Sunday, August 26, 2012

"Armstrong" (Symbolically-Ostensively Defined)

Top headline for Saturday, August 25, 2012:

"Space legend Neil Armstrong dies"

The word "legend" has just been in the news over the last few days, interestingly connected to both the "Empire State Shooter" and the suicide of Tony Scott. (See, for example, Loren Coleman's post.)

But, let's look at the word "armstrong." In the first place, "Armstrong" is the name of a Scottish clan.
"The Armstrongs (sword strong arm) were a powerful Border family who may have descended from Siward Digry, the last Anglo-Danish Earl of Northumberland. Traditionally though the Armstrongs claim descent from Fairbairn, armour bearer to a Scottish king, who rescued his monarch in the midst of battle. The family came to be known as "Armstrong" and received lands in Liddesdale." Source

(The Armstrong clan "seat" is said to be "The Hollows." I have discovered that "The Hollows" also designates a television sci-fi mystery series (with advance apologies to fans because of my minimalist summary) that centers around witches and is premised on the "...the historical investment of Cold War military spending in genetic engineering as opposed to the Space Race...". As William Grimstad once commented, Scotland is very deeply associated with witchcraft. Another US-Scotish-Witchcraft connection is the so-called "Bell Witch.")

The Armstrong clan's motto has been described as follows: "The Armstrong Family Motto appears in several forms, most commonly as Invictus maneo (I remain unvanquished) The complete motto is Vi et armis invictus maneo (Through/by the force of arms I remain unconquered)." This motto might remind one of the poem "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley which, as was reported by Michael Hoffman in his Revisionist History #19 (Summer 2001), was used by Timothy McVeigh as his final statement.

There is a "Scottish Rite" of Freemasonry. And there is a straightforward connection between NASA's Apollo missions and Freemasonry, as Loren Coleman points out. The Scottish Rite has likewise been mentioned recently in association with Tony Scott. (See, e.g., VISUP.)

There is also an "Armstrong Gun." Apparently, it's sort of shaped like a telescope (from "tele-" meaning "distant, far" and "skopeo" or "I look") which is, of course, a tool used (among other things) to make astronomical observations.

"The Armstrong was a large rifled cannon invented by an Englishman, Sir William George Armstrong, in 1854. It's most noticeable feature was the series of graduated coils over a lengthwise tube, causing it to look like a giant collapsible telescope pulled out in overlapping circles. ..." Source

So then we have "Armstrong" in the news during what has been termed "The Summer of the Gun," about which Loren Coleman has written.

Now James Shelby Downard pointed out that Jules Verne anticipated the "rocket trip to the moon" around one hundred years. Since "...Hecate ...[is] the goddess of witchcraft in Greek mythology, but ... hekaton is Greek for 'hundred'," we could say that Jules Verne preceded NASA by a Hecate (we'll have more to say about Hecate elsewhere). In 1865, Jules Verne wrote a story entitled "From the Earth to the Moon." In this story, which includes several references to "Armstrong" and the "Armstrong cannon," gun manufacturers construct a gigantic "Moon Gun" which they use to shoot three astronauts at the Moon.

As a sidebar, and apropos of "The Summer of the Gun" thread, Jules Verne also wrote a story entitled Dr. Ox's Experiment or A Fantasy of Dr Ox in which "A prosperous scientist" - Dr. Ox - conducts a hidden ("occult") "large scale experiment on effect of oxygen on plants, animals and humans. ...causing accelerated growth of plants, excitement and aggressiveness in animals and humans." Fantasy is given as "'illusory appearance,' from O.Fr. fantaisie (14c.) 'vision, imagination,' from L. phantasia, from Gk. phantasia 'appearance, image, perception, imagination,' from phantazesthai 'picture to oneself,' from phantos 'visible,' from phainesthai 'appear,' in late Greek 'to imagine, have visions,' related to phaos, phos 'light,' phainein 'to show, to bring to light' (see phantasm). Sense of 'whimsical notion, illusion' is pre-1400, followed by that of 'imagination,' which is first attested 1530s. Sense of 'day-dream based on desires' is from 1926."

This connection to "light" (phos, photos) is reminiscent of Phanes and the so-called "Orphic Egg" or "Cosmic Egg" which I wrote about in conjunction with Aurora and the Olympic Games (Athena-Nike). Interestingly, that writing also mentions Prometheus - the Pyrphoros ("fire-bringer"). Of course, Ridley and the recently deceased Tony Scott released a movie by that name earlier this year, which movie banner I displayed 5 weeks ago.

"Fantasy" is related, therefore, to the Latin video which can designate "seeing" or "seeming" depending upon whether it is used actively or passively. Of course, a cognate of video is present in the word "television" ("to see distantly" or, perhaps, "to seem distantly") which has been said to have a "hypnotic" or "mesmerizing" effect on people, possibly due to the television operates via "beams of light being fired at the viewer at a high rate". I believe that Marshall McLuhan suggested that moving-light-pictures could have a hypnotic effect, or not, depending on whether the viewer sat passively while the light was beamed at her face (as in television) or whether the light was beamed onto a screen (as in a theater). The American people were shown the Apollo-Artemis ritual via television. But there was an interesting technical difficulty. As David McGowan quotes Reuters: "Because NASA’s equipment was not compatible with TV technology of the day, the original transmissions had to be displayed on a monitor and re-shot by a TV camera for broadcast."

About Jules Verne it has been said that: "...some travelers' stories he wrote for the Musée des familles revealed his true talent: describing delightfully extravagant voyages and adventures with cleverly prepared scientific and geographical details that lent an air of verisimilitude."

Perhaps I can interject bits such as that Noam Chomsky has characterized the "the Pentagon system" as "including the Department of Energy (which produces nuclear weapons) and NASA"; and maybe I should remind readers of things such as that CBS founder William Paley "...served in the psychological warfare branch in the Office of War Information, under General Dwight Eisenhower...[d]uring World War II...". "Richard Salant, president of CBS News at the time, called Apollo 11, ' of television’s greatest achievements.'" Source Salant is also reputed to have said: "Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have."

In any case, Verne is thought of as a "Science-Fiction Prophet": "[Jules Verne] put a man on the Moon in the Victorian Era. ... When Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon in 1969, he credited Jules Verne with inspiring the mission over a century earlier. In From the Earth to the Moon, Jules Verne not only [prophesied] that man would walk on the lunar surface, he outlined exactly how to do it...from a Florida launch pad to a Pacific Ocean splash down."

NASA writes: "Jules Verne's 1865 science fiction novel 'From the Earth to the Moon' inspired rocketry pioneers like Robert Goddard and Konstantin Tsiolovsky to work out the real mathematics and engineering of space flight. One-hundred-and-four years later, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to walk on the Moon."

"This illustration from one edition of the book shows passengers in Verne's space ship - fired to the Moon from a giant cannon on Earth - enjoying their first taste of weightlessness." (Ibid.)

"A hundred years ago, Jules Verne wrote a book about a voyage to the Moon. His spaceship, Columbia, took off from Florida and landed in the Pacific Ocean after completing a trip to the Moon. It seems appropriate to us to share with you some of the reflections of the crew as the modern-day Columbia completes its rendezvous with the planet Earth and the same Pacific Ocean tomorrow." ~ Neil Armstrong, [23] July 1969

In Verne's book there were three people shot at the Moon. Encyclopedia Astronautica comments:

"The circumlunar spacecraft would have a crew of three. The names of the crew were Ardan, Barbicane, and Nicholl (Anders, Borman and Lovell on Apollo 8; Aldrin, Armstrong, Collins on Apollo 11)." (And Verne's story has other parallels to NASA's story. Additionally, last year Buzz Aldrin was in the news regarding a divorce to his third wife of 23 years. Her maiden name is Cannon.)

In general, "The Moon is 'the goddess with three forms': Selene in the sky, Artemis on Earth, and Hecate in the lower world, the world above cloaked in darkness. The Moon’s phases reflect these forms. As the new Moon she is the maiden-goddess Artemis, always new and virginal, reborn and ready for the hunt. As the waxing Moon, increasing in fullness, she is the fertile mother-goddess, pregnant with life. And as she wanes to darkness, she is the wise crone or witch Hecate, knowing the magical arts, with the power to heal or transform." Now Hecate/Hekate is sometimes called the "Triple-Goddess" (Trivia) and she is both a Moon-goddess and a witch-queen: "(Greek mythology) The goddess of the night and crossroads, usually associated with witchcraft and sorcery, as well as ghosts and childbirth. Said to reside in Hades."

The Online Etymology Dictionary associates Hecate and Artemis and gives one of the meanings of "Hecate" as: "hekatos 'far-shooting.'"

In Book XI of Virgil's Aeneid we read about King Metabus, the father of the Warrior-Princess, Camilla. In summary: "Driven from his throne, Metabus and his infant daughter Camilla were chased into the wilderness by armed Volsci. When the river Amasenus blocked his path, he bound her to a spear and promised Diana that Camilla would be her servant if she would safely transported to the opposite bank. He then safely threw her to the other side, and swam across to retrieve her." 

In John Dryden's translation: "A knotty lance of well-boil'd oak he bore | The middle part with cork he cover'd o'er | He clos'd the child within the hollow space | With twigs of bending osier bound the case | Then pois'd the spear, heavy with human weight | And thus invok'd my favor for the freight |'Accept, great goddess of the woods,' he said | 'Sent by her sire, this dedicated maid! | Thro' air she flies a suppliant to thy shrine |And the first weapons that she knows, are thine.' | He said; and with full force the spear he threw | Above the sounding waves Camilla flew. | Then, press'd by foes, he stemm'd the stormy tide | And gain'd, by stress of arms, the farther side."

We see a girl, dedicated to the Moon-Goddes Diana (Artemis) being enclosed "with the hollow space," tied to a spear, and thrown across a flooded, raging river "by stress of arms" or, as we might put it alternatively, by strength of arm - by Armstrong!

(Humorously: "The Moon Pie became a traditional 'throw' (an item thrown from a parade float into the crowd) of Mardi Gras "krewes" (parade participants) in Mobile, Alabama during 1956, ... followed by other communities along the Mississippi Gulf Coast." Source)

Jules Verne's Moon Gun is called the "Columbiad." Michael Hoffman has written that: "The occult name for America is Columbia." Columbia is related to "Columbine" which Hoffman gives as: "...the cutting of America" (Loc. cit.). Of course the "Dark Knight of Aurora" or "Batman Shooter" has parallels with the Columbine Massacre. And both shootings have occult associations with the "Fool" Tarot card (or so I have speculated). Jules Verne's "From the Earth to the Moon" was adapted into a comedy in the UK in 1967. It was variously titled "Jules Verne's Rocket Trip to the Moon," "Blast Off!" and "Those Fantastic Flying Fools."

Artemis, sometimes identified with Hecate (as stated), as well as Luna, Diana, Selene, et. al., was a "Greek goddess of the moon, wild animals, hunting, childbirth, etc.; sister of Apollo; her name is of unknown origin."

However Robert Graves, in The Greek Myths, acknowledges that "The meaning of Artemis is doubtful" but he opines that: " may be 'strong-limbed', from artemes; or 'she who cuts up', since the Spartans called her Artamis, from artao' or 'the lofty convener', from airo and themis; or the 'therais' syllable may mean 'water', because the moon was regarded as the source of all water."

"Strong-limbed" is arguably very close to something like Armstrong. And "she who cuts up" would link Artemis to Columbine ("America-cutter").

Graves also associates Artemis with the sacred-king and says that "...'Artemis' [is] one more title of the Triple Moon-goddess; and had a right therefore to feed her hinds on trefoil, a symbol of trinity. Her silver bow stood for the new moon. Yet the Olympian Artemis was more than a Maiden. Elsewhere, at Ephesus, for instance, she was worshipped in her second person, as Nymph, an orgiastic Aphrodite with a male consort ..." This "orgiastic" aspect relates to the sexually-charged "Dog Days" of Summer ritualism, as VISUP mentions. (See also here.)

In any case, Arthur Waite associates the Moon with "...Hidden enemies, danger, calumny, darkness, terror, deception, occult forces, error. Reversed: Instability, inconstancy, silence, lesser degrees of deception and error." Waite's judgment, here, may have partially to do with the fact that the mythological Gorgons who were "representatives of the Triple-goddess, [and wore] prophylactic masks with scowl, glaring eyes, and protruding tongue between bared teeth [in order] to frighten strangers from [the Moon goddess's] Mysteries." (Graves, op. cit.) Graves adds: "The Gorgons’ names—Stheino (‘strong’), Euryale (‘wide roaming’), and Medusa (‘cunning one’)—are titles of the Moon-goddess; the Orphics called the moon’s face ‘the Gorgon’s head’." (Ibid. "Alcmene (‘strong in wrath’) is another Moon-title.")

The Moon is also linked to water, and we're emerging from a drought (in Alchemy, there are two methods for creating the Philosopher's Stone, the Wet-Method and the Dry-Method. See here.) Graves: "Haliartus, where he had a hero-shrine, was apparently sacred to the ‘White Goddess of Bread’, namely Demeter, for Halia, ‘of the sea’, was a title of the Moon as Leucothea, ‘the White Goddess’ (Diodorus Siculus), and artos means ‘bread’."

And Waite connects this water to the deep-psyche with its animal impulses, perhaps like those exacerbated by Dr. Ox or The Summer of the Gun: The Moon "...illuminates our animal nature, types of which are represented below—the dog, the wolf and that which comes up out of the deeps, the nameless and hideous tendency which is lower than the savage beast. It strives to attain manifestation, symbolized by crawling from the abyss of water to the land, but as a rule it sinks back whence it came."

These sorts of symbol-patterns are always confusing.

"Confuse" (def.) " Latin confusus was the pp. of confundere 'to pour together, mix, mingle; to join together;' hence, figuratively, 'to throw into disorder; to trouble, disturb, upset.' ..."

 Such a pattern is as rare as a blue moon.


  1. Your piece is excellent, insightful, and an extension of many concepts, of course, with which I am quite comfortable. Well-done.

    I note that you mention that that one of Jules Verne's crew in the Columbia, as told in his From the Earth to the Moon, was named Nicholl.

    William Grimstad, privately, and I, on my twilight language blog, have written for years and then recently of how Nicholas is one of the power names. Nicholas is English and Dutch, from the Greek Nikolaos, from nikān "to conquer" + laos "people".

    Of course, Bell is too. Wink. Wink.

    1. Thank you very much! I appreciate (tremendously) the encouraging words. Of course, whatever success I have is owed both to the example that has been set for me my my teachers and, indeed, to the foundation (in place before I came along) on which I am able to securely stand. There are many names (or teachers and laborers) that could be mentioned (e.g., Downard, Hoffman, Grimstad, et. al.) and I hesitate even to sketch that incomplete list for fear of offending anyone through oversight. But, surely, your work important work (both in print and online) would need to be included!

      The link to the name "Nicholas" is indeed very intriguing. For one thing, beyond the etymology which you mention, the name is something of a byword for man-to-myth transformation (a la St. Nicholas). And, indeed, "Bell" (and equivalent phonemes like "Bel," "Belle," etc.) is peculiar as well. There are connections to "beauty," "power," and "war." It names a distribution curve as well as an instrument for generating harmonies. And, lastly, it has special significance to me :P