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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Queens of the Ice Age

As every decent American knows, or should know, Baseball is a kind of elaborately coded symbol for Freemasonry.  I believe this was first revealed by Occam-sharp scholar Randy Lavello, who wrote an article on the topic entitled Occult Symbolism: As American as Baseball (date unknown).

Unfortunately the article is mostly a sad rehash of the usual band of accumulated factoids about the Illumino-Masonic "hell bentery" (Davidson, Tautology by Candlelight, p. 27) regarding world domination.  Yet among the chaff, one may still find some wheat.  This is brilliant poetry: 

Baseball was obviously created by Freemasons, as it bears the unmistakable marks of Freemasonry. The field, from home plate to the left and right field wall forms a compass; the entire outfield wall is the semicircle which this compass draws. Upside-down, overlapping this compass, the bases form the square. Thus, the baseball field is the emblem of Freemasonry. Three strikes and three outs were assigned because three is the principle sacred number of Freemasonry. Four is a number of significance because it represents a square (the shape) and deals with the four directions, thus: four balls, four bases. 

And then, in the immortal words of the King of Siam:  "Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera."  Or, as the "Free-Mason" might cry into the four dark corners of the Lodge Room, its floor a checkered field of play: 

"Owa Tagoo Siam!"  

(Say that, three, five or seven times aloud and see what happens).

At the climax of the sex-rituals conducted in such places: 

"Shāh māt!" (شاه مات):  "The King is Helpless." 

Lavello concludes:  This further explains the near obsession with numbers surrounding baseball averages, home runs, ERA’s, etc. It is truly a game for numerologists.  One might even add a game for practitioners of the Assyro-Babylonian system known as gematria, which so enthralls Kabbalists steeped in the Mishnah and Talmud. 

Needless to say the baseball bat is the lingam (लिङ्गं,) and the glove, the yoni (योनि).  Hand in Glove?

Baseball isn't the only sport used by the Illumino-Masonic conspiracy to indoctrinate us through dazzling veils of numbers and distraction.  Freemason Neil Laird (Kneel, Lord!) details the early "links" between the Craft and Golf.  Somewhere along the line these "links" will undoubtedly lead us to sausages and shirt cuffs, but for now, let it suffice to say that yes, early golf clubs (the social organization and not the tool) had their origins in Masonic Lodges.  As a Tiler might ask a suspected cowan (but not a Cohen (כֹּהֵן)):  "Are you on, or off?"  Links in a chain like the cars of the Express Kundalini, links in a chain chugging through the same cross-referential mirror-system in which the chain is the cable-tow, the serpent around the spinal column and the rod of Aesculapius.  And more. The un-schooled hobo gives the bull the wrong response and is sent hurtling off into the speeding darkness. 

But the Masons have a tool to revelate the method even more insidious than Twilight Language, Lady Gaga or Sports.

Snowmen. 

You may have heard of A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman's brilliant take-down of Frozen (Feb. 2014): 

The gay agenda to normalize homosexuality is woven into Disney's movie Frozen not just as an underlying message - it is the movie. 

She discusses some of what I will extrapolate upon in this post; what she glosses over, however, is the snowman.  I pegged that dude as gay from the moment he first opened his swishy mouth.  A discussion at Film Colossus tries to answer the question: Is Olaf, the snowman, in "Frozen", gay?  No one actually seems to be discussing it though, which proves that there is no need to discuss it.

Let's start with the name of the snow golem:  Olaf.  An anagram for "Loaf".  This brings us immediately back to golf and baseball, hours of which are televised and broadcast across the planet in order to ensnare the idle spectator.  Lulled into a lazy hypnotic state in which the "imprintability [sic] of Masonry's numerological symbolism can be facilitated and homosexuality inscribed behind the eyelids, the dark side of the liminal"  (Ronson, The Nine-Inning Ritual, p. 72).

"Olaf" also a palindrome:  Falo.  As in "phallus" or "fellatio."  Is it any surprise that in one scene of Frozen, "Falo's" penis-like carrot nose ends up in the grinning mouth of the male reindeer, Sven? (A clear allusion to "seven"--yet another Masonic programming number).

The Masonic invention of sport and structured "loafing" given homage in the name "Olaf" is like totally, I mean so over-the-toply revelated in the following cartoon.  Dig this evil bit of mind-fuckery:


Have the masons no shame?  They're waving this stuff in our faces like a cock bulging in leather Speedos at a Gay Pride parade.  Clearly these phallus-nosed monstrosities with "frozen" hearts are lures to "reel in" children (no coincidence the word applies both to fishing and film).  Illuminati psy-ops experts used the love of adorable snowmen in Frozen to encourage "loafing" and "fellatio" and then had the gall to joke about it in a homoerotic cartoon with genocidal symbolism.  Look at the lower left of the pyramid:  KAR.  K.A.R.

Kill.  All.  Religion. 

Wake up sheeple!  Before you know it they'll have your children spitting on the cross and buggering one another like Knights Templar.  Led to the gay bar in (trance-) formation by the cable-tow!  Those who cannot be converted will be led instead to the killing fields.  Blood is thicker than water and the evil tree bears fetid "fruits."

Speaking of Templars, both Walter (meaning "rule" or "warrior") Elias (אליהו, Eliyahu, meaning "Yahweh is my God") Disney and Mickey (as in "slip someone a") Mouse were members of DeMolay.  DeMolay is a Masonic youth organization (for male youths aged 12 to 21--again with the mirrors) named after the leader of the "heretical, sodomitical [sic] Knights Templar known today as Freemasons" (Werther, Baphomet's Sucklings, p. 9).  About Jacques (Jock) DeMolay himself, noted web board poster StarLandVocalBand mentions that, "the least sympathetic [Non-Masonic historians] portray him as a power-hungry, bloodthirsty pedophile."  DeMolay, or Demon lay?  Disney's roots are in French soil; he was descendant of one Robert d'Isigny, reputed lover of William the Conqueror.  During the First World War, Disney would contrive to "return" to France, homeland of Jacques DeMolay, at the tender age of 17.

DeMolay, "the boy-love Internationale" (McCaw, Sinarchy, p. 13), programmed Walt Disney, Cathy O'Brien-like, with Masonic and Templar ideals from a young age, which helps explain why Disney ("On your Dis knees, boy!"), created Club 33 in the heart of Disneyland.  33 is the highest degree of Scottish Rite Masonry, which in America derives its cult practices and dogma from one Albert Pike, Confederate general and admitted Luciferian.  The highest six degrees of this Rite--including the 33rd--are Templar Degrees:  "Conferred only by the Supreme Council, 33°, the Degree of Inspector General is a Templar degree throughout, in both substance and symbolism" (here).  The final body of the York Rite is known as a Commandery and is comprised of three Templar orders and one degree.  Independent of both of these Rites, Templar Preceptories award yet three more degrees.  The Rite of Memphis (1838) was a blend of Templarism, alchemy and Egyptian occultism.  It merged with the Rite of Misraïm (pre-1738) in 1881; the resulting The Rite of Memphis-Misraïm exists to this day.

Masonry is not only at the heart of Disneyland, but of all Disney productions.  A club hidden in one of the most visited parks in the world, hidden in plain sight, is a metaphor for a club hidden at the heart of the world and a message hidden at the heart of its propaganda.  All the better to implant their message at the liminal line between consciousness and unconsciousness.  Club 33 is the only place in the park where alcohol is freely served, just as early Lodges first met in taverns and were infamous dens of drunkenness.  And in the Middle Ages, "Drunk as a Templar" was a common phrase.  The club's name refers to the 33rd degree of Freemasonry, but also to the 33 sponsors of Disneyland when the park opened; one look and you'll see this represents a cross-section of America's most powerful companies.

Perhaps this is also why two popular Disney Rides, Pirates of the Caribbean and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, are, as former Church of Satan High Priest Boyd Rice points out, symbolic voyages of death and resurrection, like Masonic ritual. 

"Shāh māt!" (شاه مات):  "The King is Helpless."

See Children’s shows are exploding with hidden penises (LoS 10 Aug. 2013) for an introduction to a less veiled glorification of numerology in Disney's Donald in Mathmagic Land.

In Frozen, Olaf the snowman will never melt; he has his own personal climate, a control over nature that allows him to defy the effects of heat and time.  This is the ultimate goal of Freemasonry.  Immortality (immorality), with no more need to procreate and thus no real need for women:  an occult agenda which will encourage men, no longer subservient to the dictates of nature and biology, to become homosexuals.

The doctrine of mastery over nature is in full praxis in the construction of the city park, nature brought to leash....or cable-tow.  It's no coincidence that baseball, our numerological ritual, is played in a park.  Progress and mastering nature were major themes in the 19th-century zeitgeist, a result of the same Enlightenment ideals most perfectly embodied in Illumino-Masonic doctrine.  The first park built for the public is Princes (Disney films are rife with princes) Park in Liverpool, built on land purchased by Richard Vaughan Yates.  Yates is memorialized in the park by an obelisk that describes Yates as "Enlightened." So very Masonic.  So very phallic.  And to top it off, it's a water fountain.  One bends over before an enormous penis and drinks deeply from the fluid which shoots out when the "knob" is turned.  One isn't drinking from Farrah's faucet here; this is Adam and Steve, not Adam and Eve.  In the mirror language we've previously mentioned, it's worth noting that the first verbal exchange on the planet was a pair of palindromes:

"Madam, I'm Adam".
"Eve".

Back to Frozen.  Olaf is a flamboyant swish, but the other male figures are also homosexual.  First we have the the villain, Hans ("John", or a whore's customer), a Lothario who feigns to have feelings for Anna (a name meaning "Grace" in Hebrew, as in God's grace).  Hans' false feelings for Anna are such that he's willing to let her die in order to assume power.  Through his actions, Hans rejects women and God's grace simultaneously.  Kristoff, the rustic, was raised outside of normal society, among hermaphroditic trolls and anthropomorphized animals.  The film not only tries to legitimize this queer world but valorizes it above and beyond the normal, i.e. straight world!  Kristoff (Christ-off!) also rejects God because of his unnatural communion with the reindeer Sven.  He is shown serenading the animal to sleep before they share a bed.  "Sven" is the origin of the world "swain"--a young servant boy!  Masculinity is further undermined by to total inutility of Kristoff's profession:  he is an ice seller in a world of permanent winter.  He is redundant, impotent and unnecessary.

What about the female characters?  The homosexual thread marking our voyage through the labyrinth begins with the Queen.  Elsa (from the Hebrew for "My God is an oath") has shut out all suitors--a thorough rejection of men.  She is an Ice Queen, an expression we often use to describe a woman who has, like Elsa, shut out  all love and warmth from her heart, especially for men.  Incidentally, a "snow queen" is a gay black male who favors white partners, especially Nordic types!  The latter half of Frozen is built around the attempts of Christ-off to reunite with Anna, (Grace), so that she, and he, may be saved.  This is described as an act of "pure love".  Saved?  Pure Love?  This is clearly a reference to Christ's role as our savior.  But the act of pure love never occurs, because for ersatz Antichrist Christ-off,  "grace" remains frozen to his touch, dead.  The movie manipulates the viewer into thinking that Anna will be revived by Kristoff's kiss.  But no.  It is Elsa, her God an oath, who saves Anna in an incestuous act of lesbianism made all the more vile by it's cloak of innocence.

Frozen, regaled by many critics as one of Disney's best recent films, has its origin in an aborted biography of  Hans "Christian" Anderson.  The real Anderson had a history of falling in love with unattainable women, frozen to him so to speak, so that he never actually had to get together with one.  In life, he seem to have expressed more desire for men.  Is it any surprise that so many Disney films are based on Anderson's work?  The Disney world is one of talking animals, "bromances" and the normalization of eccentric and deviant behavior, of accepting those who are "different".

The Mormon I referred to a the beginning of this post lady is right.  To use the revelator words of Pink ("gay") Floyd bassist Roger ("sodomy") Waters, we are being "amused to death".  From the mincing and singing homos of Frozen to the homosocial domain of sport, from snowmen to the Georgia Guidestones (see population control), we are being programmed to accept the "sterility ideal" of a Malthusian zoo, one big Grand Lodge watched over by what Richard Brautigan ironically called "machines of loving grace".  No need to sterilize, no need to cull, when the park animals are programmed into homosexuality.

*                *                *                *

I hope that at some point, preferably from the get-go, you realized that this post is a joke.

What you've just read is not the post I intended to write and it kind of mutated into what it is as I was writing it.  Which is just a fancy way to say I made it all up as I went along.  Hence the abrupt and rather nonsensical transition from sport into a discussion of Frozen.  I was being ironic, but not sarcastic, which can be a thin line.  I wasn't making fun of people who might see a gay agenda in this film.  This might sound ingenuous, but it's true.  I was pretty much just goofing around in a Downard-esque mode and poking fun at synchromysticism.

While it's not something directed by decree from the offices of GLAAD, I think it's fair to say there is something of a homosexual agenda in Hollywood.  Like the military is a bastion of conservatism, Hollywood is by and large a liberal sector of society.  A Hollywood villain may actually have some likable qualities, but if they really want to portray an incorrigible baddie, writers make the villain a racist, or a homophobe.  Discrimination against homosexuals is generally attacked and gay characters are portrayed as sympathetic.  I don't know if this qualifies as an orchestrated "agenda" but it does demonstrate a kind of solidarity between the Hollywood and the gay community.  Stating this does not imply a criticism of those efforts.  On the contrary, as far as I even care about the issue, I wince at anti-gay slurs and support the legislative efforts to legitimize civil unions, marriage or otherwise, secure rights for homosexual partners and allow gay couples the right to adopt.  In music, cinema and on TV, the trend is clear:  homophobia is seen as cruel and petty, while acceptance of homosexuality is lauded.  (Hip-Hop culture, for the most part, being the exception to this rule).  I think here of Dallas Buyers Club as a perfect example, in which the crudest homophobe's transformation into a tolerant and compassionate supporter of his homosexual clientele is an important part of the film's message.  In reality, the person depicted in the film was apparently not only not a homophobe, but was himself bisexual.

So maybe fiction is at times stranger than truth, but not always.  I had obviously read about the Mormon woman's theory (without actually reading the entirety of her text) before starting this post.  My post, a fiction, was largely written over two weeks ago, much earlier than when I first saw the following story, which was about a week ago.

Apparently some pastor with a podcast, invariably described as "conservative" or "right wing", denounced Frozen on his show.  Using some of the exact same points I did, this pastor expressed his belief that the film promotes homosexuality....and bestiality to boot.  Hey, I said that too.  But I was joking.

Pastor Kevin Swanson and co-host Steve Vaughn haven't seen the film but have criticized its "progressive" agenda anyway. 

TIME describes it like this:
The two claim that the movie’s Oscar-winning song “Let It Go” is a coming out song, marking the moment when Elsa realizes she was “born that way” and accepts who she is. [The Mormon lady also says this about the song.]  They point out that the fiercely independent Elsa never considers a male suitor and assume she is therefore probably gay. They also say that Jonathan Groff’s character has an “unnatural relationship” with his animal buddy, Sven. All these plot points, they say, open children up to homosexuality and bestiality at a young age. 
The podcast has the following summary:
Did millions of parents and children catch the homosexuality and bestiality reference in the last super popular Disney flick, Frozen? We wonder. Kevin Swanson quotes from a few websites maintained by our liberal friends. They're ecstatic over Disney's directions. But what about Christian parents?
(It appears that first link requires a log-in now, but you can hear the podcast here).
Further context can be found in this transcript, where Swanson describes the film as "evil" and a form of "indoctrination".  Honest, none of this was on my radar when I wrote my own post.

I thought I was just making stuff up.  I actually did get a feeling from this film that the snowman was a vaguely "gay" character, which is probably an indication that I'm falling prey to stereotyping more than anything else, but clearly there is some vibe in the film which leads other people to think this as well.  The Mormon woman is real.  Pastor Swanson is real.  The question posed on Film Colossuss (Is Olaf gay?) is real.  And oddly enough, I jokingly wrote about homosexuality and bestiality in Frozen before I'd even heard of Swanson.  My impressions about Olaf's "gay" personality came before I saw the question posed on Film Colossus.  All of which puts me in some odd company.

I don't know if there is a specific "gay-friendly" undercurrent to Frozen, but it is not entirely inconceivable.  Disney films tend to celebrate the underdog, the pauper, the outsider and people (or animals) who are "different".  All of this is a part of Frozen's message.  I don't object, but some people do; they are not on board with the program.

Anyway, I'd vowed at some point to avoid politics and synchromysticism because I either sound too strident or too goofy.  Plus, arguing about politics over the Internet is always a depressing and pointless endeavor.  I've even created another blog (unused for now) to serve as a vehicle for over-the-top, satire-oriented pieces, but eventually decided to place this one LoS.  It does reproduce the methodology of the synchromystic and, as it turns out, just proves the old saw that if you can imagine it, it's already been done.  To have posted this stuff without addressing the fact that someone really believes it would have been impossible, hence this coda that undercuts the question ("Is he for real?") that might have been floating through your head.

On a related note, apparently there's a culture of Disney fans that trying to figure out how to place all the films into space/time continuum of the same universe....

Friday, March 21, 2014

"CULTure" by guest blogheur, Jon Frankel

While doing some research on Philip K. Dick’s Valis I was struck by the fan response to even mild criticisms of his work. These fan comments reminded me of comments I have read on the Internet Archive for Grateful Dead concerts. I am not a Deadhead, any more than I am a Dickhead, but I do like to listen to mid to late 60’s acid rock when I write. The Internet Archive has about every Grateful Dead concert ever recorded, which you can stream for free. Occasionally (very occasionally) someone will say a show is not that good, and the response can be asymmetrical, to put it mildly. Dick and the Dead are examples of Cult Art. The Cult Art fan believes in the work the way a Freudian believes in Freud or a Communist Party member believes in Marx. The Dead are hardly the only cult act in rock history. The Velvet Underground also owe their success to cult fans, but the influence of the Velvet Underground is vastly more important than that of the Dead. But you can’t blame either of them for their fans, any more than you can blame Philip K. Dick.

PKD is a fascinating case because of course he was a cult writer, who was widely recognized within his genre (and, eventually, outside of it), whose fans are conspiratorial, paranoid, and fanatical, just as he could be. He wrote about cultic phenomenon, conspiracies and paranoia. He elevated them to world, even cosmic systems. But he was impish. There is always a sly look in his burning eyes. And the books themselves can be laughably bad and still, somehow, charming, funny, and intelligent. The Dead too, with their dimestore mysticism, psychedelic iconography, improvisational music, and connection to the most cultish of all the Beats, Neal Cassidy, encouraged a tribal worship of all things Dead.

There is also a cult of cult art. People set out to be cult writers and musicians because cult obscurity and eccentricity are cool. But most of the great, true cult artists set out to be successful. I’m sure Samuel Fuller wanted to make successful movies, he was just too wayward to knuckle under. Jim Thompson and Charles Willeford would have taken unabashed, big time success in stride. Thompson was probably limited by personality (and lack of charm, and ability, beyond the precise, minimalistic delineation of psychopathic violence), but Willeford was a cheerful, successful man. The Burnt Orange Heresy is a great book that few people will ever read, and those who do will probably love it immoderately.

I think Jonathan Lethem is a writer who would love to have been a cult writer, and ended up the darling of The New York Times set. Darlings of The New York Times set don’t get to be cult writers. Sometimes a cult artist will hit the big time. Scorsese started out this way, and he, like Lethem, really loved the cult movies of his childhood, and seems, with Mean Streets, to have set out to make a cult movie. Many of his less commercial work fits the feel: After Hours, The King of Comedy, Kundun, The Last Temptation of Christ. And Willeford had his Hoke Mosley books, brilliant, off beat Florida police novels that were published in paperback and marketed as mainstream work and were quite successful. He got tired of that success at one point and produced the ultimate, self-destructive, cult writer kind of book: he has his cop hero kill his own daughter! His editor (or agent) refused to publish it and sent him away to write another Hoke Mosley novel, sans child murder.

Freud and Marx are examples of the cult in social science. Freudians are renowned for reducing all criticisms to resistance. Marxist have all kinds of ruses for negating anything that would question their political dogmas, including the tantalizing, disturbing concept of false consciousness. But if the ‘ists’ have fetishized their masters’ theories, there is of course a sound, wonderful tradition of Marxist scholarship and thinking, and Freud himself is a nutty, but fascinating, and persuasive author of a descriptive anatomy of what it feels like to be human, solidly in the tradition philosophical and wisdom literature. Yet Freudians and Communist Party members continue to BELIEVE in a way that say, Darwin and Einstein don’t require of physicists and evolutionary biologists. And the effect in the real world of both theories, to the extent that they are cults, has been terrible. Freudian thinking exacted a toll on everyone who was ground up in the psychoanalytic machine. And the disaster of Marxist thinking enshrined in state power might be greater than that of those other massive cults, Christianity and Islam. I know both have produced great civilizations and important ethical, intellectual traditions. Both also converted with the sword and fire, for which there can be no forgiveness. In the end I suppose the cults of Marxism, Christianity and Islam yielded to the larger, pan-human cult, that of the Cult of Violence.

Cult thinking is warm and comfortable. I have always flirted at its edges. For years I was a Jungian. Jung is considered more cultlike than Freud because he was never picked up by The New York Times crowd. I don’t find his theories or ideas to be any more crackpot than Freud’s, but I can see now that he was not as great a writer or thinker, despite a feeling that he is in some sense ‘more right’. I think the Velvet Underground is a great band, beyond all measure, while the Grateful Dead played really cool fast amphetamine and acid music from 1966-1969, and that’s it. But Lou Reed and John Cale are not Gods, nor is Jerry Garcia. Genius in whatever thing, when somewhat or completely neglected, easily becomes cult. And sometimes, like Freud and Marx, the cult erupts into the world.

I’m sure I am someone who set out to write cult literature and failed, as one has to do, when setting out to accomplish something that is out of your control. I have however noticed that there are people, few in number, who really LOVE Specimen Tank, unaccountably. With cult work you succeed by failing. Cult work is a little like the difference between being educated and trying to be smart. You can’t really try to be smart or funny, and often only are unintentionally so. You set out to be Alfred Hitchcock, and end up as Ed Wood. But this is also a function of personality. I’m doubt the Velvet Underground would ever have been an arena rock act the way Bowie was. With John Cale and Lou Reed there was always one too many geniuses in the room. The Cult in Art has two faces, one benign, attractive, and one that of the Lothario.

Jon is a poet and novelist based in Ithaca, NY.  His novels include Specimen Tank, GAHA: Babes of the Abyss, The Last Bender and The Man Who Can't Die.  Please visit his "blogh", Last Bender, for more information about his work and his always interesting musings on art, literature, history and cooking.

Specimen Tank  
is available on Amazon.

As one (of two!) reviewer puts it: "There's more truth in this book than anyone in the biotech industries would care to admit. Plus, it's funny as hell. If you don't like it, hand-deliver it to my house, and I'll buy it back from you."

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Addenda: St. Jean-Baptiste and Iron flowers.

1. RE: The Vandals of Toulouse

Last week I was at the Église St. Jean-Baptiste in Ondes.  This week it was the 14th-century Église St. Jean-Baptiste in Le Burgaud.  For a guy with no head, John the Baptist gets around.

I happened to be sipping a Trappist ale and looking at the church yesterday, the form of the clock-tower and it's roof coming together in my mind as an obelisk.

I turned to my friend P---- and mentioned the common LoS speculation that church architecture featuring two bell-towers flanking the facade has its roots nourished in the black soil of the Nile Valley.

For an idea of what the Egyptian precedent looked like, check out the image these model makers have, an Egyptian temple entrance on a page for a model called, oddly enough, Temple Entrance (made from mold #98, or so we're informed in sentence one).

The description of the model states, almost in a severe tone it seems to me:

"You will need to cast mold #98 eight times to build the entrance shown here."

Which sounds more like witchcraft ritual than model building.

This picture of the obelisks at Luxor isn't actually the best image with which to make my case, as only one obelisk is pictured.  But the base is still there and we can see where it was located.

This was in my mind as I walked to the church and reflected on what I knew about the history of the village.  Not much.  The Knights Templar had a commandery here and there was a leper colony of sorts, but that's about it.  Even that info was flawed; turns out it was the Hospitallers and I still have no idea where they penned up the lepers.

The obelisk of the bell-tower, alas, was not the ferpect mefathor, as there was only one, The tower is primarily a functional feature of the structure; to hold the clock, of course, but also to make space for the stairs.

If you're not too familiar with the architecture of the Midi, I'm sure that even from afar the thin wall rising up from the facade tickled yer elmo.  This is a clocher-mur ["bell-wall"], or bell gable.

The odd thing thing is that at either side of the base of the pointy isosceles triangle that forms a sort of pediment of the clocher-mur, there are two clear-as-day make-no-mistake-about-it obelisks.  Stumpy, but clearly defined.  A search of Google images France for "mur-clocher Toulousain" has a few other examples where these horn-like obelisks pop up.

French Wickerpodiologe has a section dedicated to the bell gables of the Midi.  No less a personage than Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879), popular architect and General Inspector of Diocesan Buildings--churches in other words--noted the use of brick in their construction in his influential architectural dictionary.  Wicketsnoodle suggests that the use of brick accounts for the exceptional development of the bell gable in the Midi.  Makes sense.  Brick is lighter, cheaper, easier to work with, faster and more flexible than working with cut stone. 

The commander of the Hospitallers here lived in a house attached to the church, itself  a part of the town's ramparts.  This accounts for the presence of arrow slits in its walls.  It was the Hospitallers, in fact, who ordered the church built.  I assume their presence here was due to Le Burgaud being a stop on the road to Santiago de Compostela, but the surrounding forest, the Aubets spring and high places were sacred places before their Christianization.

The sheer face of the wall, the small rose window, the massive brick piers that buttress the facade do give the church a somewhat fortified appearance, but the ramparts and city walls that once encircled the village are long gone, dismantled in more peaceful times to be cannibalized for the stone and bricks

The church is undergoing renovations, but one can still see the traces of a graffito that had been tagged on the church:  the anarchist symbol and the phrase "Un pays sans dieu."  A country without God.

On a side note, this Hospitaller church was built to replace a chapel dedicated to Saint Leonard of Noblac, a patron of prisoners.  He was invoked to secure freedom and even during his lifetime, attracted a lot of ex-cons to his abbey, many of whom stayed to work the land he provided for them.  Leonard was strongly associated with the road to Compostela, which probably accounts for the presence of a chapel here.  I wonder if his association with Compostela was bound up with is role as patron of prisoners; presumably criminals would be tempted to go to Compostela for the plenary indulgence offered to those who made it.  Wiping the slate clean of sin would have special appeal for them.

Leonard often was also invoked for assistance in childbirth; this and a special role for prisoners is interesting for those interested in the cult of the Virgin.  Despite having no record of any veneration or church dedications to Leonard since his death in the 6th century, his cult took off in the 11th, just as the cult of the Virgin was in full flower after the influence of St. Bernard.  Obviously, people had the same worries everywhere and the Virgin couldn't handle the caseload alone.  We've seen male saints take on attributes of the Virgin before (e.g. St. Fris).  The cults of many saints exploded at this time, globalized as it were, beyond being obscure local cults (e.g. St. Fris or Stes. Liberata and Quiteria), due to the passage of so many people through the south of France on the way to Compostela.  Of course, the influence of the Troubadours as transmitters and relaters of popular culture cannot be overestimated.

Speaking of culture, in the late-late-sixties a café was created in Le Burgaud that still exists today, a small beacon of culture in the cornfields featuring theater and music, often very avant-garde stuff which would be not so common even in Paris, let alone a one-Solex town in a poor farming area.  The original idea was to take young people in difficulty, often ex-cons, who would come to the healthier environment of the country and work and live at the café, assisting and performing in its productions.  Today it's more of a cultural association, but on some nights groups of young people from the inner city will be working in the café.  A fascinating continuity with Saint Leonard's project and the musical diffusion of his legend--the café has been a stop for numerous poor musicians, who play in exchange for a meal, a carafe of wine, a place to crash and gas money for the next tavern or music hall.  It reminds me of when I learned Toulouse had a reputation as a tolerant and cosmopolitan city, known for its large number of students and vagabonds, since the early middle ages.  This, too, is still true today.

For more about Le Burgaud, see:  Notre Dame des Aubets.


2. RE:  Aucamville Project 11: Mary on the Cross (redux)

Basically, this is just another example of a cemetery marker in wrought-iron, also typical of the Midi, with a floral motif.  We would suppose this plant metaphor refers to the death and resurrection of Christ, reborn like the plant world in Spring.  Jesus as vegetal god!

The details on some of these crosses show that the cross isn't being overrun by flora, but is itself a tree, possibility the Tree of Life....

The French often have a family tomb with a plaque for each member therein interred.  The grieving, instead of laying a new stone after each death, merely add the plaque and then leave small votive plaques, porcelain flowers, religious icons:  "Dearest Mother and Wife", "Our beloved Uncle", etc.  Thus the cemetery is a cluttered place.  France being France, the religious usually honor Toussaint by going to a special mass.  Everybody goes to the cemetery to lay flowers, but only chrysanthemums.  More restrained than Todos Santos, or Dia de los Muertos, and without the macabre joys of Halloween aka All Hallows Even.

OK, sorry for the beleaguered tone of this post; it's my second go-round after the fist version, longer than this, got sucked away into a Blogger bug black hole and I ended up working on this version until long after the midnight oil burned itself out.  Anyway, there are scores of bell gables in the region, I'll try to snap photos of the surrounding villages, almost all of which have a parish church like that at Le Burgaud.  I'll leave you with a photo of Aucamville's church for a comparison.

Photo by Didier Descouens: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aucamville_%28Tarn-et-Garonne%29_Eglise.jpg


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Steven Adkins - Traducteur à Toulouse

Si vous avez besoin d'un traducteur expérimenté, veuillez visiter ma nouvelle page Facebook pour un zoom sur mon activité.

En bref:

  • Flexibilité
  • Tarifs raisonnables
  • Délais courts possible
  • Diversité de sujets
  • Créativité
  • Plusieurs langues possibles
Moins bref:

Personnellement, je fait le français et l'espagnol vers l'anglais, mais je travaille souvent avec un vaste réseau de collègues professionnels capables de traduire en plusieurs langues--permettez-moi de vous aider à trouver la bonne personne pour votre projet. Mes tarifs sont très raisonnable et les délais courts sont possible. 

J'ai travaillé principalement avec des clients dans la métropole de Toulouse mais j'ai aussi travaillé avec des clients à Paris et dans plusieurs villes à travers le sud-ouest. Avec les courriels et Skype, je peux travailler avec vous où que vous soyez. Le télétravail peut vous faire économiser du temps et de l'argent, mais, si vous le souhaitez, je suis toujours prêt à me rendre à vos locaux si vous voulez me rencontrer en personne.

Depuis 2009, j'ai travaillé avec des entreprises, organismes publics, particuliers, groupes de heavy metal, revues académiques, universités, hôtels et même des cinéastes. Je traduis aussi la poésie pour des projets personnels et je peux envisager de travailler à un taux réduit pour certains types d'associations culturelles.

Je crois que mon expérience est
diversifiée....mais mon potentiel est encore plus grand. N'hésitez pas de me contacter au sujet de n'importe quel sujet!

Contactez-moi en laissant un commentaire sur Blogger ou via Facebook.  Mon adresse email:  stevenmadkins (@) hotmail.com.

CV en français et en anglais.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Vandals of Toulouse

I started our last post about one week ago and only published it yesterday.  I hadn't intended to write so much about bricks but the details seemed to become relevant as I went along.  This is somewhat fortuitous because on Saturday I came across a church that grabbed my eye and, as it turns out, was designed by an architect who also created the first industrialized brickworks in Toulouse.

The Église St. Jean-Baptiste d'Ondes is the parish church of Ondes, the next village after our neighboring village of Grenade-sur-Garonne.  It's a small place but is home to a few interesting buildings, one of which is a "haunted mansion" style house that sustained severe fire damage a few years back.

What struck me about the church were two things, the Tetragrammaton in the pediment, a triangle in glory, and the obelisks flanking the facade.


We have traced the use of free-standing architectural elements to delineate the entrance to sacred space back to the Egyptian use of two obelisks at the front of their temples.  This was picked up by the Phoenicians, who used two pillars instead of obelisks.  According to legend, it was Hiram Abiff, Phoenician architect, who used them in his design for Solomon's Temple.  The tale of Hiram and his murder by three unworthy laborers is an important story in Masonic lore.  A Masonic Lodge is ostensibly based on descriptions of Solomon's temple and thus, has an entrance clearly demarcated by two pillars called Jachin and Boaz after their Biblical ancestors.  But we've talked about all this at great length before. (See labels: obelisk and/or pillars).

I was tooling about with a friend when we ran across the church; i's design, atypical of the region, caused us to speculate about the date.   The friend suggested 19th century and I agreed, placing it at about 1830 or even a bit earlier, maybe 1810.  I also wondered if I was mistaken in seeing obelisks these church towers.  This close-up show that the edges of the obelisk are bevelled somewhat, so in a sense they are octagonal.  What struck me was the decorative element at the corner, a scallop or flower-like ornament which almost certainly has a name; but my days of intensively memorizing the architectural orders and their elements have been over for more than 20 years and besides, I don't think we ever got around to this one.


Does anyone have any idea what this element is called?

As luck would have it I saw some movement in the library across the street.  It turns out a ladies' knitting circle was just wrapping up but the most outgoing of the ladies talked to me a bit.  Apparently the church is rarely opened and she didn't know when it was built.  But this was a library, and she had a book in hand, toot sweet.

She leafed through the fat, self-published tome and voila, there was a lot of information about the church.  It was designed by one August Virebent (1792-1857) and work began in 1839.  Kudos for me!  This is pretty much exactly contemporaneous with the peak of the career of Urban Vitry (1802-1863).  Vitry, who we've discussed on LoS in several posts, was city architect of Toulouse from 1830 to 1843.  He put more typical obelisks at the entrance to his Terre Cabade cemetery (approved 1832, opened 1840) and designed a massive obelisk to commemorate the Battle of Toulouse (1814), constructed between 1835 and 1839.

This book also mentioned that one of the Virebents had married a Vitry; Wikipedia reveals that August Virebent's father Jean-Pascal (1746-1831), was not only Vitry's predecessor as city architect (from 1782 to 1830) but also his uncle.  August Virebent and Urban Vitry were cousins.

Both were men of their times, using classical elements liberally in their work.  Virebent was known especially for his use of caryatids and other sculptural motifs on his facades.  The "obelisks" on St. Jean-Baptiste church remind me of Vitry's tomb, the only photo of which I have is unfortunately too cropped to truly grok the similarities.  But the following photo of the Vitry-Bezat (I'm not entirely certain of the second name) family mausoleum is instructive.

You'll notice that the corner elements on the mausoleum are almost identical to those on the church.  So we can see that Virebent's flourish was part of the standard vocabulary of the time--for Vitry and Virebent at least.  Though this isn't "proof" of anything, it does support my reading that these towers on the Église St. Jean-Baptiste are (or refer to) obelisks.

Photo by flikr user christine.petitjean: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tisstit/5182656924/
I was pleased to learn that Virebent and Vitry were family and shared an aesthetic, but in light of my last post about the bricks used in local architecture, it's a happy coincidence the the younger Virebent was also known for being a briquetier, or brick manufacturer.  He developed and registered a patent for the ingredients and process of manufacturing brick; so, Virebent contributed to the Toulousain aesthetic at the most fundamental level.  His process made it easier to create bricks of varying dimensions that were both easier to cut and allowed for mortar to set better.  He also invented a machine that produced a finer, more solid and compact clay to produce a red or white brick-making material that made it easier to create decorative elements and reliefs based on brick.  Virebent is credited with being the first to industrialize the production of both humble bricks and decorative elements based on brick.  Form followed invention and today we see a multitude of forms in brick that had previously required the use of the slower and more expensive  technique of cutting stone.

Virebent's brick works seems to have continued to operate into the 1960's and the machines and processes used in the terra cotta industry today aren't much different from those he developed.

The first mention of a church at Ondes dates to 1538; it was dedicated to Notre Dame de l’Annonciation.  In 1613, the Archbishop of Toulouse judged that it was too small and authorized a replacement.  By the 1830's the church was in such a state of disrepair that instead of renovating it, a new construction was ordered.  The materials were found locally and the ornaments all came from Virebent's brickworks.  All the labor was performed by locals, for free, except for the artisans such as masons and carpenters.  The church was largely finished by 1848, but work on the decoration continued until 1866, by which time Virebent and Vitry were dead.

As for the title of this post, Vitry and the elder Virebent are largely responsible for the look of downtown Toulouse as it appears today, with two large thoroughfares forming a cross at its center.  It was rational and practical but the work, along with other urbanization projects, indiscriminately destroyed many of the cloisters and medieval streets that until then had characterized the center of town.  This earned Toulouse the title "capital of vandalism".

One man's "development" is another man's destruction, something that holds true today.  Toulouse is being transformed at a rate unseen since the days Vitry and Virebent were razing a good chunk of downtown Toulouse, for better or for worse, and a lot of these new projects are still using those red and white bricks.  Vitry and Virebent (the elder) are pretty much synonymous with the Toulouse style, sober and retrained with a strong neo-classical flavor and occasional Egyptian touches.  There is no indication, however, that they were Freemasons, so we can chalk this up to the wider interest in Egypt which spurred the ongoing revival that both preceded and followed their careers.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Aucamville Project 11: Mary on the Cross (redux)

3/3:  I'd forgotten I'd already done a (quite different) little riff on this theme:  The Virgin and the Cross.

Toulouse is known as "la Ville Rose" (the Pink City) because of the brick with which its buildings have been constructed since at least the Middle Ages.  These bricks are not the smallish rectangular jobbies you might think of in American or English construction.  In Toulouse and the surrounding areas the principle brick is called a "foraine" and is about 45 x 25 cm and 5 cm thick.  They're quite heavy and make for a solid wall.  45 centimeters is no small shakes.
 

The gatehouse to the Aucamville cemetery gives a sense of the ingenuity with which these foraines can be put to use.  The walls are made with them, as are the decorative elements of the cornice and the pediment, even the frame of the arched entry.  I've always liked this gatehouse, which is simple  but elegant.  The size and shape of the cross in the pediment is determined by the material:  four foraines make up each arm, and to me, it has always looked something like a flower.  If you look at our other posts about architecture in Toulouse (example), you'll see that everything from walls to bridges to obelisks to chateaux are made with these foraines.  I suppose that's due to the fact that the soil around here is pretty much pure clay.  If I dig in my garden, I will find this clay with some river stones mixed in, but very little dirt or vegetal matter.

In Toulouse, the Terre Cabade cemetery (see the previous example I mentioned), whose entrance features two brick obelisks, takes it's name from this clay-like earth--"cavade" in Occitan.  (Like Spanish, the v and b sound is pretty much interchangeable in some Occitan dialects).

For stately buildings, this clay is put into a more or less standard mould and fired in a kiln to produce bricks of terra cotta, or terre cuite.  But humbler buildings, barns and even homes will be made of unfired brick.  The clay is mixed with some straw and dried in the sun.  The uncooked bricks have the same dimensions as a foraine.  They are not usually used on the north face of a structure, and even the humblest of buildings will use cooked brick at their foundation, as well as to frame windows, doors and reinforce the corners of a structure; sometimes a row or two will be thrown in to solidify the wall, along with smooth flat river stones, or galets.  This architecture is much like that of the American Southwest, with wooden beams and adobe walls.  The principal difference is that in France, one almost never finds a flat roof.

Anyway, this is less about architecture than it is to present a few images for The Gid, something that astonished him:  the Virgin Mary at the center of the cross.

The two examples presented here are typical of the region, in material and imagery:  they are made out of wrought iron as opposed to cut stone, and the crosses use a vegetal motif.  Get your Joseph Campbell out, as Yggdrasil definitely comes to mind.  In the first example below, I find a deft piece of work; the vines curl about Mary's head and the leaves are clearly star-shaped, thus evoking Mary's halo of stars.  Whether intentional or not, the leaves as a crown of stars symbolically connect Heaven and Earth, referring (I believe) to the Tree of Life as a kind of axis mundi (see Aucamville Project 4).  It would also connect the very terrestrial act of burying the dead with the post-mortem voyage of the soul to heaven.

Example 1.  Note how the vine forms a halo of star-shaped leaves around Mary's head.
In the second example, we find a form more common in this area, where the Cross itself is like a tree.  The flowers are lilies, symbols of the Virgin, almost exploding from behind her in a luscious bouquet of vegetal grace, iron-clad to boot.  The spring-like form to the right of Mary's head (from the viewer's perspective) adds an especially dynamic touch.  Recall also that the fleur-de-lis, a stylized lily, is a long-standing symbol of French royalty; the lily as a symbol of both French royalty and the Virgin Mary would also link Mary with France.  As an aside, a cock is also commonly used on these wrought-iron crosses and it, too, is a symbol of France.  Current notions of laïcité aside, France is a decidedly Catholic country, or at least a Marial one:  no village is complete without a statue of the Virgin.

Example 2:  The Queen is dead, long live the Queen.
These use of these crosses is not confined to grave markers; for a detailed discussion of the many ways they are used, please see "Too late, baby. Slay a few animals. At the crossroads."

I'm also looking forward to an upcoming guest post by LoS pal Tim Wilson, who will write about these crosses, especially in the funerary context, and traditions derived from the pre-Christian worship of Hecate.  I don't know what he'll write, but I'd like to mention that Hecate is a tripartite goddess who was often portrayed facing three directions; this is linked to her function as a goddess of crossroads, of which death is a sort, I suppose!  Hecate, unsurprisingly, is sometimes viewed as an influence on Marial attributes; the latter's symbol, the lily, in it's stylized fleur-de-lis version, is often used to symbolize the trinity.  Hecate was also seen as a Savior, the Mother of Angels, which definitely fits in with Mary's role in Catholicism.  She is also associated with the underworld, which is especially resonant in the context we're looking at here.  I predict Tim will go into these ideas pretty thoroughly and, if I know Tim, not without a great deal of erudition and a dash of humor.

Finally, the third example below is less typical of the region, but the mandala-like, vaguely floral motif at the center really grabbed my attention.  It may merely be a pretty abstract design, or it may be intended to represent a flower or even the sun; a floral motif is clearly present at the base of the cross, with leaves growing up the sides and some kind of flower on the middle, a lily perhaps, or a lotus.  The flower strikes me as vaguely Egyptian.  The extremities on the arms and top of the cross also seem like stylized flowers.  If the "mandala" is a solar symbol, this could allude to the Occitan cross used in these parts, which some theorize may derive from a Gaulish solar disc.

This stone cross also has a weird androgynous quality, evoking at once both a curvaceous feminine form and a phallus.


So in these iron trees and this stone representations of flowers, as well as in the flower-like design of the gatehouse pediment, we have an interesting visual metaphor for the ephemeral being immortalized.  The flower is ephemeral but, like the Christian hope for the faithful at the end of the world, returns to life.

One final thought.  As the Aucamvillois bury their dead in the clay, one can't help but wonder that if on some level they are reminded of the origin of all life in Adam, who the Bible tells us, was formed by God from a lump of clay and then fired in His kiln, so to speak.

Human life grown from the soil, like a brick....or a flower.