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Welcome new friends from Grimerica!

Welcome new friends from Grimerica!

Big welcome to all new visitors -- and returning friends -- from the wonderful land of Grimerica!

It was an honor as always to be welcomed into The Igloo and to have an opportunity to discuss matters mysterious and mythological with Darren and Graham, who are always fantastic hosts as well as expert and experienced interviewers -- and to get a spontaneous on-show The-Matrix-synchronicity rated at 9.5 on the Grimerica Scale (which is unheard-of and may have been an aberrant data-point, but definitely a new league record for me).

It was the first live-and-on-the-air announcement of the publication of my new book, Star Myths of the World and how to interpret them: Volume One, as well as the first on-the-air debut for my dog, Zephyr, who wanted to interject comments at all the most-important points of the show and finally had to be unceremoniously kicked out of The Igloo into the cold (poor guy).

It was also an honor to meet James from Wasted Nation and his friend Nadz, who were also at The Igloo during the visit. They were fresh from a Halloween show during which it was revealed that they look suspiciously like the same bunch who kept giving Daniel-san a hard time on Halloween some years ago (see Wasted Nation photo here), which made me a little nervous at first, until I remembered that I had Mr. Miyagi on my side and also that they all became friendly at the end and wished Daniel all the best after he defeated their leader in the tournament (hopefully that wasn't a spoiler for anyone).

Be sure to check out their music and invite them to perform gigs in your town if you have any connections in that department.

During the course of this visit to Grimerica, we touched on a host of important subjects -- below are some links to help anyone who might want to explore some of them further:

  • The Star Myths section of my page, which contains links to a "Star Myth Index" that can direct you to most of the Star Myth discussions that have been published on this blog over the years.
  • The discussion of the famous story of the Judgment of Solomon found in the ancient Hebrew Scriptures (often referred to as the Old Testament of the Bible), and analysis of its celestial connections and possible meanings. I also made a video about this important episode from ancient scripture.
  • The two-part discussion of some of the important stories from the 1,001 Nights (also known as "The Arabian Nights") which was the first Star Myth analysis to use the format which is used in the new book, in which the myth itself is presented first and then the analysis is presented after you have the chance to think about the celestial correspondences for yourself. Here are the links to "Part One" and "Part Two" of that discussion of the 1,001 Nights.
  • The discussion of the episode in which Ares (Mars) confronts the two giants Otus and Ephialtes, and finds himself unceremoniously shoved into a brazen jug for his efforts. That discussion also mentions the important star Fomalhaut in the Southern Fish, and has a link to a previous post which talks you through some tips on locating Fomalhaut in the sky (this happens to be a good time of year for finding Fomalhaut, but because it is located fairly far to the south on the celestial sphere it is not visible from some of the more northerly latitudes).
  • Some discussion on the importance of Orion. Orion is such an important figure in the Star Myths of the world that his significance has been mentioned in too many posts to link-up here, but this link will take you to some discussion of Orion in conjunction with the vital concept of "raising the Djed column," which is also discussed in other posts here, here and here as well as in videos here and here (among others).
  • The story of Samson, which was really the one that started my journey of seeing that the stories in what we today call the Bible are almost entirely celestial, from first to last. Also, here is a video about the importance of the Samson-cycle, entitled "The Samson Myth is all about YOU."
  • The assertion that the Bible is essentially shamanic in nature.
  • The assertion that all the myths of the ancient world are essentially shamanic in nature.
  • The assertion that human beings appear to be designed to be able to access and make contact with the Invisible World.
  • The incredible work of Dr. Peter Kingsley.
  • The seminal 1969 book Hamlet's Mill, which was one of the first to offer a comprehensive argument that the myths of the world appear to be connected by some kind of ancient celestial system. This kind of argument had been made before, often with regards to specific myths or sets of myth (the Reverend Robert Taylor made an extensive analysis of the celestial foundations of the stories in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible during the early 1800s), but Hamlet's Mill is important for its examination of evidence that all of these celestial references appear to be "fragments of a lost whole" whose origin and purpose is now largely forgotten to history.
  • The discussion in the dialogues of Plato in which the philosopher has Socrates presenting some extremely important perspectives on the right and wrong way to approach the myths and sacred stories.
  • A recent post with details on the dazzling planets Jupiter and Venus in the pre-dawn sky, appearing along with Mars in the region of Leo the Lion and in an early-morning sky that includes some of the biggest and brightest constellations visible from the earth (and yes, Graham was exactly right during the show when he said he thinks he sees Orion off to the south and west in the pre-dawn sky this time of year).
  • Some discussion of what these ancient Star Myths could have been intended to convey, which I believe involves many layers (possibly endless layers) of profound knowledge, but which certainly points towards "raising the Djed column" in ourselves and others, blessing and not cursing, and the knowledge that we have a divine component or a Higher Self and knowledge of how to rectify our internal relationship with our "divine twin."

We wrapped up the discussion with some thoughts on the importance of music as both a pathway to and a sort of "messenger from" the Invisible Realm. For some previous discussions on the incredibly central importance of music, see for example:


Once again, it was a pleasure to discuss these important topics -- which concern us all -- with Graham, Darren, and the rest of Grimerica! Thanks for having me!

I truly hope to have another opportunity to return to that unique land in the future (see Grimerica passport, below).

Please support their efforts through their "value-for-value" system, which enables them to keep all of their broadcasts completely open to the world, with no "paid section" and no advertisements or sponsorships that could limit their freedom to discuss any and all topics and to pursue the evidence in whatever direction that it leads!

Here are the links to this episode's page (#142 -- big thank-you to Napoleon for the show-art). To watch as a YouTube video, click here. To download the audio file to listen at your convenience, right-click (or control-click) here and select "save as" or "download." To go back and refresh your memory of my previous trip to Grimerica (show #99 I believe), click here.

original image: Wikimedia commons (link). Modified.


Birthday of John Lennon (October 9)

Birthday of John Lennon (October 9)

The above interview selection comes from an interview conducted in September 1980 by David Sheff. A transcript of the full interview can be found at the following set of links:

page 1,

page 2,

page 3.

There, in addition to discussion that had to do with aspects of his own and Yoko's particular journeys through this life, John Lennon expresses some thoughts about the nature of the world's ancient wisdom. 

Towards the end of the interview, he says:

Well, you make your own dream. That's the Beatles' story, isn't it? That's Yoko's story. That's what I'm saying now.
Produce your own dream. If you want to save Peru, go and save Peru. It's quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on leaders and parking meters. Don't expect Carter or Reagan or John Lennon or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself. That's what the great masters and mistresses have been saying ever since time began. They can point the way, leave signposts and little instructions in various books that are now called holy and worshiped for the cover of the book and not what it says, but the instructions are all there for all to see, have always been and always will be. There's nothing new under the sun. All roads lead to Rome. And people cannot provide it for you. I can't wake you up. You can wake you up. I can't cure you. You can cure you.

In other words, it appears that in this segment of the interview, John Lennon is expressing the view that the ancient scriptures are actually all about you, and that they have been either mistakenly or intentionally misinterpreted for their "cover story" -- externalized, so to speak, wrongly valued for the "outer layer" rather than for what is actually the message ("what it says"). He is also expressing the view that in fact their message is that you have the power to "wake you up" -- and that looking for an external figure to do that for you is futile.

However he and Yoko achieved this gnosis, I believe that in these words John Lennon very directly expresses a correct understanding of the world's ancient wisdom, an interpretation which I believe is actually supported by an overwhelming amount of evidence which can be demonstrated using examples from the ancient myths and sacred stories of just about every culture on our planet. See for example many of the discussions linked on this page, and discussed in videos I've posted such as herehere, and here, as well as numerous posts exploring the idea of "Two Visions," some of which are linked here.

I also believe that this understanding (that the ancient stories are not about something or someone external who saves or empowers us, but rather about the divinity contained in each and every person we encounter in this incarnate life, and about our own growth and "waking up") corresponds very clearly to the belief in the dignity and value of all human beings, and therefore to the principle of non-violence -- a philosophy John Lennon mentions elsewhere in that interview.

This vision also clearly harmonizes very well with the idea that people themselves can effect real and positive change in the world -- that they don't need to and (in fact) should not expect some external figure to do it for them. And this message was clearly expressed in his music and in his life.

Birthday of Marc Bolan (September 30)

Birthday of Marc Bolan (September 30)

One of the clear messages of all of the Star Myths of the world is that you and everyone else you meet is a precious star, connected with, reflecting and containing the entire cosmos.

Star Myths of the World: The Hymn to Durga in the Mahabharata

Star Myths of the World: The Hymn to Durga in the Mahabharata

If the evidence presented in previous discussions for concluding that the Bhagavad Gita and the ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata which contains the Gita was not enough to convince the most skeptical reader that these ancient scriptures are indeed Star Myths, built upon the same system of celestial metaphor that can be shown to form the basis of virtually all of the myths, scriptures and sacred stories around the world (see here for links to evidence found in myths from ancient Japan to the Maya, from Africa to Scandinavia, and from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible as well as the myths of ancient Greece and ancient Egypt), the new video above examines another powerful and decisive piece of evidence from the Mahabharata: the episode prior to the great battle of Kurukshetra in which Lord Krishna urges the great warrior Arjuna to utter a hymn to Durga.

Entitled "Star Myths of the World: the Hymn to Durga in the Mahabharata," the video shows that this direction from Krishna to seek out the great goddess Durga helps confirm that the great battle in that ancient epic is indeed a metaphor for the endless interplay and "struggle" between the visible material world and the invisible world of spirit which is taking place in the universe around us and indeed within us at all times in this incarnate human existence.

There are abundant clues throughout the Mahabharata that the entire epic uses the endless cycles of the heavenly bodies -- the sun, the moon, the visible planets, and especially the stars -- to convey profound truths about the nature of our incarnation in this material plane, and about the existence and importance of the unseen realm.

Just as the Bhagavad Gita itself is presented as the song and counsel of the divine Lord Krishna to the semi-divine bowman Arjuna prior to descending into the great struggle, in the two sections of the Mahabharata immediately prior to the Bhagavad Gita we see Krishna telling Arjuna to utter his hymn to Durga -- and it can be conclusively shown that the goddess Durga is replete with imagery associated with the sign and constellation of Virgo the Virgin, the very sign which is located immediately prior to the autumnal or fall equinox on the great wheel of the zodiac: the point at which the sun's arc "crosses down" into the lower half of the year, towards the winter months and the December solstice, the half of the year in which darkness reigns and nights are longer than days, the half of the year associated with incarnation in this "lower world" of matter, when the soul clothes itself in bodies made of the lower elements of earth and water.

Thus the sign of Virgo (outlined in blue on the zodiac wheel shown below) truly does stand at the very "eve of battle" -- the final position before the plunge into the struggle of incarnate existence:

The goddess Durga, whom we can see to be associated with the sign and constellation of Virgo using the superabundant clues and references provided in the Hymn to Durga uttered by Arjuna at Krishna's request in Mahabharata Book 6 and Section 23, thus can be seen as preparing the soul for incarnation, sending the soul into battle, and (as we see in the events described in this section, in which Durga herself appears to Arjuna and gives him blessing and encouragement for the struggle) as the one who guides the soul along the difficult path and promises that the struggle will not be in vain.

More than that, however, the contents of the hymn identify the goddess Durga as "identical with Brahman," and the one who supports the Sun and the Moon and makes them shine: in other words, as the infinite and undifferentiated and eternal Cosmic Principle, the undefinable and the un-namable -- just as we see in the Bhagavad Gita the Lord Krishna declares himself (and reveals himself) to be.

And yet she is immediately available to Arjuna, and appears when he utters his hymn to the Goddess. This indicates that we, the human soul embarked upon this journey of incarnation, in actual fact are in the presence of the ultimate and the infinite at all times -- and that we have access to the supreme and undifferentiated and undefinable at all times as well.

And perhaps this is why at the end of the section describing the directive from Krishna to Arjuna to utter his hymn to Durga, and giving the contents of the hymn itself and the results (the appearance of Durga to Arjuna, and her promise to him that he shall conquer, that he is in fact invincible, and that he is incapable of being defeated by his foes), the text of the Mahabharata tells us to recite this same hymn every day, and to do so when we rise, "at dawn."

In doing so, we are focusing upon the infinite and connecting with the infinite: transcending the "chatter" of the mind and the senses (which are endlessly defining, and partitioning, and assessing, and evaluating -- all important and necessary functions, but functions that can keep us from being in contact with that undifferentiated and undefinable infinite which we in fact can and do have access to at all times and in all places, even in our incarnate situation).

By beginning each new day connecting with this ultimate principle, who is in fact always with us, the Mahabharata promises that we "can have no enemies," and "no fear," freedom from animals that attack with their teeth -- and "also from kings" -- victory in all disputes, freedom from all bonds, from thieves, and the enjoyment of victory in every struggle.

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

For more on the importance of hymns and chanting of praise, see also:


The Lord of the Rings, the Power of Music, and the Stories that Really Matter

The Lord of the Rings, the Power of Music, and the Stories that Really Matter

(video link).

I'm taking a brief intermission from the "ecstasy every day" mini-series to report on an unforgettable experience I had the opportunity to be part of this weekend with my extended family, at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts where the Symphony Silicon Valley along with the Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale, the Ragazzi Boy's Choir and the Cantabile Youth Singers performed the entire musical score of the Lord of the Rings live, as the movies themselves played on an enormous big-screen overhead (with the original soundtrack from which the musical score had been removed in order to allow the artists to perform it live).

Since there are literally millions of fans of these amazing films around the world (probably tens of millions, and perhaps even hundreds of millions), but only a relatively very few who could attend this amazing musical event (which I believe was only available in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the New York City area), I will try to share some of the impressions that I personally will take with me from that this event.

Naturally, the comments below will focus mostly on some of the concepts and themes that I find most interesting which the films themselves and this event in particular seem to illustrate particularly well. Everyone has their own personal relationship with art, whether that is literature or music or film, and so of course my impressions will be different from those of everyone else, but since there are some ways in which The Lord of the Rings provides some wonderful perspectives on the themes of ancient myth and ancient wisdom and can perhaps provide some helpful insights, I will focus most on those -- there is much more that could be said on a variety of other pathways of discussion that Tolkien's work and this particular film adaptation (and its incredible musical score) can lead us down, but I will leave those for now to other writers or for another day.

The power of music

Most obvious, perhaps, of the thoughts one would have after such an experience is an appreciation for the unparalleled power of music on us as human beings. The music created by composer Howard Shore for The Lord of the Rings project of director Peter Jackson can safely be called a masterpiece, and adds a dimension to Tolkien's creation that now feels like an essential part of the very atmosphere of all the different places and peoples of Middle Earth.  One can hardly imagine the Shire without its evocative leitmotif, and one can hardly not imagine the Shire upon hearing it (anywhere) -- and the same holds true for all the other themes and elements in Howard Shore's brilliant musical interpretation of that magical world. 

The drama of the action in the films, of course, is powerfully amplified by the music -- and while we all know this to be true in general, seeing these films again but this time with a live symphony performing the music and live singers performing the choral music brings that power home in an entirely new way and on an entirely different level.

Below is a video clip from a rehearsal of the music which accompanies one of the most dramatic moments in the entire film trilogy: the Lighting of the Beacons of Gondor. The power of the scenes themselves is immeasurably magnified by the music that accompanies the action:

That's conductor Shih-Hung Young leading the rehearsal, a graduate of the Julliard School and a member of its faculty since 1995, who did a masterful job of bringing out all the dimensions of the assembled artists and the larger whole they created together, and whose energy and palpable good humor and warmth came through the entire performance.

The power of resonating musical instruments:

In addition to the power of the music itself, it bears noting a point which has been made by many before, which is the fact that no matter how far technology has advanced, nothing can actually imitate  or even capture the effect of music which is being produced right there by living men and women using real musical instruments, most of those instruments made of real wood or real brass and vibrating real strings and real columns of air to produce their tones. 

The power of vibrating waves cannot really be doubted, since in a very real sense we ourselves and everything we see around us are actually made up of waves and vibrations. Quantum physics has taught us that even molecules and atoms and subatomic "particles" which we think of as particles rather than waves actually possess the nearly unfathomable quality of existing in "waveform" and exhibiting "wave-like" properties depending upon whether or not they are being observed. Even without delving into the mysteries of quantum physics, we can think of music as a very clear example of the invisible world entering into and interacting with the physical world -- mathematics taking on form and sound, thoughts and feelings traveling through the air and calling forth a response in the listener. 

Music can undoubtedly be said to "put us in touch with" the invisible and spiritual aspect of our dual physical-spiritual nature in this dual physical-spiritual universe in which we find ourselves, and to "bring forward" or "raise up" something inside of us which is invisible and intangible but vital and real. The vibrations of music that are being created right there in your own personal vicinity, through the vibrations of finely-crafted instruments in the hands of master musicians, have an entirely different impact than the recordings of instruments played back through speakers, as wonderful as musical recording technology and musical sound-system technology is. That's why we should all try to experience live music every chance we get, if we are able to do so.

The power of the human voice and the music men and women can produce with the human voice:

As human beings, of course, we ourselves can vibrate with music and produce our own music with the human voice. The power and vital importance of doing so has been explored in previous posts such as "Your song" and "How much time do you spend chanting praises?" and "A brief examination of the importance of chakras and singing praises" (among others).

The beautiful music of The Lord of the Rings trilogy contains many moving choral elements which add immeasurably to the power of the drama in the films. No one watching the live performances this weekend could say that they did not experience a thrill of anticipation when they saw the choir stand up as they prepared to deliver the other-worldly choir music that forms such an integral part of The Lord of the Ringsexperience. There is a reason that choirs are associated with the music of angelic hosts, and that the whirling celestial bodies are said to sing together the "music of the spheres."

Of course, it must be said that part of the power of choral music in the particular form that it appears in these films and their scores comes from the fact that it has centuries of history of use as "sacred music," associated with worship in formal churches in the literal-historical Christian tradition. This fact opens up a whole series of profitable lines of discussion and reflection, but without pursuing those too far at this particular point, it can perhaps be considered that it is very possible that one need not accept a literal-historical interpretation of any particular body of scripture in order to appreciate the power of such singing and to accept the premise that such singing may have real beneficial and spiritual effects.

It is also possible to contemplate the possibility that such music could have been conceived and offered and loved and preserved as part of spiritual practice down through the millennia, even if the entire literal-historical interpretation had not been promoted in western Europe from the third and fourth centuries AD (not just promoted, but alternative interpretations vigorously suppressed and persecuted). There is, I believe, abundant evidence that the literalistic interpretation was not the interpretation that was intended for these scriptures, and I have written about that evidence in many previous posts (see for instance here and here), but leaving that entire discussion aside, we can probably all agree that the choral music in the score of The Lord of the Rings films is unworldly and extremely moving.

In addition to the choral music in the movies, of course, there are also haunting voice solos, some in English and others in the tongue of the Elves, and these were delivered by virtuoso Clara Sanabras. Everything said about the power of the music of the human voice above in regard to the music of a choir applies again, "and then some," for her incredible solo performances in the score.

Here is a video of Clara Sanabras singing "Gollum's Song" with her own accompaniment on an accordion-instrument (this instrument was not used in the performance this weekend as there was a full symphony there) -- this song of course was sung in its entirety during the credits at the end of The Two Towers, the second film in the trilogy:

The evocation of a lost age:

One of the most powerful aspects of Tolkien's entire magnum opus is his brilliant evocation of the feeling of a lost age, an age that was already going down into the mists of time long before the beginning of the actual events portrayed in his books -- the age of the High Elves and of wisdom that has now been lost or that is only dimly remembered.

Is it possible that this resonates so strongly with us because he is capturing the feeling of something that we can ourselves feel may have actually taken place?

There is abundant evidence on our planet's surface of the existence of someone long before anything known to our written history, who knew things we cannot explain and who could build things we still find impossible to explain or to duplicate (including the Great Pyramid of Giza or the blasted ruins of Puma Punku, for instance). They appear to somehow be connected to the incredible wisdom preserved in the ancient sacred texts and traditions bequeathed to humanity, texts which themselves contain evidence of almost superhuman sophistication and understanding and wisdom.

Tolkien, of course, grew up and lived in England (although he was born in South Africa and lived there until the age of three), a land which is strongly permeated by very ancient monuments whose origins, purpose, and meaning remain disputed to this day. These include of course Stonehenge (see previous posts herehere and here for more discussion), Silbury HillAvebury Henge, the famous Ley Lines, and many others -- all of which cannot fail to convey a particularly strong impression that there is something more to the ancient history of our planet than our conventional histories admit.

The very thin fabric which separates the visible world from the invisible world:

The world of Middle Earth is filled with episodes which vividly convey the impression of an invisible world which is always present and contiguous to the visible world, even if all the characters are not equally attuned to it or aware of it at all times. Frodo sees into it when he puts on the Ring (and enters into it himself every time he does so); some of the Elves and especially Elrond and Galadriel can see with a kind of "Second Sight," and know things about the future or at least about the world of "potentiality" which cannot be known through ordinary means; wizards such as Gandalf can and do enter into a kind of shamanic state in order to heal others or to obtain information or effect change which could not otherwise be accomplished; and in several occasions dream-states are a means by which information arrives through "non-ordinary reality."

Below is a link to the episode in The Two Towers in which Aragorn has what we could call a "lucid dream" -- in which he perceives that he is in fact actually dreaming, as evidenced by the first words he speaks when he sees Arwen: "This is a dream" (to which she of course replies, "Then it is a good dream").

While these scenes are of course part of a fictional work, there is plenty of evidence from cultures around the globe (and indeed from modern science as well, although not often admitted) that our world does in fact operate in just this way -- that the visible or material realm of "ordinary reality" is at all times and at all points in contact with, and interpenetrated by, and in fact even projected from the realm of invisible, spiritual, pure potentiality. The realm that the Australian Aborigines call The Dreamtime.

It may well be that this Invisible Realm is "the real world that is behind this one," in the words of the Lakota holy man Black Elk. The way that the entire Lord of the Rings world portrays the invisible world as being present at all times, in contact with and with powerful effects on the visible world, may be yet another reason why it resonates so strongly with so many people.

The many characters who actually embody aspects of our soul's experience in this material life:

As has been discussed in countless previous posts, the great myths and sacred stories which form an important part of the precious inheritance left to the entire human race can actually be seen as profound esoteric allegories which embody in story-form the experience of each and every human soul, in its plunging down into incarnate form, forgetting its real origin and divine nature, and then eventually recovering its identity and increasing in consciousness of the true nature of the universe and of its own spiritual power.

In a quotation that has been cited in several previous posts (see especially this oneand this one), Alvin Boyd Kuhn has said that the world's ancient myths (in this case, talking specifically to the collection of ancient myth that we call the Bible):

are a record, under pictorial forms, of that which is ever occurring as a reality of the present in all lives. [. . .] The actors are not old kings, priests and warriors; the one actor in every portrayal, in every scene, is the human soul. The Bible is the drama of our history here and now; and it is not apprehended in its full force and applicability until every reader discerns himself [or herself] to be the central figure in it!

Obviously, Tolkien's story is not an actual ancient myth -- but J.R.R. Tolkien himself was an accomplished scholar with an emphasis on mythology and on language (language itself being one of the purest forms of metaphor or allegory or symbol). The characters he created in The Lord of the Ringsoften embody the very story which Alvin Boyd Kuhn believed was at the heart of nearly all the ancient myths: the stupefaction of the soul as it "falls into" incarnation and forgets its divine spiritual nature, and the eventual remembrance of its true nature and the "raising back up" of the spiritual force, and all that that entails.

In particular, Aragorn can be seen to embody this cycle -- the king who is lost, the king who has in fact hidden himself for so long that he has forgotten in some ways who he really is, who is wracked by deep self-doubt about his own real identity, and who must slowly "grow into" his true role again.

For more on this theme as it is found at the heart of many of the world's sacred mythologies, see "Amen and Amenta" and "Namaste and Amen," for example, which have to do with the "hidden god" or spark of divinity within each and every man and woman, and see also the many discussions of the "casting down" and "raising up" of the "Djed column" in ancient Egyptian symbology, which takes on different forms in other myths from other cultures around the world, discussed (with a video at the bottom) in this previous post, which also contains links to many others dealing with "Djed-column" themes.

Within the "larger cycle" of Aragorn's return, we can also see the same cycle of the "king who has forgotten" and who needs to be "reminded" in the dramatic recovery of Theoden from the stupefaction that has been foisted upon him by the evil offices of Saruman and by Saruman's agent, Wormtongue. The restoration of Theoden (along with the accompanying music) actually moved the audience to extended applause during the symphony event.

The same cycle can be seen operating within each of the hobbits themselves, who come from the most ordinary and unassuming of all the places in Middle Earth, and who are constantly reminded that they are not heroes or kings or great warriors . . . but who each find within themselves at some point during their adventures something so extraordinary that they accomplish what no one else in Middle Earth can accomplish, and that makes those around them realize that "sleeping within" their unassuming exteriors there is some spark deep inside which is cause for awe and which is capable of moving the world.

And, the same theme of plunging down, being for a time "lost," and then being restored can be seen in the fall and return of Gandalf, who describes his journey in mythical and allegorical language (and which also invokes the concept of reincarnation which can be seen to run through most if not all of the ancient myths as well):

Aragorn: You fell!
Gandalf: Through fire, and water. From the lowest dungeon to the highest peak, I fought with the Balrog of Morgoth. Until at last, I threw down my enemy and smote his ruin upon the mountain-side. Darkness took me -- and I strayed out of thought and time. The stars wheeled overhead, and every day was as long as a life-age of the earth. But it was not the end. I felt life in me again. I've been sent back, until my task is done.

Note the express use of the phrase "fire and water," which has great worldwide mythical significance, discussed in this previous post.

The power of these stories is undeniable, in whatever form they have taken around the world and over the centuries. This is dramatically expressed by Sam in a moving scene at the end of The Two Towers, when he and Frodo are released by Faramir of Gondor, and Sam wonders if their adventures will ever find their way into the stories, the stories that Sam has just evoked while trying to encourage Frodo not to give up hope, in the speech that appears to finally convince Faramir to let the hobbits go to continue their mission.

Frodo has exclaimed, "I can't do this, Sam," and Sam agrees, but then finds strength as he reflects: "It's like in the great stories: the ones that really mattered." Later, they wonder aloud if they will ever be in any stories, which is ironic because of course the audience knows that Frodo and Sam will be the "great stories, the ones that really matter" because the audience is watching one right there.

And this of course proves the assertion cited earlier -- that the ancient myths of the human race are not really about ancient figures who lived long ago: they are about "our history here and now," and they are not fully grasped until each and every reader, or listener (or hobbit) discerns himself or herself to be the central figure in them!


Many thanks to all the 250+ artists who worked so hard to create the incredible musical event of The Lord of the Rings and to convey these beautiful truths as part of the Symphony Silicon Valley event this past week and week-end.

I know that for me those films will never be the same -- they will forever be fuller and richer my for having had that experience.

Below is my first personal encounter with an Uruk-Hai, from 2009:

Fire and Water

Fire and Water

Many previous posts have explored Alvin Boyd Kuhn's assertion that the central theme of the ancient scriptures and sacred stories of humanity is the message that we are beings of spirit, mysteriously infused into a body of matter -- "fire plunged down into water" -- and inhabiting a universe which itself appears to be material but is at every point intertwined with, and even projected from and constantly sustained by, an invisible realm of spirit.

Most recently we examined this vitally-important theme in a post honoring a famous personage born of the admixture of parents from the planet Vulcan (named for an ancient god of fire) and from the planet Earth (a planet famous for its great oceans of water), a personage who is perhaps best known for pronouncing words of blessing while holding up his hand in a gesture that recalls a specific symbol associated with divine fire.

The fact that specific symbols which we call "letters" or "glyphs," designed to preserve words and thoughts in written form (whether lined or brushed onto paper, or carved into stone or wood or metal) can themselves be designed to convey that central message regarding the nature of human existence and the nature of the dual physical-spiritual universe we inhabit is most remarkable, and most worthy of further consideration. Alvin Boyd Kuhn, in fact, explored that very aspect of the symbolic vessels of written language in an essay he gave entitled The Esoteric Structure of the Alphabet, which was published as a book and is still available in hardcopy version here (a facsimile of the original imprint), and online in its entirety here.

There, we find some of Kuhn's clearest statements of this theme, that "the vast body of ancient Scripture [by which he means the sacred wisdom found in all the world's sacred myths and teachings] discoursed on but one subject -- the descent of souls" (20), "the old basic story of divine fire plunging down into water" (30), "the immersion of fiery spiritual units of consciousness in their actual baptism in the water of physical bodies" (34), all for the purpose of undergoing experiences which would serve their "continued growth through the ranges and planes of expanding consciousness" (20).  

In addition, he argues that this essential message can be found "not only in the scripts of religion, however, but also in a wide variety of other modes of expression [. . .] -- in ancient art, in architecture, in myth-making, secret society ritual, dramatic scenario, music, mathematics, anthropological science, logic, rhetoric, philosophy, astronomy, astrology, semantics, psychology, festival ordinances, social ceremonies and throughout the warp and woof of life generally" (4).

Then he reflects on one other supremely important way in which the ancients conveyed this central theme of our dual spiritual and physical nature:

Now, perhaps the strangest of all the channels through which it was given expression, comes the momentous revelation that the sagacious genius of antiquity had even insinuated a form of its basic outline into the very structure of that ground-base of all literature, -- the alphabet. 4.

He then proceeds to unpack the ways that the actual form of the letters in the Hebrew, Greek, and especially the Latin alphabets (the latter being the one used, for example, on this blog to convey these thoughts) remind us that we are divine fire plunged down into physical bodies for the purpose of expanding consciousness.  

In this way, Kuhn argues, our own familiar letters, which we typically regard as nothing more than random shapes (when we even think about them at all) are actually pictures, depicting invisible ideas in symbolic form: symbolic metaphors, reminding us of spiritual reality in a world that often conspires to obscure it. 

"They are," he writes, "true ideograms" (5). 

Amazingly, there is an extremely ancient form of writing, still in use to this day by billions of people around the world and even (in slightly modified forms) across many different cultures and languages, which is well-known to be composed almost entirely of "true ideograms" -- the Chinese characters which remain one of the most widely-used systems of writing in the world today.

As most readers are already aware, in this system of writing and its close relatives, each complete character stands for a complete word or thought, rather than for a sound or "phoneme" the way the letters in alphabetical systems do (it is logographic rather than phonologic).

Amazingly enough, there is some evidence that the assertions Alvin Boyd Kuhn made about the alphabetical systems of writing may apply to the characters of Chinese, which after all are extremely ancient and were in use when the other systems he writes about were in use further to the west.

Most remarkable, perhaps, is the Chinese character for the word "fire" itself, shown at top, above. The symbol for "fire" consists of the symbol for "person," shown immediately below and clearly symbolic of the human form, with two added "sparks" on either side, in the form of small strokes that (like flames) are nearly vertical:



The connection of the symbol for "fire" with the symbol for a person would appear to be conveying very much the same message that Alvin Boyd Kuhn finds encoded in the very shapes and "ideograms" of the letters of the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin alphabets.

It is a message that reminds us that we ourselves, as well as every single person we meet, are like stars who have come down to this lower realm of earth and water for a time: even though we cannot see it, we are each in contact at all times with the divine infinite and are constantly connected to the infinite realm, even though we are prone to forget it. This is the message and the reminder conveyed by the expression Namaste, and it is the heart of the blessing accompanied by the hand-gesture of the Hebrew letter shin, associated both with fire and with the sound of fire plunging into water.

But what of this "plunging down into water" -- why would spirit be subjected to immersion in this physical world of incarnation, and what purpose could it serve?

It would seem to be a question in which we all can be said to have some interest or personal involvement, seeing that it is probably (probably) safe to assume that all of us who are looking at this page are presently in an incarnate form.

And as it turns out, Alvin Boyd Kuhn has ventured to explore that difficult question as well. In his 1940 book Lost Light, he argues that this is in fact the very question with which Paul wrestled in his famous seventh chapter of the epistle to the Romans. We come down from the invisible realm of spirit into the incarnate material body ("the body of death," as Paul says) because of something which he calls "the Law." This has been reinterpreted very differently by traditional (literal) Christianity, but Kuhn argues that it is the mandate which brings us into the body for our own spiritual growth and blessing, as well as for the ultimate blessing of others and of all the material creation.

Beginning on page 170, explaining his argument that Paul was indicating concepts which go far beyond those taught by literalist Christianity when using the words "Law" and "sin" and "death," Alvin Boyd Kuhn writes of Paul's seventh of Romans:

In this chapter Paul concatenates the steps of a dialectical process which has not been understood in its deep meaning for theology. It is concerned with the relation of the three things: the law, sin and death. He asks: "Is the Law equivalent to sin?" And he replies that sin developed in us "under the Law." What is this mysterious Law that the Apostle harps on with such frequency? Theology has not possessed the resources for a capable answer, beyond the mere statement that it is the power of the carnal nature in man. It is that, in part; but the profounder meaning could not be gained without the esoteric wisdom -- which had been discarded. This Law -- St. Paul's bete noir -- is that cosmic impulsion which draws all spiritual entities down from the heights into the coils of matter in incarnation. It is the ever-resolving Wheel of Birth and Death, the Cyclic Law, the Cycle of Necessity. As every cycle of embodiment runs through seven sub-cycles or stages, it is the seven-coiled serpent of Genesis that encircles man in its folds.
Now, says the Mystery initiate [he means by "the Mystery initiate" none other than Paul himself], by the Law came sin, and by sin came death. [. . .] Sin is just the soul's condition of immersion or entanglement in the nature of the flesh. And happily much of its gruesome and morbid taint by the theological mind can be dismissed as a mistaken and needless gesture of ignorant pietism. [. . .]
[. . .] Paul even says that at one time he lived without the law himself; this was before "the command" came to him. And what was this command? Again theology has missed rational sense because it has lost ancient cosmologies and anthropologies [that is to say, "ancient understanding of the nature of the universe, or cosmologies," and "ancient understanding of the nature of human existence in this universe, or anthropologies"]. The "command" was the Demiurgus' order to incarnate. It is found in the Timaeus of Plato and Proclus' work on Plato's theology. Then the Apostle states the entire case with such clarity that only purblind benightedness of mind could miss it: "When the command came home to me, sin sprang to life, and I died; . . ." He means to say that sin sprang to life as he died, i. e,. incarnated. And then he adds the crowning utterance on this matter to be found in all sacred literature: "the command that meant life proved death to me." He explains further: "The command gave an impulse to sin, sin beguiled me and used the command to kill me." And he proceeds to defend the entire procedure of nature and life against the unwarranted imputations of its being all an evil miscarriage of beneficence: "So the Law at any rate is holy, the command is holy, just and for our good. Then did what was meant for my good prove fatal to me? Never. It was sin; sin resulted in death for me to make use of this good thing." 170 - 173.

In order to understand the above explication, remember that by death, Kuhn avers, Paul is referring to incarnation in this body. When Paul speaks of the "command" that was given "to kill me," Paul means "the command -- the Law -- by which I incarnated in this body." That is to say, the Law which plunged him down into this human body, composed as it is of seven-eighths water: the Law that submerged his undying soul of fire within a material form.

And note that Paul expressly declares that this Law which impels us into incarnation is a good thing (a point he makes very strongly, and in a manner which shows that he anticipated that his listeners or readers would be wondering if such an impulsion might not be a very bad thing, rather than a blessing). But, as Kuhn explains in other parts of his book, and especially in a discussion on pages 573 and 574 regarding Paul's letter to the Corinthians, Paul explains that "What you sow never comes to life unless it dies" (i.e., "unless it incarnates") -- and that our incarnation in these physical bodies of death is exactly parallel in terms of being necessary for our growth: "What is sown is mortal, what rises is immortal; sown inglorious, it rises in glory; sown in weakness, it rises in power; sown in an animal body, it rises in a spiritual body" (574).

Note that we previously saw compelling arguments offered by Gerald Massey which suggest that Paul was not teaching the same thing that the literalists were teaching and that they would later claim he was teaching as well -- and that in fact he seems to have been teaching almost the exact opposite.

It is worth re-reading the above-quoted passage in light of this new understanding of the terminology, for the concepts Kuhn is exploring (and that the writer known as Paul may have been asserting, so many centuries ago) are of tremendous importance.

In fact, it is worth going to Lost Light itself and reading the entire chapters surrounding the cited passages above. However, since the scope of this particular discussion is actually about the fact that the very elements of writing contain this same message of spirit-fire submerged in incarnation as if in water,  let us examine one more Chinese ideogram which seems to beautifully express its meaning in its symbolic composition: the character for "Law" itself (shown below).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The Chinese character for "Law" is a composite, with a compressed or abbreviated version of the symbol for "water" on the left-hand side, and the symbol for "to go" on the right (the symbol for "water" is here rendered as only three small individual strokes, almost three "dots").


On even a non-esoteric level, the fact that the character for "Law" is composed of the characters for "water" and "go" is worthy of remark, for it seems to express the idea of the "law of nature," the law that causes water to seek the paths along which it "goes" or flows. To create laws out of harmony with such a concept would be to make laws that would attempt to go against "the flow of the universe" -- and thus the symbol seems to embody a message that law is part of nature and cannot really be altered by artificial constructs which people try to pass-off as "law" (a concept which was forcefully articulated by "natural law" proponent Lysander Spooner in the nineteenth century).

But, even beyond that message, this character for "Law" would appear to incorporate the teaching that Kuhn believes Paul (whom Kuhn calls "the Mystery initiate," the participant in the knowledge passed on from remote antiquity through the various Mysteries) was articulating: that it is the Law of the universe which sends us along our Way, into this body of incarnation -- the Law which plunges fire into water.

That which Paul calls "the Law" is none other than the "Way of Water," beautifully contained in the Chinese character for "Law" as well: Water-Go.

It is most remarkable to consider that our familiar alphabet is in fact composed of ideograms, and what's more of ideograms which express the same central truth that was conveyed by the myths and sacred texts of antiquity, and by the symbols of ancient architecture and the ancient understanding of the meaning and message of the stars.

It is even more remarkable to consider that the actual ideograms of the ancient Chinese characters appear in at least some significant cases to be expressing the same profound concepts.

It is a message which we are prone to forget, and that we must therefore remind ourselves, which may explain why it was incorporated into everyday greetings (such as Namaste) and into the sacred forms of writing.

Indeed, in many ways, writing itself is a metaphor, in that it is in a real sense invisible thought taking physical form -- and thus it pictures the truth of who we are and of what this entire physical universe is, at its heart: a projection or embodiment in physical form of beings and realities which actually exist or have their origins in the invisible world of spirit.

One Foundation

One Foundation

video link 

From the 1973 album Burnin' by The Wailers, these are the lyrics to "One Foundation," written by the immortal Peter Tosh. The words sung by Peter Tosh (lead vocals on this song) are in non-italicized  (upright) text, and those in italics are sung by the accompanying artists: 

Got to build our love

On one foundation

Got to build our love

On one foundation

Got to build our love

On one foundation

[or] There will never be

No love at all

There will never be

No love at all

Got to put aside

Man's segregation

Got to put aside

Them organization

Got to put aside

Them denomination

There will -- there will never be

No love at all

I mean there will never be

No love at all

Got to build our love

So build our love

on one foundation

On one foundation

We got to build our love

Come let us build our love

On one foundation

On one solid foundation

Got to build our love

Got to build our love

On one foundation

On one foundation

Or there will never be

A single drop of love

You won't have no

True freedom, yeh

Got to come together

We are birds of a feather

We got to come together

'Cause we are birds of a feather

We got to come together

'Cause we are birds of a feather

Or there will never be

Lord have mercy

No love at all

There will never be

Yeah yeah

No love at all

We also got to realize

We are one people


We got to realize

That we are one people yeh

We got to realize

We are one people

Or there will never be

No love at all

There will never never never be

No love at all

Got to build our love

On one foundation

We got to build our love

On one foundation

Got to build our love

On one foundation

Got to build our love

On one foundation

Got to build our love

On one foundation . . . 

I believe it can be demonstrated that literalist interpretation of sacred texts tends to lead towards what this song describes as "man's segregation" and "them denomination," while esoteric interpretation tends to reveal the underlying unity between the messages of the ancient scriptures and mythologies of virtually all of the world's cultures.

This divisive tendency in literalist interpretation has been explored in some previous posts, including "The sacred celestial metaphors refute racism and sexism," "Shem, Ham and Japheth," "PTAH, JAH, TAO and BUDDHA," and "'Vision A' or 'Vision B'."

The reason that the literalist approach tends towards divisions, segregations, and denominations, is that when sacred texts are interpreted literally, this often leads to the conclusion that one group is literally descended from or blessed by the divine, to the exclusion of all others. 

It also leads very commonly to the conclusion that only those who accept the specific form of literal interpretation favored by that particular group can expect to be blessed in this life and especially in the afterlife, and that all others will be punished in the afterlife -- in some cases, eternally (for some discussion of the reasons I believe the doctrine of eternal punishment in hell is a misinterpretation of texts which are meant to be interpreted esoterically and metaphorically rather than literally, see "No hell below us . . .").

This represents a very severe form of dividing humanity, of setting some people outside of the "family" of those who are supposedly accepted and deserving of love and blessing -- and thus represents the very opposite of what is being urged in "One Foundation." And it can clearly be seen to be in operation among numerous groups to this very day.

The belief that some men and women are more valuable, more blessed, more worthy, or more connected to divine favor than others is actually a reprehensible teaching, and can and very often does lead to the sanctioning of violence (the violation of rights, including the right to security in their physical person) against those deemed to be less favored.

On the other hand, I believe that it can be demonstrated that the ancient scriptures and sacred traditions can be shown to teach that each and every man and woman is equally connected to the divine, that each in fact embodies the universe (each is a "microcosm" of the infinite "macrocosm"), each is inherently possessed of infinite and unmeasurable value. Such a realization, of course, would lead directly to the conclusion that violence against another such being is inherently wrong, and cannot be excused by any appeal to membership by one in some favored group to which the other does not belong.

It might be objected that such a doctrine of non-violence is unrealistic, in a world in which some (regardless of their actual inherent and inextricable connection to the divine) choose nevertheless to exercise violence against their fellow men and women. However, this does not follow at all: such a view would argue that the use of force is in fact permissible to stop someone who is in the act of inflicting physical harm upon another, and that such force is in fact only justified by the intrinsic value of each individual man or woman no matter who they are. Using force to stop violence is not a violation of anyone's rights but rather a protection of them (see further discussion in the post entitled "Why violence is wrong, even in a holographic universe").

Dogmas or ideologies which excuse the violation of the rights of other men and women can properly be described as a form of mind control, in that they are used to override our inherent knowledge that the violation of the rights of others is wrong (just as we inherently know that the violation of our own person and our own rights is wrong and unjust, and we naturally rebel against it, even from a very young age and without having to be taught it).

Such dogmas are not always based upon literalistic interpretations of ancient scriptures, but they certainly can be. And, to be fair, those who interpret scriptures literally do not always condone violence or the violation of the rights of others, or even the devaluation of some groups versus others. The point is that I believe that literalist interpretation can tend to invite such division.

"One Foundation" recognizes that these divisions between members of the human family are in fact artificial and based upon illusion, and that thus so are the reasons which are built up to excuse the violation of the rights of some men and women, or to excuse the elevation of one group at the expense of everyone else.

It smashes through these artificial divisions and segregations, and the man-made organizations which seek to institutionalize and enforce them. 

That is what great art does: it smashes mind control. 

So come let us build our love / On one foundation . . .