Tuesday, January 12, 2010

UK Print Blast from the Past

Does anyone really remember the 90s? To paraphrase Robert Plant's quip "Does anybody remember laughter?" from early 70s live versions of Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven". It’s funny how nostalgic one can already feel about the culture from over a decade ago, when paranoia and conspiracy was a form of entertainment, and you didn't have grounds to feel that such ideas could be legitimate. What a difference a decade has made. Lexicon Staff contributor Robin England came across some interesting material, and it has been decided to include it here on the Lexicon Blog, Robin posted the following comments, as well as forwarded scans of the magazine pages, which are included below.

So, I was just rummaging through some old editions of Empire magazine - a movie magazine we have over here in the UK - this one dated February 1996 when they reviewed "The Unopened File" - which was the first video release of TXF in the UK, a feature edit of Anasazi, The Blessing Way and Paper Clip. Made for quite a fun read. I was thinking of putting it on the blog but I don't know how! Anyway, here it is: - Robin

With runs on Sky and BBC2, the investigations of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully have become compulsory viewing for all those who like their thrillers tight, witty and with weirdness off the scale. So this, the first of four special video releases planned for '96, is an absolute must, as it begins with the cliffhanger ending of series two, and concludes the story with the start of series three - not yet broadcast in this country. As a package, it's near faultless: David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have already achieved a compelling chemistry in the lead roles, and they're well served here by a sharply written script from series creator Chris Carter. All this in a tale that encompasses the X-Files staples: Indian mysticism, extra-terrestrials, human experimentation, and a global governmental conspiracy that makes JFK's assassination look like a picnic on a grassy knoll. For nail-biting suspense, pacey storytelling and top drawer sci-fi entertainment, it doesn't get any better than this. Trust no one, but enjoy. (5 stars)

In my humble opinion, anything that includes reviews of The Stone Roses, or the Human League can’t be all that bad in my book.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Ophiuchus Code, Pt 2

(The following is pure speculation and observations, possible true and false assumptions, there's nothing definitive in the following points. -MA)

The Lost Book images continued

One of the problems with contemporary interpretations of Nostradamus's work, from my estimate, is the failure to contextualize his work. I have often argued in my own approach in interviewing artists for the X-Files Lexicon, that one's personal experience, will impact one's creative output. Therefore it stands to reason that Nostradamus’s personal experience colored his work as a prophet. It's bound to, he lived to see his wife and children die, he was ostracized,
he lived during one of the bleakest periods in human history; with the black plague running rampant in Europe, as well as the iron will of the church, or various monarchies that waged a kind of tribal war.

It stands to reason that he would interpret his visions as dire, and that some of the coded messages could be wish fulfillment, especially in light of the oppressive rule of the Pope and the Catholic church. He was obviously a shrewd enough man to avoid arrest, which we'll get to in a moment. It is also likely that most of the prophecies related to his time, more than ours. It is with irony to point out, some have observed, Nostradamus himself did tell astrologers to stay away from his quatrains, knowing that astrologers would interpret certain symbols as relating to specific time and dates.

I have also commented recently about having a point of reference in order to process what we cannot comprehend. Therefore, how do we know, if we take at face value Nostradamus's abilities as a seer, that he could interpret visions he could have no point of reference for? After all, mechanized birds, or horseless carriages were centuries away from being invented. From an astrological standpoint, he had no knowledge of the existence of Galaxies. A great many of his quatrains are filled with references that would make sense in his day, but to the majority of contemporary eyes, these references are lost.

While many of the watercolor panels found in the lost book depict various events, the overthrow of governments, mass slaughters, as well as the decline of religious institutions, The last handful of Images are symbolic, and problematic, as they are open to endless interpretations.

One group of images has been interpreted to represent the end of male (hierarchical) Consciousness, as the rebirth of the feminine.

Another group of images have been interpreted as female energies through the passage of time, and humanity coming full circle and moving into the heart.

There's a dozen watercolor images, which are purely symbolic, and are open to a swath of interpretations. While the History channel program, Nostradamus: The Lost Book offered it's own interpretations, blogger Seven Star Hand has offered a scathing critique and counter interpretation to conventional thinking.

Posted is a general collection of these images, Plate 66 has been interpreted as a Christian reference to the Messiah, Plate 67 has been interpreted as a celestial alignment at the time of 2012. On the text of the book, one can read two lines that can be read as "One Male", and this has been interpreted as a consciousness program created by one male. Other's see, adjacent to the text, a mushroom cloud, and they argue our future could go either way, self destruction or self preservation. Plate 68 has been interpreted as the fact that the ribbon is set in motion, change, the old tree of life being defeated, and a new tale is spun. Now, Plate 69 has been interpreted as a reference to the Middle East, but the half moon, could mean many things, this plate could be a conflict between male and female hierarchy, and the scale could represent an eventual balance between this conflict. Plate 70 could represent the female archetype who must now recreate, example Isis, Mary, Mother, the Phoenix. Plate 71 could represent the seven spoked wheel of Karma moving into an 8, The Alpha and Omega, The Beginning and The End.

Plate 72 could represent no more pages in the book, a clean slate, the stag is a well known medieval allegory for Christ, it also represents rejuvenation, re-birth, and the passage of time.

The Millennium and Ophiuchus

Now let's get back to Ophiuchus, Nostradamus practiced Astrology as a means to an end and used a 13 Zodiac system. Ophiuchus is known as the 13th sign and is known as the lost sign, and it falls between Sagittarius and Scorpio, from a Greek mythological standpoint Ophiuchus is known as the Snake Holder, Ophiuchus represents the healer Asclepius, who learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one serpent bringing another healing herbs, Under protest from Hades of Asclepius, Zeus killed him with a bolt of lightening, but later placed his image in the heavens to honor his good works. It has been noted that the constellation Ophiuchus is placed in close proximity to Sagittarius, which at various points has been believed to represent Chiron, who was the mentor to Asclepius and other Demigods. Chiron was a great healer and the last of the Centaurs in Greek mythology, he was wise, kind and noble. Chiron’s nobility is reflected in his death as he sacrificed his life, allowing mankind to obtain the use of fire.

From a astronomical standpoint, Ophiuchus is a large constellation around the celestial equator, it is located between Aquila, Serpens, and Hercules, northwest of the center of the Milky Way, The Interposition of his body divides the snake constellation into two parts, Serpens Caput, Serpens Cauda, which are nonetheless counted as one constellation (personal observation, could this divide represent duality? Self Destruction / Self Preservation?) If you draw a line from Sagittarius’s arrow, to the top of Scorpios' tail, and draw a line, it would go through the exact center of the galaxy, or dark riff. It is believed there will be an alignment between our sun and the dark rift, an alignment that hasn’t occurred for thirteen thousand years, and the next alignment us believed to be ready to occur by 2012.

Panel 35 might be the most crucial watercolor to interpret. Again, a Rorschach test could be applied to how this kind of symbolism is interpreted, of course I have commented on this point about the interpretation of symbols before. Much of this panel might be referencing Astrological signs, Leo, sign known for being wrapped in certainty and absolutes, a possible reference to Virgo, a sign this is known for being self questioning and sometime lacking confidence, in other words, doubt. As well as a possible rending of Ophiuchus in the left corner. There seems to be a deity that has stopped the center wheel, or could be controlling the center wheel, as well as a Phoenix beside the hand, again a symbol of re-birth. There is an image of an eagle, in which during Nostradamus's time represented Scorpio.

Ellie's interpretation, the person who consulted on the History channel, comes from a more Christian scholar perspective, and is more ominous, The seven spoke wheel / wheel of time – Karma, moves to eight – infinity as yet unwritten. The wheel of time and Karma comes to a halt, the hourglass empty, and the tale of the Lion complete. The peacock goes to ascension through the eye at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, the Eye, The hand of God, the scribe and the peacock control time. There’s the problems of the images in the center of the wheel, three look like sleek birds, and the other image looks like a modern city, and Ellie has interpreted this to be a reference to the attack on New York, 9/11. It is hard to ignore these images as a historical flashpoint, to a pivotal moment on earth. Yet our actions can always determine the outcome, bear in mind, freewill and choice might play a large part that possible outcome. Blogger, ta2025, offered another interpretation which can be found here.

The Wheel is the Grand Alignment, the intersection of the Divine Cross and the Mundane Cross. It appears that God is still being given the credit for setting the "Wheel in motion". Ophiuchus is pictured in the lower left. Many of the other symbols are probably astrological as well. It might be showing a star map, showing the proper placement and orientation for an event.

Not, once again, to be flip, but men have always interpreted Eclipses as well as Galactic alignments to be significant, perhaps it's intrinsic to human nature to do so. Stanley Kubrick’s "2001: A Space Odyssey" makes countless references to alignments, and note the Monolith, a harbinger and sentinel guide to evolution.

Let's look at the Mayan Calendar, there's been a lot of misconception regarding an ancient system, that really requires some investigation to fully absorb, in essence, December 21, 2012 is simply the last day of the 13th b'ak'tun, a long count period. For the Mayan's it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a cycle. There’s no evidence the Mayan's believed the world would end, I'd suggest reviewing this subject here and here.

I do have a fundamental problem with the way the History channel program attempts to shoehorn the Mayan calendar, with Nostradamus and the Revelation of John. Nostradamus predicted the end of the world would be 3786 or 3797, and even the Mayan Calendar, based on the Long Count cycle, estimates a final cycle of October, 4772

Let's go back and review the opening composite image from part 1.

The Ouroboros often represents self-reflexivity or cyclicality, the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, cycles that begin anew as soon as they end, example the Phoenix. To reference a thread from Ron Moore’s "Battlestar: Galactica", "Everything that has happened before will happen again." – The Alpha and Omega

Here's another way of looking at Ophiuchus, the Snake Holder and The Ouroboros, if the Ouroboros represents cycles, perhaps Ophiuchus is showing us how to control or change those cycles? Could Ophiuchus be illustrating to us a way to hold destruction at bay? Again to reference a thread from "Terminator 2" – No Fate But What We Make.

Or from the season three final of Millennium, - We are all shepherds.

Cycles (Some Possible ways out)

Nostradamus himself might have set an example with his how to view his work, by his own actions. During the period, Circa 1555 / 1566, while he advised Catherine De Medicis, many of his detractors called for his arrest as a heretic for his Prophetic visions. He foresaw a two week period where he was vulnerable to arrest and execution during the Inquisition, he took great pains to stay in isolation, and this window of vulnerability passed. Perhaps he demonstrated, with this example, the best approach to interpret his work, to view it as an educational tool of possible future events, driven by an understanding of human nature. Perhaps his quatrains should be view as poetic parables, illustrating not set events, but several options. Perhaps Nostradamus was all too aware of the endless cycles in human history, not withstanding cosmic of natural catastrophes, of wars driven by religion or property, poverty as a social means towards control, and the abuse of natural resources. One component of Buddhist philosophy is the idea that we create our own heaven and hell.

X-Files alumni music contributors, Foo Fighters wrote a song in 2004, titled "End Over End", that seems to be about reincarnation, yet the theme could apply metaphorically as well, be it the personal theme of death and rebirth, or globally.

Burn all the candles out,
Make a wish but not aloud,
Relive the here and now,
The "see you now and then",

I'm a revolving door,
I've seen it all before,
I will begin again,
But I can't start until I've seen the end.

There has been an observation: "the person I am at 20 is not the person I am at 40". Perhaps, metaphorically if we look at each person's life cycle, in 10 year intervals, as a kind of birth, death, rebirth, than we can always reset the clock with each decade, we can always correct whatever mistakes we've made, and perhaps this idea could apply globally as well.

Karma has been understood as Cause and effect, and the word Karma means action. Every time that a person acts there is some quality of intention at the base of the mind, and it is that quality rather the outward appearance of the action that determines the effect. Or as Takashi Tsjui has noted, that human beings are constantly giving off physical and spiritual forces in all directions, that in Physics it has been learned that no energy is ever lost, that it simply changes form, Thus Karma is the law of the conversion of moral energy. Another idea being that cycles repeat until something has been learned to break that cycle. Perhaps, in a strictly metaphorical sense, there's a way to apply this view to the breaking of cycles in history, with how one could interpret the parables and symbolism of Nostradamus's quatrains?

Personally, I am leery of anyone who offers definitive interpretations of any work built of symbolism. I feel the most important aspect of symbolism is working through an understanding of human nature, and I would be falling into the same trap if I did offer anything definitive - perhaps I am.

The great danger of reading any work - that is built around metaphor or parable - and interpreting it as literal, is that you miss its greater lessons about human nature.

Perhaps the Enigma, the Gordian Knot of Nostradamus' Code, is the following question.

Can we break this cycle of social conflicts that are driven by the self interests of governments, religious institutions, economic interests, or fundamentalist ideology?

Perhaps the most fundamental action each individual can take between now and 2012, is to formulate their own definition of what "Fate" means, for that definition might color one’s interpretation of the metaphors found in prophecy, religious scriptures, or mythology.

While the time might be near, as referenced in Millennium, that 'time' might be determined by how we interpret the message - Fate through self fulfilling action.

(Special thanks must go to the following sites, Ellie’s Lost Book of Nostradamus page, as well as The History Channel, Seven Star Hand’s work, as well as Takashi Tsjui’s work and an image from this page.)