Sunday, November 27, 2022

BREAKING: Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't exist, and Jim Carrey is now Paul Giamatti

Just when you thought Google couldn't get any faker or gayer . . .

None of this has been photoshopped. I have no idea what's going on, how long it's been like this, or how long it will continue.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Doremi, Dori me

Recently on YouTube I've been listening to a lot of old Moody Blues albums, as well as some of Justin Hayward's solo work, plus a lot of Kill_mR_DJ mashups, and of course that one Jay-Z Linkin Park collaboration. So I suppose the recommendations the algorithm served up aren't really surprising.

First, there was this 1995 spot on Entertainment Tonight featuring Justin Hayward with his daughter Doremi. (Yes, I suppose it makes sense that a guy who named one of his albums Every Good Boy Deserves Favour after the line notes of the treble clef staff would have a child named after the musical scale.) I clicked on the video solely because of the daughter's name -- Doremi is Domrémy, birthplace of the Maid of Orléans, which is the sort of thing that always gets my attention. The video was quite uninteresting, though, and it turns out she pronounces her name more like Dorramy, with the stress on the first syllable, than like Domrémy.

The next suggestion was truly inevitable: Unbeknownst to me, Kill_mR_DJ had actually done a version of "Numb/Encore," mashing it up with a French New Age song called "Ameno," with plainsong-style singing in gibberish meant to sound like Latin and a video evoking the Catholic Middle Ages.

The lyrics of "Ameno" begin with "Dori me" -- which is then repeated probably 30-some times. And for a brief second the video even flashes an image reminiscent of the Maid from Domrémy.

Note added Nov. 28: I just ran across this today.

Friday, November 25, 2022

La vie c'est "chouette" . . . mais avec "qui"?

Today, following some links led me back to my own August 24 post "Michael the glove puppet and X the Owl." I noticed this comment by WanderingGondola:

Has this post been exhausted yet? Nope. (A recent comment there: "If Jordan Peele doesn't use this as a sound effect, we riot.")

This reminded me that, despite all the syncs leading up the release of the Jordan Peele film NOPE, I never actually got around to watching it. I thought I'd peruse the plot summary on Wikipedia and see what it was about. When I opened the Wikipedia page, though, I first clicked on "Reception" to see if people had generally thought it was good (they had, natch), and then I started pressing "Page Up" to get back to the plot. Two page-ups took me to the soundtrack listing, though, where the title of the third track arrested my attention: "La Vie C'est Chouette." I wondered what chouette meant. Well . . .

Although "owl" was the meaning highlighted by Google, chouette is apparently much more commonly used as an adjective, meaning "nice, pleasant," and that is how it is used in the song, by Jodie Foster. When I looked up the lyrics, this bit got my attention:

Toute une nuit, mais avec qui?
Toute une nuit, mais avec qui?
La vie c'est chouette

All night, but with who?
All night, but with who?
Life is nice ("owl")

Qui, unlike our English who, doesn't sound like owl onomatopoeia, and the possibility of a deliberate bilingual pun seems remote.

I was led to this song by my post about Michael and an Owl. When I first linked Michael and the owl, in "The Locust Grove crop circle," it was through the word qui:

If the serpent is the Metal Worm, who is Michael? He's Mr. Owl, of course. In the de Vos painting of Michael, written around his hand is the Latin motto Qui ut Deus? -- a translation of the literal meaning of the name Michael. In English, it would be Who is like God?

and then a gif of a blinking owl saying "WHO?"

Ave Maria

As a young child, I had heard Ave Maria set to music, and I was aware that Catholics and football players prayed "Hail Mary," but for a surprisingly long time (maybe until I was 11 or 12?) I never made the connection between the two. Having been raised without any knowledge of Latin, I didn't know what ave meant, but I thought of it as likely meaning "grandmother" (because of Esperanto avo, "grandfather," which I correctly guessed was probably derived from Latin) or perhaps having something to do with birds (the class Aves). The relevance of birds was obscure, so I tended toward the former interpretation: Ave Maria probably meant something like "Grandmother Mary" -- as God's children might well address the woman called the "Mother of God." I never guessed that it simply meant "hail"!

I also noticed early on the similarity of ave to the name Eve, which struck me as a meaningful coincidence. Eve was also our "grandmother," of course, and Mary was the mother of the Second Adam, Jesus, just as Eve was symbolically the "mother" of the first Adam (who called her "the mother of all living" before they had had any children together).

Much later, when I became aware of Muhammad's apocryphal statement about the goddesses of Mecca -- "these are exalted birds, whose intercession is to be hoped for" -- that idea, too, became part of the cloud of association surrounding the phrase Ave Maria.

Today I was washing the dishes and listening to the Verve song "Bitter Sweet Symphony," with its repeated line, "it's a bittersweet symphony, that's life," and it made me think of the old debate among Mormons over whether the fruit of the tree of life was bitter or sweet. Referring to the two trees of Eden, the Book of Mormon speaks of "the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter" (2 Nephi 2:15). The problem is that the fruit of the tree of life is said elsewhere to be "sweet above all that is sweet" (Alma 32:40-42), and the forbidden fruit is said to be "delicious to the taste and very desirable" -- so which fruit was bitter? When I was a missionary, one of my colleagues attempted to solve the riddle by proposing, mostly tongue-in-cheek, that the forbidden fruit was the coffee bean -- bitter but delicious, and of course forbidden to Mormons!

The bitter fruit debate passed briefly through my mind, and my attention turned to other things. I thought of the /x/ thread I linked in my November 15 post "Mandrakes, treasure-hunting, syzygy," in which one anon had, somewhat surprisingly, listed "Spelling and Etymology" as one of the factors that might bring about paranormal experiences. This made me wonder if there were any words that I used often without knowing their etymology. Not really, not in English, but then it occurred to me: a word I am in the habit or repeating 50 times a day every single day -- ave! I know now of course that it means "hail," not "grandmother" or "exalted bird," but I realized that I hadn't the faintest idea where the Latin word had come from or what other Indo-European words it might be related to. I couldn't even hazard a guess -- what a strangely opaque word! Our English hail obviously means to wish someone good health and is related to hale and heal and other such words, but where could ave possibly have come from?

After I finished with the dishes, I looked it up, and it turns out it's not an Indo-European word at all. It's of Semitic origin, borrowed from the Carthaginians, and the similarity to Eve is not a coincidence.

Borrowed with an unspelled /h/ from Punic *ḥawe ("live!", 2sg. imp.), cognate to Hebrew חוה‎ ("Eve"), and as avō from Punic *ḥawū (2pl. imp.), from Semitic root ḥ-w-y (live).

So Ave Maria is literally, etymologically, connecting Mary to Eve and to the tree of life. This reminded me of this striking passage from the Book of Mormon, in which Mary is equated with the tree of life:

And it came to pass after I had seen the tree [of life], I said unto the Spirit: I behold thou hast shown unto me the tree which is precious above all.

And he said unto me: What desirest thou?

And I said unto him: To know the interpretation thereof . . .

And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look! . . . And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.

And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me . . . And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of God . . . Knowest thou the meaning of the tree . . . ?

Then I made the connection: I had just been thinking about the tree of life, and whether its fruit was bitter or sweet. Well, doesn't the name Mary itself mean "bitter," etymologically -- related to Marah, the bitter waters? And yet to Sancta Maria, "holy bitter," we pray, Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve! -- "Hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope!"

Then there's Yeats's idea that the two trees, the sweet and the bitter, are really only one holy tree and its reflection, and that we undo the Fall when we "gaze no more in the bitter glass."

I think I'm starting to agree that there is something paranormal about etymology.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

In Mormon Russia, the Lord consecrates things unto YOU.

Here's a complete list of Bible passages where consecrate is used with the preposition to or unto -- thus excluding those passages where consecrate means "to ordain a priest": 

For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day (Ex. 32:39).

And he [a Nazarite] shall consecrate unto the Lord the days of his separation (Num. 6:12).

But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron [taken in the pillage of Jericho], are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord (Josh. 6:19).

And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord [to help build the Temple]? (1 Chr. 29:5)

Then Hezekiah answered and said, Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the Lord, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the Lord. And the congregation brought in sacrifices and thank offerings; and as many as were of a free heart burnt offerings (2 Chr. 29:31).

And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the Lord their God, and laid them by heaps (2 Chr. 31:6).

Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I [the Lord] will consecrate their [the conquered heathen nations'] gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth (Micah 4:13).

Noticing a pattern here? Now here's the corresponding list for the Book of Mormon (also including passages with for, of which there are none in the Bible):

Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord. Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring (2 Ne. 1:6-7).

Wherefore, if ye [Zoram] shall keep the commandments of the Lord, the Lord hath consecrated this land for the security of thy seed with the seed of my son [Nephi] (2 Ne. 1:32).

Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain (2 Ne. 2:2).

And may the Lord consecrate also unto thee [Joseph] this land, which is a most precious land, for thine inheritance and the inheritance of thy seed with thy brethren, for thy security forever, if it so be that ye shall keep the commandments of the Holy One of Israel (2 Ne. 3:2).

Wherefore, I [God] will consecrate this land unto thy seed, and them who shall be numbered among thy seed, forever, for the land of their inheritance; for it is a choice land, saith God unto me [Jacob] (2 Ne. 10:19).

But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he [the Father] will consecrate thy performance unto thee [the worshiper], that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul (2 Ne. 32:9).

And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people (2 Ne. 33:4).

For I [Jesus] will make my people with whom the Father hath covenanted, yea, I will make thy horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass. And thou shalt beat in pieces many people; and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. And behold, I am he who doeth it (3 Ne. 20:19).

In the Bible, things are almost invariably consecrated by human beings to the Lord. The only exceptions are a few passages in which consecrated is passive, not making explicit who does the consecrating, and the final passage, from Micah, where the Lord consecrates something to himself. Not once in the entire Bible is anything ever said to be consecrated to anyone or anything other than the Lord.

In the Book of Mormon, on the other hand, we see the "Russian reversal" alluded to in my title: Things are always consecrated by the Lord to human beings, and the only exception is -- Jesus quoting the Bible! And which passage does he choose to quote? The only passage in the whole Bible in which (in keeping with the Book of Mormon pattern) it is the Lord who consecrates something, though in this case he consecrates it to himself rather than to mortals.

I've been reading and rereading the Bible and the Book of Mormon for nearly 40 years now. How is it that I never noticed this very striking contrast until today? Still full of surprises, these old books, no matter how many times you've been through them.

I intend to write a follow-up post later in which I attempt an interpretation of this Book of Mormon concept of "reverse consecration," but in the meantime I put the facts out there without comment and invite readers to chime in if they feel so inclined.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Alma's prayer in Latin

Latin is not among the 115 languages into which the Book of Mormon has been translated, so I had to do this myself. The original prayer of Alma the Elder at the Waters of Mormon, just prior to baptizing Helam, is:

O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart (Mosiah 18:12).

Here is my Latin rendition:

Effunde Spiritum tuum, Domine, super servum tuum, ut opus hoc faciat in sanctitate cordis. Amen.

I spent quite a lot of time fiddling with different word orders, and I'm fairly confident that this one flows the best. My only real liberty with the text was to translate with holiness of heart as in sanctitate cordis (rather than cum sanctitate cordis). I have no real explanation for this, other than that my "ear for Latin" (such as it is, trained only on the Rosary and the Vulgate Psalms) demands it. A Google search shows that cum sanctitate cordis is an attested Latin expression but that in sanctitate cordis is about 100 times more common, so I suppose I'll take that as confirmation of my hunch.

As always, I welcome feedback from (and this is a very low bar!) more competent Latinists than myself. Me, I'm just some guy with a Bible and a dictionary.

Forests of symbols in Cryer and Tomberg

In my November 18 post "Generalizing and Genesis," I noted a synchronicity that resulted from reading Valetin Tomberg's Lazarus, Come Forth! at the same time as Frederick H. Cryer's Divination in Ancient Israel., and I ended by saying it was time for me to "move on from the 'botanical' stage of simply cataloguing individual syncs" -- but here I am still botanizing, thanks to the same two books! These little syncs keep turning up, and I guess I feel a sort of duty to note them all. I had just read this in Cryer's book:

[French sociologists Marcel Mauss and Henri Hubert] sense that the individual engaged in magic either does not reason or is unconscious of his reasoning, that is of the processes by which he apprehends magical symbolism. [. . .] One wonders, of course, whether this is not simple a quality inherent in all symbolism, i.e., that symbols are supercharged with meaning.

At the end of the last sentence quoted above was a footnote, which I read:

Cf. e.g. Turner, The Forest of Symbols, pp. 27-30.

Although the note was nothing but the rather opaque name of a book, and although the sentence it was annotating was a rather vague one, the title nevertheless caught my fancy, and I made a mental note to look up Turner's Forest of Symbols in case it should turn out to be worth reading.

I then put down Cryer and picked up Tomberg. There I read this:

So there is in Anthroposophy a magnificent achievement of thought and will -- which is, however, unmystical and unmagical, i.e., in want of Life. [. . .] The search for the Grail, now become legend -- together with Rosicrucianism, which is surrounded by a forest of symbolism -- both testify that there has always existed a striving for a conscious participation in the logic of the Logos, a quest for a Christian initiation.

Just after taking note of The Forest of Symbols -- juxtaposed with the word magical and the idea of being unconscious of one's reasoning -- I encounter the nearly identical expression forest of symbolism -- this time juxtaposed with the word unmagical and the idea of conscious participation in logic.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

The JFK assassination coffee commercial, and lunar eclipses

In a comment posted on November 6, Debbie linked a video of a CBS news bulletin announcing the shooting of John F. Kennedy, followed by a coffee commercial.

Yesterday, I posted about how Google only returns a few hundred results for any search, even though it claims to have millions. In connection with that, I ended up watching a video called "Where Did the Rest of the Internet Go?" from a channel called Truthstream Media, by Aaron and Melissa Dykes.

This led me to check out other things on their channel, and today I began watching their 3-hour documentary "The Minds of Men."

Starting at the 2:10 mark, it plays the end of the CBS bulletin about the JFK assassination and the beginning of the coffee commercial following.

The JFK/coffee clip came in the middle of footage of someone typing a letter dated June 25, 1964. I had a nagging feeling that June 25, or the number 625, had some synchronistic relevance, but so far I can't figure out what it might be. Searching my own blog for that number turns up only my mathematical posts (on beta diversity and figurate numbers), where it appears as just another number.

Now, having typed that, suddenly I know: June 25, 1964, was the date of a total lunar eclipse, or "blood moon." For my November 9 post "Once in a red moon," I had counted all the total lunar eclipses since June 1946, and while I can't consciously remember any of the eclipse dates I looked at, I suddenly feel absolutely certain that there was an eclipse on June 25, 1964. Well, let's check.

Well, how about that? It was a lunar eclipse, but a partial one -- so it wasn't on the list I looked at, which only listed total lunar eclipses. So how did I know about it?

But now I realize that I typed in the wrong year: 1945. and I know why: Earlier in the video, at the 0:29 mark, the year 1945 is displayed, as the date of the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco. I accidentally got the two dates mixed up. How weird that it still ended up being the date of a lunar eclipse!

So I put in the correct date, and -- lightning proceeds to strike twice in the same place:

I have no explanation for this. What are the chances that I would spontaneously remember the exact date of a lunar eclipse in 1964, then mistype the date into Google and have the mistyped date also be the date of a lunar eclipse?

Incidentally, why did the number 1945 stick in my mind enough to make me google the wrong date? Because I had just listened to the Jay-Z track "Encore," where he says, "When I come back like Jordan, wearin' the 4-5, it ain't to play games witchoo"; elsewhere on the same track he raps "I came, I saw, I conquered," and just as I listened to that line a girl walked past wearing a black T-shirt with "Veni Vidi Vici" in white letters." Of course, 45 is also the number of Trump, who was born on a Blood Moon.

Actually, it wasn't the original "Encore"; it was the mashed-up-with-Linkin-Park version. When I'm in a certain frame of mind, I really dig this stuff.

I don't know who thought these two songs would go well together -- Chester's all "I'm at the end of my rope and can't take much more of this," and Jay be like "Can I get a encore? Do ya want more?" -- but it sort of works. Kind of a Veteran Cosmic Rocker vibe.

Note added: I just noticed that I happened to post this in the early hours of November 22 -- the anniversary of JFK's murder.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Challenge: Find any search string that returns more than 500 Google results

Remember Jorn Barger's "Elvis Index" from the golden age of the Internet? The idea was to use the Altavista search engine to quantify the relative poularity of various things by taking the number of search results for any given topic and comparing it to the number of results for the string elvis.

Suppose we tried the same thing with Google now. If I put in elvis, Google tells me there are about 348 million results, so that number is 1 elvis. For world cup, there are supposedly 2.84 billion results, so that's 8.16 elvises. Self-cleaning terrarium yields 1.85 million results, so that's about 5.32 millielvises. That seems plausible enough. Everyone knows that the World Cup is considerably bigger than Elvis, and that Elvis is orders of magnitude more popular than self-cleaning terraria.

But suppose we look at the real number of Google results. After searching for elvis and being told that there are 384 million results, we patiently click through to the very last page of those results -- which, rather surprisingly, turns out to be the 19th page!

So we click to "repeat the search with the omitted results included" -- we want every result -- and once again click through to the last page. This time, we find that there are 40 pages, and a whopping 400 results.

And that's it! You've reached the end of the Internet, as far as Google is concerned. I mean they did say about 348 million, not precisely that number. So the real value of one elvis is 400.

I've tried this with a wide variety of search strings, and the most results I've ever been able to get (Jesus Christ and basketball are tied for the number-one place, closely followed by rancho cucamonga and fruit salad) is 434, or 1.085 elvises.

Nor have I been able to find any strings (other than literal gibberish) that return less than half an elvis. The not-very-popular dinosaur styracosaurus returns 94 centielvises, just edging out covid-19. Even vendergood, the name of an extremely obscure language invented by child prodigy William James Sidis at the age of eight, returns 66 centielvises.

Google search is a scam. It says it has millions of hits for whatever you're searching for, but it doesn't. It doesn't even have 500, for anything. If it weren't free, I think this would literally be fraud.

Bing is the same. If you search for elvis, it's impossible to click beyond the 14th page, so only 134 results are visible. DuckDuckGo doesn't provide numbers, but you can only click "more results" 10 times before you reach the end of its elvis offerings. Yandex offers 25 pages of results. No search engine actually delivers the millions of results they advertise.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Sync: Generalizing and Genesis

I had just read this in Valentin Tomberg’s Lazarus Come Forth:

Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and St. Augustine . . . also saw no other possibility than either to stop short at Genesis without further thought, or to form thoughts about it—and to think about Genesis other than “platonically” is hardly possible.

when, setting it down and opening another book I am reading, I read this in Frederick C. Cryer’s Divination in Ancient Israel:

Of what use is a lot of disparate information if we cannot generalise it in some fashion? Having progressed from comparative studies which understood meaning as genesis . . .

I read these two passages literally one after the other. The sync resonates with my thoughts about synchronicity itself recently: that it’s time for me to move on from the “botanical” stage of simply cataloguing individual syncs and begin thinking about the phenomenon as a whole in a synthetic manner.

Not in this post, though. Honestly, I’m feeling a bit sleepy now. But when I wake up . . .

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Aleister Crowley on Joseph Smith; and a minor sync about "soci-owl-ogy" and vampires

Today I read Massimo Introvigne's paper "The Beast and the Prophet: Aleister Crowley's Fascination with Joseph Smith," which I ran into the other day while searching for any link between Joseph Smith and the mandrake. (This paper was a hit because it mentions Crowley's Mandrake Press.) It was moderately interesting; Crowley had, as may be expected, no very deep understanding of the Mormon Prophet, but he does allude unmistakably to him in Moonchild:

All gave way to a most enigmatic figure. It was an insignificant face and form; but the attribution of him filled all heaven. In his sphere was primarily a mist which Iliel instinctively recognized as malarious; and she got an impression, rather than a vision, of an immense muddy river rushing through swamps. And then she saw that from this man's brain issued phantoms like pigeons. They were neither Red Indians nor Israelites, yet they had something of each in their bearing. And these poured like smoke from the head of this little man. In his hand was a book, and he held it over his head. And the book was guarded by an angelic figure whose face was extraordinarily stern and unbeautiful, but who scattered with wide hands the wealth of life, children, and corn, and gold. And behind all these things was a great multitude; and about them were the symbolic forms of exile and death and every persecution, and the hideous laughter of triumphant enemies. All this seemed to weigh heavily upon the little man that had created it.

After finishing the paper, I fell to wondering who this Massimo Introvigne was. Google summarized him as "Italian sociologist" and sent me to his Wikipedia page. I noted that he was born on June 14, that he has written about various "new religious movements" including Mormonism, and that there is a whole section of the entry called "Popular culture and vampires":

He was the Italian director of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, which included the leading academic scholars in the field of the literary and historical study of the vampire myth. In 1997, J. Gordon Melton and Introvigne organized an event at the Westin Hotel in Los Angeles where 1,500 attendees came dressed as vampires for "creative writing contest, Gothic rock music and theatrical performances".

After browsing that, I began reading a new book: Frederick H. Cryer's Divination in Ancient Israel and its Near Eastern Environment: A Socio-Historical Investigation, beginning with the unpromisingly jokey Introduction. One of the headings in the Introduction is "Soci-owl-ogy?" -- which caught my eye because of its possible relation to recent owl syncs, but it turned out to be nothing but a sniggering reference to an American graduate student who, with his provincial accent, "spoke unceasingly of 'soci-owl-ogy,' and was so enthusiastic in his advocacy of the science that he once" employed a stupidly inept mixed metaphor in singing its praises. Har-har. Anyway, it still counts as an owl reference in the eyes of the sync fairies.

A couple of pages later, still under the "Soci-owl-ogy?" heading, we read this:

Ultimately, structural functionalism relies on a species of teleological argumentation in which the telos in question is the equilibrium presupposed by the researcher. One is reminded of the old joke in which a passerby, seeing a hippy walking along snapping his fingers, asks him why he does so. "Man, it keeps the vampires away!" he is told; and when he asks if the hippy really believe that finger-snapping repels vampires, the other replies, 'You seen any vampires lately, have you?'"

Hipsters, flipsters, and finger-poppin' daddies! Not off to a great start, this book. If this cat blows any more of this bad jazz, I don't think I can be arsed to stick around for whatever groovy might be stashed with his frame.

Anyway, sociology and vampires: not a juxtaposition you run into every day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Behold there are save two churches only

James Tissot, The Prophecy of the Destruction of the Temple

From the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:9-12:

And it came to pass that [the angel] said unto me: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil.

And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.

And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.

And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.

Two churches only. Here's one of them, represented by its president, Harold B. Lee, speaking in 1972:

I want to warn this great body of priesthood against that great sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, which has been labeled as a sin second only in seriousness to the sin of murder. I speak of the sin of adultery, which, as you know, was the name used by the Master as he referred to unlicensed sexual sins of fornication as well as adultery; and besides this, the equally grievous sin of homosexuality, which seems to be gaining momentum with social acceptance in the Babylon of the world, of which Church members must not be a part.

While we are in the world, we must not be of the world. Any attempts being made by the schools or places of entertainment to flaunt sexual perversions, which can do nothing but excite to experimentation, must find among the priesthood in this church a vigorous and unrelenting defense through every lawful means that can be employed.

The common judges of Israel, our bishops and stake presidents, must not stand by and fail to apply disciplinary measures within their jurisdiction, as set forth plainly in the laws of the Lord and procedures as set forth in plain and simple instructions that cannot be misunderstood. Never must we allow supposed mercy to the unrepentant sinner to rob the justice upon which true repentance from sinful practices is predicated.

And here, in the Current Year, is the other:

Here's their official statement:

The doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints related to marriage between a man and a woman is well known and will remain unchanged.

We are grateful for the continuing efforts of those who work to ensure the Respect for Marriage Act includes appropriate religious freedom protections while respecting the law and preserving the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

We believe this approach is the way forward. As we work together to preserve the principles and practices of religious freedom together with the rights of LGBTQ individuals, much can be accomplished to heal relationships and foster greater understanding.

I guess I shouldn't be shocked. They already support the sexual mutilation of children; what's left to be shocked by? It still feels unreal, though. I never would have dreamed even a few years ago that this day would come, and it's hard to express the revulsion I feel. Whore really is the mot juste.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Joan of Arc accused of carrying a mandrake

From J. G. Frazer's Jacob an the Mandrakes:

One of the articles of accusation against Joan of Arc was that 'the said Joanna was once wont to carry a mandrake in her bosom, hoping by means of it to enjoy prosperity in riches and temporal things, alleging that the said mandrake had such a power and effect'. This accusation the Maid utterly denied. Being asked what she did with her mandrake, she replied that she never had one, but she had heard say there was one near her town, though she had never seen it. Moreover, she had heard that a mandrake is a dangerous thing and difficult to keep; she did not know what it was used for. Questioned further about the particular mandrake which she admitted to have heard about, she answered that she had been told it was in the ground under a hazel-tree, but the exact spot she did not know. Interrogated as to the use to which a mandrake is put, she replied that she had heard that it causes money to come, but she did not believe it, and the voices that spoke to her had never said anything to her on the subject.

Mandrakes, treasure-hunting, syzygy

A day or two ago I ran into a thread on /x/ which I can't seem to find in the archives. The OP asked if spending a lot of time thinking about the paranormal would cause paranormal events to occur in one's life. One of the replies said something like, "No, but learning a new word will cause people around you to start using it more often." Then there was another cryptic reply, where the anon listed three words -- I can't remember the first, but the second and third were syzygy and perplexed -- and said he was just putting them out in the ether for his own purposes, and that just by reading them, even without understanding them, we would be helping him out.

The persistence of mandrakes in the sync stream led me to do some reading. I found this in J. G. Frazer's Jacob and the Mandrakes (1917):

To this day there are 'artists' in the East who make a business of carving genuine roots of mandrakes in human form and putting them on the market, where they are purchased for the sake of the marvellous properties which popular superstition attributes to them. . . . The virtues ascribed to these figures are not always the same. Some act as infallible love-charms, others make the wearer invulnerable or invisible ; but almost all have this in common that they reveal treasures hidden under the earth, and that they can relieve their owner of chronic illness by absorbing it into themselves.

This made me think of Joseph Smith, of course, and I poked around online trying to find if he had ever used mandrakes in his treasure-hunting days. I didn't find anything, but in the process of searching I ran across a reference to "The Beast and the Prophet: Aleister Crowley's Fascination with Joseph Smith," a chapter by Massimo Introvigne in the Oxford University Press book Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism, edited by Henrik Bogdan and Martin P. Starr.

The chapter wasn't available to read on the OUP website, so I searched for it elsewhere online. That's when I found that, before it became a book chapter, it had been published as an article in a journal called SYZYGY.

Earlier today I had been thinking about a technique I had read about some time ago in an old David St. Clair book for recalling forgotten facts. I was just thinking today that I wanted to try it but couldn't think of any specific facts that I had forgotten. Everything that came to mind as something I might want to recall, I could already recall perfectly. Well, now I have something to try it on: the first of the three words. Right now all I can come up with is bellicose, but I also have the sense that this is a confabulated memory and that the actual word was something else.

Update: Never mind, I found the thread. The forgotten word -- actually the second on the list, not the first -- was neoteny. (Odd I would have forgotten that word just months after reading a book on the subject! And where did bellicose come from?)

Man, these drakes!

In my November 4 post "Kanye and El Kanah," I connected the word mandrake with "a man called Drake," meaning that one Canadian rapper. On November 13, Poppop left a comment (discussed here) connecting mandrake with "an anthropomorphic duck superhero, Man-Drake." Today (early November 15 here in Taiwan, still the 14th in Mexico), Dan Piraro posted this on his blog:

Monday, November 14, 2022

Oh, no, does this mean the "standing prophecies" continue beyond 2021?

Over at The Magician's Table, I consider Herschel Walker as a possible omen that Joe and Kamala will serve a second term -- or perhaps that we'll get the "Triumvirate" Debbie has been predicting.

Elephant fish, unicorn fish

In a recent comment, ben wrote "Also someone noticed that this elephant toy looks like some kind of fish creature when upside down," linking these two pictures:

I read and responded to the comment at about 12:30. Just hours later, at around 4:00, one of my young students was very excited to show me her new pencil case. (She said it was new, anyway; it certainly doesn't look very new!)

"What's that?" I said. "A cat?" And then, noticing the horn, "Or no, it's a unicorn, isn't it?"

"Yes, a unicorn!" -- then, after a brief pause, "No, a fish!"

"A fish? How is it a fish?"

"A shark! This is a shark!" -- and she indicated the horn, presumably meaning that it could be the dorsal fin of a shark.

With ben's elephant, the trunk is similarly reinterpreted as a dorsal fin. And although the makara is most often depicted as an elephant-headed fish, it is also sometimes shown with a horn or horns. Keep in mind that Makara is also the Sanskrit name for the constellation Capricornus, whose Latin name is literally "goat-horn."

Quel canard! Quelle oie!

Referencing the mandrakes that have been showing up in the syn stream recently, Poppop left this comment on my last post.

Glad you saw the etymonline mandrakery -- I saw it too last week and almost dropped you a line. I had probably gone 30 years without encountering the word and then boom it was there online twice.
Perhaps in an alternate universe, there is an anthropomorphic duck superhero, Man-Drake, who fights crime since witnessing his parents' murder at the hands of mean hunters? Quel canard.

I read this comment on the afternoon of November 13 (Taiwan time). On the morning of the same day, approximately six hours before reading the comment, I had been cleaning out some cabinets in my study when I found a folder containing some very old papers, going all the way back to my toddler days. A lot of them, I have no idea why I kept them, but now that I have kept them all these years, just throwing them away would be unthinkable. Among the papers filed there were four pages of cartoons drawn by my brother Luther on the backs of documents dated 1991 and 1992, when he would have been 10 or 11.

Welcome to your alternate universe, Poppop.

Now I happen to remember that this is not actually an anthropomorphic duck but rather an anthropomorphic goose named Gilbert, and that his hunter nemesis is called Milton. There's no real backstory beyond that -- nothing but this handful of drawings -- but he's obviously an anthropomorphic waterfowl with a grudge against hunters, and he certainly seems to have super powers. I mean, in the first strip he is apparently strong enough to break a rifle barrel with his bare hands and fast enough to do so, pound the broken piece into the ground, and tie Milton's shoelaces to it all before the latter has time to react. Then he apparently takes the gun, repairs the broken barrel with some super-strong material, and later deflects bullets by holding his gun in just the right position so they hit the reinforced barrel and bounce off! That's some next level kung fu there.

Poppop ended his comment with Quel canard, "What a duck!" Later that day, some random link-following led me to the Jewish Telegraph Agency's take on Dave Chappelle's recent monologue. It's no surprise that the word canard was used a few times -- antisemitic and canard go together like kippers and marmalade -- but one instance nevertheless stood out.

That joked [sic] echoed a familiar line of Jewish defense groups, who are often at pains to point out that a disproportionate Jewish presence in an industry is not an indication of a conspiracy -- an age-old canard.

Taken literally, isn't that saying that the idea that disproportionate Jewish presence is not an indication of conspiracy is a canard?

One more coincidence to note: Before suggesting that "Man-Drake" might be an anthropomorphic duck superhero, Poppop said that the last time he had encountered the word mandrake was probably 30 years ago. Thirty years ago would be 1992 -- which, judging by the dates on the backs of the pages, is probably the very year that my brother's athropomorphic goose superhero comics were drawn.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Synchronicity: Mandrakes, Herschel Walker, and the Narmer Palette

In my recent post "Election prediction assessment," I discussed links between the Fool card of the Rider-Waite Tarot and the Georgian football player turned politician Herschel Walker. The Fool card depicts a man walking and is thus linked to the name Walker. It also happens to be traditionally associated with the planet Uranus, which was discovered by William Herschel -- who had originally wanted to call the new planet "the Georgian Star" after his patron, King George III. Back in the 1980s, Herschel Walker was actually promoted as "the Georgian Star," with explicit reference to the astronomer Herschel (erroneously called "William Herschel Walker"!) and his discovery of Uranus. From an old New York Times article:

Four Atlanta businessmen have come up with a plan to make money off the fame of Herschel Walker, the University of Georgia football star, but it may not be within National Collegiate Athletic Association rules. The group has printed and plans to place on sale posters featuring a black football player in a Georgia uniform with the words ''The Georgian Star.''

To avoid violating N.C.A.A. rules, the group, Accolade Inc., has blurred out Walker's features and number. N.C.A.A. rules forbid an individual player's name, picture or number to be used in a commercial venture. The poster sells for $6 and, according to Avery McLean, the school's marketing director, the plan calls for the university to receive 6 percent of the revenue from every poster sold. But it appears that the N.C.A.A. will not permit Georgia to be involved in the promotion. ''We have not approved the poster in question,'' said Dave Berst, the N.C.A.A.'s director of enforcement. ''It appears that the poster is contrary to N.C.A.A. regulations.'' The poster tells the story of Sir William Herschel Walker, the Briton who discovered the planet Uranus in 1781. Wanting to honor his king, George III, Sir William named his discovery ''The Georgian Star.'' In time, scientists changed the name to Uranus.

So that's a pretty direct link between the Fool card and the names Herschel, Walker, and Georgia. Furthermore, the Fool's white rose resembles the white Cherokee rose which is Georgia's state flower, and the white dog calls to mind the white bulldog that is the mascot of the University of Georgia football team.

In a comment on my own post, I added:

The Phantom, the comic strip character and proto-superhero created by Lee Falk, often goes by "Mr. Walker" (always with a footnote explaining that this is "for 'The Ghost Who Walks'"). Like the Fool, the Phantom is always accompanied by his faithful dog. I thought of the Phantom recently when mandrakes came up in the sync stream, since Lee Falk was also the creator of Mandrake the Magician.

That post linked mandrakes to El Kanah. A later post linked El Kanah to a black celebrity and a Georgia football team. (See the comments for the football reference.)

Today, preparing to write a follow-up post on the Fool's links to both George Walker Bush and Herschel Walker, and the implications for 2024, I decided to look up fool in the Online Etymology Dictionary, even though I basically already knew the etymology. Now what I normally do is type et, let autocomplete give me, type w and get, and then manually type in the word I'm looking up. I do this all in the address bar, without ever visiting the OED home page. This time, though, for whatever reason, I did go to the homepage -- and right there under "Latest Stories" was an article with the title "MANDRAKE ROOTS." Of course I clicked on it.

I have no idea how it got that title, since it makes no reference to mandrakes at all -- but guess who it does make reference to!

How did the moons of the planets get classical names? It can't have been a relic of classical times, because the satellites weren't known before telescope technology, in the 17th century. Their discoverers tended to name them after patrons, real or hoped-for, which led to an embarrassing lot of petty European tyrants honored with celestial bodies. . . . William Herschel proposed giving the multiplying moons suitable proper names out of mythology, a proposal readily accepted by the other astronomers and in use by 1848.

Not only a reference to Herschel, but to astronomers' naming new heavenly bodies after their patrons -- just as Herschel himself had originally wanted to name Uranus after George III.

The comment quoted above mentions "El Kanah" in connection with mandrakes. This name entered the sync stream via Joseph Smith's Book of Abraham, which lists "Elkenah" among the gods worshiped by the pagan Egyptians -- or that's what I had originally written. Rereading the Book of Abraham, I find that Elkenah and the other Egyptian-looking gods, including "the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt," are actually said to have been worshiped by the pagan Mesopotamians! This extremely bizarre idea led me to the Wikipedia article on "Egypt–Mesopotamia relations." As I skimmed it, I noticed that a particular illustration kept being repeated.

The Narmer Palette didn't mean anything in particular to me at the time, but the repetition, together with the distinctive iconography, made it memorable.

Today I checked the Junior Ganymede blog, where the most recent post was titled "Today" and had no text, just a photo of some flowers. There was a single comment, implying that Kent Budge had died and leaving a link.

I clicked the link, and it was indeed an announcement of the death of Kent Budge --  but it began with this image:

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Election prediction assessment

Over at The Magician's Table, I follow up on some of my election predictions and explain why I'm calling Georgia for Herschel Walker.

To be clear, I don't really know or care much about this election, and I hope none of you voted in it. It's just a conveniently verifiable public event on which to test my divination skillz.

Falling into a canyon: impossibly precise timing

Tonight I was scrolling through some of the YouTube subscriptions I don't check very often and ended up watching part of this sync video -- a not-very-interesting montage of various movie scenes featuring holes in the ground. (The eclipse in the thumbnail is what got my attention, but there isn't actually much eclipse material in the video.)

At the 8:08, it shows a clip from the movie 127 Hours, in which the James Franco character, having just fallen into a canyon, shouts, "Hello! I'm in the canyon!" It was immediately after hearing that shout that I decided the video was boring, stopped it, and did the next thing that popped into my head, which was to check The Higherside Chats to see if there were any interesting new shows. The latest upload didn't look particularly promising, but I started playing it anyway. I played it on the HTC website, but it's on YouTube, too, so I'll embed it here.

I skipped through the first couple of minutes and started listening at the point where the host, Greg Carlwood, was introducing his guest. At the 3:13 point, Carlwood said, "At 36, he fell into a canyon in western Canada and had a near-death experience that revealed the false covering of oneself and of reality."

So I watch a video and, for no very specific reason, decide to stop it immediately after a guy shouts that he has fallen into a canyon. Then I start playing a completely unrelated recording, and one of the first things I hear is "he fell into a canyon." Two minutes max between hearing the two canyon-falling references, and probably closer to one.

I just went back to the first video now and watched the rest of it. The next scene after "Hello! I'm in the canyon!" was a clip from the 2014 film As Above, So Below. The characters appear to be trapped underground, and a woman says, "If we find the chamber, then that's the way out. We'll find the way out."

I then went back to the THC podcast to hear what came right after the the mention of falling into a canyon. Continuing from what I quoted above, Carlwood goes on to say:

. . . which led him to study Gnostic and Hermetic teachings and explore the challenges of dealing with an awakening, which came to be put in the pages of his second book, Falling for Truth, as well as inspiring his newest book, which certainly kicked it up a level Exiting the Cave: Ending the Reincarnation Trap. But throughout his travels and examinations, Howdie started to see a lot of holes in the historic narrative . . .

In the sync video, "Hello! I'm in the canyon!" is followed by a clip from a film called As Above, So Below -- a well-known Hermetic maxim paraphrased from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus -- about finding the way out of a cave. On the podcast, "he fell into a canyon" is followed by a reference to studying Hermetic teachings and writing a book called Exiting the Cave. Then we hear that the author "started to see a lot of holes" -- which is pretty much the whole theme of the sync video!

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Once in a red moon?

Election Day in the US coincides this year with a total lunar eclipse, being hyped in the press as a "Blood Moon."

Donald Trump's birth on June 14, 1946, also coincided with a total lunar eclipse.

There were only 19 total lunar eclipses in the years between those two dates, so it's not something that happens all that often.

The moon being "turned into blood" is an apocalyptic sign in the Bible (Joel 2:31, Acts 2:20, Rev. 6:12).

I didn't see the eclipse, but on the night of November 8, approximately ten minutes before midnight here in Taiwan, I happened to step outside and look at the sky at just the right moment to see a brilliant green fireball streak across the sky and burn out. Like the meteor I saw this March, it traced a corkscrew path, but its overall direction was downward. My immediate thought -- probably influenced by the 369 tissues I recently saw, which featured the Chinese characters 綠電, literally "green lightning" -- was "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven" (Luke 10:18). It felt like a portent, but of what?

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Election predictions! Getcher election predictions!

Just for the helluvit, I took the old cards out for a spin over at The Magician's Table. All strictly shooting from the hip, but it'll be fun to check tomorrow -- or next week, or next year, or whenever the results are in -- and see how accurate or inaccurate they turned out to be.

Monday, November 7, 2022

The sons of Horus and the Four Living Creatures, and more syncs

The four sons of Horus (and their reinterpretation by Joseph Smith as the pagan gods Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmachrah, and Korash) have been in the sync stream recently. Each of the sons of Horus has the head of a different species: a man, a jackal, a baboon, and a falcon. This foursome -- a man, a bird of prey, and two other animals -- invites comparison with the Four Living Creatures found in the Book of Ezekiel and the Apocalypse of John: a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. I've thought about this from time to time but never really got anywhere because I could find no compelling reason to map either the lion or the ox to either the jackal or the baboon. Now, though, I think I've found a solution.

I have discussed the Four Living Creatures in great detail in my 2018 post "The Throne and the World." I argue that for Ezekiel, an Israelite living in Babylon and thus familiar with astrology, the set of four creatures "very like symbolizes, by means of four representative members, both the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve signs of the zodiac."

Both the tribes of Israel and the sons of Horus are associated with the points of the compass, but not in ways that can easily be reconciled. This diagram shows the orientation of the creatures in Ezekiel and of the corresponding tribes in Numbers.

And here, from Wikipedia. are the attributes of the sons of Horus:

The two systems agree in putting the man in the south, but the eagle is in the north while the falcon is in the west. Fortunately, there is another arrangement of the Four Living Creatures -- the astrological one, seen in the Apocalypse and in the Tarot.

Note that in the astrological system, the eagle corresponds to Scorpio. Note also that the tutelary deity associated with Qebehsenuef, the falcon-headed son of Horus, is Serket -- the scorpion goddess! 

If we map Scorpio (eagle) to the west, then Aquarius (man) would be in the south, which is just where the human-headed son of Horus is. Plugging the remaining sons of Horus into this system gives us the maps Taurus to the east and thus to the jackal-headed Duamutef; and Leo to the north and to the baboon-headed Hapi.

But beyond this astrological schema, what does a jackal have to do with a bull, or a baboon with a lion? Well, one of the things I discovered while writing "The Throne and the World" is that the Four Living Creatures are associated with the rainbow in both Ezekiel and Revelation, and that this (I hypothesize) is because they represent the four categories of creatures to whom God gave the rainbow promise.

And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you [humans]; And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl [birds], of the cattle [domestic animals], and of every beast of the earth [wild animals] with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth (Genesis 9:8-13).

Of the biblical Living Creatures, the ox represents domestic animals, and the lion represents wild animals. But the domestic animal par excellence, the very first species to be tamed, is the dog. Duamutef is sometimes described as "dog-headed" rather than "jackal-headed." The baboon on the other hand is as thoroughly wild as the lion.

This was immediately confirmed by the synchronicity fairies. Less than an hour after I had made the connection, I happened to see this on a vocabulary test.

The missing word for Question 18 is of course wild, confirming that monkeys (including baboons) are quintessentially wild animals.

Notice that when I snapped a photo of the test question and cropped it, I included (for no particular reason) Question 17 as well, about Meghan Markle marrying into the royal family. This later became synchronistically relevant.

In a comment on "Further syncs related to my Kanye dream and Facsimile 1," Debbie linked to a YouTube clip of a commercial that had aired just after JFK's assassination was announced. This was from an account called mkultrasound723, a name which caught my attention because my post had made repeated reference to an article about MK Ultra. This led me to another video posted by the same account, a very long (3-hour) conspiracy/synchromysticism video by Alan Abbadessa called "Hindsight 2020." I ended up watching the whole thing.

The video refers several times to The Lion King, and particularly the famous scene where the mandrill (basically a baboon) holds up the lion cub, and to the weddings of Princes William and Harry. What really got my attention, though, was a reference (here) to an alchemical document called The New Pearl of Great Price. My interest in the sons of Horus of course comes via Joseph Smith's "Facsimiles from the Book of Abraham," which he published as part of a book called The Pearl of Great Price. The video shows several images from The New Pearl of Great Price, most of which feature coffins, as in my Kanye dream.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Three six nine

In an October 30 comment on "Kanye with Aunt Nancy's coffin," Debbie brought up the number 369.

I find it interesting Nikola Tesla's obsession with 369( see link ) Also, Check out the 1965 song by Shirley Ellis titled; The Clapping Song and its reference to 369( link below )

Not until this past Friday (November 4) did I get around to following the link and listening to "The Clapping Song" -- with lyrics beginning, "Three six nine, the goose drank wine . . . ."

I listened to this in my office after finishing work and before going home. When I turned off the computer and went outside, I found that someone had left three packs of tissues in front of the door. There's an election coming up in Taiwan, and it's common for politicians to advertise by distributing little packs of tissues (or, these days, surgical masks) with political messages on them. Without bothering to register what was written on them, I picked up the tissue packs, put them in the compartment under the seat of my motorcycle, and went home.

Today I rode my motorcycle up to the Guashan Shaolin Temple. When it was time to go home, the weather had turned a bit chilly, so I opened up the seat compartment to get the windbreaker I keep there, and I saw the tissue packs again. This time, I noticed the number that was prominently displayed on them:

It says, translating roughly, "Keep the money from the Green Energy Tax in our city and use it to restore the 369 Pension Fund. County Magistrate candidate Huang Xiufang will absolutely deliver on her promise." Okay, but why 369? What did that number mean? No idea.

The temple I had visited was a bit remote, and I wondered if there was a faster way to get home than the route I usually took, so I used the GPS. It did take me home by another route (though not really a faster one), and while going down an unfamiliar road, what should I happen upon but the campaign office of that very politician, Huang Xiufang! I stopped and asked an old man working there what "369" meant, and he explained that it referred to a program where people over 65 would get $3000, those over 85 would get $6000, and those over 90 would get $9000 -- so "3-6-9" for the three payment levels.

So, nothing very meaningful; just a weird coincidence.

How beautiful upon the mountains are their feet!

In his July 21 post " Twister, 'The Extreme', and Shine On ," William Wright mentions a couple of Book of Mormon passages ...