Saturday, June 15, 2024

Go to the window; it’s dark but clear

In a period of just a few days, the following things happened:

On May 30, William Wright proposed that the beings I know as Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc) and Claire Delune are one and the same.

On June 1, I wrote about “Joan” saying “Look out the window” and “Come over to the window,” also bringing in the variant “Go to the window.”

On June 2 or 3, I began reading Tolkien’s Notion Club Papers.

Tonight, all of the above came together in a single paragraph. I read this in The Notion Club Papers:

He broke off and went to the window. It was dark but clear as glass in the sky, and there were many white stars.

He went to the window (as “Joan” has repeatedly requested), and it was simultaneously dark (d’Arc) and clear (Claire). How perfect is that?

Friday, June 14, 2024

Stink Gorilla More

This morning, I woke up with the phrase "Stink Gorilla More" in my head. For those who slept through Art History, that's the name of one of the most famous paintings ever produced by a gorilla, probably second only to "Pink Pink Stink Nice Drink." Michael and Koko, the gorilla artists behind these two pieces had, apparently, adapted the sign for "stink" to mean "flower."

In the context of the previous morning's dream about "A Sasquatch-eating party every week," I thought "Stink Gorilla" was suggestive of the "skunk ape," a Sasquatch-like creature also known as the "Florida Bigfoot." Actually, this second name also matches up with "Stink Gorilla," since Florida means "flowery," and Michael used stink to refer to flowers.

Then my attention was drawn to the fitted sheet I had been sleeping on. Foreign languages are often used decoratively here, and the design includes words in both French and slightly garbled English:

It's obviously supposed to say "love yourself more," but it's been misprinted so that it looks like an old-fashioned spelling of Jove, from a time when j was considered a variant of i and was generally only used at the end of a word -- or, more often, of a lowercase Roman numeral. In the days of Shakespeare and Spenser, v was still used only as a word-initial variant of u, and so the latter invokes Cupid as "moſt dreaded impe of higheſt Ioue." The capital form was always V, though, so he would have written IOVE in all caps.

"Jove yourself more" is also an ungrammatical series of three words, ending in more, and so my not-quite-awake mind decided that this, too, mapped to "Stink Gorilla More." If mapping Jove to stink seems impious, remember that the latter also means "flower," and that animals were decked with flowers before being sacrificed to that god (see Acts 14:13). The second mapping is what got my attention, though:

In a comment on my last post, William Wright relates a dream in which he sees "a big, hairy beast . . . something like Bigfoot," only later to conclude, "I was seeing myself in a bit of a caricature of how these 'aliens' [Heavenly Beings] must view us." (The bracketed gloss is William's.) Bigfoot = yourself.

What can "Jove yourself more" mean, though? I've never seen Jove used as a verb, but Shakespeare does use god that way, which should give us a clue. This is from Coriolanus:

This last old man,
Whom with a crack'd heart I have sent to Rome,
Loved me above the measure of a father;
Nay, godded me, indeed.

Coriolanus first says loved and then decides godded is more appropriate. In the same way, the sheet replaces the verb love with the name Jove used as a verb. As Shakespeare uses it, to god apparently means to look on someone as a god, or to treat someone as a god. Jove, or Jupiter, is the lowercase-god par excellence -- I believe Roget's original Thesaurus uses Jupiter as the heading under which terms for polytheistic gods and idols are grouped -- and mainstream Christian theology, when it has regarded such beings as real at all, classifies them as "angels." This brings to mind Disraeli's famous question, "Is man an ape or an angel?" -- and "Jove yourself more" could mean to take, like Disraeli, the side of the angels, while still acknowledging the ape/Bigfoot/gorilla side of things. As it happens, a popular meme expresses just this synthesis:

After making the above connections, I happened to see this on one of my wife's bookcases -- on which books have to share space with various tchotchkes and knickknacks:

It's a little figurine of a gorilla raising the roof in front of a book called Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. The Egyptian Jove would be the syncretic deity "Jupiter Ammon." We've already played around with different meanings of Ammon and Ammonite in "Milkommen."

What does that gorilla's color and posture remind me of? Oh, that's right:

Thursday, June 13, 2024

A Sasquatch-eating party every week

In the hypnopompic state this morning, I heard a brief exchange between two male voices that spoke with an accent which, while slight, made me think they might be from Texas or thereabouts.

"He holds a Sasquatch-eating party every week."

"Every week?"

"Every week."

"That's a lot of Sasquatch, my man."

This little dialogue was striking enough that I jotted it down immediately after waking. Eating Sasquatch is such a bizarre idea; they are generally portrayed as more hominid than animal, so that it would almost verge on cannibalism. I wondered if maybe they meant squash, and sasquatch was some dialect variant or a reference to unusually large squash or something.

Night of a Thousand N-Words

In my June 2 post "What shall we do with the drinking salesman late in the morning?" I quoted a couple of paragraphs from Rimbaud's A Season in Hell and then said I would refrain from quoting the next one so as to avoid causing unnecessary offense:

I’ll stop there, since the next paragraph uses the nigger word six times in four lines, and I wouldn’t want to invite the wrath of Google. I may not have much more moral sense than Rimbaud, but I at least understand that you never ever say or write the nigger word, not even when quoting a dead French poet who used the nigger word, not even if he was using it metaphorically and without reference to actual niggers. Even one nigger word would be reckless; six nigger words in one paragraph would be inviting a calamity on the scale of the Night of a Thousand Shits from South Park.

For those of my readers who ain't got no culture, that's a reference to the classic South Park episode "It Hits the Fan," in which a TV show announces in advance that someone is going to say shit in an upcoming episode. This generates so much publicity that other programs try to get in on it, and it soon spirals out of control, with new shows appearing like Must Shit TV and Night of a Thousand Shits, which basically consist of nothing but the word shit. Only too late does the world discover that it is very literally a "curse word," which brings a terrible plague and unleashes a dragon.

Yesterday, just 10 days after I'd imagined a similar scenario playing out with the nigger word instead of shit, I happened to see this Mark Dice video on YouTube, about some lady I'd never heard of getting canceled for saying (hold onto your pearls) "broke-ass nigga" on TikTok -- I mean, not even with a "hard r," and with no racial meaning. Big whoop. But I guess I take Dice's word for it that it's big news among people who like that sort of thing.

Dice's proposed solution to this kind of lunacy is -- well, basically Night of a Thousand Shits:

In reality, the Daily Wire host should start dropping that word on a daily basis. They should call it, like "N-Word Week" and just start saying it all the time. . . . Jeremy Boreing is in a position to have like an "N-Word Day" at the Daily Wire, where he tells all the hosts, "We're going to break the stigma. Everybody just start saying it."

I thought it was a bit of a coincidence, coming so soon after my post.

Plates among the dead leaves

On the night of August 26, 2023, as documented in "Phoenix syncs," I dreamed that I was with my brother (I'm not sure which brother it was) in "a long-abandoned building where everything was covered with dead leaves," and that we were searching the place, "trying to find 'plates' -- meaning further records like the Golden Plates from which the Book of Mormon was produced."

On Holy Saturday night, March 30, 2024, as recorded in "Chips, clips, and the eclipse," I dreamed that I was again in "an indoor area full of dead leaves" on Annunciation Day and that I found there "a flat disc some 10 inches in diameter . . . made of some light-colored metal (color perception in this dream was poor) and . . . covered with engravings."

At the time of the dreams, I connected this place full of dead leaves with the abandoned restaurant I began exploring in July 2022 ("Owl time and cold noodles"), since that was the only such place I knew in waking life. In neither case did I say the place was that restaurant, though, only that it suggested or resembled it. Nevertheless, the dreams did leave me with a vague sense that I should keep going back to the restaurant and that I might find something of value there. Since January 22 of this year, the restaurant has been locked up ("The Green Door finally closes"), and I haven't been back inside. Such is the influence of the dreams, though, that I keep having a nagging feeling that I should go back in, even if it means picking the lock or climbing the wall.

I've been there many times, though, and explored it pretty thoroughly. The only "plates" there are ceramic and melamine dishware, and the only "discs" are some scratched-up CDs of run-of-the-mill pop music and for some reason a lot of blank CDs as well. (I brought them home and confirmed that they're all blank.) The chance of finding anything new there -- let alone some kind of ancient engravings -- is obviously exceedingly remote.

When I acquired some new Tarot cards this past May 30, I received a strong impression from Claire that I needed to get an "ark" -- her word -- to keep them in. (Readers may have noticed a passing reference to this in "More on Joan and Claire.") I know some Tarotists are finicky about where they store their cards -- they have to be wrapped in back silk or whatever -- but I've never really cared about that and generally just keep them in the box they came in. With this deck, though, Claire insisted on an "ark" and flashed me a helpful illustration, somewhat reminiscent of IKEA-style assembly instructions, showing how the cards should be placed on a bed of dried rosemary leaves in a small stone box with a lid. (This was before Simon and Garfunkel had entered the chat; now I wonder if I should add some parsley, sage, and thyme!) When I wondered where on earth I was going to get a stone box of the appropriate size, my first thought, however ridiculous, was to look for one in the abandoned restaurant! In the end I settled on a stainless steel "ark" instead (paper and plastic were definitely out of the question, and I couldn't find anything suitable in ceramic), on the understanding that this was only a temporary home for the cards until I could get something in stone.

Not until I started writing this post did it occur to me that I now had, symbolically, some "plates" in a "room" full of dead leaves.

The Golden Plates used by Joseph Smith were found in a stone box, which Don Bradley and others have compared to the Ark of the Covenant -- instead of Moses' stone scripture in a gold box, gold scripture in a stone box.

Today it finally clicked that maybe the "dead leaves" in my dreams have nothing to do with the restaurant but may be yet another "plates" reference. "Leaves of gold" -- both tree leaves and leaves of a book -- have been very much in the sync-stream recently. This started with my January 4 post "Leaves of gold unnumbered," in which golden tree-leaves in two different Tolkien poems were connected with the leaves of the Golden Plates. In the second of these poems, "Namárië," the golden leaves are also dead leaves, falling from the trees in autumn. I also included this imagery of "gold" autumnal leaves in my May 15 poem "Humpty Dumpty revisited"; this was just some whimsical punning on Humpty's "great fall," with no conscious reference to my earlier "leaves of gold" post. Then on June 10, as recorded the next day in "Feuilles-oh, sauvez la vie moi," I tried to translate a passage from Rimbaud for myself because I was unhappy with Louise Varèse's failure to translate feuilles d'or literally as leaves of gold. Rimbaud's "leaves" are closer to the Golden Plates, something to write on. Then that very night, I happened to read in Richard Cavendish's The Tarot about Etteilla's claim that the original Book of Thoth had been written "on leaves of gold" near Memphis. William Wright picked up on this theme in "The Brass Leafy Plates and all roads lead to France," proposing that my "leaves of gold" syncs have to do with the Brass Plates and that these are currently in France. (If anyone wants to follow up that lead, the first place I'd look is behind the altar in the Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse; let me know if you find anything.) He also brings up the idea of an "ark" (and connects it with Joan of Arc, which I had somehow failed to do!), though for him it is the plates themselves that constitute the ark.

The place to which all roads proverbially lead is of course not France but Rome, and that makes me think of Book VI of the Aeneid. There our hero visits the cave of the Cumaean Sybil, a prophetess whose usual practice is to write the word of bright Phoebus on literal leaves -- oak leaves -- and leave them at the mouth of her cave, where they soon blow away in the wind. Aeneas specifically asks her not to do this with the oracle he has requested: "Only do not write your verses on the leaves, lest they fly, disordered playthings of the rushing winds: chant them from your own mouth." The seeress obliges -- and goes on to speak of leaves of gold!

Hidden in a dark tree is a golden bough, golden in leaves and pliant stem, sacred to Persephone, the underworld’s Juno, all the groves shroud it, and shadows enclose the secret valleys. But only one who’s taken a gold-leaved fruit from the tree is allowed to enter earth’s hidden places.

Aeneas finds this fabled golden bough hidden among the leaves of an otherwise ordinary oak tree:

Just as mistletoe, that does not form a tree of its own, grows in the woods in the cold of winter, with a foreign leaf, and surrounds a smooth trunk with yellow berries: such was the vision of this leafy gold in the dark oak-tree, so the foil tinkled in the light breeze.

(I'm away from my study at the moment and don't have access to any of my preferred translations of Virgil. The above are A. S. Kline's, taken from this site.)

With this context -- and the Aeneid, which I have read more times and in more translations than any other book outside the Bible, is very much a part of the furniture of my subconscious, likely to influence my dreams -- the dream image of golden plates hidden in an enclosed space full of dead leaves takes on another possible meaning. It's as if some devotee of far-darting Phoebus, anxious that nothing be lost, had assiduously gathered as many of the wind-scattered leaves as could be recovered and shut them up in a room lest they blow away again. Alas, leaves are but leaves, and it is not the wind that keeps them from lasting forever. They may be bright when they fall from the oak, but nothing gold can stay. Hidden among those brittle husks of desiccated prophecy, though, may be found, like mistletoe in the shadows, a few leaves from the genuine Golden Bough, enabling passage to other worlds. These at least are not ephemeral: "these plates of brass should never perish; neither should they be dimmed any more by time."

So maybe the Sybil's way of doing things was right all along: Let blow away whatever can blow away; true gold will remain.

Working out what that means is going to take some time, but at least it's nice to have found a different interpretive angle and to get away from the stupid literalness of focusing on that restaurant!

One little postscript: In "What shall we do with the drunken Railer?" I mention the very unsatisfactory nature of the French translation of the Sinbad bit in Ulysses, where Joyce's tailor and jailer and whaler become the meaningless tarin and jarin and wharin. Couldn't they have found some actual French words that rhyme with marin as the English words rhyme with sailor? Well, I've been on a DIY translation kick recently, so if no one else is going to do it . . . .

I found a French rhyming dictionary online and looked up words that rhyme with marin. Pretty slim pickings, it turns out:

Pinbad le Parrain, the godfather? Not too many other possibilities here. But the very first result, after marin itself, is romarin. I looked it up, and it's the French word for rosemary, the herb. Weird coincidence.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Feuilles-oh, sauvez la vie moi

Did you know that there's an Art Garfunkel album called Angel Clare? Neither did I. It was released in 1973, on September 11 -- a date which we now associate with the idea of Two Towers -- and one of the tracks is in French (or Creole anyway) and emphasizes one particular French word I had been obsessing over just yesterday.

This track -- "Feuilles-Oh/Do Space Men Pass Dead Souls on Their Way to the Moon?" --  was going to be included on Bridge over Troubled Water, but that didn't end up happening, so Garfunkel did it on his own and put it on Angel Clare.

I had a day off yesterday, and I spent several hours trying to translate "Matin," a section in Arthur Rimbaud's A Season in Hell. The reason I wanted to translate it myself was that I found Louise Varèse's translation of feuilles as sheets unacceptable. Feuilles d'or means "leaves of gold," sorry. Not negotiable. Even though this is a prose section of A Season in Hell, I started translating it in verse:

Once I -- but only once -- was able
To make of life a living fable.
Heroic days of not-so-old!
A youth to write on leaves of gold!
Was none of it, then, mine to keep?
How did I fall? How fall asleep?

At this point, my Muse got distracted by the idea that I could make this simultaneously a "translation" of "Matin" and of the first canto of Dante's Comedy, and pursuing two hares, I caught neither.

Rimbaud imagines preserving his lost youth by writing it on leaves of gold. Garfunkel sings, in French, "Leaves-oh, save my life!" Both Rimbaud and Garfunkel go on to talk about being sick.

One verse of the Garfunkel song is in English:

Willie works as the garden man;
He plants trees, he burns leaves,
He makes money for himself.
Often I stop with his words on my mind.
Do spacemen pass dead souls on their way to the moon?

That's my own name, of course, and my sync-stream has for some months been entangled with that of another "Willie," William Wright.

Rimbaud has "leaves of gold," and Garfunkel has "he burns leaves." Both images are combined in "Humpty Dumpty revisited":

Observing as the leaves would turn
From green to gold, and some would burn
With orange or with scarlet hue,
And Humpty Dumpty saw that, too.

Update (10:00 p.m.): Immediately (less than 10 minutes) after posting this, I taught a small group of adult students. One was wearing a T-shirt that said "C'est la vie," with a wreath of leaves and flowers around the words. The title of this post includes la vie and the French word for "leaves." Even the word c'est has been something of a Claire calling card.

"Save my life" -- which I linked specifically to Rimbaud's wanting to preserve his childhood -- is also a link to Bookends ("Crescent waxing"), which opens, after a brief intro, with the track "Save the Life of My Child." This track also includes in the bridge two lines from "The Sound of Silence" -- the same two I quoted recently in "More on Joan and Claire."

Crescent waxing

The sync fairies have a way of dredging up my juvenilia -- which is somewhat embarrassing, but if you want to ride with the sync fairies, embarrassment is one of the first things you have to give up. Today I suddenly remembered these two stanzas from an unfinished poem I wrote as a student. I no longer have the manuscript, but the Olentangy River reference dates it to 2001-2002.

Went to the record store and bought
Bookends because it matched my mood
Still haven’t played it (I forgot)
Stayed out all night to pace and brood
Along the Olentangy River
Crescent waxing, just a sliver

Up in a pine tree in the park
Collected works of Yeats in hand
I sit and read till it is dark
How innocent -- just like I’d planned
Won’t someone take a photograph?
Crescent waxing, almost half

Bookends is a Simon and Garfunkel album, and that duo's recent entrance into the sync stream (see "More on Joan and Claire" and "Over troubled water") is what brought the poem to mind. William Wright also recently brought up a Five for Fighting album with a very similar name, Bookmarks, in "Running with Claire."

Then the second stanza brings in Yeats, and each stanza ends with a reference to the phase of the moon. In my first dream-encounter with Claire ("Rapunzel and the True Song of Wandering Aengus"), she quizzed me about the phases of the moon and then gave me the "true" version of a Yeats poem. I could remember only a few details of this "True Song," and googling those details led me to a book called The Witch's Tower. The poem quoted above was apparently written when I was living in Morrill Tower, on the banks of the Olentangy in Columbus, Ohio. After Peter Jackson's The Two Towers came out, many students started calling the building -- which is one of the university's Two Towers -- Minas Morrill. This was of course a reference to Tolkien's Minas Morgul, literally "Tower of Sorcery." (If that seems like a creepy thing to call your dorm, it was an improvement over its old nickname: the Jeffrey Dahmer Building.)

Of course, there's also the obligatory dark reference.

Were all those syncs pre-arranged, lying dormant in a forgotten poem for twenty-some years until I was ready to notice them? I guess the vision that was planted in my brain all those years ago still remains. Or, as Yeats is quoted as saying in The Witch's Tower, "The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Over troubled water

At the end of my last post, I mention listening to two songs on YouTube: "The Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel, and then Emily Linge's cover of Ben E. King's "Stand by Me." Since I listened to both and gave each a thumbs-up, the algorithm figured that what I wanted to listen to today was Emily Linge singing Simon and Garfunkel, namely "Bridge over Troubled Water":

I soon as I saw the title, I figured it was synchronistically relevant. St. Peter has been in the sync-stream of late, particularly in his role as "first pope." He went by two different names, Simon and Peter, the latter meaning "stone." The name Garfunkel ultimately derives from the Latin carbunculus, meaning "reddish, bright kind of precious stone, probably comprising the ruby, carbuncle, hyacinth, garnet." Catholics consider Peter to have been the first pontiff, a title which literally means "bridge-maker." So when Simon and Garfunkel sing about a bridge, that seems likely to have something to do with Peter.

Furthermore, Peter has been associated recently with the title character of the Yeats poem "The Song of Wandering Aengus," in which Aengus pursues a "glimmering girl." I figured this tied in with the "silver girl" in "Bridge over Troubled Water," and I saw that Emily was even wearing a glimmering silver dress to sing it, as if in costume as the glimmering/silver girl herself.

When I played the Emily Linge video, though, I found that she had changed the lyrics -- something she never does! -- and replaced "silver girl" with "children." Now this is unacceptable. Children don't need a bridge over troubled water, nor do they need to sail. When the water is troubled, they wade.

Since Emily had dropped the ball on the "silver girl" bit, I decided to listen to the original. When I put bridge over troubled water in the search box, though, what came up was another Emily Linge cover of the same song, uploaded just a month ago. She's wearing the same silver dress, and this time she gets the lyrics right:

A few hours after writing the above, mentioning three different ways of crossing "troubled water" -- sailing, wading, and using a bridge -- I read this in Louise Varèse's English translation of Arthur Rimbaud's A Season in Hell:

Jesus walked on the troubled waters. The lantern showed him to us, erect, white, with long brown hair, on the flank of an emerald wave.

Yet another way of crossing troubled water! And of course, Jesus was one of two people to walk on water, the other being Peter. The "emerald wave" also syncs with one of Ramer's recurring dreams in The Notion Club Papers:

There is a Green Wave, whitecrested, fluted and scallop-shaped but vast, towering above green fields, often with a wood of trees, too; that has constantly appeared.

This is presumably a vision of the destruction of Númenor, which happened in the reign of its last king, Ar-Pharazôn -- whom William Wright identifies with Peter.

Saturday, June 8, 2024

More on Joan and Claire

As discussed in my June 6 post "What's the connection between Joan and Claire?" William Wright now believes that the beings I have interacted with under the names of Joan and Claire are in fact one and the same, an identification I have been somewhat hesitant to accept.

Well, why not ask Claire herself to mettre les choses au clair, so to speak? Yesterday, June 7, I had some free time, so I prepared for a read and said, "Okay, Claire, you've got one shot to convince me. One card. Make it count." I shuffled and cut the deck while repeating in my mind, "Joan and Claire: Are they the same or different? The same or different?" I put a single card face down in front of me and returned the rest of the deck to its ark.

When I read, it's my habit to try to engage whatever psychic faculties I may possess by trying to visualize the face of each card before I turn it over. Fairly often I am able to do this successfully: A mental image of a particular card comes to mind, and when I turn over the card in front of me, that's what it is. Sometimes a different image comes to mind, which doesn't match what's on the card but sheds light on how to interpret it. Or sometimes, of course, I just get random noise, or nothing.

When I tried to visualize this card, I got a fairly hazy image of a large metal chalice. The image was not at all detailed, and I couldn't even be sure what metal it was, but my impression was that it was supposed to be the Holy Grail. Unsurprisingly, my guess was that the card was going to be the Ace of Cups. Though this visual impression was fairly weak, it was accompanied by a much stronger and clearer aural impression: a piano playing the first three notes of a C major scale: do re mi. This seemed potentially relevant to my question, since some years ago an online friend had pointed out that Domrémy, the birthplace of Joan of Arc (now called Domrémy-la-Pucelle in her honor), is pronounced almost exactly as do re mi, the only difference being the nasalization of the first vowel.

I turned the card over. It was the Knight of Wands:

The first thing I noticed was that this was not a "new" card but one I had drawn before. This was only my fifth reading with this deck, and I rarely use more than three cards per reading, so this was the first time the same card had come up a second time. That in itself suggests an answer of "same" rather than "different" to the question I had posed. What's more, the first time I had drawn this card -- which was on June 2, in my very first reading with the deck -- it had been about Claire. My brief notes for that first reading are as follows:

2024 June 2 Sunday
First read with consecrated RWS, acquired on Joan's Day.

1. Who is CdL? 2. What is her role in my life? 3. Who am I to her?

1. Nine of Cups - very pleased, granter of wishes, full of joy
2. Knight of Wands - call to adventure, risk, Ahuric action, and yes fun
3. Four of Swords - sleeper, calm knight, deep and slow

CdL is of course Claire de Lune. I've usually written her surname as Delune -- one word, capital D -- but for whatever reason I'd abbreviated it as CdL in my notes that day.

So the Knight of Swords has already been associated with Claire. If I can see anything in it that unambiguously indicates Joan, then I'll have my answer.

Because of the do re mi impression I'd had before turning over the card, I tried to see if there was any possible way do re mi was encoded in the image. I couldn't find anything. I thought of different ways do re mi might be expressed -- C D E, for example. (Even though I don't have anything like perfect pitch, my impression had been clear that it was the beginning of a C major scale I had heard.) I noticed that the abbreviation I had used in my notes, CdL, was frustratingly close to this, but of course there is no such musical note as L.

But wait. If there were a musical note called L, which note would it be? Well, imagine if after G you just kept going instead of starting over at A. L would then be an octave above E, and would thus also be mi:

So, in a fairly straightforward way, CdL = do re mi.

Coming back to the image on the card itself, its an armored person on horseback, and in my opinion the face is even sexually ambiguous and could be seen as that of a woman. So that matches Joan in a general way. And the yellow leaves on the horse's bridle bear a certain resemblance to fleurs-de-lis. The suit of Wands has been seen as symbolizing the peasant class, so the Knight of Wands is someone from a peasant background raised to knightly status, like Joan.

Then I realized that the wooden staff resembles a stake, and that the Knight looks as if he is on fire.Those aren't actually flames on his helmet, though, but feathers -- just as a bird reportedly rose from the flames when Joan was burned. Then I noticed the black lizards printed on the Knight's outer garment -- which, I know from reading Waite, are not actually lizards but salamanders, representing the element of Fire. Wait, didn't I post something about salamanders recently, and wasn't it about Joan?

I put salamanders in the search box on this blog, and a single post came up: "The arrow through the window," dated June 2, 2024. It was an unfinished draft, last edited in 2021, but I'd decided to publish it on that day -- the same day I did that first reading and drew the Knight of Wands. The post does indeed deal with Joan, and it also mentions that story about a bird flying up out of the flames. Keep in mind the title of the post, with its reference to a window.

My attention next turned to the horse on the card. Did Joan ride a brown horse? She's often shown on a white horse in art.I ran a search for joan of arc's horse, and the very first result was "Stories of Joan of Arc at Orléans," from a site called Sacred Windows. It says her horse was "dark-coated," but I was more interested in what it had to say about her banner:

It was twelve feet long, silky white, and emblazoned with the names of Jesus and Mary – a warrior’s banner. It was mounted on a tall pole for all to see, the resolute declaration of a conquering hero, like David against Goliath: "You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of hosts" (1 Samuel 17:45).

Thus did Joan of Arc ride into battle – holding high the banner, declaring her identity as a Christian soldier. Joan knew who she was, and announced it to her friends and enemies alike. Such a bold, bright, obstinate declaration of a warrior’s character must have struck mortal fear into the hearts of every foe, as the maiden, clad in armor and fire, rode onto the battlefield bringing war to their strongholds.

It specifically mentions the "tall pole" from which the banner flew, and that Joan held it high as she rode into battle. The card doesn't show a banner, but the Knight is holding up a pole. "Clad in armor and fire" also matches our Knight pretty exactly. 

After the reading, since piano music had come up in connection with Claire, I thought I'd listen to Clair de Lune, the piano piece by Debussy. I found it on the YouTube Music app on my phone, but it had to play an ad first. The ad began with footage of people fighting with lightsabers, and a voice said in English something like "You have the weapon of a Jedi, but you are not a Jedi yet," after which it switched to Chinese. I didn't quite catch the exact quote, nor had I processed what exactly was being advertised when, a few seconds later, the ad ended and Clair de Lune began playing.

It took me a second to remember why I associated lightsabers with Joan of Arc. Then I remembered: In my January 2021 post "Darkest hour," I relate dreaming the phrase épée d'Arc ("sword of Arc") and relating it to a Babylon Bee article about Trump having "the Darksaber," which I guess must be from one of those Star Wars sequels I've never watched. Dark and d'Arc are homophones, and épée and sabre are two different (but not very different) fencing weapons.  As it turns out, it's also this post that brings up how Domrémy sounds like do re mi.

It's been decades since I fenced, and I only ever did foil. and just after typing the above, I wanted to check whether I had remembered correctly how the three weapons differ. The first search result, "Foil, Epee or Sabre? Choose Your Weapon," had mugs for sale comparing the weapons to wands.

Besides the link to the Knight of Wands, "My wand chose me" is also a link back to my post about my first two encounters with Joan, called "Can you just choose a patron saint?" The first two comments there took issue with my title, saying, "It sounds like your Saint chose you."

I really wanted to see that lightsaber ad again and get the exact quote and the context, but no amount of Googling turned up anything, so I figured all I could do was keep playing songs on YouTube Music and hope it would come up again. It never did, but the music (which I let the algorithm choose) was remarkably synchy. The second song it played was "The Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel, which begins with these lines:

Hello, darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again

Since I had just been thinking about the dark/d'Arc connection, this obviously caught my attention. Then the very next song was Emily Linge singing "Stand by Me," which begins thus:

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see

Another dark reference, immediately followed by a reference to moonlight -- or, in French, clair de lune.

Friday, June 7, 2024

Ludovicus Carolus in The Notion Club Papers

In my May 29 post "Pumpkin-eating lizardmen, and Marshall Applewhite," I quoted Aleister Crowley's Kabbalistic analyis of "Humpty Dumpty," in which he referred to Lewis Carroll by the Latin name Ludovicus Carolus.

In my June 4 post "Ramer on Humpty Dumpty," I noted a reference to Humpty Dumpty in Tolkien's Notion Club Papers.

Today, I read this in The Notion Club Papers:

Jeremy was an admirer of the Public-house School (as he himself had dubbed them), and soon after he became a Lecturer he gave a series of lectures with that title. Old Professor Jonathan Gow had puffed and boggled at the title; and J. had offered to change it to Lewis and Carolus, or the Oxford Looking-glass, or Jack and the Beanstalk; which did not smooth matters.

Lewis and Jack are pretty clearly references to C. S. Lewis, who has already been mentioned several times by Notion Club members. Given the Looking-glass reference immediately following, I assume Carolus must be none other than Lewis Carroll, referred to with the same Latinized name used by Crowley.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

What's the connection between Joan and Claire?

In his May 30 post "'Naming' Joan (and 'Beware this one!')," William Wright proposes that the beings I know as Joan of Arc and Claire Delune are actually one and the same, and also the same as one of the beings he has been in contact with, one of "a group of laughing women" whom he thinks of as the Daughters of Asenath. It is strongly implied that this being may not actually have anything to do with the historical Joan of Arc even though "that is how she has allowed herself to be thought of for a few reasons." In his June 4 post "The French Connection" he refers to "Joan-Claire" as if the identity has been established.

As the person who has actually interacted with these two women, I'm still not quite sold on the idea, though I haven't ruled it out.

Basically, Joan and Claire just feel like very different presences. My first two encounters with Joan, on January 1, 2021 (see "Can you just choose a patron saint?") were absolutely overwhelming. The sense of goodness and purity was so intense that it left me trembling and in tears. I felt very much as if I'd literally been in the presence of a goddess. A year later ("Softly now"), she manifested again in a way that I wrote was "a good deal subtler" but "still unmistakably her." If William's theory is right, then I suppose that 2022 manifestation is the missing link between Joan in her glory and the much more approachable Claire.

Unlike Joan, Claire first appeared in a dream and only later in waking life. In her first appearance, on January 5, 2024 ("Rapunzel and the True Song of Wandering Aengus"), she didn't actually appear in visual form, but my impression was "of a blonde woman who looked as if she might burst into laughter at any moment." In that dream, although I understood that she wanted to be called Claire Delune, I knew that was not her real name, and she spoke English. Then on January 21 ("The Green Door finally closes"), I "heard" a mental voice that sounded like Claire's saying in French that the Rosary was "one of the keys." I guess this is a potential link to Joan, as she was speaking French and delivering a "Catholic" message. (I'm not sure whether the historical Joan would have known a form of the Rosary or not; the history there is a bit murky.) I didn't assume the voice was Joan, though; I assumed it was Claire. If the 2022 manifestation was "unmistakably her," the 2024 one was not. Of course, the 2022 manifestation came on the anniversary of the original two, and I was actively anticipating a repeat visit; the lack of that context in 2024 may have led to my misidentifying the voice. I don't think so, though. They're just different. With Claire, the dominant impression is exuberant playfulness, which is quite distinct from Joan's affect, and they're also just different in a directly experienced way, the way two different people have different faces and voices.

After I read William Wright's May 30 post, Claire reappeared (for the first time since January) and has done so almost every day since then. Usually this is just an intense feeling of presence with her particular "flavor" to it, but there have been a couple of verbal messages. As soon as I had read the sentence proposing that Claire was Joan, she chimed in with a French pun: "C'est clair : c'est Claire!" -- "This much is clear: It's Claire!" Then, on June 2, she said in English, "Consider the lilies." That's a line from the Sermon on the Mount, of course, but also a link to Joan, who bore a banner "whose field was sown with lilies" -- and also, more surprisingly, to Tim. Tim didn't appear under that name until November 2023 ("Well, that didn't take long"), but I quickly reached the conclusion that the anonymous man who visited Whitley Strieber in Toronto on June 6, 1998, was this same Tim ("'Tim' and The Key"). And what do you know, here I am posting this on June 6! In my 2022 post about Joan, I actually quoted this person I would later identify as Tim: "The most important thing that Christ said was 'be as the lilies of the field.' It is a message for the next millennium."

This, together with the recent sync in which Claire is Tim's assistant ("Tim, Claire, Diego"), makes me wonder if we need to reconsider William Wright's conclusion that Tim is basically the devil.

On May 30, as recounted in "Yeats, Joan, and Claire," I ended up, through a combination of hunch and serendipity, buying a secondhand Rider-Waite Tarot deck, something I would ordinarily never dream of doing. (I spent a couple of hours reconsecrating the whole deck, one card at a time, which seems to have worked. So far, no discernible influence from whoever the previous owner may have been.) In that post, the question of Yeats's possible influence on that deck came up, and I said he may have had a hand in the inclusion of roses and lilies on two of the cards: the Magician and the Ace of Pentacles. I posted a photo showing those two cards, plus the Ace of Swords, which resembles Joan's coat of arms:

As should be clear in that post, I was under the impression that those were the only two Rider-Waite cards to feature roses and lilies. That turns out to be incorrect.

This morning, since Claire seems to have had a hand in my acquiring this deck of cards, I decided to see what it had to say about her. Asking "What is Claire's role?" I drew the Hierophant. This is Waite's version of the Pope card, which he for some reason renamed while keeping the image essentially unchanged and even adding more papal symbolism!

At first this threw me for a loop. The Hierophant typically represents established authorities, formal education, codified religious doctrine, and so on -- quite out of keeping with the spirit of Claire. Then I noticed the crossed keys. This is a papal symbol, obviously, but one that does not appear on traditional Pope cards; Waite added it. It has also come up repeatedly here and on William's blog in various contexts. It definitely relates to Claire: In my first waking encounter with her, she said of the Rosary, "Yes, this is one of the keys" -- implying that there is a second key. In my May 30 post, I tentatively concluded that this very deck of cards was the second key.

Then I noticed the roses and lilies, on the vestments of the two monks in the foreground. Somehow I had never noticed that detail before. This, then, would be another card that potentially has Yeats's fingerprints on it.

Remarkably, in my February 7 post "What's the second key?" my thoughts on the two keys led me to the symbolism of roses and lilies:

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. 

So I first thought the two keys might have something to do with roses and lilies, and then that one of the keys might be the Rider-Waite deck. Not until today did I discover that the Rider-Waite deck actually shows crossed keys juxtaposed with roses and lilies!

I still haven't worked all this out to my satisfaction, but for now my tentative conclusions are that Joan is literally Joan of Arc, that Claire is a different but allied being, and that Tim may end up being one of the good guys after all.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Tim, Claire, Diego

In his May 30 post "'Naming' Joan (and 'Beware this one!')," William Wright brought up Tim and Claire Delune, two beings I encountered in dreams some months back -- Tim on the night of November 6-7, and Claire on the afternoon of January 5. Then in yesterday's "Eowyn-Eve dwelling in Everlasting Burnings," he revisited another of my old dreams, from March 5, with a character named Diego. In the post, he connected Diego with Israel and with Tol Eressëa:

When I read the dream, I understood Diego to be synonymous with Israel.  Diego is the Spanish equivalent to Jacob, who was renamed Israel. . . . Who fought against Israel?  In my story, Pharazon and the Numenorean's attack on Eressea was an attack on Israel given that many of Finwe's House resided on that island. 

Today I had a meeting with the owner of another school. One of his teachers is taking a long vacation, and he had hoped I would be able to help him arrange a substitute. The owner is someone I had only met once before, some seven years ago, so I asked why he had thought to contact me.

"Tim suggested I give you a call," he said. I know Tim.  He's a sales rep for a bookstore chain, and I often order textbooks through him. Then he added, "Actually, I don't see Tim all that often these days. He's really busy, so I mostly contact him through his assistant, Claire."

I did not know Claire.

"I don't think I've met Claire," I said. "I always work with Tim and Miss Chen."

"Yes, yes, Miss Chen. Didn't you know? Her English name is Claire."

This is a Taiwanese person I was talking to. His English is extremely limited, and our whole conversation was in Chinese except for the names Tim and Claire. I've been doing business with Tim's assistant for five or six years now and never knew her by any other name than Miss Chen. The guy who doesn't speak English, though, knows her as Claire. Weird.

Later in the conversation, I asked for some information about his school's curriculum, and he said, "I'll arrange for you to meet with Diego, and he can explain it. Diego's one of our teachers. He's from Guatemala."

Curiouser and curiouser. I suppose it goes without saying that Taiwan is not blessed with an overabundance of people named Diego. And from Guatemala, too! Remember that William has connected the Diego in my dream with "Israelites" living on Eressëa. As it happens, Guatemala has come up exactly once on William's blog. In the May 20 post "Conferences in the Sawtooth Mountains," he discusses a movie about the Book of Mormon which "portrayed the events happening in the jungles of Guatemala or something... not, as we now know, on Eressea."

Looking up my Diego dream now, I find that it also features the surname Chen. Running into that name isn't that much of a coincidence -- one in every nine Taiwanese people is a Chen -- but it still counts for something.

Ramer on Humpty Dumpty

In my June 2 post “Just how far did Hinbad and Rinbad travel?” I explored an alternate interpretation of Rinbad the Railer, one which reminded me of something Bruce Charlton had posted back in 2011 about “Tolkien as a Lucid Dreamer of Faery,” which was based largely on the character Ramer in “The Notion Club Papers.” That piqued my curiosity enough that I started reading the NCPs (which, oddly, I’ve never read before), where I found that the etymology Christopher Tolkien proposed for Ramer was extremely similar in meaning to railer.

Today, reading a bit more in the NCPs, I unexpectedly ran into none other than the man -- or egg -- of the hour, Humpty Dumpty. The speaker is, naturally, Ramer (i.e. Rinbad the Railer):

If a haunted house were pulled to pieces, it would stop being haunted, even if it were built up as accurately as possible again. Or so I think, and so-called 'psychical' research seems to bear me out. In a way analogous to life in a body. If all the king's horses and all his men had put Humpty Dumpty together again, they’d have got, well, an egg-shell.

Update (12:45 p.m.):

About 10 hours after posting this, with its reference to Humpty as "the man -- or egg -- of the hour," I saw this on the wall of a bakery:

Monday, June 3, 2024

Makmahod in Lebanon?

In my May 30 post "Makmahod in France?" I describe a brief vision of a disembodied had holding a crowned sword, which I compared to the Ace of Swords and to the coat of arms of Joan of Arc. In the vision, the sword had an inscription which suggested that it was Makmahod, the Sword of Laban.On June 1, in "Joan: Look out the window. Come over to the window" -- about a dialogue in which Joan talks a lot about snow -- I reposted this image linking the image also to the cover of one edition of the novel Snow Crash.

Today I remembered a very similar vision I'd just read about a month or two before, reported in an 1841 letter from early Mormon apostle Orson Hyde (from here):

Jaffa, October 20, 1841


Yesterday I arrived in this place from Beyrout, and just as I was about to start from the American consul's in this place to Jerusalem, at a most enormous price, a company of English gentlemen rode in from Jerusalem with many servants all armed, and they were to return immediately to Jerusalem, and I can go for little or nothing comparatively speaking.

I have only time to say a few words; but through the favour of heaven I am well and in good spirits, and expect, in a day or two, to see Jerusalem.

My journey has been long and tedious, and consequently expensive. If I get back to England with money enough to buy my dinner, I shall think myself well off.

The country is in a terrible state. While I was at Beyrout, a terrible battle was fought in Mount Lebanon, about six hours' walk from Beyrout, between the Drewzes and Catholics. It was said that about four hundred were killed on each side. An English officer, returning from St. Jean d'Acre to Beyrout, was taken by the Drewzes, and would have been killed had not the Pacha come to his rescue.

He said that he found ten human bodies in the street on his way without heads. Thefts, murders, and robberies are taking place almost continually. The American missionaries in Beyrout and Mount Lebanon have had notice from the Grand Sultan, through our minister at Constantinople, Commodore Porter, to leave the country, and a prospect that all the missionaries in Syria will have to leave. This is only conjecture, however. But in this, if it do take place, I can see plainly the hand of Providence. The fact is, this land belongs to the Jews; and the present fermentation thereof shows to me that it is fast working back into the hands of its rightful heirs. God will, in due time, drive out the Canaanites, so that no more a Canaanite shall be found in the land, or in the house of the Lord.

I find that almost an universal anxiety prevails respecting the return of the Jews. The waters are troubled because the Angel has descended. My heart leaps for joy at the prospect of seeing that land, and there fulfilling my mission.

When we left Smyrna for Beyrout, we only took in stores for one week, thinking that would surely be sufficient, as the voyage is usually made in four days; but we were nineteen days on the passage. A number of days I eat snails gathered from the rocks, but the greatest difficulty was, I could not get enough of them. I was so weak and exhausted that I could not go on shore after the slight exertion of drawing on my boots. But that is past; I am now strong and well, and have plenty to eat. I now have nothing but land pirates, in the shape of Arabs, to encounter. An Englishman seems like a brother, let his religion be what it may. Yet I am very partial to the fulness of the gospel; for in it I have great joy.

The servants are now waiting for me, and I must gird on my arms and be off. Yet one thing I will notice, which is this: On my passage from Beyrout to this place, the night before last, at one o'clock, as I was meditating on the deck of the vessel, as she was beating down against a sultry schroke wind, a very bright glittering sword appeared in the heavens, about two yards in length, with a beautiful hilt, as plain and complete as any cut you ever saw. And, what is still more remarkable, an arm, with a perfect hand, stretched itself out and took hold on the hilt of the sword. The appearance really made my hair rise, and the flesh, as it were, to crawl on my bones. The Arabs made a wonderful outcry at the sight; O, Allah, Allah, Allah! was their exclamation all over the vessel.

I mention this because you know there is a commandment to me which says, "Unto you it shall be given to know the signs of the times, and the sign of the coming of the son of man."

May the Lord bless you all in England and in America. And I pray that he will bless my wife, and my dear little children; God knows that I want to see them—yea, and all the saints.

I have many particulars that I would like to write, but time will not allow at this time. You will hear from me again by the first opportunity, if the Arabs don't kill me. There is no post here; letters are sent by private conveyance, through friends, &c. God bless you and the cause of Zion is my last prayer.

My love to brothers Snow and Adams, and all the brothers and sisters in the communion: pray for me.

Yours, in great haste,


I had remembered only the sword vision itself, but looking up the letter just now I discovered the other parts I have bolded: Lebanon (from the same Hebrew root as the name Laban), Snow, and St. Jean d'Acre -- the last being obviously extremely similar to St. Jeanne d'Arc.

Hyde emphasizes that the sword had "a beautiful hilt." Nephi makes the same observation upon drawing out the sword of Laban:

And I beheld his sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel (1 Ne. 4:9).

I know about the letter quoted above because it was mentioned by Don Bradley in his speech "Knowing Brother Joseph Again: How the Historical Record Demonstrates the Prophet’s Religious Sincerity." Bradley points out that Hyde's vision -- which was apparently of something objectively there in the sky, as the Arabs with him saw it, too -- took place just eight days before Joseph Smith married Zina Peterson, whom Bradley argues was Joseph's first plural wife. When he proposed to her, he reportedly said, "I put it off and put it off until an angel came with a drawn sword and told me I had to move ahead" -- the implication being that this was Joseph's interpretation of a vision similar or identical to Hyde's, and that Hyde's report supports the reality of the vision and therefore Joseph's sincerity.

Orson Hyde at that time was on a ship, taking passage to Beirut, I think it was. He’d gone to dedicate Jerusalem — he was on the other side of the world. But he sees a sword in the sky and a hand grabbing the hilt. And I was dumbfounded by this, it seemed nuts. I looked and it turns out that there was a meteor shower going on at the time. There were others on the boat with Orson Hyde. They were Arabs and they cried out at the exact moment that he saw the sword and the hand. They cried out "Allah! Allah! Allah!" — so they saw this too. It wasn’t a vision; it was something actually in the sky.

It wouldn’t have been visible at the exact same moment in Nauvoo, but the same meteor shower would (at different hours) have been visible in Nauvoo. And this goes along so remarkably with Joseph describing at this time seeing an angel with a drawn sword. And I thought about when, during the Great meteor shower of 1833, Joseph wrote in his journal about it — how someone called him to "rise and behold the signs in the heavens; I arose and to my great joy, Behold, the stars falling from heaven, like a shower of hailstones, a literal fulfillment of the Word of God, as according to the Holy Scripture is a sure sign that the coming of Christ is close at hand."

Bradley's meteor shower theory seems weak to me. A meteor shower just doesn't look much at all like a hand holding a drawn sword, "plain and complete." I suppose it is conceivable that some freak chance made the meteors appear in a configuration suggesting a sword -- but twice? As Bradley points out, it's geographically impossible that Orson Hyde in the Mediterranean and Joseph Smith in Nauvoo should have simultaneously observed the very same astronomical event.

Or is it? 1:00 a.m. in Lebanon would have been 5:00 p.m. in Nauvoo -- about an hour before sunset in late October -- and the two locations are separated by about 126 degrees of longitude. If the "sword" was bright enough to be visible even before sunset, and if it appeared in both locations relatively low in the sky (an average of less than 27 degrees angular elevation), then I think it is possible that Joseph Smith saw it in the eastern sky at precisely the same moment Orson Hyde saw it in the west. Hyde mentions a strong wind (surely the Levante, not the Sirocco as reported), which at that time of year near Lebanon would likely have been blowing from east to west, making it likely that Hyde was standing with his back to the wind, facing west, when he saw the sword. Meanwhile, Joseph would likely have been facing his east, rather than staring into the setting sun.

Anyway, whatever the details, I do agree that Hyde's letter -- written at such a time and place as to ensure its independence from Joseph's account -- lends credence to the otherwise risible "angel with a drawn sword" story.

I said hello. Can you hear me, Joe?

Back in November 2023, I posted “Read my lips: no new syncs,” calling a moratorium which was almost immediately violated by Tim, who required that I be asleep in order to deliver his message and accomplished this by chanting “Sleep now, O sleep now” until I obliged.

In my “no new syncs” post, I included this page from Dr. Seuss:

William Wright, who had been on the point of proposing a female identity for my sync fairies, saw Tim as an impostor and identified him with Saruman and with the wire-cutting mouse.

This year, on Joan’s Day, William revealed that he had also been planning on identifying Joan when things were interrupted by Tim.

A few days ago, I posted a dialogue from a textbook which begins with Joan saying, “Joe! Joe! JOE! Hello?” She wants Joe to wake up and go to the window to see the snow, but Joe wants to sleep. I tied this in with a scene from Help! in which the baddies call Ringo on his black telephone and chant, “Go to the window. Go to the window.”

Here’s the page immediately preceding the one I posted in November:

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Fourth Down

I’m not actually all that clear on what a “fourth down” is in football terms (don’t tell my Cousin Lou!), but it’s the name of one of my uncle’s songs, which I quoted recently because it name-drops William Butler Yeats:

I sent my Butler to the Land of Ire
To bring me back some Yeast
Because I needed to bake some bread
For my wedding feast.
He came back empty-handed,
And I thought my heart would break
When he told me he’d been robbed
By a bandit named Billy Blake.
That postponed my wedding,
And I had to shed a tear,
Then locked myself in the bathroom
So I could shake my spear.

And then the chorus:

Drown my head in water.
Lay it on the chopping block.
You can turn that oil up hotter
Cause I’m singing, but I ain’t gonna talk.

I had quoted the first lines earlier in connection with The Tarot by Richard Cavendish, which has a portrait of Yeats in it. Today I started reading it. On p. 15, Cavendish mentions that some packs of cards, both Tarot and ordinary playing cards, have portrayed the court cards as historical figures. The first he mentions is Shakespeare (Jack of Diamonds in an 1879 German pack), and another is “La Hire . . . a supporter of Joan of Arc,” whose name is used by the French to this day as a nickname for the Jack of Hearts.

I looked up La Hire. His nom de guerre is believed to have come from the English word ire, with reference to the wrath of God. (Note that as far back as 2016 I had connected the name Claire with the divine ire.)

“Fourth Down” references both Shakespeare (apparently as a euphemism for masturbation!) and the Land of Ire. The chorus is about how torture will make him sing but not talk. I recently quoted Rimbaud saying, just after a Joan of Arc reference, “I am of the race that sang under torture.”

The arrow through the window

I found this in my Drafts folder, last modified September 20, 2021, with the title “The second baptism.” I post it now, unfinished, for synchromystic reasons.

My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof!

Elijah said unto Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee."

And Elisha said, "I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me."

And he said, "Thou hast asked a hard thing."

-- 2 Kings 2:9-10

But Jesus said unto them, "Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?"

And they said unto him, "We can."

And Jesus said unto them, "Ye shall indeed." 

-- Mark 10:38-39

John answered, saying unto them all, "I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable."

-- Luke 3:16-17

The prophet John promised a baptism "with the Holy Ghost and with fire" and implicitly identified Jesus as the one who would perform it. I suppose orthodox opinion would connect this prophecy with the extraordinary manifestations that took place at the feast of Pentecost six months after Jesus' death, when "there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:3-4).

What did John have in mind, though? What could "Holy Ghost" even have meant to a pre-Christian? Well, ghost, spirit, and wind are all the same word in the original Greek, and the very next thing John says is "whose fan is in his hand." A holy wind to separate the wheat from the chaff, and then a fire to burn up the latter. (For what it's worth, a "rushing mighty wind" also figures in the Pentecost story.)

Wind and fire call to mind Elijah, carried away in a whirlwind of flame, and in fact John, in promising a fire to come after him, may have been thinking of his role (denied by himself but affirmed by Jesus) as the apocalyptic second coming of Elijah.

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings . . . . Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord" (Mal. 4:1-2, 5).

As John has it, the fire is only for the "chaff," but Malachi and Acts tell a different story. For Malachi, the same fiery Sun that burns up the wicked will heal the righteous. The Christians at Pentecost were engulfed in flames but not consumed. The fire is universal; what differs is how people are affected by it.

"Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, as fire, shall devour you. . . .Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly" (Isa. 33:11, 14-15). Breath, in Hebrew as in Greek, is the same word as wind or spirit. For Isaiah, too, the righteous are not spared the fire but are able to live in it. As some old writer cited only as J. Spencer once put it, "Such is the condition of all God's children, . . . true salamanders, that live best in the furnace." (Fellow Mormons can likely guess how I happen to know that quote!)


When Elisha was on his deathbed (2 Kgs. 13), the king of Israel came to him and, through streaming tears and with trembling voice, repeated the words Elisha had uttered long before, at the assumption of Elijah: "O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof." Did he think this magic formula would call down the flaming whirlwind of God? Did he see something Elisha didn't? At any rate, no manifestation was forthcoming.

Elisha did not immediately respond, but then -- "Take bow and arrows," he said. "Put thine hand upon the bow, open the window eastward, and shoot."

The king did so.

"The arrow of the Lord's deliverance," breathed Elisha -- and though later writers were to embellish the scene, those were his last words.

They buried him. No whirlwind, no chariot of fire, no flaming horsemen. Another generation passes, and a little more magic passes from the world. "Man is in love and loves what vanishes, / What more is there to say?"


Jehanne Darc's surname evolved, after her death, into d'Arc -- "of Arc," that is, "of the Bow." A friend sent me the section on Joan of Arc from The Saint Book by Mary Reed Newland. It ends thus:

The pyre, unusually high so all could see, prevented the executioner from giving the customary coup de grâce to shorten her suffering and as the flames rose she cried, "Jesus, Jesus." An English soldier swore that he saw a white bird rise up out of the flames. He stood transfixed until his companions led him away.

What did the white bird mean? Was it her spirit leaving her body, in bird form like an Egyptian ba? No, it was the Dove, and its meaning was that here was another baptism like that of Jesus, but this time by fire. Its implicit message, delivered in the age-old language of signa ex avibus, was, "This is my beloved daughter, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name." (Does that parallel strike you as blasphemous? But why should it? Do you really think Jesus never intended for anyone to follow him?)

The original Dove that flew over Jesus' baptismal waters echoed the dove of Noah flying over the flooded earth. After the Flood, the rainbow -- l'arc-en-ciel, the arc in heaven -- was given as a sign that the earth would never again be flooded. Because, according to later tradition, the next Deluge would not be water but fire. What can survive a deluge? Only an ark. Is it a coincidence that Jeanne d'Arc

And there the draft ends. I would complete it now, but the thing is gone from me.

Just how far did Hinbad and Rinbad travel?

William Wright has persuaded me to take my recent nonsense poem “With?” more seriously than the spirit in which it was written. I mean, why not? Nonsense writing has long been recognized as a modality of inspiration.

Hinbad the Hailer traveled far
By riding in a yellow car.

I wrote this with no deeper thought in mind than that a “hailer” could be someone who hails a cab. Reading it now with my interpreter’s spectacles on, though, I can scarcely believe I wrote it without noticing a second meaning. Who traveled far in a yellow car? Who but Elijah, who ascended to heaven in a chariot of fire?

The j, pronounced as y in Hebrew, is not really a distinct sound from the adjoining i, which is why it is omitted in the Greek form of the name, Elias (which even begins with an H in Greek). Notice anything about the title Hailer? Try spelling it backwards.

Where does Hinbad the Hailer go? “Outside,” presumably, the same place Joan goes to make her snowball. Europa?

Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? (Job 38:22-23)

There may also be a link to the One Mighty and Strong:

Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand (Isa. 28:2).

The ice must flow! And doesn’t “cast down to the earth with the hand” sound like throwing a snowball?

If a Hailer takes a cab, a Railer must take a train, which was all I had in mind with the next couplet:

Rinbad the Railer, in a sleeper,
Traveled just as far, and cheaper.

Doesn’t that suggest someone who goes as far as Elijah, not in a spacecraft but simply by dreaming true? Perhaps a certain “Lucid Dreamer of Faery” whose middle initials were R. R. and who put his dreams in the mouth of a character called Ramer?

There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.

Go to the window; it’s dark but clear

In a period of just a few days, the following things happened: On May 30, William Wright proposed that the beings I know as Joan of Arc (Je...