“The so-called 'Left-Hand Path' - that of Kaulas, Siddhas and Viras - combines the... Tantric worldview with a doctrine of the Übermensch which would put Nietzsche to shame... The Vira - which is to say: the 'heroic' man of Tantrism - seeks to sever all bonds, to overcome all duality between good and evil, honor and shame, virtue and guilt. Tantrism is the supreme path of the absolute absence of law - of shvecchacarī, a word meaning 'he whose law is his own will'." ― Julius Evola, The Path of Cinnabar.

“It is necessary to have “watchers” at hand who will bear witness to the values of Tradition in ever more uncompromising and firm ways, as the anti-traditional forces grow in strength. Even though these values cannot be achieved, it does not mean that they amount to mere “ideas.” These are measures…. Let people of our time talk about these things with condescension as if they were anachronistic and anti-historical; we know that this is an alibi for their defeat. Let us leave modern men to their “truths” and let us only be concerned about one thing: to keep standing amid a world of ruins.” ― Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga.

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who died at his post during the eruption of Vesuvius because someone forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one that can not be taken from a man.” ― Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sharon Tate & Mao Tse-tung

(As originally appearing in Esquire magazine): The little red book which contains hightlights from The thought of Mao Tse-tung is the most influential volume in the world today. It is also extremely dull and entirely unmemorable. To resolve this paradox, we, a handful of editors in authority who follow the capitalist road, thought useful to illustrate certain key passages in such a way that they are more likely to stick in the mind. The visual aid is Sharon Tate and, to give credit where credit, God knows, is due, she will soon be seen in the Twentieth Century-Fox motion picture, Valley of the Dolls.

1. Every communist must grasp the truth, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
“Problems of War and Strategy” (November 6, 1938)

2. Our fundamental task is to adjust the use of labor power in an organized way and to encourage women to do farm work.
“Our Economic Policy” (January 23, 1934)

3. How is Marxist-Leninist theory to be linked with the practice of the Chinese revolution? To use a common expression, it is by “shooting the arrow at the target.” As the arrow is to the target, so is Marxism-Leninism to the Chinese revolution. Some comrades, however, are “shooting without a target,” shooting at random, and such people are liable to harm the revolution.
“Rectify the Party’s Style of Work” (February 1, 1942)

4.The world is yours, as well as ours, but in the last analysis, it is yours. You young people, full of vigor and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the sun at eight or nine in the morning. Our hope is placed on you. The world belongs to you. China’s future belongs to you.
Talk at a meeting with Chinese students and trainees in Moscow (November 17, 1957)

5. …the flattery of the bourgeoisie may conquer the weak-willed in our ranks. There may be some Communists, who were not conquered by enemies with guns and were worthy of the name of heroes for standing up to these enemies, but who cannot withstand sugar-coated bullets. We must guard against such a situation.
“Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party Of China.” (March 5, 1949)

6. Whoever wants to know a thing has no way of doing so except by coming into contact with it, that is, by living (practicing) in its environment. …If you want knowledge, you must take part in the practice of changing reality. If you want to know the taste of a pear, you must change the pear by eating it yourself.
“On Practice” (July, 1937)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What am I reading?

One of the most frequent questions I get in person is "What are you reading?" I hate answering this, especially to people I don't know, because 1) its none of their fucking business, and 2) usually they would have no idea what it is about or why I would be interested in it. I'm also irrationally protective of my privacy, like anyone really gives a rat's ass what I'm into or why, or when. This is the reason I rarely post book reviews even though I'm a voracious reader and typically read several books a week.

So for those who are interested at all, this is the tip of the iceberg, by way of highlights from my backlog/record of dot-com orders from the past two years or so. Remember this barely scratches the surface of what I read. I own an antiquarian/second-hand bookstore and typically bring home SEVERAL BOXES of books every week for my own use. There is no way I'm going to log all that, much less everything I actually read, skim, or browse through for specific pieces of information.

These are in reverse order, most recent first:

Gregorian Chant (A Midland Book)
Willi Apel

Solving in Style
John Nunn

Chess Wizardry: The New ABC of Chess Problems (American Batsford Chess Library)
John Rice

Scratchboard for Illustration
Ruth Lozner

The Art of Scratchboard
Cecile Curtis

Bonatti on Nativities
Guido Bonatti, Benjamin N Dykes

Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq
Michael Scheuer

Rene Guenon: A Teacher for Modern Times
Julius Evola

For My Legionaries (The Iron Guard)
Corneliu Zelea Codreanu

The Prison Notes
Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, Julius Evola

The Complete Picatrix: The Occult Classic Of Astrological Magic Liber Atratus Edition
John Michael Greer, Christopher Warnock

Baroque and Rococo Pictorial Imagery: The 1758-1760 Hertel Edition of Ripa's Iconologia with 200 Engraved Illustrations
Cesare Ripa

Color and Meaning: Art, Science, and Symbolism
John Gage

Color and Culture: Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction (Color & Culture)
John Gage

Syncretism in the West : Pico's 900 Theses (1486) : The Evolution of Traditional Religious and Philosophical Systems : With a Revised Text, English Tr
Stephen A. Farmer, Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola

A Dictionary of Alchemical Imagery
Lyndy Abraham

A Collection of Emblemes, Ancient and Moderne (1635).
George. Introduction by Rosemary Freeman.

The Transcendent Unity of Religions (Quest Book)
Frithjof Schuon, Huston Smith

An International Armorial: The Historical File of the House of Leopardi of Constantinople

The Greek Qabalah: Alphabetical Mysticism and Numerology in the Ancient World
Kieren Barry

Medieval Number Symbolism: Its Sources, Meaning, and Influence on Thought and Expression
Vincent Foster Hopper

An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines
Seyyed Hossein Nasr

Studies in Freemasonry and the Compagnonnage
Rene Guenon

Symbolism, the Sacred, and the Arts
Mircea Eliade, Diane Apostolos-Cappadona

Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art (2 Vol. Set)
Helene E. Roberts

Iconography of Christian art (2 Vol. Set)
Gertrud Schiller

The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future
Robert Darnton

Signs and Symbols in Christian Art: With Illustrations from Paintings from the Renaissance (Galaxy Books)
George Ferguson

Hermetic Museum, Restored and Enlarged
Arthur E. Waite

Master of Death: The Lifeless Art of Pierre Remiet, Illuminator
Michael Camille

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
Tim Weiner

The Visconti-Sforza Tarot Cards
Michael Dummett

Allegories of the Virtues and Vices in Mediaeval Art
Adolf Katzenellenbogen

A Theory of Semiotics (Advances in Semiotics)
Umberto Eco

The Magical Calendar: A Synthesis of Magial Symbolism from the Seventeenth-Century Renaissance of Medieval Occultism (Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourcewo)
Adam McLean

The Medieval Craft of Memory: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures (Material Texts)
Mary Carruthers, Jan M. Ziolkowski

The Search for Neofascism: The Use and Abuse of Social Science
A. James Gregor

Studies in Iconology: Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance
Erwin Panofsky, Gerda S. Panofsky

A Splendor of Letters: The Permanence of Books in an Impermanent World
Nicholas A. Basbanes

Tommaso Antongini

Fascism: An Informal Introduction to Its Theory and Practice (Issues in contemporary civilization)
Renzo De Felice

Anthony James Joes

The First Duce: D'Annunzio at Fiume
Professor Michael Arthur Ledeen

The Book Of Symbols: Reflections On Archetypal Images (The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism)
Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism, ARAS

Astrology, Magic, and Alchemy in Art (A Guide to Imagery)
Matilde Battistini

"Boney" Fuller: The Intellectual General
Anthony John Trythall

Symbolic Images: Studies in the Art of the Renaissance
E.H. Gombrich

The Forty Chapters of al-Kindi
Abu Yusuf al-Kindi

Atlantis and the Cycles of Time: Prophecies, Traditions, and Occult Revelations
Joscelyn Godwin

Works of Sahl & Masha'allah
Sahl ibn Bishr, et al

Introductions to Traditional Astrology
Abu Ma'shar, et al

Grimoires: A History of Magic Books
Owen Davies

Persian Nativities I: Masha'allah and Abu 'Ali
Masha'allah, et al

Persian Nativities II: 'Umar al-Tabari and Abu Bakr
Umar al-Tabari, et al

Persian Nativities III: Abu Ma'shar on Solar Revolutions
Abu Ma'shar

Astrological Roots: The Hellenistic Legacy
Joseph Crane

The Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology
Vivian E. Robson

The Judgments of Nativities
Abu Ali Al-Khayyat,

Mystical Astrology According to Ibn 'Arabi (The Fons Vitae Titus Burckhardt series)
Titus Burckhardt, et al

Ecology in the Twentieth Century: A History
Anna Bramwell

The Transformist Illusion
Douglas Dewar

The Path of Cinnabar
Julius Evola

Principles of Tantra (Parts 1 and 2 bound in One) The Tantratattva of Sriyukta Siva Candra Vidyarnava Bhattacarya Mahodaya
Arthur Avalon, John Woodroffe

On the Genre and Message of Revelation: Star Visions and Sky Journeys
Bruce J. Malina

Book of Instructions in the Elements of the Art of Astrology
et al Al Biruni

The Beginning of Wisdom (Translation From Hebrew)
Avraham Ibn Ezra, et al

Primary Directions: Astrology's Old Master Technique
Martin Gansten

Ancient Astrology Theory and Practice: Matheseos Libri VIII
Julius Firmicus Maternus

Sacred Art of Shakespeare: To Take Upon Us the Mystery of Things
Martin Lings, H.R.H. the Prince of Wales

Classical Music of North India the First Years of Study: The Music of the Baba Allauddin Gharana As Taught by Ali Akbar Khan at the Ali Akbar College
Ali Akbar Khan, George Ruckert

The Raga Guide: Survey of 74 Hindustani Ragas
Various Artists

101 Raga-s for the 21st Century and Beyond: A Music Lover's Guide to Hindustani Music
Haresh Bakshi

Ragas of Northern Indian Music
Alain Danielou

Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond (Music in the Twentieth Century)
Michael Nyman

Stockhausen on Music
Karlheinz Stockhausen, Robin Maconie

Improvisation: Its Nature And Practice In Music
Derek Bailey

Homo americanus:: Child of the Postmodern Age
Tomislav Sunic

Against Democracy and Equality: The New European Right
Tomislav Sunic, et al

New Culture, New Right: Anti-Liberalism in Postmodern Europe
Michael O'Meara

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tarot & Chess - Le Pape/Bishop

Another interesting parallel.

Bishop Chess Piece, 12th century English. Walrus ivory; 3 7/8 x 2 3/8 in. (9.8 x 6 cm). Metropolitan Museum of Art: New York image taken from: http://www.metmuseum.org/

Thursday, January 19, 2012

32000 year old Idol of Narsimha found in Germany

This is interesting, even though I don't agree with the interpretation in this article. The artifact is very old (predating the Vedas and artifacts such as the Venus of Willendorf),  and Northern. In relation to Traditional studies it is interesting to note artifacts like this, and ruins such as the Goseck Circle, keep turning up older, and in the  North. - JDS.

32000 year old Idol of Narsimha (Lord Vishnu’s Avatar) found in Germany
Many news about prehistoric founds and their possible meaning reached the world in the last decades. One of them, found in South Germany, puts scientist around the world in amazement. The centerpiece is the “lion man”, an idol that is made from the tusk of a mammoth in the form of a human body with a lion head. Amazingly it is dated back 32,000 years from now.

This discovery brought a lot of attention in the archaeological circles in Europe. In Excavations around 1930-35 at the Lonetal area near Ulm, German scientist already found an immense cave system with lots of prehistoric artifacts in it.

First, only representations of birds, horses, turtles and even single lions where found but not a morphological combination of men and animal. Naturally the “lion man” was quite outstanding and unique. It became also clear during the later examinations that the “lion-men” was used for ritual purposes, unlike the other items which seemed to have accompanied the dead and so on.

The Idol was found exactly at the place in the cave where day and night meet, about 20 meters away from the entrance and buried 1,20 meter deep under the ground. Many parts of the figure were broken and where found a little away in this area. Therefore it took some time to finish the work of completing and reconstructing the figure and to see it as a whole.

From the viewpoint of Vedic culture of ancient India, Lord Vishnu appeared in a divine human form with a lion face to protect his devotee and to stop religiousness. A description of a standing idol form of this lord is found in the agama silpa shastra and is called “kevala narasimha”. In India still many ancient temples exist, where deities of Sri Narasimha Bhagavan are worshiped, often at special locations like on high mountain peaks or in caves.

Many ancient, highly developed cultures had some kind of idols or pictures of lions with a human face or torso. A purely ritualistic Relic, like for example the Sphinx of gizeh or the Egyptian goddess of war sekhmetm, with a lion head, or Mithra, the Sun god of Persia, with a lion face, the Assyrian Gate Guardians of Babylon or the Etruscan lion with wings at the entrance of the Temple mountain at Troy are well known examples for this.

An now this amazing discovery in Lonetal in a deep cave which is directed to north east towards the little river lone. Extraordinary is also the exact position of the found of the lion-man. It immediately reminded me of the ancient story from the Puranas, known to all devotees of LordVishnu, where Hiranyakashipu, the great demon, achieved nearly immortality by the blessings of Brahma. This demon asked for the boon that he could not be killed by a beast or man, nor in the sky or on earth, not inside or outside a house, not in the day or in the night, not with weapons or by hand and so on. Lord Vishnu then appeared out of a column to kill this demon. But to fulfill the boon Brahma gave, he appeared at dusk and killed him on the doorsteps of his palace with his sharp nails.

It is off course difficult or maybe impossible to finally judge if this idol was a part of a global Vedic civilization but nonetheless our visit of the exhibition, where one can see the figure in a cave like hall, and our later trip to the original place of discovery where very breathtaking and mystical and made us meditate deeply about our predecessors and ancient times long ago where god was present directly on earth, or later in his idol form in many temples all around the world.


From Wikipedia:

A lion headed figure, first called the lion man (German: Löwenmensch, literally "lion person"), then the lion lady (German: Löwenfrau), is an ivory sculpture that is the oldest known zoomorphic (animal-shaped) sculpture in the world and one of the oldest known sculptures in general. The sculpture has also been interpreted as anthropomorphic, giving human characteristics to an animal, although it may have represented a deity. The figurine was determined to be about 32,000 years old[1][2] by carbon dating material from the same layer in which the sculpture was found. It is associated with the archaeological Aurignacian culture.[3] The sculpture is 29.6 cm (11.7 inches) in height, 5.6 cm wide. and 5.9 cm thick. It was carved out of mammoth ivory using a flint stone knife. There are seven parallel, transverse, carved gouges on the left arm. It is now in the museum in Ulm, Germany.

Its pieces were found in 1939 in a cave named Stadel-Höhle im Hohlenstein (Stadel cave in Hohlenstein Mountain) in the Lonetal (Lone valley) in the Swabian Alps, Germany. Due to the beginning of the Second World War, it was forgotten and only rediscovered thirty years later. The first reconstruction revealed a humanoid figurine without head. Between 1997 and 1998 additional pieces of the sculpture were discovered and the head was reassembled and restored.

Originally, the figure was classified as male by Joachim Hahn. From examination of some additional parts of the sculpture found later, Elisabeth Schmid decided that the figure was a woman with the head of a "Höhlenlöwin" (female Cave Lion).[4] Both interpretations lack scientific evidence.[4] European cave lions, male and female, lacked the distinctive manes of the African male lion, and so its absence here cannot lead to an interpretation as a 'lioness'.

Recently the ancient figurine has more often been called a lion headed figurine, rather than a 'lion man'. The name currently used in German, Löwenmensch—meaning "lion-human"—similarly, is neutral.

Interpretation is very difficult. The sculpture shares certain similarities with French cave wall paintings, which also show hybrid creatures. The French paintings, however, are several thousand years younger than the German sculpture.

After this artifact was identified, a similar, but smaller, lion-headed sculpture was found, along with other animal figures and several flutes, in another cave in the same region of Germany. This leads to the possibility that the lion-figure played an important role in the mythology of humans of the early Upper Paleolithic. The sculpture can be seen in the Ulmer Museum in Ulm, Germany, though it may be moved to a planned new museum of the Paleolithic.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Alfred Hitchcock's Secret Signs

Witchcraft '70

Nazi-Themed Sports Day Draws Criticism in Thailand

SEPTEMBER 28, 2011, 11:49 AM SGT
Nazi-Themed Sports Day Draws Criticism in Thailand
By James Hookway

Questions are growing in Thailand about how school students in Chiang Mai were able to adopt a Nazi theme for their school sports-day on Friday, wearing outfits modeled on those of SS guards and waving huge swastika banners.

Children at the Sacred Heart preparatory school traditionally choose their own theme for their annual sports day, school officials have said. The idea is that it’s a surprise for both teachers and parents.

Last week’s event was a shocker, though. Photographs taken at the event show streams of children dressed up in Nazi regalia marching into the school displaying one-armed salutes. At least one girl sported a toothbrush mustache.

News of the sports day quickly spread, and a Jewish human-rights organization has asked Christian leaders in Thailand to condemn the parade. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles said in a statement that one youngster even dressed as Adolf Hitler before the march wound its way around the school, bewildering local expatriates, many of them European retirees.

Local honorary consuls from a number of countries visited the school on Monday to ask why the parade was allowed to take place and came back with the answer that the students didn’t realize it would upset anybody. The local private education authority also received the same response from the Roman Catholic school.

“It happened because the students were unaware and I have asked the school to make sure they are more careful in the future,” Chanwit Tuphsuphan, secretary-general of the Office of the Private Education Commission, was reported as saying in the Bangkok Post.

A person reached at the preparatory school said no one was available to discuss the matter.

One theory for the kids’ behavior is that they didn’t necessarily understand the consequences of their actions and merely considered dressing up as super-villains – even Nazis – to be fun. A similar incident occurred at a school in Bangkok four years ago and involved 200 students. And in 2005 Britain’s Prince Harry – then 20 years old – was pictured on the front of The Sun newspaper wearing a swastika armband to a friend’s fancy dress party.

The Swastika, in addition, is an ancient Indo-European symbol depicted in spiritual imagery for thousands of years, and is perceived as symbol of good luck among Buddhists, possibly softening the impact of the Nazi version among locals.

Many residents have ventured that the really didn’t understand the significance of the parade, as their teachers suggest. If that’s the case, though, it could suggest Thailand has more problems with its education system than it realized, even though the school involved is a privately-run, Christian institution.

Foreign investors have consistently pointed to poor education levels as a potential deterrent to plowing further money into the country, especially now that minimum wages are set to rise to 300 baht or around $10 a day – nearly doubling in some areas and not far behind Malaysia, where education levels are much higher and many ordinary people speak English comfortably.

The World Economic Forum recently published its annual competitiveness survey, and the quality of secondary and tertiary education in Thailand was ranked 77th out of 142 countries surveyed, compared with Singapore’s number 2 ranking, 14 for Malaysia and 61 for the Philippines.

Both the main political parties here recognized the problem during a recent national election campaign. The Puea Thai, or For Thais, Party eventually won after pledging, among other things, a tablet computer for every child. Concerned parents may hope they’ll google Nazism – and understand its consequences– the next time they are asked to come up with a theme for a sports-day parade.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Symbols by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy

Source: Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. 14, Nos. 1 & 2 (Winter-Spring, 1980). © World Wisdom, Inc. www.studiesincomparativereligion.com

Symbols[1] and signs, whether verbal, musical, dramatic or plastic, are means of communication. The references of symbols are to ideas and those of signs to things One and the same term may be symbol or sign according to its context: the cross, for example, is a symbol when it represents the structure of the universe, but a sign when it stands for crossroads. Symbols and signs may be either natural (true, by innate propriety) or conventional (arbitrary and accidental) traditional or private. With the language of signs, employed indicatively in profane language and in realistic and abstracted art, we shall have no further concern in the present connection. By “abstracted art” we mean such modern art as willfully avoids recognizable representation, as distin­guished from “principal art”, the naturally symbolic language of tradition.

The language of traditional art—scripture, epic, folklore, ritual, and all the related crafts—is symbolic; and being a language of natural symbols, neither of private invention, nor established by conciliar agreement or mere custom, is a universal language. The symbol is the material embodiment, in sound, shape, color or gesture as the case may be, of the imitable form of an idea to be communicated, which imitable form is the formal cause of the work of art itself. It is for the sake of the idea, and not for its own sake, that the symbol exists: an actual form much be either symbolic—of its reference, or merely an unintelligible shape to be liked or disliked according to taste. The greater part of modern aesthetics assumes (as the words “aesthetic” and “empathy” imply) that art consists or should consist entirely of such unintelligible shapes, and that the appreciation of art consists or should consist in appropriate emotional reactions. It is further assumed that whatever is of permanent value in traditional works of art is of the same kind, and altogether independent of their iconography and meaning. We have, indeed, a right to say that we choose to consider only the aesthetic surfaces of the ancient, oriental, or popular arts; but if we do this, we must not at the same time deceive ourselves so as to suppose that the history of art, meaning by “history” an explanation in terms of the four causes, can be known or written from any such a limited point of view. In order to understand composition, for example, i.e. the sequence of a dance or the arrangement of masses in a cathedral or icon, we much understand the logical relation of the parts: just as in order to understand a sentence, it is not enough to admire the mellifluent sounds, but necessary to be acquainted with the meanings of separate words and the logic of their combinations. The mere “lover of art” is not much better than a magpie, which also decorates its nest with whatever most pleases its fancy, and is contented with a purely “aesthetic” experience. So far from this, it must be recognized that although in modern works of art there may be nothing, or nothing more than the artist’s private person, behind the aesthetic surfaces, the theory in accordance with which works of traditional art were produced and enjoyed takes it for granted that the appeal to beauty is not merely to the senses, but through the senses to the intellect: here “Beauty has to do with cognition”; and what is to be known and understood is an “immaterial idea” (Hermes), a “picture that is not in the colors” (Lankāvatāra Sūtra), “the doctrine that conceals itself behind the veil of the strange verses” (Dante), “the archetype of the image, and not the image itself” (St. Basil). “It is by their ideas that we judge of what things ought to be like” (St. Augustine).

It is evident that symbols and concepts—works of art are things conceived, as St. Thomas says, per verbum in intellectu—can serve no purpose for those who have not yet, in the Platonic sense, “forgotten”. Neither do Zeus nor the stars, as Plotinus says, remember or even learn; “memory is for those that have forgotten”, that is to say, for us, whose “life is a sleep and a forgetting”. The need of symbols, and of symbolic rites, arises only when man is expelled from the Garden of Eden; as means, by which a man can be reminded at later stages of his descent from the intellectual and contemplative to the physical and practical levels of reference. We assuredly have “forgotten” far more than those who first had need of symbols, and far more than they need to infer the immortal by its mortal analogies; and nothing could be greater proof of this than our own claims to be superior to all ritual operations, and to be able to approach the truth directly. It was as signposts of the Way, or as a trace of the Hidden Light, pursued by hunters of a super sensual quarry, that the motifs of traditional art, which have become our “ornaments”, were originally employed. In these abstract forms, the farther one traces them backward, or finds them still extant in popular “superstition”, agricultural rites, and the motifs of folk-art, the more one recognizes in them a polar balance of perceptible shape and imperceptible information; but, as Andrae says (Die ionische Säulle, Schlusswort), they have been more and more voided of content on their way down to us, more and more denatured with the progress of “civilization”, so as to become what we call “art forms”, as if it had been an aesthetic need, like that of our magpie, that had brought them into being. When meaning and purpose have been forgotten, or are remembered only by initiates, the symbol retains only those decorative values that we associate with “art”. More than this, we deny that the art form can ever have had any other than a decorative quality; and before long we begin to take it for granted that the art form must have originated in an “observation of nature”, to criticize it accordingly (“That was before they knew anything about anatomy”, or “understood perspective”) in terms of progress, and to supply its deficiencies, as did the Hellenistic Greeks with the lotus palmette when they made an elegant acanthus of it, or the Renaissance when it imposed an ideal of “truth to nature” upon an older art of formal typology. We interpret myth and epic from the same point of view, seeing in the miracles and the Deus ex machina only a more or less awkward attempt on the part of the poet to enhance the presentation of the facts; we ask for “history”, and endeavor to extract an historical nucleus by the apparently simple and really naive process of eliminating all marvels, never realizing that the myth is a whole, of which the wonders are as much an integral part as are the supposed facts; overlooking that all these marvels have a strict significance altogether independent of their possibility or impossibility as historical events.


[1] A derivative of sumballo (Greek) especially in the senses “to correlate”, “to treat things different as though they were similar”, and (passive) “to correspond”, or “tally”.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Värttinä - Äijö

Finnish folk girl group Värttinä performs their song Äijö, which from what I can gather tells the story of a strange old man driven from a village, by the women who heckle him, into a swamp where he is bitten by a viper. He then lays a curse on the village.

Live version:

Original studio version, featuring the male vocal parts:

I'd like to hear a Diamanda Galas cover version of this.