Friday, June 2, 2023
I need to take a long break from being an Internet Person
Blue-eyed angels of death
On May 27, as I was finishing George MacDonald's book At the Back of the North Wind, I took a photo of the last page but one (p. 350) because it reminded me of something that I wanted to check later. In the passage that caught my eye, the boy Diamond, at death's door, reports that he has been visited one last time by his old friend, the North Wind personified as a woman:
"Have you seen your friend again?" I asked him.
"Yes," he answered solemnly."
"Did she take you out with her?"
"No. She did not speak to me. I woke all at once, as I generally do when I am going to see her, and there she was against the door into the big room, sitting just as I saw her sit on her own doorstep, as white as snow, and her eyes as blue as the heart of an iceberg. She looked at me, but she never moved or spoke."
A few paragraphs later, Diamond is dead. What this made me think of was one of Whitley Strieber's visitors, a very white personage with very blue eyes, who came to him and said, "I want to talk to you about your death." I knew where to find this episode -- in the chapter entitled "The White Angel" in Transformation -- but I was away from my library at the time, so I took the photo to remind myself to check it later.
On Monday, May 29, I had not yet got around to checking the Strieber story when I found this on p. 30 of Muriel Barbery's The Life of Elves. Clara, one of the two magical children around whom the story revolves, has just been asked a question:
In response, she looked up at him with her eyes as blue as the torrents from the glacier, with a gaze in which the angels of mystery sang.
Like the North Wind in the MacDonald passage, she looks but does not speak; and the blue eyes of the two characters are described in very similar language, with reference to icebergs and glaciers. The "angel" reference is also a link to the Strieber story, and this time I was in my study and was able to check it. I took down Transformation and found "The White Angel." This is from p. 66:
I began to recall what had happened on the night of May 30 . . . . a small being dressed in white came walking quickly across the room. . . . I remember nothing at all of the size or facial features of this person, being, visitor, or whatever it was. All I do remember is an impression of unusual whiteness and light-blue eyes. . . .
The being looked directly into my eyes and said, "I want to talk to you about your death." When we made eye contact I saw only blueness -- the blue of heaven. It was like entering another world.
What happened to me next is hard to describe. An explosion went through my body. And then there was the dread. It was as cold as steel around my throat. I wanted to jump away, to run, to scream, to do anything to get away from that terrible, beautiful blue and those terrible words.
The being obviously sensed this. The blueness sort of snapped and I could see again.
May 30, 1986 -- and here I was looking it up on May 29, one day before the 37th anniversary of the event. As reported in my last post, "Two books featuring magical children in beech trees and invisible dragonfly wings," which also connects The Life of Elves with At the Back of the North Wind, I started reading the former book on May 27, which turned out to be one day before the author's 54th birthday.
Strieber's visitant, like Diamond's, is extremely white, has light-blue eyes, and seems to presage death. Although the eyes are not directly compared to ice, looking into them causes a "cold as steel" sensation.
After typing the above, at around 11:30 p.m. on June 1, I opened up The Life of Elves. My bookmark was on p. 122, the beginning of a chapter. The chapter begins with these words:
Oh, so handsome; so tall and blond; eyes bluer than the water of a glacier; porcelain features in the face of a virile man; . . . Yes, the handsomest of angels, indeed, and it made you wonder how you could have lived until now, without this promise of renewal and love.
This second glacier-eyed character is Raffaele Santangelo, the Governor of Rome. Earlier, in a chapter called (with reference to Santangelo) "The Voice of Death," Clara asks about him, "Is he the devil?" and is told, "In a way, yes, you could say he is the devil, but it's not the name that is the most important" (p. 68). Similarly, Strieber's encounter with his "White Angel" leads him to muse, "I have wondered whether angels and demons might be the same beings in different costumes" (p. 67). MacDonald also strongly implies that some people would see the North Wind character, known by Diamond to be good, as the devil.
Sunday, May 28, 2023
Two books featuring magical children in beech trees and invisible dragonfly wings
"What did the boy and girl want with you, Diamond?" I asked."They had seen a creature that frightened them.". . ."And what was it?""I think it was a kind of angel -- a very little one. It had a long body and great wings, which it drove about it so fast that they grew a thin cloud all round it. It flew backwards and forwards over the well, or hung right in the middle, making a mist of its wings, as if its business was to take care of the water."
The little girl spent most of her hours of leisure in the branches. When her family did not know where to find her, they would go to the trees, the tall beech to start with, the one that stood to the north above the lean-to, for that was where she liked to daydream . . . .
Only the eldest auntie, by virtue of an abiding penchant for anything that could not be explained, thought to herself that there was something magical about the little girl; but one thing was certain, that for such a young child she bore herself in a most unusual way, incorporating some of the invisibility and trembling of the air, as a dragonfly would, or palms swaying in the wind.
[She] sensed the nearby presence in the mist of an invisible creature, and she knew more surely than the existence of God proclaimed by the priest that this creature was both friendly and supernatural. Thus she was not afraid.
Saturday, May 27, 2023
Very minor sync: Mormon bloggers "advancing the ball"
Which brings us to the last and most unusual thing this blog is. We are faith exploring and faith compatible. We start with the gospel as a premise and then work out from there. . . . Instead of trying to get you to believe, here we take it for granted that you already do and then try to advance the ball.
Friday, May 26, 2023
"Russian-reversal" consecration revisited
In many Protestant churches, the word saint is used more generally to refer to anyone who is a Christian. . . . The use of "saint" within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) is similar to the Protestant tradition.
"When through the deep waters I call thee to go,The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress."
Thursday, May 25, 2023
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Syncs: At the Back of the North Wind
As documented in my May 13 post "Syncs: The World Beneath," I recently ran across the James Gurney book Dinotopia: The World Beneath, and I did eventually manage to read the whole thing. Of all the dinos and other prehistoric creatures in the story, only one of them has an invented name: skybax, a fictional species of Quetzalcoatlus. I asked Mr. Gurney if the second element of that name meant anything in particular, but he said he could no longer remember; he had invented it because he thought Quetzalcoatlus was too much of a mouthful.
I thought skybax sounded like sky-back, which made me think of the Flammarion engraving, in which a man pokes his head through the firmament and can see what is in back of the sky. An email correspondent was reminded of skybox, a method used in video-game graphics to create the illusion of an infinitely distant sky. This "sky" actually consists of the inner surfaces of a finite cube, though; Wikipedia notes that a similar device, the skydome, works on a similar principle but uses a sphere or hemisphere instead of a cube. So two quite different free-association etymologies for skybax each leads to the Flammarion concept.
In addition to Q. skybax, the (non-fictional) type species, Q. northropi, also appears in The World Beneath, but the "northies" are only mentioned on one page: p. 150, next to a picture captioned "Casting away the ruby sunstone."
And a northern whirlwind, wandering aboutLike a wolf that had smelt a dead child out
At the foot of the stair North Wind stood still, and Diamond, hearing a great growl, started in terror, and there, instead of North Wind, was a huge wolf by his side. He let go of his hold in dismay, and the wolf bounded up the stair. The windows of the house rattled and shook as if guns were firing, and the sound of a great fall came from above. Diamond stood with white face staring up at the landing."Surely," he thought, "North Wind can't be eating one of the children!"
As a child, I had recurring visions of underground time tunnels in the earth. The tunnels were connected to a transport system with openings that led into past, present, and future. Through these tunnels, I witnessed world wars, a time of dinosaurs and giants, as well as possible futures.
Friday, May 19, 2023
Monks with smartphones
Just thirty years ago there was very little electricity, and most travel was by foot or mule. But Athos has been modernising. Big money has flowed in from some governments and the EU, and the sound of car engines, which had never been heard at all until the 1990s, is now almost as common in some places as the sight of cranes. But it was the intrusion of the digital into the Holy Mountain which shocked me most. The first time I saw an Athonite monk pull a smartphone out from the pocket of his long black robes, I nearly fell over backwards.There was something about this experience which really hit me. In practical terms it can, no doubt, be explained or justified; anything can if you try hard enough. But the pit that appeared in my stomach when I first saw a monk on the Holy Mountain with one of those black mirrors in his hand came from an instinct I’ve long had: that the sacred and the digital not only don’t mix, but are fatal to each other. That they are in metaphysical opposition. That what comes through these screens bleeds out any connection with the divine, with nature or with the fullness of humanity. Seeing smartphones in a place so dedicated to prayer and to God: I don’t mind admitting that it was a blow. Even here, I thought, even them. If even they can’t make a stand, who possibly could?
My first trip out of town [after the death of my husband] was to Melbourne to see the Dalai Lama. Votan and I already had tickets and had paid for a hotel for two nights. I had seat 114, sitting next to Votan's empty seat, 113. I thought it curious to see all of the Dalai Lama's monks glued to their cell phones. There was a chaotic feeling in the air.
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Mini T. rex, dragonfly, One33
Yesterday, May 16, in the very same spot where I had earlier found an iron Green Lantern emblem, I found yet another mini T. rex.
|996 + 996 = 1992, when the first Dinotopia book was published.|
This is the Lonely T. Rex, protagonist of Google Chrome's Dinosaur Game. As in Green Lantern #30, the T. rex and the ptero are enemies. According to Wikipedia:
During the game, the Lonely T-Rex continuously moves from left to right across a black-and-white desert landscape, with the player attempting to avoid oncoming obstacles such as cacti and Pteranodons by jumping or ducking. . . . As the game progresses, the speed of play gradually increases until the user hits an obstacle or a Pterosaur, prompting an instant game over.
Later the same day, I went to Taichung, which I don't do very often, and saw this new-to-me billboard:
One33. As noted in my February 22 post "Will Power is the flame of the Green Lantern!" 133 is the S:E:G: value of Green Lantern, will power, and pterosaur. In Dinotopia, the pterosaur ("skybax") rider is named Will. Note also that the S:E:G: value of the word one is 34, so here's another juxtaposition of 34 and 33.
In the evening, I went to my school. (I have most of Tuesday off, with just two classes in the evening.) We have a big magnetic bulletin board, and several of the magnets used to hold things up there have the form of insects: eight or nine butterflies and one dragonfly. When I arrived last night, I found that one of these had been placed on my desk because the magnetic part had fallen off, making it unusable. No points for guessing which one it was.
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Dragonflies and double-D lemniscates
Monday, May 15, 2023
Yet another mini T. rex, and the Black Dog Star trifecta
In this sequence we see Peter Parker chasing his school bus which has a banner displaying the Paw Prints and a Pair of (green) Pentagrams
Saturday, May 13, 2023
Syncs: The World Beneath
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