post, I was unsure whether calends or kalends was more correct, which led me to the Wikipedia entry for that term. In explaining how the Romans reckoned dates, it said, "For example, April 22 is the 10th day before the calends of May." April 22 is a date that has significance for me for personal reasons, so I thought it a minor coincidence that it had happened to be chosen as an example. Then, when I wanted to quote the Maid's description of her banner, I searched my own blog for lilies, which turned up not only the post I had been looking for ("The first rainbow flag") but also "I have enough water lilies, I need more crocodiles" -- a post about Roger Anthony in which I note that he died on April 22, 2014. Anthony's name also syncs with my passing reference above to St. Anthony the Great, mentioned as a saint very different from Joan, just as Anthony contrasts the crocodile with the water lily. (In Flaubert's novel about St. Anthony, the saint sees "crocodiles playing upon lyres" on the walls of the pagan temple in Heliopolis; I myself just spent the day in a pagan temple, and lyre-playing aquatic reptiles sync with Mr. Icthus-Oress.)

It is traditional to see in the New Year a new beginning, a dawning. Whatever personal dawn we might experience this year, though, it will take place within the larger context of the long sunset of our dying civilization. Softly now . . .

Softly now the light of day
Fades upon my sight away.
Free from care, from labor free,
Lord, I would commune with thee.

As all dies that can die, and all burns that can burn, distractions fall away and we find ourselves, in the midst of this unfolding apocalypse, "free from care, from labor free." Only God remains, and God's.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Happy New Year.

Five cornerstones

I recently received another batch of emails from a correspondent who keeps encountering repetitions of the number 5 (55, 555, etc.). This ma...