Saturday, September 1, 2012

Now Playing at the Century 16 Ampitheater of Eternal Wisdom: Aurora Consurgens, Part 2

Scene 1: The Androgyne Holding Bat
The above image is from the alchemical text entitled Aurora Consurgens, which I introduced in Part 1 of this sketch. Depicted in the clutches of a sort of blue-bird (perhaps some variation of aquila-phoenix) is (what appears to be) an orange-haired version the so-called "androgyne." As James Shelby Downard disclosed, "The androgyne rules over the change of 'era-time'...the conjunction of opposites." ("Sirius Rising"?)

In Hermetic-Occultic lore, the first human (represented in Kabbalah as "Adam Kadmon") was supposed to be androgynous.

"Primeval man was held by the Babylonians to have been androgynous. Thus the Gilgamesh Epic gives Enkidu androgynous features: 'the hair of his head like a woman's, with locks that sprout like those of Nisaba, the Grain-goddess.' The Hebrew tradition evidently derives from Greek sources, because both terms used in Tannaitic midrash to describe the bisexual Adam are Greek: androgynos, 'man-woman', and diprosopon, 'two-faced'. Philo of Alexandria, the Hellenistic philosopher and commentator on the Bible, contemporary with Jesus, held that man was at first bisexual; so did the gnostics. This belief is clearly borrowed from Plato. Yest the myth of two bodies placed back to back may well have been founded on observation of Siamese twins, which are sometimes joined in this awkward manner. The two-faced Adam appears to be a fancy derived from coins or statues of Janus, the Roman New Year god." (Robert Graves and Raphael Patai, Hebrew Myths, p. 67, n. 2.)

"In Greek mythology, Hermaphroditus or Hermaphroditos ... was the child of Aphrodite and Hermes. He was a minor deity of bisexuality and effeminacy. According to Ovid, born a remarkably handsome boy, he was transformed into an androgynous being by union with the water nymph Salmacis. ... His name is the basis for the word hermaphrodite." Source Below is represented the painting "The Metamorphosis of Hermaphrodite and Salmacis."
The youth Hermaphroditos is the offspring of Venus-Aphrodite and Mercury-Hermes. Of course, "Hermes" is the god whose name lends itself to the Alchemical word "Hermetic." And Venus is the "Morning Star" or Lucifer (i.e., "Light-Bringer"). It is apparent that the hermaphrodite was created through a transformation. As Ovid related, the hermaphrodite is a result of a conjunction (coniunctio) of Hermaphroditos and Salmacis.

The two-headed "Y"-shape, derived from the capital Greek letter upsilon, is suggestive of this transformation. Above, the symbol of the "Y," held in the figure's right-hand, is blatantly superimposed on top of what appears to be an androgyne. Hence, there seems to be a strong link between the concept of the "hermaphrodite" and the concept of the "androgyne." The relevant transformative process may be effected by means of the "Caduceus," or the double-serpent entwined wand of Hermes - which wand, to employ the familiar modern lingo, demonstrated peculiar "sex-change" powers in the case of Tiresias (who was changed from male to female and back again after "separating" two "copulating snakes" by means of placing his staff in between them).

Of course, the seemingly orange-colored hair in the Aurora Consurgens depiction is suggestive of accused Dark Knight Rises shooter James Eagan Holmes, as - for any who may have spent time recently under a rock - any quick Google search will show. Interestingly, the media has also given a bit of attention to a sort of double-headed image that was purported to have been associated with Holmes' profile on a sex and "dating" (in the sense of "romantic liaison") website.

The image of Holmes is unmistakably erotic-sexualized. As Graves noted above, androgyny has associations with so-called primal bisexuality. And via Ovid we have a link between "bisexuality" and the "hermaphrodite". And Graves' embedded, passing mention of Plato refers to the dialogue entitled the Symposium - or "Drinking Party" - in which the notion of "love" is the main topic of discussion and reflection. Specifically, the androgyne reference comes out of a portion of that dialogue which represents the speech of Arisotophanes - whose name designates "best," aristos, "show/appear," phanes. "Phanes" also pertains to an Orphic deity and has the sense of bringing to light, which connects with the "lux lucet in tenebris...," light-in-darkness/illumined screen-darkened theater theme, which is mentioned both in Part 1 and below. The basic idea of the androgyne, or man-woman, was that this combined state was part of the original order. Zeus divided the androgyne as punishment for hubris, and ever since, male and female "halves" have searched for their "other half" (or soul mate, etc.). And Aristophanes' speech presents love as a sort of searching for, discovering, and restoring this division of halves. On Aristophanes' conception, the pair need not be male-female, but could be female-female or male-male. In fact, at the end of his speech, Aristophanes seems to encourage his male listeners to locate their own counterpart male halves. (There was a sort of chauvinism in ancient Greece that arguably prompted men to think of women as beneath them and, therefore, unsuitable as equal partners - hence, unsuitable as missing halves.)

Alchemy represents this process of reintegration as a sort of conjunction ("joining together," usually of opposites: coniunctio oppositorum) that will perfect humanity (or at least, in more contemporary language, evolve it). Michael Hoffman has pointed out that an ancient name for alchemy is "The Gay Science."

Kabbalah has a similar concept in its notion of tikkun ha olam, or "repair of the world." Both of these concepts arguably were injected into the modern Western occult and Freemasony-Rosicrucianism via the instrumentality of people such as Francis Bacon, Bacon with his notion of the "Six Days Work" or "Great Instauration" that was intended to provide a method whereby worthy people would be able to regain, through the establishment of a "New Atlantis," the "Paradise Lost" in the Garden of Eden. (Other notable contributors to this way of thinking would likely include Bacon's contemporaries John Dee and Giordano Bruno. But there were antecedents in the Renaissance, such as Pico Della Mirandola.)

In other words, a basic Hermetic-Kabbalistic precept is that humanity is able to construct the perfect conditions of Eden, including immortality (or the longevity symbolized by the bat), via our own directed, "evolved consciousness" and willpower (in a something between a Nietzschean-"Will-to-Power" and Crowleyan-Thelemic sense), but certainly with neither the assistance of the Creator God nor anything like Christian repentance and reconciliation with that God. In fact, in Gnostic strands of this sort of tradition, such as Sethianism, the Creator God is often thought of as a Fool ("Saklas"). (See, for example, Michael Hoffman, Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare, pp. 21ff.)

In turn, the androgyne is holding in one hand a bat. Of course, one thinks of the batman symbol so obviously linked with the orange-haired James Holmes.

Both the androgyne and the bat are hybrid symbols. In this sense, they are also liminal symbols. (In the other hand, the androgyne holds a hare. Below, we shall see that the bat is referred to as "hare-brained" as, indeed, is the Joker-trickster.)

Additionally, the bat is a symbol of "idolatry and fear. ... [and] '...In Victor Hugo's cosmology of winged creatures, the bat is that accursed being which personifies atheism'." ("Bat," Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant, The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols, p. 70.)

Moreover: "The bat is especially the symbol of longevity, which is believed to be an attribute of the creature itself because it lives in CAVERNS - passageways to the realm of the Immortals - and on them lives upon life-giving deposits. The Taoist practice of 'fortifying the head', symbolized by exaggeratedly large heads, is in imitation of the bat, believed to practise it to the extent that the weight of its brain forces it to roost upside down. Not surprisingly, the bat is itself one of the foods of immortality. In addition, the 'fortification' mentioned above and the consequent acquisition of longevity are frequently linked with erotic practices. Bats are an ingredient in aphrodisiacs, a virtue which Pliny acknowledged to reside in the creature's blood ... In Africa, according to a Fulani initiation tradition, the bat has a dual symbolic significance. In its positive aspect it is the emblem of clear-sightedness, a creature which sees in the dark when all the world is enfolded in night. In its negative aspect it is the emblem of the enemy of light, of the hare-brain who does everything topsy-turvy and who views the universe upside-down, like a man hanging by his heels. The huge ears of the bat considered as a creature of light symbolize hearing which can catch the slightest sound; of the creature of darkness they are hideous growths. As a nocturnal flying mouse, the bat represents a blindness to the most patent truths, and hangs in accretions of filth and moral deformity. As a creature of the day, it is the emblem of a degree of unity among all living beings through interbreeding, their differences sunk in the hybrid... ." (Chevalier, op. cit., p. 71.)

The bat is a "hyrid": "In alchemical tradition the ambivalence of the HYBRID nature of mouse and bird explains an equally ambivalent symbolism. The bat portrays the hermaphrodite, the winged dragon, devils. Its wings are those of the denizens of Hell. There is a wealth of iconography to illustrate these interpretations." (Ibid., p. 72) As a hybrid, it should be noted that the bat arguably has an "animal" (terrestrial) head and a "bird" (aerial) body. When oriented upright, then, it's arguably dominated by baser impulses (for it's head is in the lower sphere and the "bird" features are said to belong to a higher sphere; cf. Chevalier, op. cit., p. 534). But because of the bat's peculiar tendency to invert itself, this may be reversed. Furthermore, Grant says somewhere that there are supposedly three aspects of life which divide into waking, dreaming-sleep, and dreamless sleep. It is therefore noteworthy that the bat's head is subordinated in this way for what an occultist might consider to be two-thirds of the bat's life. This is reminiscent of Crowley's observation that the "Joker" must be three parts learned, one part crazy. And it relates to yet another tradition concerning the bat:

"Among the Pueblo Indians, the Zuni regard the bat as the harbinger of rain. In the mythology of the Chami Indians who belong to the Choco group from the Pacific slopes of the Cordillera Occidental in Colombia, the hero Aribada slew the vampire bat, Inka, so as to acquire its power of putting its victims to sleep. (In fact, when the VAMPIRE tries to suck the blood of a sleeping person, generally from one of the toes, without waking him or her, it is believed to keep its wings beating all the time.) Having acquired this power, Aribada forced his way into the rooms of women and, by waving a pair of handkerchiefs, one red, the other white, was able to pleasure himself without waking them. This relates to the libidinous-erotic powers associated with the bar and previously recorded by Pliny." (Ibid.)

(The Hanged Man is suspended upside down, somewhat like a bat.)

Furthermore, the bat has many associations with the Maya, which is interesting especially in this year of 2012, with the media keeping up a certain buzz about the so-called "Mayan Apocalypse." "Among the Maya, the bat was one of the gods which embodied the powers of the Underworld. The Popol Vuh names 'the House of the Bat' as one of the regions which must be traversed to reach the Land of Death. The bat was the ruler of fire; it destroyed life and ate up light and would therefore seem to have been a surrogate for the great Underworld gods, the JAGUAR and the CROCODILE. For the Mexicans, too, it was the death god associated with the north and often depicted in association with gaping jaws or, more rarely, with a sacrificial knife... . The bat performed the same office for the Tupi-Guarani Indians of Brazil, while the Tupinamba believs that, as a prelude to the end of the world, a bat will swallow the Sun... . The Maya made the bat a symbol of death and called it 'he who tears off heads', depicting it with the empty eyes of a skull." (Ibid.) In Egyptian mythology the serpent-god Apep was said to swallow the sun. Apep was later identified with Apophis and Set (Shaitan, Satan).

In Mayan lore there is a bat-god named Comazotz.

"The Bat-God[:] A sinister figure, the prince of the Maya legions of darkness, is the bat-god [Comazotz] ...who dwelt in the "House of Bats," ...Zotzilaha Chimalman [in Guatemala]..., a gruesome cavern on the way to the abodes of darkness and death. He is undoubtedly a relic of cave-worship pure and simple. 'The Maya' says an old chronicler, 'have an immoderate fear of death, and they seem to have given it a figure peculiarly repulsive.' We shall find this deity alluded to in the Popol Vuh, under the name Camazotz, in close proximity to the Lords of Death and Hell, attempting to bar the journey of the hero-gods across these dreary realms. He is frequently met with on the Copan reliefs, and a Maya clan, the Ah-zotzils, were called by his name. They were of Kakchiquel origin, and he was probably their totem." (Lewis Spence, The Myths of Mexico and Peru, 1913, CHAPTER IV: The Maya Race and Mythology) Interestingly, the Maya also had a "goddess of suicide" named Ixtab. This could relate to "Masonic Apoplexy" (see the aforementioned Hoffman, Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare) or to Tony Scott.

Also, the bat has associations with Artemis-Diana, the Moon goddess with interesting connections to Armstrong: "In Renaissance iconography as applied to Classical legend, the bat, being the only flying creature to suckle its young, came to symbolize prolific motherhood. It accompanied Diana (Artemis), the many-breasted goddess who, because rather than in spite of the fact that she was a virgin, protected childbirth and infancy." (Chevalier, op. cit., pp. 71-72)
In any case, this "many-breasted" image recently surfaced in the resurrection (i.e., remake) of the 1990 film Total Recall.

Scene 2: The Ampitheater of Eternal Wisdom
The creator of the famous 16th century alchemical image known as the Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae, that is the "Ampitheater of Eternal Wisdom," was Heinrich Khunrath. Wikipedia states that: "Heinrich Khunrath (ca. 1560–September 9, 1605), or Dr. Henricus Khunrath as he was also called, was a physician, hermetic philosopher, and alchemist. Frances Yates considered him to be a link between the philosophy of John Dee and Rosicrucianism."

I noted previously that the Aurora Consurgens ("Aurora Rising") makes reference to the "light shining in the darkness that the darkness did not comprehend." This is all the more intriguing given that the Aurora Dark Knight Rising shooter opened fire in a dark theater. And now we have the so-called "Ampitheater of Eternal Wisdom."

Above the far door is the phrase Dormiens Vigila which translated means "while dormant, be vigilant" or "while sleeping, be watchful" (or perhaps "awaken while sleeping"). It is suggestive of a sort of lucid-dream state. The public consciousness is fresh from dream-involved movies like Inception. And we may recall (whether total or not) that Holmes was publicized speaking about "temporal illusions." It was reported that accused shooter James Holmes appeared sleepy in court. Now the word for "sleep" in Greek was hypnos. Our English word "hypnotic" (and cognates) are derivatives.

Some commentators allege that the representation of a marijuana leaf is visible in the print (on the ceiling). And again, James Holmes is said to have smoked marijuana prior to (again alleged) shooting spree.Above the curiously shaped ceiling fixture are the words SINE AFFLATU DIVINO, NEMO VNQUAM VIR MAGNUS, that is, "Without Divine Breath, no man is ever great."

The image is also depicting smoke rising. (One might think of Revelation 8:4: "And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.") James Holmes allegedly used tear gas in the theater prior to opening fire - or, at least, he has been widely reported to have donned a gas mask. This would have made the theater "smoky."

The table cloth appears to read: Musica Sancta tristia spiritúúm mali morum fúga guili spiritus [YHWH] totu ter psallit, ni cordi gaudio pio perfuso. This apparently has a sense something like that the "holy music" of God pours a threefold mixture of joy into the heart and "bad spirits" taking flight as a result. There is a music connection with the Dark Knight case as well. The media reported that there was "Loud Music Coming From His [Holmes'] Apt. at Time of Massacre".

There are numerous other Latin inscriptions in the image. Perhaps other connections will become apparent. But, presently, this sketch is all that I have time to make.

-Matthew Bell


My "The Aurora of the Dark (K)night" & "Fool's Journey", etc.

Michael Hoffman's "Revisionist History Newsletter No. 63", "Predictive Programming", & "Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare"

VISUP's "Sirius Rises"

Loren Coleman's "The Blood Red Movie Massacres", "Red Dawn", The Copycat Effect & Dark Knight Shooting" etc.

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