Friday, February 23, 2024

Gilgamesh was an elven king

I woke up with a few lines of verse in my head, all I could remember from a dream:

Gilgamesh was an elven king.
Of him the harpers sadly sing.
The sun and moon of heart's desire --
Oh, Troy town's down, tall Troy's on fire!

After jotting that down, while I was trying to remember more of the dream, a few more lines, in a different meter, came to me. I'm not at all confident that these were from the dream -- in fact I'm rather sure they were not -- but they came to mind as I was trying to call back the dream, suggesting that there is some connection:

O Smith, declared th' earth-shaking god:
Should Mars the debt refuse,
Thou hast my word that I will pay
To thee thy lawful dues.

None of this material is original. The quatrain from the dream takes, with minimal modification, two lines from a poem in The Lord of the Rings and two from "Troy Town" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The main change is the replacement of Tolkien's Gil-galad with the much less "elven" name Gilgamesh.

The second quatrain is taken nearly verbatim from Sir Charles Du Cane's 1880 translation of the Odyssey. The lines are from Book VIII, and the context is that Poseidon is trying to convince Hephaestus to release Ares from the golden chains with which he bound him after catching him in bed with Aphrodite. (In Du Cane's original text, the god is addressed as Vulcan, not Smith, but the lines are immediately followed by "Him answered then the smith renowned . . . .") The larger context of the Odyssey is, of course, that Troy town's down.

Torn from that context, though, Du Cane's lines suggest another reading: If Smith is not avenged by war, he will be avenged by natural disaster.


Shortly after writing down the two quatrains, I checked William Wright's blog and read his latest post, "Coriantumr and Donald Trump, the light-minded highness," in which he proposes that Trump is the reincarnation of the Book of Mormon figure Coriantumr. Unlike some of the other reincarnations William has proposed, this one immediately clicked with me at an intuitive level and made more sense the more I thought about it. I'm calling it a bull's-eye.

Then my mind jumped from Coriantumr back to Gilgamesh. Here's how Coriantumr's name is first introduced in the Book of Mormon:

And it came to pass in the days of Mosiah, there was a large stone brought unto him with engravings on it; and he did interpret the engravings by the gift and power of God. And they gave an account of one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people. And Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons (Omni 1:20-21).

Since Coriantumr was the only survivor of the carnage recounted on the stone, he must have engraved it himself. This reminds me of the famous ending of Gilgamesh, after the hero goes on an epic quest for immortality at utterly fails:

He went on a long journey, was weary, worn-out with labor, returning he rested, he engraved on a stone the whole story.

Coriantumr was the last of the Jaredites, who spoke a lost language no one else could understand. That's why his engravings on the stone had to be translated "by the gift and power of God" rather than by ordinary means. Similarly, in the They Might Be Giants song "The Mesopotamians," Gilgamesh and friends say:

And they wouldn't understand a word we say
So we'll scratch it all down into the clay
Half believing there will sometime come a day
Someone gives a damn
Maybe when the concrete has crumbled to sand

The "secret combination" theme from the Coriantumr story also appears in that song:

In Mesopotamia
(But no one's ever seen us)
The kingdom where we secretly reign
(And no one's ever heard of our band)
The land where we invisibly rule



My dream, and William Wright's post, were both on February 22, and it's still February 22 now in the US. While I was in the act of writing this post, which quotes a little-read translation of the Odyssey, Zenith of the Alpha posted a new video saying:

The strongest Synchronicities I've ever experienced connected with THE ODYSSEY and the date 2/2/22. Now, 2 years later I see ODYSSEUS is news on 2/22.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Above Majestic (with an excursus on turban jokes)

Last Halloween, I posted "Francis Bacon, papal keys, triple tiara, Denver Airport," which included a meme referencing that airport's sinister reputation. Yesterday, in "Hashtags, Keywords, Stones, and X," William Wright posted a still from an Elmo video, noting the striking similarity to the meme:



The character next to Elmo is supposed to be Rapunzel with her hair up, which makes it look an awful lot like the alien's golden tiara. Rapunzel and the alien both have green skin and mostly white eyes with what looks like heavy black mascara. The alien is flanked by two annoyingly cute little guys -- Minions with SpongeBob faces, I think. If you look closely, you'll see that Rapunzel is similarly flanked by two Elmos (the gold standard for "annoyingly cute") -- a picture of Elmo on one side and the muppet himself on the other. The main difference is that the alien is enjoining silence, while Rapunzel has her mouth wide open.

This made me curious about where the meme image had originally come from. It turns out to be from the poster for Above Majestic, a 2018 documentary about the "secret space program":


Take a look at that coin or medallion the alien is holding. I think that's meant to be one of the daughters of Akhenaten. She might appear to be wearing a beehive-shaped headdress like the alien's, but actually that's just how her head is shaped -- just as Rapunzel's "tiara" is actually part of her body.


Have you ever seen a cartoon where a guy is wearing this enormous turban, and he takes it off to reveal that his head is actually shaped like that? I know I've seen a comic strip like that, either in English or in Spanish, but I can't seem to find it now. Apparently, Google is deliberately making it hard to find such "disturbing or hurtful" content. Check out the very first image result with the English search prompt, though:


Seriously, six of the first ten results are from this "turban jokes to fight stereotypes" site. That's how self-parodying Google has become. And even these have a surgeon general's warning slapped on them. I can literally type bomb making instructions into the search bar and not get a warning, but here, red alert, "Memes about groups of people might be disturbing or hurtful!" Ya think? It's a strange thing to say about one of the biggest tech companies in the world, but it's hard to fight the impression that no one at Google quite understands how the Internet works.

Also, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that it is strictly impossible to use turban jokes to fight stereotypes. You can fight stereotypes by including a few totally normal people who just happen to wear turbans in a movie or something, but there's no way to make a turban joke unless there are stereotypes about turbans that you can count on your audience to share, or at least effortlessly understand. Take the first search result for instance. It assumes, and depends on, a widespread understanding that seeing someone with a turban on a plane is scary. Without that, the joke can't even get off the ground, as you can see if you replace the turbans with polo shirts or something without making any other changes. I guess the cartoonist thinks he's "fighting" this stereotype by subverting it -- in this case people avoid the turban-wearer because he smells bad, not because he might be a terrorist! -- but humor always subverts expectations and in doing so reinforces them as the norm. That's why so much humor is inherently racist and sexist and whatever-phobic. Whoever came up with this "turban jokes to fight stereotypes" project is either retarded or else a god-tier troll. Hopefully the latter, but probably not. I'll bet it says somewhere in his bio that he has a Sikh sense of humor.

Anyway, coming back to our topic here, look at what the stinky-not-scary gentleman in the blue pagri is saying: "So, I was flying to Denver . . . ." The search prompt was just turban joke cartoon, but here we are back at the Denver Airport, of all places.

I assume the movie name Above Majestic is referring to Majestic 12, the secret UFO task force allegedly created by Harry Truman. Whitley Strieber wrote a novel called Majestic, also referring to this organization. As documented in "Light shining through yellow flowers," I finished reading Majestic on October 29, 2023 -- just two days before I posted that Denver Airport meme, not knowing until today that it was from a movie called Above Majestic.

Above Majestic is available in its entirety on YouTube. It's over two hours long, but I'll probably try to watch it when I have the time:


Note added: A few hours after posting the above, I ran across this at AC. I think the implication is that she is stuck in the Denver Airport:

Lucid walking, and Carrotman Mushman

One of my collaborators on a blog about a quarter of a century ago, when blogs were still a novelty, used to use the online handle LucidWaking -- a play on "lucid dreaming" which I guess, based on the sheer number of search results it turns up now, has been independently discovered by lots and lots of people. Back then, people were constantly misreading it as Lucid Walking and asking what on earth that was supposed to mean.

Today I read a scene in Colin Wilson's Shadowlands in which the protagonist, under the influence of the chameleon men, finds himself able to enter a lucid dreaming state. He finds that if he tries to walk toward something in such a dream, he won't actually get any closer to it -- unless he walks in a specially-conscious way that he dubs "deliberate walking":

Another idea occurred to him. He tried concentrating hard, then walking toward the "circus tent." This worked; he could actually see the building coming closer, as it would in normal life.

The engagement of his will in the process of walking felt odd, a little like rowing a boat. . . . This "deliberate walking" brought a sense of effort and strain, but it was oddly satisfying.

He began practicing "deliberate walking" in the direction of the circus tent, and was pleased when each determined step took him closer.

So, all you who misread my associate's moniker all those years ago, consider yourselves vindicated. Lucid walking is, it turns out, a thing.

It's interesting that Wilson compares lucid walking to rowing a boat. As the old song informs us, in dreamland it is necessary to row your boat even down the stream, even though in waking life it would go downstream automatically, without the need for any deliberate action. The effort is oddly satisfying, though, so you'll likely find yourself rowing merrily.


On a completely unrelated note (I think), William Wright has posted a couple of times recently about the Pixar character Lightning McQueen, who is an anthropomorphic racecar voiced by Owen Wilson. I was vaguely aware that there was a real racecar driver named Steve McQueen, so I looked him up. Here's the opening paragraph of his Wikipedia entry (boldface in the original):

Terrence Stephen McQueen (March 24, 1930 – November 7, 1980) was an American actor and racing driver. His antihero persona, emphasized during the height of the counterculture of the 1960s, made him a top box-office draw for his films of the 1960s and 1970s. He was nicknamed the "King of Cool" and used the alias Harvey Mushman in motor races.

Harvey Mushman! It doesn't get much more "king of cool" than that!

By coincidence, just yesterday someone brought up in conversation the 1950 Jimmy Stewart movie Harvey, the title being the name of the six-foot-three-and-a-half-inch invisible white rabbit who is the Stewart character's probably-imaginary best friend. So when I read about Steve McQueen's pseudonym, I was already primed to think of Harvey as the name of a rabbit.

Harvey is only the second individual named Mushman I've run across in my life. The first was Carrotman Mushman, one of the many stuffed monkeys my brother owned as a kid. He was given that name because the night before my brother got him, he had had a dream in which someone was chanting, "Carrotman Mushman! Carrotman Mushman!" over and over again. Carrotman also suggests a rabbit, carrots being that animal's stereotypical favorite food.

A monkey as a racecar driver makes me think of when Alex Carmichael proudly announced he had come up with an anagram of my full name: "I, jowly Chim-Chim, ate an Elvis." Due to a severe anime allergy, I didn't know until he explained it to me that Chim-Chim is the name of a racecar-driving monkey (or chimp, I guess) in Speed Racer.

Harvey Mushman also suggests Harry Marsh, used in the title of one of William Wright's recent posts.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Harry and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs

In a comment on my post "Je suis Charlie Bucket," Ben Pratt brings up what's-his-bucket as a synonym for what's-his-face, what's-his-name, or ho-such-an-one. In William Wright's latest post, "There's a hole in my bucket-face! AND Harry Marsh and the Sorcerer's Stone," he connects what's-his-bucket with the name Harry (Harry Potter, and also the Hebrew title Ha'Ari, "the Lion"), and dinosaurs also come into the picture, as he includes two different logos for Dinoco (a fictional company appearing in several Pixar movies), one with a blue T. rex and the other with a red Apatosaurus, each inside an egg shape. He also explores the idea of the "hole" in the bucket being a tunnel or passageway.

Just after reading William's post, I was idly wondering how common the expression what's-his-bucket is. It's something my parents say sometimes, but I hadn't heard it in a long time. So I ran a search on what's his bucket (no quotation marks). Virtually all of the image and video results were for a TV cartoon I'd never heard of: Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs. I watched the first video result, an episode called "What's for Breakfast." Harry's dinosaurs include a red T. rex, a magenta Apatosaurus, and a blue stegosaurus -- and Harry's bucket turns out to be a portal to another world! He can jump into the bucket and enter Dino World. There also happen to be lots of eggs in this episode:

So we have Harry, dinosaurs, eggs, and a bucket which is a passageway -- and I got all that just by searching for what's his bucket.

This one has nothing to do with William Wright's syncs, but I was also very interested to note that one of Harry's six "dinosaurs" is a yellow pterodactylus. (See "Green Lantern's yellow pterodactyls -- and my own.")

Monday, February 19, 2024

Je suis Charlie Bucket

In my February 16 post "Thomas B. Bucket, the bucket of story -- oh, you know, the thing!" I write about a Ward Radio episode in which host Cardon Ellis repeatedly misspeaks when trying to talk about "the Thomas B. Marsh bucket of cream story." I joke in passing that the "Thomas B. Bucket" malapropism sounds like "one of the hero's relatives in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," figuring that at least some of my readers would remember that the character's full name is Charlie Bucket. Then I end the post by getting from Thomas B. Marsh, by way of Simonds (Symonds?) Ryder (Rider?) -- the i-vs.-y spelling being a point of dispute for both of his names -- to the classic 1979 Sesame Street sketch "The Wonderful World of T-shirts." The sketch revolves around Kermit the Frog trying to get a T-shirt with his name on it. The T-shirt salesman keeps giving him apparently misspelled T-shirts saying things like "Kermit the Forg," but each of these actually turns out to be the correctly spelled name of another customer who ordered a T-shirt with his name on it. (This ties in with the Centaur Aisle scene I reference in "My tail is dun," where all the misspelled words are actually correct spellings of other words.) In a comment, William Wright draws attention to the rather odd premise underlying the sketch:

The real question, however, is at what point does the T-shirt store owner wonder what kind of society he is living in where everyone is ordering T-shirts with their own names printed on the front?

On February 17, William posted "Pure Imagination: Willy Wonka, Giraffes breaking secret combinations, the Chocolate Milk of Life, and more names." He discusses the movie Wonka and then moves on to the one true Wonka movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder. Not having noticed my own Dahl reference, he explicitly points out the connection between Charlie Bucket and Thomas B. Bucket. Then he connects Gene Wilder with a Disney character called Flynn Rider whose real name turns out to be Eugene. In interpreting Rider's name, he respells Flynn as Flinn, which clearly ties in with the Symonds Rider spelling dispute. In a comment, I point out that Gene Wilder is also a pseudonym, and that his real name is Jerome Silberman.

Incidentally, William also interprets Wonka by respelling it as Wanka. Rather than make the obvious juvenile joke, I'll just point out that he may be mistaking the hat for the man himself.

On February 18, YouTube recommended yet another Ward Radio video. I've about had my fill of these guys and their loudmouth style, but I watched this one anyway because it has the always interesting Don Bradley in it. 

The episode is called "Taking Zelph off the Shelf!" It's about Joseph Smith's "Zelph the White Lamanite" anecdote, which is often seen as embarrassing and problematic. It's common for both Mormons and ex-Mormons to talk about a believer's unresolved questions as being "on the shelf," and when a crisis of faith occurs "the shelf breaks." There's apparently another YouTube channel called Zelph on the Shelf, which I know nothing about but which I suppose is reference to Mormon "shelf" issues and a pun on The Elf on the Shelf. Don points out, though, that the credit for the name should actually go to Dr. Seuss:

 

As a prologue to his analysis of the Zelph story, Don talks about an episode in the Book of Mormon where Alma and Amulek (the good guys) are arguing with two corrupt lawyers named Zeezrom and Antionah, and the editor (Mormon) interrupts the narrative to give a lengthy and seemingly pointless explanation of the Nephite monetary system. The apparent purpose of this digression is to make it clear that the bribe offered by one of the lawyers represents a substantial amount of money, but Mormon goes into much more detail than seems necessary, giving the names of 12 different denominations of gold and silver. Don argues that the real purpose of this explanation is to help the reader understand the allegorical meanings of the names given to the two lawyers. An ezrom is a denomination of silver, and an antion one of gold -- so, he says, the names Ze-ezrom and Antion-ah are equivalent to "Mr. McMoney and Mr. Goldman." He implies that these may not have been the lawyers' real names at all but rather allegorical pseudonyms used to portray them as embodiments of greed. I found this synchronistically interesting in connection with my own recent comment about the pseudonym of a Mr. Silberman (which, as I suppose is obvious, is German for "silver man").

Don then goes on to give similar treatment to the name Zelph, which he argues was intended to evoke the English word self. Joseph Smith was telling his "Zion's Camp" militia about the warrior Zelph who served the prophet Onandagus. His audience was supposed to see Onandagus as Joseph Smith (for reasons that need not detain us here) and Zelph as themselves.

Then we get this synchronistically interesting exchange:

Kwaku: Don, you gave the most entertaining explanation of this, because every other time anyone's ever talked about Zelph, it was like Cardon's bucket of cream story. I'm like, why do I care? . . . It's like, there's parts of church history, you're like, "Here's a really cool thing from Eliza R. Snow." Oh, I definitely want to read it. "Here's a cool thing from Bathsheba W. Smith." I'm like [dismissive hand gesture]. You know, there are just different people you care about, there's people you don't really care -- I've never cared about Zelph.

Don: So now you care because now you are Zelph, right? So, you know those shirts people did or whatever over in France after Charlie Hebdo was attacked, "Je suis Charlie Hebdo" or whatever? [gesture showing writing on a T-shirt] "I am Zelph," right? There you go.

So there's yet another reference to the Thomas B. Marsh "bucket of cream story" -- which both William Wright and I have connected with the Roald Dahl character Charlie Bucket -- and it's immediately followed up with a reference to Charlie Hebdo. Then we have a link to "The Wonderful World of T-shirts," where everyone wants a T-shirt with his own name on it, as Don talks about T-shirts saying "I am Charlie" and "I am Zelph." The latter would, I guess, mean "I am Self." I am Atman.

When I posted about Thomas B. Bucket, it made me think Aaron Smith-Teller's kabbalistic analysis of "There's a Hole in My Bucket" in Scott Alexander's novel Unsong, so I went back and reread that. It's quite William Wright-esque in its analysis of names, except that the focus is on Hebrew rather than on Tolkien's languages. One of the characters in the bucket song is called Liza, which Smith-Teller analyzes thus:

Looking up "Liza" we find it derives from Hebrew Elisheba, a complicated name I have seen translated as "God is an oath", "God is satisfaction", "God is wrath" or -- if you take it entirely literally -- "God is seven".

The last reading, the entirely literal one, becomes the starting point for his exegesis:

There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza. There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

Now everything starts to come together. Harry (= Ha'Ari ["the Lion," a title of Rabbi Isaac Luria, the father of Kabbalah]) bemoans the shattered nature of the universe to Liza (= "my god is seven" = the seven shattered sephirot down in our vessel with us, the only form of God accessible in our finite world).

Now look back at Kwaku's comment comparing Zelph to the bucket story. As examples of aspects of Mormon history he is and isn't interested in, he mentions two women named Eliza and Bathsheba. Eliza, like Liza, obviously derives from Elisheba, meaning most literally "God is seven." The second morpheme is shared with Bathsheba, which could be literally translated as "daughter of seven."

What does the second part of the name Charlie Hebdo mean? It means "weekly" in French, but its ultimate source is the Greek word for "seven."

Incidentally, "There's a Hole in My Bucket" also got the Sesame Street treatment back in the seventies:

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Chameleons everywhere

I wasn't looking for chameleons today, but the sync fairies had their own plans.

First I saw this on one of those Mormon videos YouTube keeps recommending these days:


Apparently it's a comic book about the story of Joseph Smith and the golden plates as told by an old man in Madagascar -- because, well, why not Madagascar? (In fact, if you believe the Mormon folklore about the ships of Hagoth, I guess the Malagasy people should be, like their Polynesian relatives, Nephites.) And, I learned today, about half of all chameleon species live only in Madagascar.

(Judging by the presence of red ruffed lemurs, this is apparently the Sava region of Madagascar.)

Then about an hour later, when I was (for complex psychological reasons) searching for a photoshopped "hybrid" of a zebra and a hippopotamus, I found this:


That's a chameleon head shopped onto the body of a gray tabby cat. My January 25 post "An old pre-dator, chameleons, and le Demiurge," opens with this image of a gray tabby cat blending in with its surroundings as if it were a color-changing "chameleon" like the title character in the movie Predator:

Friday, February 16, 2024

Thomas B. Bucket, the bucket of story -- oh, you know, the thing!

Thomas B. Marsh, the relatively obscure Mormon historical figure is in the air. Leo has posted on him extensively at his blog ("The Curious Case of Thomas B. Marsh" and "Thomas B. Marsh: Alternate Ending #1" so far, and I assume that "#1" means there's more where that came from), and William Wright picked up the theme with "Swampy Key Holders: Pokelogan and Thomas B. Marsh." My own sync-stream has featured such marsh-adjacent content as pokelogan (a kind of marsh) and a novel called Swamplandia!, but I haven't posted anything about Thomas B. himself -- until now.

Ever since I watched that Don Bradley Liahona thing, YouTube has decided that Ward Radio (a loud and goofy Mormon podcast, not that there's anything wrong with that) is my kind of thing, so today at the top of my suggested videos was something called "Thomas B. Marsh is Getting OUT OF CONTROL!" (shouting in the original) -- about how suddenly everyone's hearing about him. The whole video is basically a response to this comment:

I just have to say, I NEVER heard the Thomas B Marsh bucket of cream story until I started listening to this podcast. Now I've heard it about 5,000 times.

Here it is. It's worth listening to at least part of it just to hear Cardon Ellis pulling one Biden after another. First it's "the Thomas B. Marsh bucket of story" (a smaller-scale version of Haroun and the Sea of Stories?), and then he actually calls him Thomas B. Bucket, which I think was one of the hero's relatives in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


Thomas B. Marsh -- who supposedly left the Church over a dispute about a bucket of milk -- is one of the go-to examples of people leaving the Church for stupid reasons. I heard the story countless times growing up Mormon. The other overused story with this moral is that of Symonds (Simonds?) Ryder (Rider?), who is supposed to have left the Church because Joseph Smith misspelled (or did he?) his name. As I was listening to Cardon holding forth on Thomas B. Bucket and his bucket of story, my mind melded the two stories together and created something new.

First, though, I know my readers are a pretty cultured lot, but if you have somehow never seen the classic Sesame Street sketch "The Wonderful World of T-Shirts," you should watch that right now before proceeding.


Anyway, the scene that spontaneously emerged in my mind went something like this:

"No, no, I'm sorry. That says Thomas B. Shawarma. You see, Marsh is M-A-R-S-H. I think you made some kind of mistake."

"Heh-heh-heh. I never make mistakes."

"No, but you see there's no such person as Thomas B. --"

Enter the Fat Blue Anything Muppet. "Hi. I'm Thomas B. Shawarma. Is my T-shirt ready?"

Yes, I know shawarma isn't an anagram of Marsh, but that's just what appeared, okay? -- fully-formed, as it were, like Athena from the headwaters of the Suez. I trust the reader has enjoyed this note.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Aloha, Jeremy!

In my last post, "Local boy called as janitor," I recount a dream in which I saw what I took to be a reference to my brother Luther on a bulletin board in the Mormon chapel in Kirtland, Ohio. (Kirtland happens to be very important in Mormon history, but in my case the link is personal: I lived in the Kirtland Stake in my teens and have been in that chapel countless times.) 

That same night (night of February 12-13), I had another dream of which my memory is extremely fragmentary. I think it also took place in Kirtland. There was a small group of people who, although I'm pretty sure they were White, expected me to greet them "in the Hawaiian way," which meant saying aloha for "good-bye" but something else (I think it was nuwa or something similar to that) for "hello." I found that confusing, since I'd always thought aloha meant both "hello" and "good-bye," but I thought it would be rude to ask them about it. That's really all I remember of that dream.

The afternoon after these two dreams, I wanted something to listen to while I did some housework, and for some reason YouTube recommended a rather old (2014) interview by John Dehlin of Jeremy Runnells. I didn't have anything better in mind, so sure, why not? Mr. Runnells is apparently something of a celebrity in ex-Mormon circles, but I left the CJCLDS in 2002 and had long since stopped following such things by the time he made his big splash, so I didn't know anything about him. I didn't listen to the whole interview, but several bits jumped out at me in connection with my dreams.

First, as Mr. Runnells is talking about his experience growing up in the CJCLDS, he mentions out of the blue that one of his bishops in California used to greet people with aloha:

The ward that I was in was just fantastic. I had awesome bishops. One of the bishops was Hawaiian. Every week, "Brothers and sisters, aloha."

Later he talks about serving as a missionary in New York City and being there when 9/11 happened. My brother Luther was also a missionary in New York City when 9/11 happened, so there's a better than even chance that they actually know each other.

Then he talks about a Church leader doing a Q&A:

Well, he was asked by someone in the audience what his thoughts were regarding the droves of members that are leaving the Church over Google, over history. His response was basically we're experiencing an apostasy that we haven't seen since Kirtland over history.

So there's aloha, Kirtland, and a biographical detail that fits my brother Luther. I'm not sure what that means, but the way it matches my dreams of the night before is interesting.


Note added (February 15):

A pen friend sent me a link to a podcast by Whitley Strieber on YouTube -- an interview with Andy Thomas about crop circles. Oddly, given my long-running interest in Strieber, I didn't even know he was on that platform. I listened to it while exercising, not realizing that I had the autoplay feature on, and when the interview finished the algorithm served up another recent video from Strieber's channel: "Science and Magic in Hawai'i." After the intro music, the very first words spoken in this video are: "Aloha, Dreamland! My name is Jeremy Vaeni" -- a White guy named Jeremy saying aloha. Dreamland is the name of the program, but I suppose it also syncs with my dream about White people expecting me to say aloha to them.

I haven't listened to Vaeni interview yet, but I'm updating the title of this post to "Aloha, Jeremy!"

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Local boy called as janitor

Last night I dreamed that I was standing in the hallway of the LDS chapel in Kirtland, Ohio, where I used to go to church ages ago. The building was empty, and I think I had stopped there so that someone I was traveling with could use the bathroom or something. I was standing around waiting for this person.

Across the hallway from me was a door, identified by a little plastic sign jutting out perpendicular to the wall as the custodian’s supply closet. There was also a little plastic plaque on the wall next to the door forbidding unauthorized entry. (The precise wording of these two signs was not clearly defined in the dream.) To the left of the door was a big corkboard with various notices pinned to it.

Out of boredom, I took out my phone and googled my own last name. I was startled when at the top of the search results it said “Results near you” and had a photo of the door across from me, complete with the two plastic signs. Why was I getting that? Was Google given the realtime location of people named Tychonievich as a search result?

Then I noticed that the photo was actually subtly different from the door across from me, so I figured it was a stock photo of an LDS church janitor’s closet. But why would searching for my name return that result?

Finally I noticed something on the bulletin board by the door: a full-page article cut from a newspaper, with the headline “Local boy called as janitor.” Of course, I thought. That must be from decades ago, when my brother Luther was doing janitorial work for the church. As far as my dreaming mind was concerned, mystery solved.

As I was trying to get a good photo, trying to find a good angle so that both signs and the headline would be clearly legible, I woke up.

Shortly after getting up, I checked a couple of blogs and read William Wright’s latest, “Swampy Key Holders: Thomas B. Marsh and Pokelogan.” Thomas Marsh was a Mormon leader back when the church was based in Kirtland, Ohio, and William emphasizes Marsh’s role as a “doorkeeper” or “usher.”

Here’s what the Online Etymology Dictionary has to say about the word janitor:

1580s, "an usher in a school," later "doorkeeper" (1620s), from Latin ianitor "doorkeeper, porter," from ianua "door, entrance, gate," from ianus "arched passageway, arcade" (see Janus) + agent suffix -tor. Meaning "caretaker of a building, man employed to see that rooms are kept clean and in order" first recorded 1708. Fem. forms were janitress (1806), janitrix (1818). 

Sync homework report: Dead Reckoning

So I watched Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, an extremely looong Tom Cruise movie of whose existence I had been blissfully unaware until a week ago. Unfortunately, my wife was out of town. Every time someone appears to die in a movie, she asks me, "Is he dead?" and I would have enjoyed being able to answer, "I reckon."

In my February 7 post "What's the second key?" I discussed a sync video that focuses on the theme -- found both in Dead Reckoning and in another movie, Uncharted, which I haven't seen -- of two cross-shaped keys that must be combined and used together. Starting with the assumption that one of the two keys represents the Rosary (literally "garland of roses"), I reasoned that the other might be associated with lilies and ended up linking it to Fortuna and the idea of luck and coincidence. You can read the post for the details of that train of thought.

When the two keys are introduced in Dead Reckoning, we see them on a screen labeled красный and белый -- "red" and "white"; one of them is decorated with two small red jewels, and the other with white ones. This difference is never mentioned by any of the characters -- they never specify which key they're talking about beyond "the other key" -- but it's there, and it fits with the idea of a rose key and a lily key. Very early on, we learn that one of the keys is in the possession of a woman named Ilsa Faust. Faustus means "fortunate" in Latin, so a female Faust is clearly a link to Fortuna. Her key should be the white one, then, and such proves to be the case. The other key, the red one, turns out to be in the possession of a character called the White Widow. Since white is a symbol of virginity, and Jesus' mother was a widow, this is consistent with the red key being linked to the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. So far, so good. No really new light is shed on the meaning of the two keys, but at least it confirms what I've got.

(By the way, William Wright, you asked what it means for the Rosary to be one of the keys. I'm working on a post about that.)


I was expecting key syncs going in, of course. What I wasn't expecting was a link to my January 7 post "My tail is dun." The title of that post is a reference to a scene in the Piers Anthony novel Centaur Aisle, in which Dor dictates an essay to a magical "spelling bee," only to have the insect replace most of the words with correctly-spelled homophones. Thus the final sentence, "My tale is done," comes out as "My tail is dun." I ended the post with a reference to Paul H. Dunn, bringing in a third homophone.

In Dead Reckoning, there's a scene where the character Benji is trying to disarm a bomb, which requires him to solve "a cylinder cipher. There's eight wheels" (a nod to the eight-spoked Wheel of Fortune). Then Benji realizes that "the wheels, they spell out a message: You are done."

"No way," says Benji's partner Luther. "Not yet, we aren't." Then Benji clarifies:


"It's my last name," Benji says. "It knows who I am."

Confusion between done and a homophone is a pretty specific feature, not something you run across every day.

Monday, February 12, 2024

The lake and the larch-root tree

This was a sort of amorphous dream, neither very visual nor very verbal, but I got the general idea.

There was a small lake and growing near it a very tall tree called a “larch-root tree.” A magician wanted to move both of these to a distant location, so he caused each of them to collapse into a little cylindrical capsule, about the diameter of a 12-gauge shotgun shell but only half as long. He put the two capsules in the pocket of his robe and left.

When he arrived at the new location, he made the capsules expand again into a lake and a larch-root tree. However, he lacked the understanding to do this properly. Their original configuration had been stable, but the new one was not. Something about their relative position made it possible for the larch-root tree to suck up all the water in the lake, and in no time the lake was completely gone.

The magician had definitely not been expecting this, and his facial expression made it clear that it threw a spanner in his plans.

There were a few follow-up dreams revisiting this event and explaining its significance, but I can’t remember any of them.


Note added: About two hours after posting the above, I read this in Swamplandia! by Karen Russell:

Melaleuca quinquenervia was an exotic invasive, an Australian tree imported to suck the Florida swamp dry (p. 96).

That’s a pretty tight sync with the dream, in which a tree sucks a lake dry after being relocated to a new environment.

Google Photos is trying to implant false memories

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Christ between antlers, Chameleon Baptism, and a liquid clock in an alligator's stomach

My last two posts have featured syncs with a cross or crucifix between the antlers of a stag. Today, on one of my truly-random rambles through Taichung, I found this on a the door of a closed restaurant. (It's Chinese New Year; everything is closed.)


It's a pretty odd thing to find in February in a non-Christian country. It appears to be permanently attached to the door, not a seasonal decoration. But the important thing, sync-wise, is that right at the top we have Christ -- as part of the word Christmas -- located between the antlers of a stag. Exactly centered between the antlers is Ch -- a transliteration of the Greek X, the cross. Notice also that each of the two circles around the stag is broken into eight segments, suggesting the eight-spoked Wheel of Fortune.


Chameleons have been in the sync stream. Today I read a bit in Shadowland by Colin Wilson and also started reading Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. Shadowland is the sixth installment in the Spider World series, which deals mainly with human beings and giant spiders. In the bit I read today, a new intelligent species is introduced: color-changing "chameleon men." I didn't see that coming. Then later I started reading Swamplandia!, about a family that runs an alligator theme park in Florida, and found this:

According to Bigtree legend, it was that same day that Grandma Risa got her first-ever glimpse of a Florida alligator . . . . That monster's surge, said our grandfather, sent up a tidal wave of black water that soaked Grandma Risa's dress. The prim china-dots on her skirt got erased in one instant, what we called in our museum Risa's Chameleon Baptism (p. 31).

I don't really get why they called it that. Because the dots being erased from her skirt is sort of like changing color? The meaning of "Chameleon Baptism" is not explained, and so far (I'm on page 52) it hasn't been referenced again. In Shadowland, the main character meets the chameleon men after they pull his unconscious body from a river, he having just gone over a waterfall. In William Wright's January 24 post, "'Get to the choppa!': A skin-removing Chameleon hunting Arnold Schwarzenegger," which started this whole chameleon theme, he writes that in the movie Predator, "Arnold even gets a 'baptism' after his run away from the Chameleon." By "baptism," he means jumping into a river and going over a waterfall, much like Niall in Shadowland; and the "Chameleon" is of course the nearly invisible humanoid Predator, much like Niall's "chameleon men."

In my own syncs, the red chameleon has been particularly important, as has its long red protruding tongue, which has also been seen on a Pokémon and a female vampire:


When I checked in with The Most Censored Publication in History today, I was greeted by this image:


An AI-generated image of Lady Liberty with vampire fangs and an extremely long protruding red tongue -- what more natural way to illustrate a story about Zuck censoring the supreme leader of Iran?

Later, since I'm finding Swamplandia! quite a good read so far, I googled the author, Karen Russell. This is what came up:


Look at the books that are highlighted: First, St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, which I already knew about. (It's why I bought Swamplandia!, as documented here.) Second, an edition of Swamplandia! with a red alligator on the cover -- which is even more unusual than a red chameleon! It's an unusually short-snouted gator, too, looking more like a lizard, and even looks as if it has a chameleon-like crest at the back of its head. (My own copy is a different edition, with a regular alligator-colored alligator. If you do an image search for swamplandia, the seventh result is the first one with a red gator. Still, that's the one Google chose to highlight.) And right next to this thing that looks an awful lot like a red chameleon, the word VAMPIRES. And is it just me, or does that leaf make the lemon look like a hand grenade?


Here's something else I read in Swamplandia! today which confused me:

I dusted our Seth clock, a gruesome and fantastic timepiece the Chief had made: just an ordinary dishlike kitchen clock set inside a real alligator's pale stomach. The clock hung from a hook next to the blackboard menu in our Swamp Café (p. 32).

Wait, the clock is inside an alligator's stomach? Then how can anyone see it to check the time? My best guess at the author's intended meaning, taking both inside and stomach rather loosely, is that there was some skin taken from a gator's underbelly, with the clock mounted in the center. But my literal interpretation on the first read, together with the word hook in the following sentence, made me think of Hook's nemesis in Peter Pan, a crocodile that made a ticking sound because it had swallowed a clock. In the Disney movies, the crocodile's name is actually Tick-Tock.

Then, on the same truly-random ramble that led me to another Christ-between-antlers, I found this:


Okay, what exactly is that on the left? I mean, it's obviously meant to suggest a clock (with no hands), but what about the other features? What's that thing on top, that gives it the shape of a cartoon bomb? Is it supposed to be a stopwatch? But why does it look like it has some black liquid in it? Is it a bottle, and that thing at the top is the cap? But I've never seen drink sold in a bottle like that. It looks more like a perfume bottle or something. . . .

Then I remembered something else I had read in Swamplandia! today. After the death of the narrator's mother, no one in the family is doing laundry:

I don't know what [my brother] was doing for clean clothing during that period; for months my sister and I had been spraying out undershirts and shorts with Mom's perfume. . . . two pumps, per sister, per day. We were using Mom up, I worried, and for some reason that fear made me want to spray on more and more. The perfume worked like a liquid clock for us: half a bottle drained to a quarter, that was winter.

Just logging syncs. We'll see if they lead anywhere.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Follow-up on antlers, crosses, and the Liahona

In general, I have my Romantic Christian posts, which are read, commented on, and linked by my fellow Romantic Christian bloggers (e.g. Bruce Charlton, Francis Berger, and William Wildblood); and I have my synchronicity posts, which have dominated the blog in recent months, and which get engagement mostly from a different set of readers (e.g. Debbie, William Wright, and WanderingGondola). There's not normally a huge amount of cross-pollination between these two groups.

My most recent sync-post, though, "A cross between two antlers, and the Liahona spindles," not only includes Frank's blog in the syncs but led to a response post there, "Going Where We Need to Go Versus Going Absolutely Nowhere." Frank discusses the Liahona and legends relating to the white stag and the stag with a crucifix between its antlers. Then, before quoting Bruce Charlton, he mentions in passing that Bruce "has also been connected to the antler/crucifix/St. Eustace in a meme, of all things." I followed the link to Frank's 2021 post about that meme. Notice his choice of words in describing the meme's effect (underlined in red by me):


Quite synchronistically interesting in light of the image I posted which caused him to revisit that old meme:


As I noted in my last post, this image was presumably intended as a reference to a kind of cocktail called a Jägerbomb, but the sync fairies can commandeer anything for their own purposes.

In the context of the Liahona, a sacred artifact described in the Book of Mormon, it is perhaps relevant that that book is often abbreviated as BoM. Back when I was a Mormon missionary, some of my associates would even thus abbreviate it in speech, pronouncing it bomb.

In Taiwan, the game of Hangman -- where you guess letters in a target word or phrase, and with each wrong guess a body part is added to the hanged stick figure -- is commonly played in a different form, called Bomb, where there is a cartoon bomb with a segmented fuse, and one segment of the fuse is erased for each wrong guess. So there's another link between the cartoon bomb and the hanged/crucified man.

In its classic Marseille form, the Hanged Man of the Tarot is hanged between two branches with many protruding stumps, suggesting the antlers of a stag:


Later in my antlers post, I posted a photo of a cross on a pair of automatic sliding glass doors, so positioned that when the doors opened the cross would be split in half. In a comment, William Wright wrote:

I had just posted on "X marks the spot" while thinking (though not stating) that the X in question may not necessarily lead to the actual 'place', but a door or entrance to that place.

The cross on the doors was oriented as a +, not an X, but today I happened to see this on the gates of a construction site near my home:


This is the same concept -- a cross centered on the place where two doors meet, such that opening the doors will split it in half -- but this time the cross is in diagonal X orientation.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, my antlers post seemed to draw together two different circles of readers of this blog. I thought of this in terms of the two crosses coming together, as discussed in "What's the second key?"

The wallpaper in the hallway just outside my personal chapel shows a bamboo forest with the sun shining through it. Today I noticed for the first time that the rays of the sun make it look like an eight-pointed star, suggesting the union of two crosses, so I took a photo. Earlier, I had passed a parked car with BEE on the license plate and taken a photo of that. Later, when I opened the photo app on my phone, the two thumbnails were so positioned as to make it look like a single photo, with the BEE car driving toward the eight-rayed sun:


Compare that to this image, which I posted in "What's the second key?"


In the Book of Mormon, the Liahona was used to guide a ship across the sea to the Promised Land. In the Ward Radio video I embedded in my last post, someone says that Hugh Nibley proposed that the word Liahona comes from a Hebrew or Egyptian word meaning "queen bee."

I normally take Hugh Nibley's linguistic speculations with a shaker or two of salt, but interestingly Frank recently linked to "By the waters of Mormon: an open letter to Christian Esoterists," a (highly recommended) essay by a non-Mormon writer from Portugal who calls Nibley "one of the most important intellectuals not only of Mormonism but of the 20th Century."

A cross between two antlers, and the Liahona spindles

(Please note the disambiguating comma in the title. This post is not asking "What do you get if you cross a pair of antlers with the Liahona spindles?")

On January 26, I took this photo of the interior wall of a restaurant in Taichung:


This is just part of a larger mural. Besides what you see here, there's a cup of coffee, a basketball hoop, a soccer ball, a club sandwich, that sort of thing -- all appropriate for a restaurant and bar that has lots of TVs always playing sportscasts. And then there's this stag wearing sunglasses, with a shining cross between its antlers. It seemed totally out of place, which is what caught my attention and made me photograph it.

The only place I had seen that sort of imagery before was on Francis Berger's blog, where this is part of the header image. I believe it's a reference to some Hungarian folklore, but I've never really been too clear on the details:


What such a symbol could mean on a restaurant wall, I had no idea. (They don't even have franks on the menu, though they do sell burgers.) The next day, completely by chance, I found myself drinking Jägermeister for the first time in my life. In fact, until then I hadn't even really known what it was. I'd heard the name when I was in college (and a teetotaler) but had vaguely assumed it was a brand of beer or something. This, it turns out, is what the logo looks like:


So that's obviously what the restaurant mural is alluding to. It now fits in with the other pictures of beverages.

Today I went back to the same restaurant, after my recent post about crosses and keys, and my attention was drawn to the deer and cross again. I noticed something I had somehow missed the first time: that the deer is inside a cartoon bomb of the type one associates with Boris Badenov. (Google has since informed me that there is a mixed drink called a Jägerbomb.) I noticed that the rays coming from the cross divided the circle of the bomb into twelve segments, like the face of a clock, and that the cross suggested hour and minute hands, leading me to the idea of a "time bomb."

Then I remembered that I had actually posted about cartoon bombs before, in my 2021 Tarot post "The emperor's orb." I looked it up on my phone. Directly under an image of Boris and Natasha with bombs was this paragraph, saying that the strange-looking orb on the Rider-Waite Emperor card also reminded me of something else besides a cartoon bomb:

The other thing it reminds me of is the Liahona, described as "a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness." (1 Nephi 16:10). Despite the clear statement that there were two spindles within the ball, artists' depictions of the Liahona invariably show a single protrusion extending out from the top of the ball.

The italics are in the original post. I specially emphasized that, though artists' depictions tend to make the Liahona look like a golden Boris Badenov bomb without a fuse, the Book of Mormon text actually specifies "two spindles within the ball." Well, why do those have to be mutually exclusive? In the restaurant mural we have a cartoon bomb and within it two spindles (the cross, which I had noted looked like the two hands of a clock.)

Later, walking around the city, I passed a pharmacy and snapped a photo of the logo because it had a white cross on a green field, just like the Jäger logo:


Then I passed the front door of this pharmacy, which had of course been decorated for the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday; the Year of the Dragon begins soon. The white cross is no longer on a green field, since red is the traditional New Year color, but it's now between two antlers -- albeit those of a dragon, or a Shiba Inu dressed as a dragon or something:


It was also interesting to see the cross neatly bisected by the sliding doors. It reminded me of a bit of doggerel I wrote when I wasn't even a Christian but couldn't pass up an irresistible bit of wordplay:

One of Jesus' one-liners, and far from his worse,
Says the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.
In the tongue of the Angles, it means something more:
That the Law is a wall, but the Rood is a door.

When I was reading Calvino today, I had to look up the word hirocervus. It's another word for a tragelaph -- a mythical cross between a goat and a stag. I remembered that I'd posted about that before, too, so I looked it up: a December 2020 post called "Year of the Tragelaph." I had woken up with the word tragelaph in my head, leftover from an otherwise forgotten dream, and had free-associated from there. The post ended with a photo of a red logo that said "Phoenix Empire" in both English and Chinese.

Now look back at the pharmacy sign. It's Chinese New Year (also implied by the post title "Year of the ..."), there's a chimerical creature which is part stag ("his antlers resemble those of a stag" is one of the Nine Resemblances which define a Chinese Dragon), and there's the Chinese word for "phoenix." Of the four characters on the red lozenge, 龍鳳呈祥, the first means "dragon" and the second means "phoenix."

This evening, at home, I brought up YouTube so I could listen to something while exercising. One of the top videos recommended by the algorithm was called "What the Liahona REALLY Looked Like!" Not normally the sort of thing I would have clicked on, but the sync fairies had already brought up the Liahona.

In my 2021 Tarot post linking the Liahona to a cartoon bomb, I had quoted the Book of Mormon's statement that the Liahona had two spindles and that one pointed the way they should go. What the other spindle does is never mentioned. Incredibly, the bulk of the YouTube video deals with the question of what the second spindle did:

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Pokélogan is Elvish, because of course it is -- plus a note on Xanadu

"Pokélogan" -- as an alternative name for the Pokémon Lapras -- comes from two sources. The first is the poké- element in Pokémon, which comes from the English word pocket. The second is pokelogan, an obscure dialect word of unclear origin, meaning "marshy or stagnant water that has branched off from a stream or lake."

I've acquired from William Wright the habit of looking strange words up on Eldamo to see if they mean anything in any of Tolkien's Elvish languages. The search string pok returns only this:

So it means "bag" or "pouch," just as poké- means "pocket."

Logan returns no results, but loga and logn are both hits:

I haven't cherry-picked here. Both loga and logn return only these results, all of which are about swamps and thus directly related to the meaning of pokelogan. Tolkien may well have been influenced by the English words pouch and pocket when he coined poko, but it would be quite a stretch to say that the second half of an extremely obscure American dialect word inspired the Oxford Anglo-Saxonist to create loga and logna.

I think this is just as impressive a hit as Prika-vlein, and it suggests that Pokélogan may have more synchronistic importance than I had thought. One possibly important angle that comes to mind is that Pokélogan was specifically the name of a Lapras keychain, the purpose of which is to keep keys together. See yesterday's post about "keys . . . which must be combined and used together."

On a mostly unrelated noted, William Wright has been posting a lot lately about the 1980 movie Xanadu. In the February 6 post "Ho!" he does for Xanadu what I've just done for Pokélogan above: break it into two parts and look them up on Eldamo. The components into which he separates it are xan and adu. This made me think of Xan, the name of the mosquito in the Popol Vuh, and I had the thought that every time I killed a mosquito, I could say, "Xan, adieu!"

And shrink not, brothers, from the kill:
'Tis but your own suck'd blood you spill.

His latest Xanadu post, yesterday's "How can you be talking to me? You're a movie!" is about a scene in which Kira tells Sonny to look up the word muse in the dictionary. He does so and finds at the end of the entry a sentence addressing him by name. Then she turns on the TV, and the characters on the TV show also start talking to him.

Today I was reading Calvino in a coffee shop, and the background music got my attention when the singer sang the word green at precisely the same moment that I read the word green. (It had to be that word of course!) Then a new song came on, which turned out to be "Too Deep To Turn Back" by Daniel Caesar. It begins thus:

So what's the price?
We're like mosquitoes to light, in a sense
I feed off bio-luminescence

"Mosquitoes to light"? Isn't it usually moths that we talk about in that connection? Then when it got to "I feed off bio-luminescence," it made me think of William Wright's December 10 post "A Vampire's Weekend," in which he characterizes Ungoliant, Tolkien's giant spider-demon, as "acting very much the vampire in sucking the last light from the Trees." A vampire drinks blood, like a mosquito, but this vampire was instead drinking light, and specifically light which came from living organisms, the Two Trees. Feeding off bio-luminescence, you might say.

Near the end of the song we have these lines:

Oh Lord Jehovah, what's this I see?
Bourgeoisie tryna silence me
They don't know what I've been through
Don't know what I pree'd
Seeing shit that you see up in your TV screen

That seems to tie in with Sonny seeing some supernatural shit up in his TV screen in Xanadu.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

What's the second key?

Ever since January 21, when a mental voice said of the Rosary, c'est l'une des clés, "this is one of the keys" (see "The Green Door finally closes"), I've been trying to figure out what the other key is. I assumed it was one of two keys because of prior syncs about pairs of keys. This curiosity was reinforced when, on February 2, Francis Berger posted "The Society of Crossed Keys is Real???!!!" -- about a fictional society in a Wes Anderson film and its real-world counterpart, each of which has a pair of crossed keys as its logo. It's not at all the sort of thing Frank usually blogs about, and it seemed like an obvious sync wink. On February 3, I even bought The Small Golden Key, a 1985 book by the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Thinley Norbu, which I happened upon in a used bookstore, just because of its title -- even though I don't think Buddhism could possibly be the second key, at least not for me. I know many serious Buddhists, have read many Buddhist books, and recognize the great value of Buddhism for some people, but my deepest self categorically rejects it.

On February 5, I was checking a few YouTube channels and found a video posted by the synchromystic channel LXXXVIII finis temporis on January 25. It's about two recent movies I've never seen and didn't even know existed until today: Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (2023) and Uncharted (2022), both of which share the oddly specific feature of two keys in the form of crosses (cf. crossed keys) which must be combined and used together:

The video doesn't mention it, but a further coincidence between these two movies is the names, both of which refer to navigation in a situation where essential information is lacking. "Uncharted" of course refers to regions for which no map has been made. "Dead reckoning" means estimating one's current position from a known past position plus an estimated velocity, rather than ascertaining it directly by means of landmarks, stars, or satellite. (The idea of Laplace's demon -- who knows every detail of the present and therefore can predict every detail of the future -- is dead reckoning taken to extremes; see the recent mention of Laplace in "Pokélogan.")

If the Rosary is one of the keys, and on September 3, 2022, I had a dream in which  "I found that the cross on the rosary was also a key," then the other key should also somehow have the form of a cross. That left me stumped for a while.

I tried to think what attributes the other cross-key might have. One should be gold and the other silver, I guess, but that's not very helpful. Which is the Rosary, anyway, gold or silver? Maybe try a different tack. A rosary is literally a garland of roses, and lilies complement roses as silver complements gold. Or roses are red, and the complementary color would be green. Those thoughts didn't lead anywhere at first, but then they clicked when I remembered one of the lines in the video, from the Mission: Impossible movie: "The key is only the beginning." Where had I heard a line like that before?

"Finding the key is just the beginning" -- on the cover of a novel whose main character is literally named Lily Green. The key isn't a cross, but it does have a little cross cut into the bit. Definitely a hit, but not the answer. I mean, a young-adult novel about leprechauns can't very well be the second key!

Going back to thinking of what sort of "key" might complement the Rosary, I thought that the Rosary is centered on a woman, Mary, so maybe the other key is masculine -- like the Key of David! That is the label commonly given to this diagram from the Absconditorum Clavis of Guillaume Postel:

One element of this otherwise forgotten diagram had great influence on the development of the esoteric Tarot. If you look at the bow of the key, it has the letters ROTA written around its circumference That the word rota, "wheel," is intended is clear from the fact that the word also appears on the bit of the key. Éliphas Lévi noticed that when rota is written in a circle, it can also be read as Tarot. I've written several posts about ROTA on my Tarot blog if you want all the details, but the upshot is that the Rider-Waite Tarot, by far the most influential English-language deck, ended up with those four letters written on the Wheel of Fortune:

The significance of this in the present context is that the Wheel of Fortune -- at least this extremely influential version of it -- is a key. Not only that, but it features two crosses united as one. The eight-spoked wheel of Fortuna is a very old symbol, but in Waite's version, the eight spokes clearly consist of two crosses. The diagonal cross, consisting of simple lines, connects the four letters of the Hebrew name of God. The other cross, decorated with alchemical symbols, connects the four letters of ROTA.

*

This is a little digression, but I want to note it as a rather impressive synchronicity. I hadn't thought of Postel's Key of David since I did all those Wheel of Fortune posts back in 2019, and I've never had any real interest in it beyond its influence on Lévi. I've never made any attempt to analyze the other symbols it incorporates, such as the various geometric shapes inside the bow of the key. However, on February 5, I was notified of a new post by Galahad Eridanus, who posts very infrequently. (His last post was in October 2023.) It's called "The Edge of the Age," and one of the things he talks about is

the kinds of knots you tie your brain in when you try to predict from oughts instead of ises, and to account for "weird behaviour" from inside the model that is causing the behaviour to seem "weird" in the first place.

After a brief discussion of Ptolemaic epicycles, the go-to example of this sort of thing, he talks about another convoluted astronomical theory -- Kepler's idea that the (heliocentric) orbits of the planets could be mathematically derived from a series of nested Platonic solids. He includes this diagram:


Going from the outside in, we have: a sphere, a cube, another sphere, a tetrahedron, and then lots of much smaller shapes. Now compare that to the bow of Postel's key: a circle, a square, another circle, and a triangle. The triangle is even trisected so that it looks like a tetrahedron.  

At first I assumed that Kepler's theory must have been one of the many ideas Postel incorporated into his key diagram, but looking up the dates I see that Absconditorum Clavis was published in 1547, before Kepler was born. Either Kepler was inspired by Postel, or they both drew from some earlier source -- or else the similarity, like my running into the two diagrams at the same time, is just a massive coincidence.

*

Coming back to the Wheel of Fortune as a key, this helped me make sense of the relevance of the novel Green. It's a novel about leprechauns, and luck, as an actual faculty possessed by leprechauns and by humans like Lily Green who have leprechaun blood, plays a massive role in the plot. Four-leaf clovers, all that jazz. Luck is fortune, Fortuna is Lady Luck. In my recent post "O Fortuna velut luna . . .," I even mentioned Fortuna as an Irishwoman (in a Piers Anthony novel), a clear link to Lily Green, the girl with leprechaun blood in her veins.

The second cross/key has to do with luck, fortune, coincidence, synchronicity -- in contrast perhaps to the repetitive always-the-sameness of the Rosary. A cross is a pretty good symbol of coincidence: two completely different (perpendicular) lines just happen to meet, such that a point on the one line is literally coincident with a point on the other. In fact, the title of a recent post, "One-eyed × purple people eater," following common usage in Taiwan, used a cross to indicate coincidental juxtaposition.

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I noted that the two movies in the LXXXVIII video, chosen because they both featured pairs of cross-shaped keys, also share navigation-themed titles: Dead Reckoning and Uncharted. Fortuna is also associated with navigation; in Classical art, she is typically depicted holding a ship's rudder. Her other famous attribute, the eight-spoked wheel, resembles a ship's helm. Debbie has repeatedly pointed in comments here to the connection between the ship's helm and the eight-pointed star, and I thought of her when this image showed up on my browser's home screen  on February 1:

Stars, of course, are themselves closely associated with luck.

In later iconography, Fortuna is sometimes depicted with a blindfold, like Justice. The idea of a blind navigator -- one who must navigate under information-deprived conditions -- is another link to Dead Reckoning and Uncharted.

One last coincidence to note: Fortuna's eight-spoked wheel is, as I have noted in past Wheel of Fortune posts, an ancient alternative form of the Christian Ichthys symbol:

The eight-spoked wheel, just like the cross, can symbolize either Christ or Fortuna. The fact that its Christian meaning is tied to the Greek word for "fish" is a further coincidence. I posted about the medieval poem O Fortuna back in 2019 and then again yesterday. Both posts included this little cartoon, based on punningly misreading Fortuna as a reference to fish:

I'm going to need some time to process all this, but it seems like a promising step forward in understanding the two-key theme. Of course "One key is the Rosary, and the other is synchronicity" isn't a solution to the riddle but just a starting point. "Finding the key is just the beginning."

Thinking about words that sound like tuna has reminded me of the greatest music video of all time. And now it's reminded you of it, too. You're welcome:

Gilgamesh was an elven king

I woke up with a few lines of verse in my head, all I could remember from a dream: Gilgamesh was an elven king. Of him the harpers sadly sin...