Thursday, January 31, 2013

What Moves the Sun and Other Stars

I must create a System or be enslaved by another Man's; I will not Reason and Compare: my business is to Create. 

Blake was entirely correct. We are trapped up and until we create a system of our own. We willingly lend our imaginative attention and power to those hidden architects of reality instead of using this power and attention to forge a realm completely of our own making.



The imagination is the universe. It is the infinite space of all possibilities. It makes no sense to characterize it as individual or collective. This distinction is merely one possible facet of the imagination. All such distinctions are similar facets.

The imagination can either build on previously imagined patterns, and this it usually does, or it can start from scratch. An entirely unique creation from absolute nothingness is extremely difficult and so does not happen as "frequently" -- as if time was something outside of the imagination, which it is not.

Smithy of the Soul


What we call the physical world, history, reality, is a vast lattice-work of perpetually moving overlaid patterns. These patterns persist because they are beautiful, effective, powerful, etc. Those who are able to imagine, and this cannot be clearly identified or defined although certainly individual humans seem to be able to do so, allow these patterns to continue. They allow this by not imagining anything differently. This is how reality remains more or less the same. This is why "evolution" progresses so slowly.



Those who imagine and create, to a relatively small yet not insignificant extent, are called "artists." Usually artists employ various media to convey their creative visions. These visions only by gradual dissemination may begin to alter reality, and by doing so these artists are said to be great, but they do not use reality itself as a medium for their art. This is largely because they are also convinced of the "laws" of this reality. But there are no laws, only the imagination.

 

Those who do use reality itself as a medium for creative expression are the "magicians." Magic is their means to alter reality according to their will. Magicians, of course, are of greater and lesser power and this is determined by to what degree they have discovered that the "laws of nature" are only manipulable illusions. A very powerful magician can alter reality entirely.



Greater than magicians, though, are those who can create whole worlds, whole realities with the power of their imagination. These worlds are not merely something akin to literary creations, like Tolkien's Middle-earth, but are realms which these gods can exist within.

Each god can allow greater or lesser degrees of freedom to imagine to those entities which populate his world. In any case though, any entity, any pattern of imagination, is able to imagine to the highest degrees. A god can only try to limit this by deception and subterfuge -- thus the "laws of nature." The greatest gods, as indicated above, can create something entirely unique from nothing.

 http://www5b.biglobe.ne.jp/~saitama/mikotoba/miko0507/mm.gif

Even the greatest gods, however, are insignificant compared to those who have become unified and nullified in the imagination itself. These beings have the capacity to create and destroy all possible universes. There is no limitation to them and to even label them as a "being" is to be mistaken. They can take any form -- from a microbe to a galaxy -- and they can inhabit that form for an instant or an eon. Even the gods are playthings for these "Buddhas."

The Buddhas can be all compassionate or all destructive. Life and death, bliss and torture, are the same for them. But for them to have reached a stage beyond Godhead has meant that they have given up all last vestiges of the Self. Their actions, if they have any, are naturally compassionate because they have no self to benefit.

http://www.esotericastrologer.org/Newsletters/75%20Pisces%202012%20NeptuneCycle_files/image013.jpg

Everyone who is not an artist, magician, god or Buddha is being manipulated, to different degrees, by any and/or all of these. Our world continues as it does because we allow it to do so. There are multiple layers of control and manipulation -- work, family, tradition, religion, government, society, style, advertising, the laws of physics, God, culture, sex, identity, architecture, habits, reality, etc. -- but to break through all of these veils, layers and attachments is to become more free. There are even more -- our senses, our bodies, our notions of the possible -- all of these must be overcome.

Life Flows On


We condition ourselves, and are conditioned, to accept things as they seem. Even the spectrum of our consciousness is limited by social and legal dicta because those that control fully realize that the world begins to change when perspectives and perceptions are altered. The more radical the shift, the greater is the potential for change. Things remain more or less the same when boundaries are not crossed. Transcending categories and forming new ones is the way of Art and Magic.

Where are there any real limits? There is no origin of civilization. The cycles of development and decay are endless. There were countless unknown civilizations before our own. Space, as most concede, is infinite. There are innumerable galaxies teeming with every possible life form. Inside ourselves, in our own imagination, there are galaxies without number.
 http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-1JlO9HatCvA/T0ycoAsEJYI/AAAAAAAAClA/GN32EsnvBe0/s1600/billions+of+galaxies.jpg

Our five senses limit us to a small spectrum of waves. There are many other senses. There are countless things that escape any detection system we have ever devised. Even now we are being interpenetrated by spirits who also dream...

Dreams are as real as anything experienced in waking consciousness. So are hallucinations and visions, so is myth, so is fiction. It is all occurring equally without start or end. Maya is the bubble film we live upon and take to be a world.



Lucid dreamers are those, true magicians, who have awoken inside of the dream and are thus able to play with its game rules. They have split open the matrix and are able to attain "powers" -- these are the "siddhis" of the yogis and shamans. Life is also such a dream requiring lucidity.

Lucid Vivid Fetid Avid David King


We live in a world dominated by competing and cooperating covens of magicians, of orders of great antiquity, who worship the gods (or God) of this world. Our belief in their reality reinforces its strength.

How to escape? Easy. Disobey, disengage and create. Break down more and more categories and knit a webwork of your own. The patterns, of different scale and frequency, run through everything. They are the ripples of the imagination. Learn to surf on them. Bring their influence into your consciousness by attracting them with sympathetic forms. This is the essence of magic -- to create resonances from the macrocosm to the microcosm. Synthesize don't analyze.

http://images2.bridgemanart.com/cgi-bin/bridgemanImage.cgi/400wm.UIG.3034350.7055475/531124.jpg

The Buddha is at the centre of the web. He is the spider. But as the web stretches out into infinity there can be no centre except at every point. The real centre is at our own hearts. The whole phenomenal multiverse, the kaleidocosm, has its roots in the heart. The imagination shines out from this point and all of the illusions of this world are ripplings of these waves of light. They are synonymous with love.

She


The path to the heart is the one path to Buddhahood. On it spans the treacherous rainbow bridge, the wormhole portal of Da'at, the sinister Lurker at the Threshold, the anima in her Durga form, our blackest shadows, hell worlds, the dark night of the soul, madness, identity dissolution...

 http://laadventurawithlybsta.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/kali_db09.jpg?w=652

It is the labyrinth and the mandala and the talisman. It is the way of the Hero. Every step towards the centre leads to union with the imagination. Every step away from it leads to further entrapment in somebody else's system. To reach to centre is to integrate all of the shadows into one's self, ultimately annihilating the Self. This is hierogamy with the Great Goddess, Imagination, also called Sophia, also called Prajñāpāramitā.

It is only her that fascinates. Creator and Destroyer and beyond both. We aim to entwine with her. We want to be devoured. She is the hairy minotaur of our hearts. She is the cosmic lingham in the yoni. She is where all opposites meet in ecstasy. She is all worlds, all lives, all deaths. All other gods and demons are but partial reflections of her temporarily acting, although many eons may have passed, as autonomous selves. They are also ripples, patterns. There is no actual creation from nothing as nothing is also She. And She, alone, is creation.

http://ancientegyptonline.co.uk/images/isis5.jpg

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mating the Orc Cycle

In Tolkien's full epic there is a period of about 80 years (about 60 years in the films) between the finding of the Ring by Bilbo, thus releasing it from its concealment, and its destruction at the hands of Frodo and Gollum. At this time, Middle-earth passed from the Third Age to the Fourth Age.


If Weidner and others are correct, and Tolkien is also alluding to the present passage into the Fifth Age, then as everything else has accelerated wouldn't the period between revelation and consummation also be markedly telescoped?

Meep Meep


Something has changed. Something has been realized. Something has been revealed. Our relation to time has been irreversibly altered. We are slowly, one by one, catching a glimpse of the eternal. In the LOTR, it took several years for even the Wise to discover the true nature of the Ring. It could be likewise in the present situation, although things are at a much faster rate of acceleration. Many are not noticing the shift at all. In the centre of things, would we notice?

By slipping the Ring onto our finger we reach the centre of the Wheel, where many teach we become free of its movement, and we attain the vision of Fortuna herself. We see all the turns and seasons of the cycle as one. Like Bilbo and Gollum we stop growing old. But we soon become seduced by its power. To know the illusion of time is to know how to manipulate time. And yet we have not destroyed the Ring. To become like Sauron, like the Dragon, is this the ultimate risk of sync?



In previous posts, I discussed what I called the 108-year Rosicrucian cycle from 1904 to 2012, marking a degree and a half transition between the Ages of Pisces and Aquarius. I surmised that a time of concealment is ending and a time of revelation has begun. Could this be reversed? Are we about to enter another Dark Age? This could be. There is nothing inevitable about these myths. It does seem, though, it feels, that something quite new has been revealed. Was this a planned revealing? Was Bilbo meant to find the Ring? Even deeper questions.



As in the Dark Crystal, there is a profound ambiguity here. Will the Skeksis achieve their goal of immortal tyranny, endless time? Or will the Mystics succeed in merging the two races into one transcendent whole? Both Christ and Antichrist are here right now. We do not have assurances of the return of the King or the Jedi.

Perhaps we are, as philosopher Slavoj Žižek often suggests about the economic/social/ecological mega-crisis of too late capitalism, like Wile E. Coyote who has just ran off the cliff with his legs still flailing in mid-air. Our choice is to look down and become again the victim of gravity and time or, like Neo, realize that we could always already fly.



Blake's diagnosis of and remedy for this crisis are far more radical than Žižek's, but Blake would agree that we have stumbled off the precipice and need to choose whether to fall or fly. In many respects, Blake anticipated this exact point in our history. "2012" is really a shorthand for the crisis long forseen, but presently in full culmination.

In this sense, 2012 did happen. This is the apocalypse. The Winter Solstice is the perfect metaphor for this passage. The point of deepest darkness is passing, although it appears to be becoming both colder and darker, and light --widespread knowledge of the illusory nature of time and the products of time -- is slowly beginning to reappear. The darkness is only apparently growing because it is widely becoming noticed.

Farsighted Folly


Another meme to go viral recently is the idea of the iPhone 5 as the black monolith of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The colour and dimensions are an exact match, and certainly both are tools to aid in our collective evolution. Another good match, though, is with the palantíri of The Lord of the Rings.



Like the iPhone, the palantír is a device for communicating over long distances to anyone who happens to be looking into a similar glass. The palantír have the power to both enlighten and to deceive, and they are strangely addictive. They can impart tremendous knowledge about the outside world to those that gaze into them. And if one who is bearing the Ring happens to look into one of these stones, everyone else watching would instantly be aware and become transformed.

2012 is about recovering both the Ring and the Stone. When the first is finally brought to light it will now very quickly be revealed to all.

The explosion of conspiracy theories in a little more than a month after the Sandy Hook atrocity, and the added layer of synchronicity that even fairly conventional sources are becoming aware of, appear to be an example of this.

Even the continual online debate of debunkers vs. conspiracy theorists vs. New Agers vs. sync heads on what the hell 2012 is/was about is entirely unprecedented. 2012 is the ultimate Non-Consensus Event or NCE. It is impossible to reach any sort of consensus on its significance. This may be its final purpose.

In previous posts on the 108-Year Rosicrucian Cycle, I made the suggestion that the 22 cards of the Major Arcana of Crowley's Thoth deck may have, in a sense, been "played" in sequence in connection to various events from to 1904 to 2012. The implication was that the final card, The Universe, was played on the Winter Solstice. Other researchers have made similar suggestions.



There is much to be written about this card and its relation to 2012, including a personal sync that it was with a Woman and her Snake that I began this current stroll of weirdness. It will suffice for this post to point out that the Snake is also Orc and the Woman, surrounded by a Ring or Wheel of stars, is our goddess, Fortuna. The Four Zoas reappear, and as on The Wheel of Fortune card all of the action at the top of the card is streaming down from near the Winter Solstice point between Scorpio and Aquarius.

The Universe is the last card in the sequence, but it also signals the renewal of the cycle. Maybe. The next card is back to the "first," or the zeropoint, The Fool. And like the trickster, Coyote, the Fool is about to step off a cliff. Like what is separating and connecting the last and first sentences of Finnegans Wake, we are in the gap between worlds. Do we continue to ride the round or do we break through?

If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.



The Turning Point of the Solstice could very well become the Breaking Point, and the Orc Cycle would finally end. We would wake in the Wake. Blake came quickly to realize that Orc and Urizen are equally trapped in the cycle of time, in the "same dull round." The Wheel, the Ring, must be destroyed if eternity is to be attained. Like darkness in Gollum's riddle, however, eternity already permeates time and the world. By reaching the centre of the Wheel, and exploding out from it and beyond its bounds we approach liberation.



All true art, however, is already there. All of the Poets know eternity. The only difference now, if there really is one, is that this process is occurring on a grand, collective scale. All of matter is being realized as spirit. As in the Gnostic myth, the True God fully immersed Himself into the prison of matter in order to entirely transform it, in an evolution lasting eons, into pure spirit. Blake's myth of Albion is the same story. Dualism is becoming non-dualism. For all of his talk of 2012, one gets the sense that Terence McKenna had several long glimpses of this.

Yellow Boots


Joyce ties this idea of time vs. eternity to the archetypal struggle between brothers, also expressed in the Hero Twin myths. In the Wake he reworks the old fable of the thrifty and industrious Ant and the carefree yet indolent Grasshopper into his own strange tale of "The Ondt and the Gracehoper." The Gracehoper (both Shem and Joyce himself) mocks the Ondt (Shaun and Joyce's literary rival, Wyndham Lewis):

Your genus its worldwide, your spacest sublime!  But, Holy Saltmartin, why can't you beat time?
 

The Ant may be the master of all space, he may be fully supplied and prepared for the long, harsh winter, and the dancing and singing Grasshopper might starve to death during this winter, but the Ant is trapped in time and the Grasshopper, the Grace-hoper, is not. The Grasshopper is the Fool who has decided to fly. He is the Orc who has broke the cycle.

One reading of "Holy Saltmartin" is Saint Martin, the saint of the holiday of Advent. Advent celebrates the first coming of Christ in the Nativity, but also the Second Coming where Christ will return "like a thief in the night" and true believers will meet with Him in the air. This is yet another myth of the bursting of eternity into time. It is Joyce's incomparable genius that he is able to seamlessly join such a serious item of dogma with a fable about insects.

In Indian philosophy, the idea of the Wheel of Fortune has its parallel in the concept of samsara, which also literally means "circle" or "wheel." Samsara is the cycle of birth, death and rebirth that has turned perpetually throughout the eons. All beings, including the gods, are subject to this endless cycle, and all suffering is ultimately caused by our bondage to this Wheel.



The various Indian philosophies and religions all offer different ways and teachings to find liberation from this cycle. In Mahayana Buddhism, an extreme non-dualist formula is given where liberation from the cycle is, in a sense, equated with the cycle itself. The Mahayana philosopher, Nagarjuna famously wrote:

There is nothing whatever which differentiates samsara from nirvana; and there is nothing whatever which differentiates nirvana from samsara. The extreme limit of nirvana is also the extreme limit of samsara; there is not the slightest bit of difference between these two.

From a liberated perspective, the awakened perspective of a Buddha, acceptance of the Wheel of Fortune, the endless cycle of time, is the ultimate goal. Escaping from the Wheel is to realize that there is no escape. Everything which lives and dies within the Wheel is "empty" in and of itself, including ourselves. The point is to attain the perspective of the entire Wheel.

This is one interpretation of this teaching, but I think it is incomplete. If, on the other hand, it is the full doctrine then any true Blakean would discard it out of hand. At first reading, it appears to argue that we be content with the "same dull round." This would be intolerable to Blake and is the essence of what he criticicized as "natural religion."



There is a danger, I think, of stopping halfway with this. Nirvana is samsara, but samsara is also nirvana. In earlier Buddhism, which Nagarjuna did not reject, nirvana is described as being beyond mind and matter -- the complete cessation of suffering. This must also be the Wheel.

In other words, this teaching is not asking us to accept the Wheel in the form that we presently experience it at all. The Wheel itself must be transformed by our minds, by our imagination. This brings us a lot closer to Blake's notion of "double vision."

These concepts are difficult, but it is helpful to take a look at yet another Tolkien character, Tom Bombadil. Bombadil is a mysterious figure who does not fit into any of the classifications of beings on Middle-earth. Tolkien himself describes Tom as an intentional enigma. It is likely this difficultly in aligning Tom within a conventional good vs. evil narrative that kept him out of Jackson's film trilogy.



It's clear that Tom Bombadil has aspects of the Fool or the Grasshopper to him. Perhaps unlike these two, however, Tom is entirely successful. He lives with the beautiful Goldberry, the daughter of the River. He is the complete and unchallenged master of his domain. He has an abundant supply of everything he needs, and he is almost giddily happy at all times.

Like the Fool and the Grasshopper in potential, though, Tom has "beat time." He is described as being the "Eldest." Frodo freely and easily gives Tom the Ring, and Tom makes it seem to disappear before giving it back. He is the only figure in Middle-earth shown not to be affected by the Ring. The Wise considered entrusting it to him for this reason, but Gandalf convinces them that Tom would probably just forget about it.

That he is not a simple, absent-minded fool is illustrated by the fact that it is Tom that Gandalf goes to have a long conversation with when all of his tasks as a wizard are completed. Tom is already outside the Ring and time. He exists in eternity. He knows that nirvana is samsara and at the same instant that samsara is nirvana. One gets the impression that he has been expecting Gandalf for a long while.

The Invitation of God


The medieval heresy of the Brethren of the Free Spirit has something of this character or archetype as well. The reason that the Free Spirit was such a heresy and threat to the established order of the Church and the Kings, was that if Christ had died and been resurrected for our sins, then it is impossible to ever sin again. Christ has reversed the Fall and so we are all back in the Garden. Time has already ended and it is just a matter of realizing this.



A similar, more modern, expression of this heresy can be found in the last scenes of the movie, Waking Life. Here, a cartoon version of the film's director, Richard Linklater, has a conversation with the central character.

Linklater explains that he read an essay by Philip K. Dick that tells the story of that author's mystical experience involving the idea that we were all still living in Apostolic times, but that an evil demiurge was preventing us from knowing this.

And he was really into Gnosticism, and this idea that this demiurge, or demon, had created this illusion of time to make us forget that Christ was about to return, and the kingdom of God was about to arrive. And that we're all in 50 A.D., and there's someone trying to make us forget that God is imminent. And that's what time is. That's what all of history is. It's just this kind of continuous, you know, daydream, or distraction.

Dick's gnostic ideas are really not that dissimilar to the Brethren of the Free Spirit, or from Mahayana Buddhism. Perhaps unlike the Free Spirit or Tom Bombadil, Dick was unable to entirely convince himself that is was possible to actually live in the Garden.



Linklater, though, takes the idea forward. He tells of a dream he had where Lady Gregory, the patron of Yeats, appeared and told him about the nature of the universe:

Now Philip K. Dick is right about time, but he's wrong that it's 50 A.D. Actually, there's only one instant, and it's right now, and it's eternity. And it's an instant in which God is posing a question, and that question is basically, 'Do you want to, you know, be one with eternity? Do you want to be in heaven?' And we're all saying, 'No thank you. Not just yet.' And so time is actually just this constant saying 'No' to God's invitation. I mean that's what time is. I mean, and it's no more 50 A.D. than it's two thousand and one. And there's just this one instant, and that's what we're always in.

Lady Gregory goes on to explain that this is essentially the story of all of our lives -- the movement from the "No" to the "Yes." The "No" is what binds us to the wheels of fortune and samsara, and the "Yes" is what can liberate us. The central character goes on to ask how he can finally wake up from his endless dream, the same cycle, and Linklater replies:

I don't know, I don't know. I'm not very good at that anymore. But, um, if that's what you're thinking, I mean you, you probably should. I mean, you know if you can wake up, you should, because you know someday, you know, you won't be able to. So just, um ... But it's easy. You know. Just, just wake up.


The "Yes" here is the same "Yes" as the last word of Ulysses. The meaning of "waking up" here has the same meaning as it does in Finnegans Wake. James Joyce follows the same heretical tradition as the Free Spirit, William Blake, Philip K. Dick and Richard Linklater.

Reflecting the Doors


Those online researchers of the interweavings of synchronicity within pop culture, literature, current events, and personal experience are also becoming initiates of the old heresy. Synchronicity brings together two or more meaningful things regardless of, almost in spite of, space and time. It offers a small peak at eternity, a peak which is not satisfying until it is followed by many more peaks and glances. And even then, the desire to know is only quelled by the full embrace of the "Yes."

This is why sync is so subversive. It creates unlimited desires beyond anything that the temporal or spiritual authorities can possibly provide. Eternity cannot be packaged and sold back to us. It cannot be forced on us through the barrel of the gun. Only a simulacrum of eternity can be presented in these ways. All authority can only exist within the illusion of time, within the bounds of the Ring. Synchronicity disrupts this timeline. The more we connect together, the more we escape from programmed narratives.



In a letter published in Magic Without Tears, another heretic, Aleister Crowley, illustrates how this is done:

I will now tell you what this method is: as I walked about, I made a point of attributing everything I saw to its appropriate idea. I would walk out of the door of my house and reflect that door is Daleth, and house Beth; now the word "dob" is Hebrew for bear, and has the number 6, which refers to the Sun. Then you come to the fence of your property and that is Cheth - number 8, number of Tarot Trump 7, which is the Chariot: so you begin to look about for your car. Then you come to the street and the first house you see is number 86, and that is Elohim, and it is built of red brick which reminds you of Mars and the Blasted Tower, and so on.

This is the method. As Blake explains, though, it is not even necessary to use Kabbalah or occult symbolism, as Crowley is. It is better to create your own poetic system. After the fact, the authorities are very adept at co-opting any symbol system or visionary work. We must break through quickly on the strength of our own metaphors and change them when they become ineffective.  

Blake continually emphasized that the only reality is the Imagination. The experience of synchronicity most definitely confirms this. And ultimately, according to Blake, all of our imaginations are really facets of the Imagination of one Being, which Blake calls Albion and Joyce calls Finn.



When this is realized, when Albion or Finn awakes, all of reality will change. This does not just mean that our perception of reality will change, although our senses will be completely "cleansed," but as reality is imagination it will change along with our perception. As Blake believed from the Bible, a New Heaven and a New Earth will be created.

The Sticky Web


From Blake's point of view, the aim is never to "get back to Nature." Nature has already fallen. The web of life is a web. It traps us. The wilderness is less fallen than present human civilization, but we also cannot live there. The idea of a network, which seems so horizontal and democratic compared to the hierarchies and pyramids of power which support the Empire, is also a net, a snare. The www has us all stuck to its strands.

To identify with nature is to identify with the Wheel. It is to move to the Wheel's centre or hub. This is where Fortuna watches. From the perspective of Fortuna, the continuous turnings of fate "delight" her. She is Maya or Isis playing with her veils. This perspective is that of only seeing nirvana as samsara. It equates liberation with the vantage point of the whole Wheel. This is necessary, but it does not free us. Fortuna is as trapped as we are.



It is the Goddess who turns the Wheel. She perpetuates the Orc cycle. It was Kronos' mother, the goddess Gaia, who helped him castrate his father, Uranus. And it was Zeus' mother, the goddess Rhea, who helped him overthrow his father, Kronos. The only objective of the Goddess is to keep the Wheel in spin. The divine mother has always conspired with her son against the father-god. And when a new son is born from the union of mother and son-turned-husband, then the goddess (and its always the same Goddess) will plot again with her new offspring. And the cycle continues.

This last dualism is one that Blake completely recognized. It is the division between the Creator and his Creation. When the essentially hermaphroditic Creator becomes enamoured and obsessed by his/her work of art, the world or universe, the divisions of the sexes result. HCE becomes divided from ALP. Blake advocated the full revelation of Mystery. Anything less than this meant that the veils of Maya, who Blake called Vala, would still seduce and the wheel spins on.



Only full consummation in fire and passion, like that of Dante and Beatrice at the foot of the Tree of Knowledge in Eden, is enough to break through the Wheel and to reach the ladder to the stars. The division of Orc and Urizen is a false and illusory division. The Creator must become whole if he ever hopes to fully unite with the Goddess.

Wheels Without and Within


Long before Carl Jung wrote about the necessity to unify the animus with the anima, Blake's poetry sang of the lost female emanation or shadow. A man who has lost his emanation, as Blake claimed that Milton had lost his, is only a spectre, one who is dominated by the Selfhood.

If the symbol of the Goddess is the web or net, then the symbol of the Father God is the pyramid. But the pyramid always emerges out of the web. The new Orc will raze the old pyramids and ziggurats only to eventually construct new pyramids from nature's web. The Goddess takes delight in this. Both the pyramid and web can be dangerous symbols. Like the Wheel itself, they are ambiguous. The symbol that Blake uses to transcend these two is in fact the transformed Wheel.



Of many Wheels I view, wheel without wheel, with cogs tyrannic 
Moving by compulsion each other : not as those in Eden, which,
Wheel within Wheel in freedom revolve in harmony & peace.

This "wheel within wheel" sounds very close to the mandalas of Asian philosophy. It is the mandala also which Jung called the archetype of individuation. Towards the centre of Tibetan Buddhist mandalas is a smaller wheel of three animals. These are the pig, representing ignorance, the bird, representing attachment, and the snake, representing aversion or anger.

 

To reach the very centre of the mandala, to attain the only point that will release us from the cycle, we must overcome these three. Ignorance, attachment and aversion neatly sum up what Blake means by the Selfhood. The three animals combined are identical to the Covering Cherub which bars our way back into Paradise. The three can also be seen as Urizen, the Goddess, and the serpent, Orc. With these three, the cycle keeps in spin.

As we approach the centre, the rhizome, more begins to connect. Time begins increasingly to resemble eternity. The syncs begin to multiply. This happens on individual and, following Jung, collective levels. All indications are that this is happening right now. The Ring has been revealed to a critical threshold. More and more people are beginning to realize, as the Dragon gives way to the Snake, the illusory nature of time and, as PKD wrote, the Empire built on this illusion.

Perhaps we don't need to destroy the Ring we just need to, like Bombadil, forget about it. Old Tom had his Goldberry, though. The river, ALP, finally unifies with HCE, the sea. The Creator finally becomes one again with his own Imagination.

The world of imagination is the world of eternity. It is the divine bosom into which we shall all go after the death of the vegetated body. This world of imagination is infinite and eternal, whereas the world of generation, or vegetation, is finite and temporal. There exist in that eternal world the permanent realities of every thing which we see reflected in this vegetable glass of nature. 

Breaking the Orc Cycle

Like the movie 2012, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy is another account of the shifting of the ages. Jay Weidner has written an excellent essay on Tolkien's knowledge of alchemy and world mythology. It shows how The Lord of the Rings itself is the story of the passage from the Third Age, or the Age of Bronze, to the Fourth Age, our own era -- the Age of Iron or the Kali Yuga.

 

While the Third Age of Middle-earth formally came to a close with the downfall of Sauron and the passing of the Three Rings into the West, the beginning of its end was marked by the discovery of the One Ring by Bilbo.

Riddles of Darkness


Undoubtedly, the best scene of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is exactly this moment when Bilbo finds the Ring. In fact, this is the only scene in the entire movie which utterly compelled me. Not only is it the best scene, but it is the most important event of the story which the film is telling. Clearly, if there is any deeper mystery to be unravelled in this Dec. 14th film, it is to be found here.

 

In the book, The Hobbit, this episode involves a riddling game between Bilbo and Gollum. The chapter is called "Riddles in the Dark."

His [Bilbo's] head was swimming, and he was far from certain even of the direction they had been going in when he had his fall. He guessed as well as he could, and crawled along for a good way, till suddenly his hand met what felt like a tiny ring of cold metal lying on the floor of the tunnel. It was a turning point in his career, but he did not know it. He put the ring in his pocket almost without thinking; certainly it did not seem of any particular use at the moment.

Within a short time of finding the Ring, Bilbo encounters Gollum and the game of riddles begins. The stakes are high: Bilbo would be shown the passage out if he won, and eaten if he lost.

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Gollum poses the first riddle:
What has roots as nobody sees,
Is taller than trees
Up, up it goes,
And yet never grows?  
Mountain is the answer, and it is the mountain in which both Gollum and the Ring dwell. It is a place of darkness. Mountains "never grow," apparently, because they are not as quickly affected by time as living beings. From our perspective, mountains are nearly immortal. Bilbo is next:
Thirty white horses on a red hill,
First they champ,
Then they stamp,
Then they stand still.
The answer here is teeth, and while the riddle compares teeth to horses it is easy to envision teeth as a ring of mountains. Like bones, like mountains, teeth long survive the decomposition of the flesh after death. On a smaller scale than mountains, teeth also exist at a much slower pace of time. The subject of Gollum's riddle is grand and impersonal, and Bilbo's subject is smaller and more intimate, but both of these two will outlast us.


Voiceless it cries,
Wingless flutters,
Toothless bites,
Mouthless mutters.
Gollum's next riddle is the wind. It's interesting that it is described as being "toothless." The wind is even less affected by time than mountains and teeth. It is ever-present and is breathed in by all living creatures, but dependent on none of them. This riddle takes us even further into cold abstraction.

In the film a couple riddles are skipped, which are worth returning to, but in his next riddle Bilbo attempts to steer the game back to the sunny, day-to-day world of breakfast and nourishment.
A box without hinges, key or lid,
Yet golden treasure inside is hid.
"Eggses!" Gollum hisses. This is correct, but I think that Tolkien might have something much bigger in mind.



Blake's term for the entire fallen cosmos is the "mundane shell" -- our egg-shaped world of limited perception that is as comfortable as it is inauthentic. Like Bilbo's nostalgia for hearty breakfasts and easy living in the Shire, it is this shell that keeps us from fully exploring our own imagination, from realizing eternity. The mundane shell, the cosmic egg, is the cycle of time. It contains all cycles, including the very cycle of life.

Four other riddles are given in the book that are not depicted in the film. Bilbo's riddles about the sun shining on the daisies, and a man and his cat eating fish are both cheery, light-filled instances in the mundane cycle. Gollum, on the other hand, describes fish as being as "cold as death." His next riddle deserves a closer look:
It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
Cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.
It lies behind stars and under hills,
And empty holes it fills.
It comes first and follows after,
Ends life, kills laughter.
The solution is darkness, and while in the book Gollum poses this just before Bilbo's egg riddle it could also be taken as a response to it. What is beyond the mundane shell, beyond the stars? Darkness. It even permeates and fills the holes and empty gaps within this world. It is, in a sense, what the shell protects us from -- an infinitude of darkness. The shell is the "limit of opacity," as Blake called it. All the warm, hobbit-like pleasantries of this world can only be savoured if we are ignorant of, or suppress, the darkness. But it still there and will find us in the end.



Gollum's last riddle in the film continues along these lines:
This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.
Time itself finally enters into the game. We find that even the mountains are beaten down by it. Apparently nothing is greater than it. Toothless like the wind, it nonetheless devours everything. The mundane shell, which Bilbo describes as being sunny and abundant, is the same world that Gollum knows is filled with darkness and misery. Both characters are subject to time. One is temporarily in Fortune's favour, the other perhaps not. Gollum, though, seems the wiser for being the more afflicted.

Bilbo's final riddle, more of a stumbling question than a riddle, is really the riddle behind all of these riddles. His question is "What have I got in my pocket?" The answer is of course, although not even Gandalf knew positively until years later, the One Ring.



The words that appeared several decades afterwards when the Ring was thrown into Frodo's warm fire translate as:
One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
The One Ring, forged centuries before, has the power to enslave all the other magical ruling rings of Elves, Dwarves and Men. All will be bound by it, and its Lord, in absolute darkness.

The Golden Bind


It's remarkable, whether Tolkien intended this or not, that this inscription perfectly answers the riddles of The Hobbit. The Ring is both darkness and time, and all of the things like mountains and teeth and the lives of mortals which are eventually overcome by time. It is itself the binding Mundane Shell which is surrounded by darkness from one perspective. But from the viewpoint of those with perceptions cleansed, the Ring also represents that which binds us to this world of relative darkness. It prevents us from an experience of eternity.

 

In other words, the Ring is identical to Fortuna's Wheel. Power over it is power over everything -- both light and darkness, "good" and "bad." All is bound to the golden Wheel. In the preface to the Silmarillion, Tolkien appears to confirm this view of the Ring:

The chief power (of all the Rings alike) was the prevention or slowing of decay (i.e. 'change' viewed as a regrettable thing), the preservation of what is desired or loved, or its semblance. But also they enhanced the natural powers of a possessor­ thus approaching 'magic', a motive easily corruptible into evil, a lust for domination.

The power of the Ring is primarily a power over time or Fortune. With such a power, which is also the desire for immortality, comes the "lust for domination." In a previous post, I discussed how exactly this lust for immortality and domination among shamans and priests led to the creation of the State and its successive Empires of debt enslavement.

For Blake, this is the primary quality of this fallen world enclosed by the Mundane Shell. It is ruled by the Selfhood which in turn tries to subject all others. The archetypal figure most representative of the Selfhood is Satan. In a sense, then, the One Ring is Satan's ring. Satan is exactly Tolkien's model for Sauron and Sauron's master, Morgoth or Melkor.



To go deeper, though, this means that Satan is the lord of time, the Prince of this World. The Ring represents the complete Fall into time. As Weidner's essay demonstrates, Tolkien's mythology, following archaic and classical world mythology, is a vast epic of a successive and ever deeper Fall into matter and time. In this, he definitely aligns with Blake.

The recovery of the Ring, as told in The Hobbit, represents both a threat and a hope for Middle Earth. On one side, it signals that the Dark Power is now able to complete its total enslavement of the world. On the other side, it exposes this power for all to see. It reveals the Dark Power's greatest strength, but also its greatest weakness. The Ring shows that this power rests on its ability to manipulate our sense of time. Its recovery indicates that both sides are culminating at once.

The film's Dec. 14th release in the US, and the terrible events that coincided with it, can be viewed in this light. Satan's ring was recovered amidst the senseless slaughter of innocents. Can hope as well as fear be found here? Does this event signal an even deeper, perhaps total, enslavement by time and the reign of quantity? Does the Wheel of Fortune become fully unveiled as a Wheel of Torture, or is ultimate liberation at hand?



If the Ring was symbolically recovered on Dec. 14th, then it was first forged last July. During the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics the One Ring was cast and raised to rule over the other four rings in front of an audience of millions.



In a previous post this ceremony was examined in depth. Danny Boyle, in his Finnegans Wake-like intertwining of all British history, literature and pop culture, included the ring-forging sequence in a section of the ceremony alluding to Blake's "Satanic mills." Boyle's name for this sequence, however, is "Pandaemonium," the capital city of John Milton's Paradise Lost. It is Milton who really ties together the work of Blake and Tolkien in regard to the Orc Cycle.

Fall From Splendour


In Tolkien's mythology it is Sauron who forges the Ring, but Sauron was the servant of an even darker lord, Morgoth or Melkor. Melkor was the most powerful of the Ainur, the old gods of Middle-earth. He was the original dark force who desired to pervert all of creation and dominate it with his will. With this desire, Melkor was the first to Fall:

From splendour he fell through arrogance to contempt for all things save himself, a spirit wasteful and pitiless. Understanding he turned to subtlety in perverting to his own will all that he would use, until he became a liar without shame. He began with the desire of the Light, but when he could not possess it for himself alone, he descended though fire and wrath into a great burning, down into Darkness. And darkness he used most in his evil works upon Arda (Earth) and filled it with fear for all living things.  Silmarillion, p. 31.





Jay Weidner explains the mythic and archetypal similarity of Melkor to the Gnostic Demiurge:

So from the beginning of the actual formation of the earth out of the music and vision of the Gods the corruption of the Divine Art of Creation began. Having fallen from grace in a manner reminiscent of the Demiurge of the Christian Gnostics, Melkor could never create of his own accord but merely produce counterfeit versions of pre-existing beings by twisting, distorting and manipulating those created by the One. In this way, he brought forth a rift into the world. For from the moment that he 'fell' and turned his face towards egotism and tyranny, Melkor became an irritant that could not be ignored. 

It is obvious, though, that Tolkien is referring to Satan as well. This version of Satan, however, comes more from Milton's Paradise Lost then it does from the Bible. In Blake's own writing, especially in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and later in Milton, Blake points out Milton's heroic portrayal of Satan.

The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels & God, and at liberty when of Devils & Hell, is because he was a true Poet and of the Devil’s party without knowing it. 
--The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, plate 6.

Blake recognized in Milton's Satan the story of Orc -- the transformation of a Man to a Snake to a Dragon. Blake realized in his inversion of all conventional morality that Satan as Lucifer, at least initially, was a revolutionary would-be liberator. He sensed that Milton too realized this, but remained in his orthodox "fetters." In the beginning Satan rises up against the Demiurge, the Prince of this World, the God of the Old Testament, or Urizen himself. Only later does he truly Fall.



Satan, like all Orcs, becomes ensnared by his own Selfhood. He becomes seduced by power. He is seduced by the Ring of this Mundane Shell. He himself becomes the new Dark Lord of the fallen world. Tolkien does not dwell on this part of the myth, but it is essential to know if we are to understand Morgoth and then Sauron. They too are aspects of Orc.

Blake's exploration of the Orc Cycle is thus needed to complete both Milton and Tolkien. The Gnostics are basically correct. The God of this world is an evil Demiurge. It is the poetic brilliance of Blake to add that throughout history the potential usurpers of this Yaldabaoth in turn become cosmic tyrants.

You're Not My Father


In a sense, though, Blake is following a theme that is found continuously in global mythology. In Greek and Roman myth we read of the castration of the primordial sky-god, Uranus, by his son, Saturn.



Saturn or Kronos, although he was said to have ruled justly over a Golden Age, devoured his own children on hearing a prophecy that he would likewise be overthrown by one of them. Eventually, Jupiter or Zeus, hidden from Saturn, was able to do just this and to imprison his father in the underworld. Zeus himself existed in perpetual paranoia that the same fate would befall him. He was especially worried about his sons, Apollo and Dionysus.



These myths illustrate that even the gods are subject to the turnings of the Wheel of Fortune. It was Blake's unique genius to realize, though, and to express as art the idea that the main mechanism of Fortune, the whole loop of the Fall and Redemption, is built on the will to power. The Wheel of Fortune, governing the fate of both kings and paupers, is in essence the Orc cycle.

In modern times we see the Orc cycle play out in movies constantly. One very obvious example is the Star Wars series. Joseph Campbell's influence on George Lucas, and especially in Campbell's idea of the Hero's Journey, is well-known. As this "monomyth" was taken straight from Joyce, we could say that Star Wars indirectly derives from the pages of Finnegans Wake.

The Hero's Journey is really one half of the Orc Cycle. What we don't notice as much in the work of Campbell is how when the hero returns home, after killing the Dragon, saving the kingdom, etc., he soon begins to become a tyrant or Dragon himself. In the prequel trilogy to Star Wars, however, Lucas shows just this process.



An Unexpected Journey has often recently been compared to the first of these films, The Phantom Menace. Both are unpopular prequels to highly successful film trilogies, both are criticized for their over-use of special effects at the expense of good story-telling, and both featured ridiculous supporting roles -- the bunny-sled riding, birdshit streaked wizard, Radagast, and the cosmic, floppy-headed, underwater-living rasta, Jar Jar Binks.

A more relevant comparison here, however, is that both films depict a time of apparent growing darkness. The Phantom Menace and the two following films, much more clearly than An Unexpected Journey, are the story of how a revolutionary Orc becomes a tyrant himself. Anakin Skywalker morphs into Darth Vader. The Republic becomes an Empire.



An Unexpected Journey marks this rise of darkness with the recovery of the Ring. Sauron knows that if he regains this Ring he will become invincible. As noted previously, the significance of symbolically finding the Ring on Dec. 14th points to a similar rise in darkness, to yet another Orc cycle.

Antiorc


The alleged shooter of Sandy Hook, Adam Lanza, and other shooters of the recent past, such as Jared Lee Loughner, Anders Behring Breivik and James Holmes, might also be classed as Orcs and/or orcs.



It could be that all of these men, although it is dangerous to attribute reason to obvious psychosis, saw themselves as revolutionaries --  Breivik certainly did. It could be that they thought that their actions, horrendous in themselves, would eventually provoke radical change that would overturn the old, corrupt order. This is the thinking of Orc.

An earlier yet related figure, Charles Manson, also thought in similar terms. Manson convinced his followers that their actions would provoke a Race War which would quickly escalate into a general Apocalypse and hence a New World. And, as writer Peter Levenda in Sinister Forces recounts, Manson, the Son of Man, had himself crucified while on LSD in 1968:

Charlie decided to re-enact the Crucifixion with himself as the central character. He dropped acid. His followers tied him to a cross, jeered and humiliated him, and then symbolically killed him. They later celebrated his resurrection with an act of group sex.



Whether or not this is entirely accurate, the myth does help to peg Manson as an Orc figure. The crucifixion of Orc is a key aspect of Blake's poetic cycle. The name Adam Lanza also resonates here. Both Adam and Lanza correspond to different "Eyes of God" or "historic" Orc cycles. Adam obviously is the first man, while Lanza recalls the second Adam -- Christ who was pierced by a lance while on the cross.



None of this is meant to glorify these individuals or the atrocities attributed to them. It is necessary, though, to realize the ambiguous nature of Orc. It is possible that these figures really believed that they had a role to play in the overturning of the old order.

In this, they did not succeed and they became corrupted by the very actions that they had hoped would trigger the change. They are Lucifers who almost immediately became Satan. But in terms of the vast cycles of the Seven Eyes of God they are small Orcs.

In a sense, they are also false Orcs. They were never intended to accomplish anything beyond making the system stronger, to keep the cycle turning. In lieu of a real revolutionary Orc archetype, these surrogate Orcs or orcs allow the current Urizen to tighten his grip on power.

There are also times when Urizen poses as Orc. Things become so bad that the people demand an Orc to change everything. When this "Orc" comes to power he quickly shows his true colours. Only the most deluded believers of the hope and change promised still think that he was ever a genuine Orc at all. At best he is Dragon in the guise of a Snake.



And so the cycle continues.

The Stumbling Block


More and more people are beginning to question the Official Story of Sandy Hook. Videos and articles questioning this story have gone super-viral. Whatever merits there are in these speculations, it is truly significant that a level and raw mass of doubt that took years to show its head after 9/11 has manifested in just over a month after this event.

One can without effort construct a very paranoid, meta-conspiracy theory on why this is happening. Free and privileged US citizens, like Roman citizens of old, are the last stumbling block to total NWO imperial takeover. They are akin to Iraq, Libya and all of the other so-called "rogue states." They are too independent, too spoiled, and too opposed to being dominated by the imperial will. They have become increasingly docile and obedient over the last decade, but they must have their spirits completely crushed.

The Empire knows that the only true Orc it needs to fear is if the most anti-authoritarian, liberty-loving elements of movements similar to both the Tea Party and Occupy unite against it. If a genuine union of resistance like this occurred the masses would quickly join it.



To prevent this, the Empire hammers in the ultimate wedge -- a call for gun control in response to the massacre of children.

The meta-conspiracy theory mulls overs the possibility that the goal of this operation is not simply to disarm Americans, but to provoke Civil War. Why was Alex Jones able to rant like a madman against gun control and for a new American revolution on CNN? Because the Empire knew that he would repulse and disgust half of the US population. He might even inspire the other half. Even better.

A dystopic scenario is easy to envision. The government attempts to forcibly take away the people's guns and is violently resisted. Resistance spreads and becomes amplified. Chaos ensues. Divisions of the military refuse to fire on the rebels. The US becomes dangerously close to becoming a failed state with nukes and the UN agrees to send in troops. The rebellion is quashed and a World Government is declared. A boot stomping on a human face forever.



If such a thing is on the Agenda, it's equally easy to think of reasons why it wouldn't work. If anything, it is only one scenario among many being considered. It's obvious, though, that the world, and particularly US society, is facing a multifaceted, unprecedented crisis. Revolution and/or Civil War are not out of the question.

In the US, the clamour for one or both of these is becoming louder every day. It is remarkable that the banner from which Blake may have got the association of the Snake symbol for the revolutionary Orc is now, once again, the flag of American anti-government rebels. The Serpent rises again.



Reaping the Stars


While Blake initially supported the revolutions in both America and France, his vision of change goes far beyond even the most radical revolutionaries of his or any other time in history. He hoped that the 19th century revolutions would go global, eliminate tyranny and injustice from all lands, provoke the Apocalypse, and eventually bring about an entirely new, unfallen Creation (notice the similarities and differences to Manson). Northrop Frye explains Blake's radical position:

Thus when the fall of the Bastille aroused a wave of enthusiasm in England, Blake turned at once to write an epic on the French Revolution, in which he treated this event sub species aeternitatis as the beginning of the end of the long nightmare of cruelty and injustice which is human history. 




The desire to end the long nightmare of history recalls Stephen Dedalus' words from Ulysses -- "History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." To awaken from the nightmare of history is to finally end the Orc cycle. It is to pass from revolution to revelation.

The "starry harvest" of six thousand years, Blake's conventional figure for the interval between creation and apocalypse, is about to be reaped: men are about to unite into a single Man, who is God, and who will dwell in a new heaven and a new earth. The fall of the French monarchy, like the fall of empires in the prophecies of the Bible, is significant only as a sign of an approaching Messianic kingdom of liberty.



Blake, and Joyce following him, aims for nothing less than the collapse of all empires including, at a very fundamental level, the Black Iron Prison of the Demiurge, Melkor/Urizen/Satan/Zeus/Jehovah, himself. Blake desires the breaking of the Wheel -- the starry harvest -- and the mass reawakening into eternity.

For many, this was the promise of December 21st, 2012. The final empire was about to decisively and catastrophically reach its breaking point. Things were about to approach such a level of weirdness that any sort of control would be impossible. Time would end.

The point in the cyclic epics of Tolkien and Lucas most comparable to the expectations for 2012, is their presentation of the explosive climax at the end of the age. In The Return of the King, this is depicted in the fall and collapse of Barad-dûr. In The Return of the Jedi, this is the death of the Emperor and the destruction of the Death Star. 2012 was to have ended in cleansing fire. A cosmic ekpyrosis.





When nothing like this happened many of us, perhaps more privately than publicly, began to scratch our heads. Were the debunkers right in the end? Were all of the prophecies and visions, including those of Terence McKenna, utter bullshit?

Could it be, though, that 12/21/12 did happen as foreseen, but we were wrong about where things are in the cycle? The Ring was found on Dec. 14th, in the midst of all of the highly charged events of that day, but it has not yet been destroyed. Before being destroyed the Ring must first be revealed. This is the revelation. This is the apocalypse. But what is the Ring?

As discussed above, the Ring is the Wheel of Fortune itself. To reveal the Ring is to reveal the illusory nature of time and all that rests on this illusion. To finally shatter these illusions is to cast the Ring into fiery oblivion, it is to break the cycle and to reenter eternity.