Sunday, June 30, 2024

Dreaming in black and white

On Friday night (June 28) I dreamed all night about the flag of Brittany -- mostly the modern Gwenn ha Du (Sable four bars argent, a canton ermine) but sometimes also the older Kroaz Du (Argent a cross throughout sable).

That was all there was to the dream: no plot, no characters, no role for myself, just one shot after another of these black-and-white Breton flags.

On Saturday (June 29), I started using a new textbook with a student of mine. The first page of the first unit included this illustration:

It's a black-and-white picture of the Greek flag -- literally black and white, even though the Greek flag is blue and white, and the other pictures I've included in the photo show that the illustrations use shades of gray, and that even coffee is portrayed as gray rather than black.

This version of the Greek flag obviously closely resembles the Breton flags I had been dreaming about: five black stripes, four white stripes, and a canton which is the Kroaz Du with the colors swapped.

This morning (June 30), I checked my email and found that a correspondent had sent me a photo of a moth with striking black-and-white markings:

The central black marking resembles both a cross and a heraldic ermine spot, suggesting both of the Breton flags.

Later today, I spotted this on the wall of a restaurant:

In both parts of the design, there are five black stripes, just as on the Gwenn ha Du.

Update: After lunch, I went to a used bookstore and found a book about Ireland (a Celtic nation, like Brittany) shelved next to one with a zebra on the cover.

Update 2: Forgot to include this photo, taken on the street the same day. Of course it had to be five black noodles hanging from the chopstick-flagpole:

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Zinc Zeppelin

Zinc Zeppelin? Okay, I guess, but I prefer a heavier sound.

In "The horrible hairy homeward-hurrying hogs of Hieronymus," zebras are juxtaposed with the Hog Knight and his banner, and I therefore connected them with the zebra-striped flag of Brittany. Conceptually, the Hog  -- associated by way of pun with the biblical Ham -- was bearing the black and white banner of Brittany.

Although the pun has the tribe of Ham being bred and mustered in Arabia -- thus accounting for the sandwiches there -- the more conventional understanding is, as Debbie has repeatedly pointed out, that the descendants of Ham are the Black peoples of Africa. In the Z picture, the Zeppelins are labeled with the names of African countries -- Zanzibar, Zambia, Zaire, and Zimbabwe -- and one of them bears a man whose distinctive Nguni shield marks him as a Zulu warrior from southern Africa. So here, too, we have the tribe of Ham bearing aloft the colors of Brittany.

We can see a total of six airships, each with a zebra -- corresponding to the Nautical Newts, six of which are in a boat.The Newts are from Northman Land -- i.e., from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs flow. With the zebras we perhaps have yet another representation of this immigration -- only in metal zeppelins this time:

In other representations, the immigrants from Northman Land have brought sacred writings -- represented as the book Lassie Come Home and the newspaper The Northern Star. Elsewhere, a future scripture has been represented as a "round book" engraved on a metal disc, possibly brass. In the vision recounted in "Étude brute?" there is a holy book called the Cherubim, guarded by two Bulls. In "Lassie Come Home," I discussed how the Cherubim represent the 12 Tribes of Israel and the 12 signs of the zodiac, so the Cherubim (the book) would represent the combined scriptures of the 12 tribes. Near the prow of the Zanzibar zeppelin is this:

That's the zodiac -- the 12 signs depicted together in the form of a disc-shaped diagram engraved on zinc (of which brass is an alloy), and right next to it two zebu bulls. In the vision, I first saw the two Bulls inside an egg-shaped cavern, and then one of them led me into a second cavern where the Cherubim book was. On the Zeppelin, the two zebu bulls are in an oval frame, and one of them is facing the second frame which has the zodiac.


It has come to my attention that I posted this back in 2013:

Another point in favor of democracy is that mass elections do tend to ensure that kings meet certain very basic standards of competence and normality. Of course many democratically elected leaders are scoundrels, and some of them are relatively incompetent — but I feel pretty safe in saying that the U.S. has never elected a president with a two-digit IQ and never will. Nor do 12-year-olds win elections, or people with serious mental illnesses. 

We regret the error. 

Friday, June 28, 2024

Gryphon + Mock Turtle = Cherubim

Mock turtle soup is traditionally made with a calf's head, and so the Mock Turtle in Alice is portrayed as a turtle with the head, tail, and back hooves of a calf. Its companion, the Gryphon, is of course part lion and part eagle.

This comes very close to matching the four component creatures of the Cherubim. According to Ezekiel, the Cherubim had the faces of a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle. In John’s adaptation of this imagery in Revelation, the ox actually becomes a calf. In the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle, we have these same four -- except that the man is replaced with a turtle.This substitution is astrologically justified. The four creatures of the Cherubim represent the fixed signs of the zodiac -- Aquarius, Leo, Taurus, and Scorpio -- but the scorpion is replaced by the nearby constellation of Aquila, the Eagle. The man stands for Aquarius, and in Chinese astrology Aquarius belongs to the Black Tortoise. Thus, the turtle can stand in for Aquarius.

According to Ezekiel, the Cherubim had feet like "a calf's foot" and "the hands of a man." This maps perfectly to the Mock Turtle, whose "feet" are calf's hooves and whose "hands" are the flippers of a turtle (corresponding to Aquarius and thus to the man).

In Ezekiel, each Cherub looks the same, and each is a combination of all four creatures. In Revelation, there are four different Cherubim, each corresponding to only one of the four creatures. Lewis Carroll is intermediate between the two, having two different Cherubim, each combining two of the four creatures.

The World card of the Tarot follow's John's schema, with four distinct Cherubim, but notice how perfectly it corresponds to the illustration from Alice above: On the left, Aquarius and Taurus (the Mock Turtle); on the right, Scorpio and Leo (the Gryphon); in the center, a human female with her body turned toward the Gryphon but her face turned toward the Mock Turtle.

Just as the Eagle is above the Lion on the World card, the eagle parts of the Gryphon are above the lion parts. The Mock Turtle has calf parts at both the top and the bottom, with the turtle parts in the middle, so it doesn't map quite so perfectly.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Nautical Newts

At this rate I'm going to go through the whole freaking alphabet.

A newt is a kind of salamander. Although the picture is captioned "Nine Nautical Newts Navigating Near Norway," there are only six newts in the boat. The remaining three are in the water and are only partially visible. This immediately made me think of the Knight of Wands, recently discussed in "More on Joan and Claire." The Knight's outer garment is printed with salamanders -- six full salamanders plus a few partially visible ones.

The newts are navigating the open sea, while the Knight and his salamanders are traveling through the deserts of Egypt. That's a pretty big discrepancy, but as it happens, I just mentioned in a comment on "The horrible hairy homeward-hurrying hogs of Hieronymus" that "Egypt was also underwater when it was discovered" according to the Book of Abraham. This was following a train of thought started by the fact that the Hog Knight on the cover of Animalia is accompanied by an ostrich, which had made me think of a passage from The Satanic Verses related to the Norman Conquest. The Nautical Newts are also accompanied by an ostrich.

Actually, the Hog Knight has a lot in common with the Knight of Wands:

Both are wearing armor and riding in the same direction. The helmet of the Knight of Wands even appears to have one of those hounskull-style visors which, when closed, would give the Knight a "pig-faced" appearance. The Hog Knight holds a flagpole with a banner; the Knight of Wands holds a staff which, in my post, I connected with a flagpole as well. The Knight of Wands is in Egypt; the Hog Knight's banner, as seen inside the book, is decorated with what appear to be Egyptian hieroglyphics:

In the comment, I quote the statement that the discoverer of this underwater Egypt was "the daughter of Ham" and that she "afterward settled her sons in it," and I suggest that "hogs could be a punning reference to 'Ham.'" That Ham pun in its classic form, the one famously referenced by Bloom in Ulysses, includes a desert reference:

Why should no man starve on the deserts of Arabia?
Because of the sand which is there.
How came the sandwiches there?
The tribe of Ham was bred there and mustered.

Ham, bread, and mustard -- a very respectable pun. "Mustering" is something that military men do, which fits with the warlike portrayal of the tribe of ham in Animalia. Mustard is also interesting in connection with the Nautical Newts. It is the scholarly consensus that "eye of newt," the famous witches'-brew ingredient, originally referred to mustard seed. The Synoptic Gospels have Jesus compare the Kingdom to a grain of mustard seed, and Joseph Smith adapted the parable to apply to the Book of Mormon:

Let us take the Book of Mormon, which a man took and hid in his field, securing it by his faith, to spring up in the last days, or in due time; let us behold it coming forth out of the ground, which is indeed accounted the least of all seeds, but behold it branching forth, yea, even towering, with lofty branches, and God-like majesty, until it, like the mustard seed, becomes the greatest of all herbs. And it is truth, and it has sprouted and come forth out of the earth, and righteousness begins to look down from heaven, and God is sending down His powers, gifts and angels, to lodge in the branches thereof.

The mustard seed is planted and grows in a field, but the mustard seed is also mentioned in Luke in connection with the idea that a tree could be planted in the sea by those with sufficient faith:

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you (Luke 17:6).

Joseph Smith connected the mustard seed with a book of scripture buried in the earth. The Nautical Newts appear to have their own seaborne scripture -- a Nautical New T., or New Testament. Keeping in mind that the word translated as gospel in the Bible literally means "good news," the symbolism is pretty clear:

The name of the newspaper is The Northern Star, which makes me think that this "gospel" is the writings of the Lost Tribes, as mentioned in 2 Nephi 29, since those tribes are traditionally thought of as being "in the North." We typically speak of the Ten Lost Tribes, but they could also be reckoned as nine, if (as is often the case in the Bible) Joseph is counted as a single tribe rather than being divided into the half-tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. The Book of Mormon never gives them a number, though we know that there were 12 tribes in all and that three (Judah, Benjamin, and Levi) were not "lost."

Touching the newspaper is a snail shell. Well, I suppose it's actually a nautilus shell, given the alphabet theme, but it certainly looks like a snail shell. In "The Gospel of Luke on lobsterback," I specifically brought in snails as a symbol of a Gospel being transported across the sea. The snail in that analysis (from Lewis Carroll) was paired with the whiting, and here the snail shell is white. In Carroll, the idea of whiting having their tails in their mouths is emphasized; we see the same pose in the salamanders on the Knight of Wands.

To the right of the snail shell, we can see the ghostly image of what I suppose is meant to be a nurse, but her hat -- a rectangular shape marked with a cross -- is symbolic shorthand for "Bible," confirming our interpretation of the newspaper.

The Newts are navigating "Near Norway." Norway is, etymologically, "the northern way," which fits in with the Lost Tribes theme. The Old English name for Norway was Norðmanna land -- "Northman Land" -- which is also the etymological meaning of Normandy. Since Armorica (comprising Normandy and Brittany) has been so prominent in the sync-stream of late, we could think of "Near Norway" as referring to the Northman Land nearer to Britain -- i.e., Normandy as opposed to Norway in Scandinavia.

Finally, coming back to Ham for a moment, note that he is also implicitly present in the Nautical Newts picture, as one of the eight passengers on Noah's Ark:

By the way, I wasn't kidding about going through almost the whole alphabet. Stay tuned next time for the esoteric significance of Zany Zebras Zigzagging in Zinc Zeppelins.

Monday, June 24, 2024

The horrible hairy homeward-hurrying hogs of Hieronymus

I keep finding more in the central cover illustration of Animalia by Graeme Base:

As discussed in "GAEL," what I noticed first was the lion, green gorilla, and elephant, arranged in a line along the left side of the picture. Then I noticed that one of the elephants in the book is apparently named Eric, and that the cover shows an elephant right next to a knight on horseback -- encoding the name of Eric Knight, the author of the novel Lassie Come-Home. Just below Eric and the Knight is a golden jackal, suggesting the golden dog on the cover of Lassie Come Home. In my post "Lassie Come Home," I recorded a hunch that Lassie has something to do with the Woman of Revelation 12, who is menaced by the Dragon and has to go into hiding. Sure enough, right above Eric and the Knight on the cover is a menacing-looking dragon in flight. The D page in Animalia is titled "Diabolical Dragons Daintily Devouring Delicious Delicacies." Revelation 12 says that the Dragon is "called the Devil" (i.e, diabolical) and that it "stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born."

The Knight carries a banner, the end of which points to a herd of zebra -- a juxtaposition which suggests the zebra-striped flag of Brittany:

The flag of Normandy, the other part of Armorica, is a red field with two gold lions.

Under the banner is another black-and-white animal, an ostrich. In The Satanic Verses, the image of an out-of-place ostrich running along the English beach is associated with the Norman conquest. Rosa Diamond has just been daydreaming about that history -- "Come on, you Norman ships, she begged: let's have you, Willie-the-Conk" -- when

Running along the midnight beach in the direction of the Martello tower and the holiday camp, -- running along the water's edge so that the incoming tide washed away its footprints, -- swerving and feinting, running for its life, there came a full-grown, large-as-life ostrich.

These references to travel between Britain and Armorica fit right in with "The Gospel of Luke on Lobsterback," where I even propose that the "lobsters" may actually be soldiers, like our Knight. The Knight has the face of a hog, and both hogs and lobsters are well-known as non-kosher animals. As in Peter's vision in Acts, "unclean" animals may symbolize "Gentiles" -- the Gentiles entrusted with bringing the lost sheep of Israel, and their lost Gospel of Light, safely home:

I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders (1 Ne. 21:22).

The language is from Isaiah, of course, and for "set up my standard" many translations have something like "raise high my banner."

Confirmation that this hog Knight with his banner has to do with the Lassie Come Home story can be found on the H page of Animalia, where we learn that the hogs on horseback are "hurrying homeward":

William Wright's recent post about Ali with an I and Daniel with an L led me to look up a 2019 post of mine about Dante's claim that I and EL were the two earliest names for God. I was surprised to find that the post also included this detail from a painting by Hieronymus Bosch:

My interest at the time was in the owl, and how it proves that the creature in the basket in Bosch's painting The Conjurer is also an owl (not a monkey, as some have claimed). Looking at it now, though, what I see is an anthropomorphic hog, like our Knight, leading a golden dog on a leash -- as if bringing Lassie home. He is also dressed in dark green and carries a lute, suggesting this detail from the L page of Animalia:

Hieronymus is the Latin form of the name Jerome. I don't know how I could have posted so much about lions in a library, even referring to the library as a "study," without making the connection with Albrecht Dürer's famous copper engraving Saint Jerome in His Study:

Sleeping on the floor next to the saint's pet lion is a contented-looking dog. Lassie has come home.

One more thing to mention. In the vision described in "Étude brute?" -- which primed me to notice the Lions in a Library image in Animalia -- an indirect vision of the Holy Family -- Joseph and his wife and son, radiating light to bright for me to look at them (perhaps identical to William Wright's "Family of Light"?) -- was followed by my being led into a library or study by a "Bull of Heaven," which I described as being "something like an aurochs." Later I noted that the Bull is a traditional symbol of the House of Joseph. This symbolism comes from Deuteronomy:

[Joseph's] glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh (Deut. 33:17).

Where the King James has unicorns, the Douay-Rheims translation favored by Catholics has -- following no less an authority than Saint Jerome himself! -- rhinoceros. Most modern translations have wild ox, meaning the aurochs. These three animals, then, may be considered interchangeable as symbols of the House of Joseph. Here they are on the cover of Animalia:

The unicorn and rhinoceros caught my eye first, but there's also a yak in the background. Does that count as a "wild ox"? We usually think of the yak as a domestic animal, but there are still wild yaks in the Himalayas. The domestic yak is Bos grunniens ("grunting ox"), while the wild yak is Bos mutus ("silent ox"). Why bring up the scientific names? Because I specifically described the animals in my vision as "silent bulls."

Sunday, June 23, 2024

I think I found a book formerly owned by Donald Trump!

Found these during some random flipping-through at a used bookstore. These are the best marginal annotations, probably, ever. Everyone says so.

The only thing that makes me skeptical is that they're all in lowercase.


Recent sync activity has centered around Animalia by Graeme Base, which is an alphabet book. I was thinking how funny it was to be taking an alphabet book so seriously, and then I remembered that I was well within Mormon tradition in so doing, given Joseph Smith's Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language. This is commonly referred to (by those few who do refer to it) as "the GAEL," which I guess makes the language therein described -- clearly "Egyptian" in name only -- GAELic.

"The Gael" is also the name of that  tune from The Last of the Mohicans. Just in case it's not playing in your head already, here's a little help:

My interest in Animalia has been focused on the G and L pages -- two of the letters in GAEL -- both of which have some "Gaelic" themes. The L page includes a leprechaun, while the main subject of the G page is green gorillas. Green is the symbol of Ireland, and Punch cartoons used to portray the stereotypical Irishman as "Mr. G-O'Rilla." The Irish poet William Butler Yeats has recently been associated with Pharaoh's butler from Genesis, who dreamed of holding a cup and pressing grapes into it:

And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand (Gen. 40:11).

Here, from Animalia, is a green gorilla preparing to do just that:

I've just noticed for the first time that William Butler G-O'Rilla's grail is decorated with running greyhounds -- only they're not grey; they're gold. A golden dog running ties right in with Lassie Come Home on the L page:

Lassie is a stereotypically Scottish word, so there's another "Gaelic" link.

It occurred to me to look up gael on Eldamo. It's defined as "pale, glimmering" -- another link to Yeats, Claire, and The Song of Wandering Aengus, in which Aengus pursues a "glimmering girl." Another permutation of the same letters, laeg, is also Elvish and means, what else, "green."

The G and L pages encode the two keys. One of these, remember, is associated with gold, red, the sun, and the rose; the other, with silver, green, the moon, and the lily. Lions are associated with gold and the sun, and there is a key reference in the Lions' library in the form of a book by John Locke. Gorillas are associated with silver ("silverback"), and a gorilla is in a loose sense a "monkey" -- moon-key. The green "silverback" on the G page is complemented by the red "lobsterback" on the L page.

L and G also represent the square and compass. The square obviously resembles the letter L and appears as such in Mormon symbolism. Some forms of the capital G look like an arrow indicating circular motion, which is the function of the compass. (Transliterated into Greek, the mapping is reversed: Gamma is the square; Lambda, the compass.)

Doing an image search now to try to find a particularly arrow-like form of G, I found this, which for some reason also includes a lion named Lucas -- not the most natural choice for a page about the letter G!

Lucas is another form of the name Luke. William Wright has already suggested that the "Gospel of Luke" featured on the L page might have something to do with Luke Skywalker, and this "G. Lucas" would seem to confirm that reading.

But G and L are only two of the four letters in GAEL. What of the other two? Well, I don't have much to say about A at this point, but recent syncs have strongly suggested that I give the E page another gander. "Stink Gorilla More" included a photo of a little gorilla figurine my wife keeps on one of her bookshelves. The other day I was passing that shelf and noticed the gorilla's companions:

I first noticed the lion-gorilla juxtaposition, of course, but elephant is E, another component of GAEL. This trio of animals is also prominently featured on the cover of Animalia:

The E page of Animalia is kind of boring. Unlike G and L, which include dozens of different things beginning with those letters, E pretty much just has elephants and Easter eggs.

I mean, eggs are a Humpty Dumpty link, and he's been associated with the number eight (nice belt!), but that's about it.

Then I noticed that each of the eggs has a tiny name tag. The names are Emily, Elizabeth, Eric, Esmerelda (sic), Egbert, Ethel, Ernest, and what could be either Edward or Edwin. I guess these are the elephants' names. You can click the photo above to zoom in if you want to see the names for yourself.

The relevance of some of these is immediately obvious. William Wright has already written quite a bit about Elizabeth and Egbert. Eric is interesting because if you look back at the photo of the cover, an elephant (Eric?) is standing right next to a knight on horseback (a warthog knight, but still). Eric Knight is the author of Lassie Come-Home. The one that really got my attention, though, was the misspelled Esmerelda. William Wright recently posted about how the Elfstone in Tolkien's writings is a Green Stone. The name Esmeralda means "emerald" -- i.e., a green stone -- and here the spelling has been modified so as to include elda. Elda, as I suppose even the merest dabbler in things Tolkienian will be aware, means "elf."

Concerning shoon

The Man in the Moon
Wears silver shoon,
But gold costs twice
As much. That price
Is far too high,
And that is why
The Girl in the Sun
Wears only one.

On Venus, copper
Shoon they wore,
But copper’s dearer
Than before.
Until they’ve saved
Enough, that price
Means penny-loafers
Must suffice.

But iron’s cheap.
The shoon on Mars
Cost less than those
On other stars.
The Man that’s there
Is shod, of course,
With shoon to spare
To shoe his horse.

And what of Earth?
Men there, they say,
Make do with shoon
Of miry clay
Until, the Ancient’s
Reign restored,
They may go barefoot
Like their Lord.

Sons of Michael,
He approaches.
Rise! The Ancient
Father greet.
Bow, ye thousands,
Low before him.
Before his feet.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Gospel of Luke on lobsterback

In Animalia, as discussed in "This episode is brought to you by the letters G and L," the Gospel of Luke appears on the back of a lobster. No, not like the Judgement Tablet on the back of a cicada! It's in ordinary book form, if a bit thicker than the Gospel of Luke as we know it, but the book is supported by a lobster.

I've already written a bit about the possible significance of the Gospel of Luke, but I didn't say anything about the lobster. It's been nagging at me, though, and I finally figured out its relevance: "The Lobster-quadrille"! The G and L post prominently featured a griffin, also shown together with something representing sacred records, and the Gryphon in Alice is the one who, with the Mock-turtle, sings "The Lobster-quadrille." (That word quadrille originally meant "one of a set of four," which has obvious relevance to the Gospel of Luke.) In the song, lobsters are thrown out to sea from England, so far that they nearly reach the northern shore of France:

You can really have no notion how delightful it will be
When they take us [the whiting and the snail] up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!
. . .
There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.
The further off from England the nearer is to France --

Normandy is on the northern shore of France, and of course there were later Normans in England as well, so there is possible relevance to Minbad the Mailer. Besides being written correspondence, mail is also a kind of armor, and Normandy and Brittany belong to what was once known as Armorica -- so perhaps the Norman Mailer is sending "mail" (in the form of sacred writings) back to his homeland of Armorica. What was once just called mail is nowadays known as snail mail, and "The Lobster-quadrille" makes it clear that the lobsters being thrown toward France are accompanied by snails.

Where was I reading about Armorica recently? Oh, right, Rimbaud's A Season in Hell:

Hélas, l’Evangile a passé! l’Evangile! l’Evangile. J’attends Dieu avec gourmandise. Je suis de race inférieure de toute éternité. Me voici sur la plage armoricaine.

Alas! The Gospel has gone by! The Gospel! The Gospel. Greedily I await God. I am of an inferior race for all eternity. Here I am on the Breton shore.

Louise Varèse has "the Breton shore" in her translation, but the original French is clearly referring more generally to Armorica as a whole. That geographical reference was all I had remembered as possibly relevant, but when I looked it up I saw that it is juxtaposed with "The Gospel" repeated three times. The third Gospel is, of course, that of Luke.

So we have Rinbad (Rimbaud-Tolkien) waiting on the Armorican shore for the Gospel of Light to be sent over from Britain on lobsterback by Minbad the Norman Mailer. Lobsterback is 18th-century slang for a British soldier, so perhaps it is soldiers who travel from Britain with the Gospel. Or perhaps I should say from "Britain," in scare-quotes, as labels do not always mean what they seem. When I dream, I dream about books -- and one of the books I've dreamed about, back in 2020, was titled Britain as Another Planet. In "How can these books not exist?" I describe looking at some books inside a dome-shaped indigo building (supposedly a "convenience store") called Blue Harbor:

One of these was a "round book" -- that is, its pages were circular rather than rectangular -- and I wanted to look through it but couldn't because it was shrink-wrapped. The others were ordinary books and didn't look very new. I perused the spines and noticed these three titles:
  • Things Soon to Come
  • Britain as Another Planet
  • I Tried to Be Parents
Rereading that now, I was struck by the "round book," since a recent dream has featured Plates (sacred records) in the form of a round disc.And "I wanted to look through it but couldn't because it was shrink-wrapped" -- what is that but another way of saying, "I cannot read a sealed book"?

This idea that a "round book" of plates has something to do with the "Gospel of Luke" received minor but interesting synchronistic confirmation today. I was, for complex psychological reasons, praying the Rosary while lying supine on a tile floor. On Thursdays, one prays the Luminous Mysteries, or Mysteries of Light (Luke means "light"), and as I was doing the third of these five meditations (Luke is the third Gospel), a single copper coin fell out of my pocket and onto the floor -- a little metal disc.

Lassie Come Home

Lassie Come Home is, symbolically, the title of the book that proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew. This book is also called "the book of the Lamb of God" (1 Ne. 13:38). A nod to this second designation is just visible on the edge of the page in Animalia:

I think that's a very semantically dense title, conveying multiple meanings simultaneously. First there’s the literal meaning of lassie: a girl or young woman. Second, there’s the character Lassie in the book: a sheepdog, specifically a Rough Collie, who travels a great distance to be reunited with someone she loves. Finally there’s the Elvish lassi, which even the casual Tolkien reader may recognize from the poem Namárië: It means -- quelle coïncidence! -- "leaves."

If we take Lassie as a literal lassie, any number of female figures could be intended. My immediate hunch, and I tend to trust such things, was that it has something to do with the Woman of Revelation 12, "clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" (Rev. 12:1). Threatened by the Dragon, the Woman is given wings and flies away to "her place" (perhaps off-planet?), prepared for her by God, where she stays for three and a half years (Rev. 12:6, 14) -- and that's the last we hear of her. After the three and a half years, during which the Beast rules in her absence (Rev. 13:5), does Lassie come home? John never tells us.

Considered as a sheepdog, Lassie would be expected to come home with the sheep, bringing them back to the fold. "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold. Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd" (John 10:16). If the Shepherd is Christ, the Sheepdog would be a servant of Christ who helps him tend the sheep. The most obvious biblical candidate for this role would be Simon Peter, who in John 21 is given a special charge to "feed my sheep" and "feed my lambs." Interestingly, this same language of feeding is found in John's account of the Woman: While she is hiding in the wilderness, "they should feed her there" (Rev. 12:6) and "she is nourished" (Rev. 12:14).

Those who have been following William Wright's blog will know of his theory that Peter was the reincarnation of Ar-Pharazôn, the last king of Númenor -- which brings us to Lassie as a collie. The etymology of that word is uncertain, but Etymonline suggests "Possibly from dialectal coaly 'coal-black,' the color of some breeds." As portrayed on the cover of the book from the Lion's mouth, Lassie appears to be golden in color, not black, so perhaps whatever about her is "coal-black" is not visible on the surface. Pharazôn was called "the Golden," and as his story has been expanded by Daymon "Doug" Smith and William Wright, he went to great lengths so to appear, dressing all in gold and even covering his face with some kind of gold makeup. However, in "It's as dark a tale as was ever told," I have read the song "Shiver My Timbers" as referring to Pharazôn:

Shiver my timbers, shiver my soul -- Yo ho, heave ho!
There are men whose hearts are as black as coal --Yo ho, heave ho!
And they sailed their ship 'cross the ocean blue
A bloodthirsty captain and a cutthroat crew
It's as dark a tale as was ever told
Of the lust for treasure and the love of gold

Also in that post, I mention the line about "secrets that sleep with old Davy Jones" and tie that in with the Monkees song about Davy Jones waking and rising -- a song which also prominently references a "homecoming queen," i.e. a lassie come home. Pharazôn and his men ended up in a watery grave -- "Davy Jones' locker" -- and it may be their secrets that sleep there. The surname Jones means "son of John," though the h has been lost and the vowel sound has changed from a short 'o' to a long one. Everything I have just said about Jones is also true of Barjona, the original surname of Simon Peter.

Finally, we have lassi as the Elvish word for "leaves." Golden leaves as a reference to Golden Plates (and Lassie is gold on the book cover) have been a major theme in these parts recently, beginning with "Leaves of gold unnumbered" -- a post in which I quote the first two lines of the poem Namárië. Here they are in the original Quenya:

Ai! laurië lantar lassi súrinen,
yéni únótimë ve rámar aldaron!

Ah, like gold fall the leaves in the wind! Lassi, come home!

Every tribe of Israel, we are told in 2 Nephi 29, has its own sacred records -- its own "leaves of gold" -- and when Lassie brings the scattered sheep home, the leaves will be gathered home as well:

And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also. . . .

And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.

And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one (2 Ne. 29:8, 13-14).

And this brings us back to the vision or waking dream -- for I, like Davy Jones, am a daydream believer -- recounted in "Étude brute?" In the vision, I was told that a particular book was the Cherubim -- "not the book of the Cherubim, but the Cherubim themselves." What can that possibly mean?

Ezekiel portrays the Cherubim as chimerical creatures -- part man, part lion, part bull, and part eagle -- and as far back as my 2018 post "The Throne and the World," I had made the case that this imagery "very like symbolizes, by means of four representative members, both the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve signs of the zodiac." See that post for all the details underlying that assertion; here I will simply take it as proven. Ezekiel's Cherubim represent (among many other things) the Twelve Tribes of Israel united in a single body. Combine that with the quote from 2 Nephi 29 above -- when "the house of Israel shall be gathered home . . . my word also shall be gathered in one" -- and I think I understand what this book, the Cherubim, represents.

I have more to say on this topic, but I think this is a good place to end the current post.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

It's as dark a tale as was ever told

In his June 12 post "Knowing to what purpose the Dark People came West," William Wright interprets "And now my tale is done" from "Rapunzel and the True Song of Wandering Aengus" as referring to a "dark tale" about Ar-Pharazôn, called "the Golden," sailing with his fleet to Valinor to attack it:

"And now my Tale is Dark", is one interpretation of William's response to Claire, which is of course an interesting response given that Claire's name means, among other things, Light.  William is saying, in the dream, that his story is Dark here at the outset, and actually uses the word "now" in front of this.  Meaning now, or at this time, his story, or the story of the person he is speaking as in this dream, is Dark.  Claire responds that this is 'well said', meaning what he said is true - his Tale is Dark, or understood in that way.   But Claire also responds that she has a True Song of a Wandering Aengus, which is the Being I guess at being Pharazon.  And my guess is that Claire's True Song sheds some Light on the Tale, which will no longer be Dark after what she knows is revealed.

This made me think of the song "Shiver My Timbers" from Muppet Treasure Island:

And they sailed their ship 'cross the ocean blue
A bloodthirsty captain and a cutthroat crew
It's as dark a tale as was ever told
Of the lust for treasure and the love of gold

Another line from the song is, "There are secrets that sleep with old Davy Jones." Besides being the sailors' devil, symbol of a watery grave (which claimed Pharazôn and his followers), Davy Jones was one of the Monkees -- yes, monkeys again -- and one of the songs he sang, "Daydream Believer," is about Davy Jones waking and rising -- presumably bringing his secrets with him. The mention of a "homecoming queen" in the chorus also ties in with Lassie Come Home.

The book that proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew

Nephi's vision prominently features a book that "proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew" (1 Ne. 13). Mormons almost universally understand this to be the Bible, even though that doesn't really make any sense. The Bible was written by lots of different people, some of whom were Jews (though such important authors as Moses, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Paul were not), but the book Nephi saw is repeatedly described as coming out of the mouth of one Jew. It's not the Bible.

I was just thinking about this mysterious book the other day because of its possible relevance to one of the couplets in "With?"

Minbad the Mailer was a Jew
And wrote a lot of novels, too.

Norman Mailer, obviously. It's oddly worded, though, making him first and foremost a Jew, with the fact that he was a novelist mentioned only as a sort of afterthought. As soon as I started reading "With?" seriously, I suspected that Minbad was "the Jew" from Nephi's vision.

This checks out:

Thou hast beheld that the book proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew; and when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord (1 Ne. 13:22).

A "Norman mailer" could be someone sending out messages from Normandy, France. Mailer's real name was actually Nachem, meaning "comforter."

Jews are members of the Tribe of Judah, whose symbol is the Lion, just as the Bull is the symbol of the House of Joseph. In my last post, I discussed a picture of two lions in a library and focused on one of the books, The Gospel of Luke, which is symbolized by the Bull. I somehow missed the very conspicuous fact that there's another book literally proceeding forth from the mouth of a Lion!

Lassie Come Home -- that is, symbolically, the title of the Book from the Mouth of the Jew. I have a lot to say about the significance of that title, but it will have to wait until I have time. For now, I just want to get it out there with this quick post.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

This episode is brought to you by the letters G and L

This past weekend, I picked up a little alphabet book called Animalia at a used bookstore for no other reason that the author's name was Graeme Base, and William Wright had recently posted "Golden Graham Plates." Two of the letters have since turned out to be significant.

"Stink Gorilla More" (June 14) linked the word Gorilla to the word Bigfoot. Then William Wright's June 16 post "Bigfoot: Seek and it shall find you" led me to revisit my October 2023 post "Bigfoot? Bigfoot," featuring a big green foot:

Base's image also features the Holy Grail -- not exactly first on most people's list of things that begin with G! -- and a golden griffin perched on a gong in the form of a golden disc.

In one of my dreams, Golden Plates took the form of a disc, as mentioned most recently in "Plates among the dead leaves." This disc, too, is in a room full of leaves, though not dead ones.

Then there's L:

It's a library with two lions in it. Among the books in it are Lassie Come Home, Limericks by Edward Lear, The Leopard [...], King Lear, Little Boy Lost by L. L. Lucky, Lover's L[...], Lacrosse, Let's Learn Latin, Life of Luxembourg, Leonardo, Love's Labour's Lost, Levitation, Doctor Livingstone, Living Legends, Lady Chatterly's Lover, and books by Longfellow and John Locke -- but the one that really got my attention was The Gospel of Luke:

Two large golden animals in a room full of books syncs with the waking dream I relate in "Étude brute?" in which there were two large golden "Bulls of Heaven," one of which went with me into a cavern full of books and told me that one of the books "is the Cherubim. Not the Book of the Cherubim, but the Cherubim themselves."

In trying to make sense of that cryptic statement, I thought first of the Four Gospels. In Ezekiel, the Cherubim are represented as having four faces: those of an ox, a man, a lion, and an eagle -- but in one place (Ezek. 10:14) these are given as the faces of a cherub, a man, a lion, and an eagle, implying that the Cherubim are primarily bovine in nature. I would naturally have assumed that the two heavenly Bulls I saw were themselves the Cherubim had one of them not said what it did about the book. A very old Christian tradition associates each of the Gospels with one of the component creatures of the Cherubim -- and the ox or bull is almost invariably mapped to the Gospel of Luke. In the illustration below, from the (French) St. Riquier Gospels, a heavenly Bull holds a banner with the opening words of Luke: "Quoniam quidem multi conati sunt" -- "For indeed many have tried."

Before I entered the library in my vision, the two Bulls had been standing on either side of a Nativity scene -- and the classic Nativity scene with the manger and all that also comes from the Gospel of Luke.

Another interpretive angle is to note that there were two golden Cherubim on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant -- above the Ark but also part of it. In William Wright's June 11 post "The Brass Leafy Plates and all roads lead to France," he proposes that the Brass Plates are currently in France and compares the Plates themselves to an "Ark," specifically mentioning the Ark of the Covenant. Now look back up at that picture of the golden griffin perched on the golden gong. As I have mentioned in many posts, the word griffin may be related to the word Cherubim. A disc of light-colored metal (possibly gold or brass) has appeared in my dream as a "Plate" with engravings on it. If the Brass Plates are, symbolically, the Ark of the Covenant, then they are, or include, the Cherubim as well.

How does the Gospel of Luke fit in? Perhaps the significance is in the name itself: Luke means "light." In his post, William emphasizes a quote from the Book of Mormon about how the Brass Plates must "retain their brightness" -- a Bright Gospel, a Gospel of Light.

In William's post, he refers to the engravings on the Plates as "Marks," capitalized. The Graeme Base picture shows two lions in a library -- and, yes, the Evangelist whose symbol is the lion is Mark.

In "Plates among the dead leaves," I record -- in a somewhat joking tone which William found "douchey" -- the hunch that if the Brass Plates are indeed in France, they may be behind the altar in the Basilique Saint-Sernin de Toulouse. As discussed at great length in my 2018 post "The Throne and the World," this church contains an engraving of a beardless Christ surrounded by the four Cherubic creatures, which I believe may have played an important role in the development of the Tarot de Marseille. This Christ holds a book in which is written "Pax Vobis," and he bears a striking resemblance to Caravaggio's Supper at Emmaus.

The supper at Emmaus, and Christ's saying "Pax Vobis," both occur in the final chapter of, you guessed it, the Gospel of Luke.

Whinbad and Pinbad

So, my latest pastime is reading nonsense verse that I myself wrote and analyzing it for hidden meanings.

So far, we know that Ninbad the Nailer is Trent Reznor, Hinbad the Hailer is Elijah, and Rinbad the Railer is both Arthur Rimbaud and J. R. R. Tolkien. Tolkien was born just 54 days after Rimbaud died, leaving open the weird but interesting possibility of a literal reincarnation. Speaking of Tolkien's possible past lives, William Wright believes one of them was Elijah, so perhaps Hinbad and Rinbad are the same dude.

Whinbad and Pinbad, I have just decided, are also the same dude.

Whinbad the Whaler was delish
And not unlike Filet-O-Fish.

This is pretty obviously just a throwaway joke. While everyone else in the poem is a person, Whinbad turns out to be a fish sandwich formerly sold by Burger King. Can't be much hidden meaning in that, right?

O ye of little faith!

Leaving fish sandwiches to one side, who's the most famous whaler of all time? I think we can all agree that Captain Ahab has no rivals in that department, right? Captain Ahab was named after a king, and a king who was delicious -- or at least his blood was, to dogs -- as is explicitly pointed out in Moby-Dick.

". . . Oh! he ain’t Captain Bildad; no, and he ain’t Captain Peleg; he’s Ahab, boy; and Ahab of old, thou knowest, was a crowned king!"

"And a very vile one. When that wicked king was slain, the dogs, did they not lick his blood?"

Not just a king but a crowned king. Burger King, of course, emphasizes crowns in their branding and gives customers paper crowns to wear.

And what's Filet-O-Fish, besides a sandwich? Well, if delish is short for delicious, o-fish can be short for official. One of the meanings of fillet is a headband or circlet. A circlet as a mark of office is what is commonly known as a crown -- which brings us to Whinbad's alter ego, Pinbad:

Pinbad the Pailer was the bloke
Who had a crown, but then it broke.

This was intended as an allusion to a well-known nursery rhyme:

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Pinbad is Jack. In Australia, Burger King is known as Hungry Jack's, so Pinbad is the same as Whinbad the Whaler with his fillet of office -- i.e., King Ahab. Jill, then is pretty clearly a contraction of Jezebel, Ahab's queen. Shortly after the death of Ahab, "Jill came tumbling after," being thrown to her death from a window by her servants. The pail of water on the hilltop is a pretty clear reference to the best known event from the reign of Ahab and Jezebel: the showdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal at the top of Mt. Carmel, with Elijah famously dousing his sacrifice with barrels of water before calling down fire from heaven to ignite it. Jack and Jill going up the hill to fetch a pail of water -- as if to duplicate Elijah's miracle -- means they did not accept Elijah's victory, and the failure of the prophets of Baal, as final but still thought they could best him.

This is such an obvious "esoteric" reading of this nursery rhyme that I can hardly believe Aleister Crowley didn't beat me to it. Of course he didn't have Whinbad the Whaler to jump-start the train of associations.

Étude brute?

I’m going to have to up my game as a punster if I’m going to keep up with Claire. This one is hers, received while I was in my study this afternoon (June 17) praying the third decade of the Rosary and contemplating the Nativity.

It means “raw study?” in French but is clearly punning on “Et tu, Brute?” — spoken on the Ides of March by the title character in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. This ties in with a few things William Wright has written recently. In “‘Naming’ Joan (and ‘Beware this one!)’” he writes of a being (presumably Claire) saying, “Beware this one!” and, “When I dream, I dream of books.” He thinks these were both references to me: the first because it suggests the Shakespeare line “Beware the Ides of March!” (my birthday), and the second because he thinks of me as someone who reads a lot of books. “Étude brute?” alludes to the same date in the same Shakespeare play, and “study” relates to the idea of reading a lot of books.

In “Grand-Rivière, France: Why not?” William writes of how one of my references to “my study” gave him the idea of the Brass Plates being in a “Study” — meaning a cave full of books — in France. Today I received the French word for “study” while in the very room that had given William that idea.

It is also significant that the words were received while I was doing a Rosary meditation on the Nativity. (I typically pray in my chapel, not my study, but today was an exception.) The last time I did that particular meditation, Saturday, June 15 — also in my study — I had a brief vision which I wasn’t going to write about, but I think now I should.

As the vision opened, I was in a large egg-shaped cavern with no visible exits, and I understood that at the center were the Holy Family, including the newborn Jesus. They were shining so brightly that I could not look at them directly, but I knew they were there. They were attended not by the humble ox and ass of the familiar Nativity scene but by two gigantic otherworldly animals I thought of as “Bulls of Heaven” — something like an aurochs, but golden and with very large, intelligent eyes, and possibly with some sort of feathers or very large scales.

These Bulls conveyed to me telepathically that I was being given permission to walk through the back wall of the cavern. I did so, passing right through the wall as if I were a ghost, and found myself in another cavern, even larger, which was full of books. One of the Bulls was still with me and conveyed a telepathic message about one of the books: “This book is the Cherubim. Not the Book of the Cherubim, but the Cherubim themselves.” Before I could get any clarification of that confusing statement, the vision dissolved.

Being led into a “study,” and introduced to one of its books, by silent bulls is extremely strange. Besides “raw,” another meaning of brute is “an animal without the power of speech.”

All of this is so far over my head that I don’t even know what to say about it. For now I simply report it.

How beautiful upon the mountains are their feet!

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