Posts Tagged With: myth
In their attempts to descry portents in the flight of birds, ancient augurs oriented themselves toward the north. Flights from the right hand (East) were viewed as affirmation of the query, from the left, negation. Significantly, during the Roman Empire, this orientation was reversed. The cardinal point upon which political, ethical, and moral standards were based was suddenly reversed by Imperial decree.
Perhaps a similar reversal can help explain the spiritual affliction of Trump; as well as his seeming inability to properly honor fallen soldiers.
It might seem odd that we might learn from aviary divination something about double-speak and toxic spew of the Trump era, but ancient lore often discloses timeless truths which defy the logic on which we base our most cherished assumptions about reality today.
In Sophocles play, Antigone, Creon pits his tyrannical rule over that of non-political institutions, family ties, and the will of the gods. By refusing to bury the corpse of Polynices–who dared challenge his rule–he even tries to subordinate the gods of the underworld to his authority.
Though he claims to promote the common good–that of the city over family ties–Creon flouts divine decree, the dictates of custom and common decency. As a result, the city is plunged into a dark malaise so vividly evoked by Tiresias:
The public altars and sacred hearths are fouled,
one and all, by birds and dogs with carrion
torn from the corpse, the doomstruck son of Oedipus!
And so the gods are deaf to our prayers, they spurn
The offerings in our hands, the flame of holy flesh.
No birds cry out an omen clear and true…
The real weight of meaning is driven home to Creon by what the omens do not say, and he finally acknowledges his greatest sin–denial of sacred burial rites for a son of his predecessor, Oedipus–only after bringing ruin to his home, family, and reign.
The real mystery does not behave mysteriously, but speaks a secret language.
–Carl Gustav Jung
Bird poop is the Prima Materia of the opus, the alpha and omega of the great work of the philosophers. Transmuted and transfigured by the alchemical fire in the sealed retort of the adepts, the excretions of our winged brethren reveal the grand pageant of creation on the microcosmic scale. I shall endeavor to elucidate the arcana of avian excrement and thereby elevate my humble office of brush bearer to that of high art; to seek amid the white glyphs that adorn the docks a sign that might illuminate secrets of a hidden world.
Bird poop is the mother of all elements, without beginning, existent from all eternity and mixed with the handful of primal earth Adam brought forth from Eden. It is found always and everywhere. It contains the Divine presence in the obdurate whiteness of its adamantine– and often goopy–reality. It is both the beginning and end of the great work, the primal ooze from which the aspirant takes flight into the rarefied spheres of heavenly gnossis.
This post is the first in a series logging my daily circumambulation, bearing the broom of my high office. The broom is the emblem of adepts, the standard of those who seek the philosopher’s stone among the crustacean beasties that reign over the intertidal zone.
Friday Harbor is a busy port with boats, ferries and float planes coming and going at a frantic rate. I sit in the Bean Cafe with other hyper-connected wayfarer’s, tapping away at my quaint laptop, churning out this news dispatch from the Salish Sea.
I’ve dialed back on the barrage of bad news endlessly reported by the media industry to make my own, to shape these fragments– the discombobulated vessel of my prose– into some kind of order.
With the need for quick passages to make the San Juan’s before the full moon I’ve had little time to pause and reflect on the true reason for the voyage.
Scattered among a pile of cheap, tattered composition books are fragments of my attempt to evoke, in written words, the ineffable impulse that draws me ever further toward a north only dimly seen on the drive-in movie screen of my dreams.
Old Hand voyages into the Sea of imagination, over the vertiginous depths of the unconscious. Her course is shaped by a vision glimpsed when I first beheld the vast azure expanse from my dad’s early 50’s station wagon as the Spencer family loudly tooled down Highway 101, fleeing the smog and squalor of L.A.
With my Brother Slim, I would practice the fine art of “body whomping.” It was then I first felt the sea’s loving caress, as well as the thumping shore-pound that handled my young person with all the tender ministrations of Freddy Blassie.
It is this same feeling of ecstatic immersion in the hylic element of Poisidon that pulls me toward a vaguely descried northern way-point. It is a lapis blue vision of eternity seen reflected on the whirling eddies of Deception Pass. Here and now, at this particular waypoint in time, I see the abysmal, turbid darkness overlaid by the counter-clockwise circulation of the divine light.