ON THE MARVELOUS HISTORY and MYTHOLOGY OF TRANSSEXUALITY and HERMAPHRODITISM

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V.I.T.R.I.O.L.

Visita Interiori Terra Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidum

Ancient Alchemical Acronym

There have been hermaphrodites from the very beginning, and some ancient cultures honor them to this day. in India it is widely considered a great blessing for the Shikhandin or Shikhandi, named after a celebrated transexual warrior hero of the Battle of Kurukshetra in The Mahabharata, to visit the home of a newborn child.

The (Sikhandin) form small bands and roam from village to village playing instruments and singing bhajans where they are treated as truly auspicious and benevolent beings.

In certain mystery school traditions, the Hermaphrodite is represented as the ipsissimus of spiritual attainment, the perfectly formed hierogamy, sacred marriage or syncretic union of the psyche’s animus and anima, mentioned in the above mystical coda and translated here:

VISIT THE WORLD WITHIN AND
YOU WILL FIND THE HIDDEN JEWEL

The Screenwriter’s Jesus: The Storyteller’s Guide to Movies, Myth and Mnemohistory

Jesus on a Boat

“Even if there was a historical Jesus lying back of the gospel Christ, he can never be recovered. If there ever was a historical Jesus, there isn’t one any more. All attempts to recover him turn out to be just modern remythologizings of Jesus. Every “historical Jesus” is a Christ of faith, of somebody’s faith. So the “historical Jesus” of modern scholarship is no less a fiction.” 

Dr. Robert M. Price Jesus: Fact or Fiction

 Unless you’ve been tucked away in a confessional these pasts few years, it is impossible to have missed the Jesus historicity debate raging through Western academia and the Internet. For all the handwringing and vitriol, it could lead to one of the most impactful upheavals of the information age. [1]

While there are those who wonder why it matters, biblical scholars, historians, mythologists and theologians have jumped into the fray for a full on Manichaean donnybrook.

Leading the charge against a conservative consensus of historists who, “claim the prestige of the university while following the rules of the seminary”, is a growing guild of academic upstarts, including: Dr. Peter Boghossian, Dr. Richard Carrier, David Fitzgerald, Sam Harris, Raphael Lataster, Dr. John W. Loftus, Dr. Matthew S. McCormick, Mark Paulkovich, Dr. Robert Price, and Dr. Valerie Tarico.[2]

To the lay audience, much of the exegesis will sound like Tolkien geeks parsing over passages of The Lord of the Rings, arguing for or against the existence of Hobbits. Upon further investigation, one will find a stimulating debate that is likely to knock the nimbus off the two thousand year old body and church of Jesus Christ.[3]

No longer content to argue messiahhood or divinity, these scholarly skeptics are waging unholy war on whether the person Jesus ever walked the earth, let alone on water.

Applying Bayes’ Theorem of historical probability, Dr. Richard Carrier, the author of On The Historicity of Jesus, rates the chance of a blood and flesh Jesus as low as six percent. [4] So, if you’re betting on the risen Christ vouchsafing your voyage to Valhalla you may want to rethink your odds.

As legions of horrified Christians rise to forefend their beloved savior from the graveyard of the gods, and understandably so, the evidence is so compelling we have to consider whether this is a belief system in its death throes. [5]

Ironically, from the storyteller’s point of view, Jesus is much more valuable to us as myth than as the messiah of faith or star-crossed rabbi of dubious history.

Once recognized as a marvelous creation of humankind’s irrepressible imagination, Jesus may be better poised to save humankind — not from temptation, or the “original sin” of an errant ancestry, but from fundamentalism, anti-intellectualism, and the mesmerizing thrall of magical thinking.[6] [7]

“For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie– deliberate, contrived and dishonest– but the myth– persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forbearers. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy Yale Commencement Address 1962

Indeed, we may yet learn the ‘truth that will set us free’. Not from some expiating act of human sacrifice, but from Jesus’s forensic journey from myth, to historicity and back again.

“It is one of the great lessons of our study [of religions] that for the vulgar, ill- or uninstructed mind, myths tend to become history.”  Joseph Campbell Cooper Union Forum Lectures

[1] Did Jesus Exist? The Trouble with Certainty in Historical Jesus Scholarship | Thomas Verenna -Academia.edu https://www.academia.edu/1825948/Did_Jesus_Exist_The_Trouble_with_Certainty_in_Historical_Jesus_Scholarship

[2] Jack Tsonis’ interview with Professor Dale Martin cited in “Is There a Christian Agenda Behind Religious Studies Departments?” By Raphael Lataster, University of Sydney Published by the Religious Studies Project, on 23 January 2013

[3] Christians need to face the bad news about Christianity http://theweek.com/articles/555392/christians-need-face-bad-news-about-christianity

[4] Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus– April 24, 2012 by Richard Carrier Prometheus Books

[5] From the Internet: Cosmologist Lawrence Krauss: Religion could be largely gone in a generation http://www.salon.com/2014/11/04/cosmologist_lawrence_krauss_religion_could_be_largely_gone_in_a_generation/

Why the Internet is slowly strangling religion http://www.salon.com/2014/11/14/why_the_internet_is_slowly_strangling_religion_partner/ via @Salon

The Internet: Where religions come to die http://youtu.be/0Rqw4krMOug

The End of Christianity John W. Loftus Prometheus Books; July 26, 2011

[6] The Bible: So Misunderstood it’s a sin Kurt Eichenwald Newsweek” “When the illiteracy of self-proclaimed Biblical literalists leads parents to banish children from their homes, when it sets neighbor against neighbor, when it engenders hate and condemnation, when it impedes science and undermines intellectual advancement, the topic has become too important for Americans to ignore, whether they are deeply devout or tepidly faithful, believers or atheists. http://www.newsweek.com/2015/01/02/thats-not-what-bible-says-294018.html

[7] Hence it was Suetonius* speaking in the language of his party, who calls the Christians Genus hominum superstionis maleficae, ‘the men of the magical superstition.’

Copyright MCW 2016

Thoughts of Pushkin on an Easter Sunday

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And it came to pass that Alexander Sergeyevich arrived in Kishinev and promptly fell under the spell of a Jewish barkeep’s beautiful young daughter.

Of course, he was fiercely atheistic at the time, but still swore he would convert to Judaism if she would agree to kiss him once on the lips, and then, more suggestively, as he writes in this poem composed for her on Easter Sunday:

“Christ is risen, dear Rebecca
And here I stand ready, my Jewess
To place into your hands what tells
Jew from Orthodox Christian”*

*Pushkin by Henri Troyat pp 193 Doubleday 1970

Faith v Imagination

book_of_imagination_by_t1na-d7mlgj9“For surely it is folly to preach to children who will be riding rockets to the moon a morality and cosmology based on concepts of the Good Society and of man’s place in nature that were coined before the harnessing of the horse! And the world now is far too small, and men’s stake in sanity too great, for any of these old games of Chosen Folk ( whether of Jehovah, Allah, Wotan, Manu or the Devil) by which tribesmen were sustained against their enemies in the days when the serpent could talk.”

Joseph Campbell Primitive Mythology Toward a Natural History of the Gods Page 12

I don’t know where they got this notion that just because rationalists reject faith and belief that somehow they forfeit their imagination and wonder. Personally, I’d much rather hang with someone with their own vast imagination than those who still cleave to the make-believe nightmares of their Bronze Age ancestors.

No, The Revenant is not “Revenge Porn”!

The Revenant

“Let us ask, therefore: What can the value or meaning be of a mythological notion which, in the light of modern science, must be said to be erroneous, philosophically false, absurd, or even formally insane? The first answer suggested will no doubt be the one that, in the course of the past century, has been offered many times by our leading thinkers. The value, namely, is to be studied rather as a function of psychology and sociology than as a refuted system of positivistic science, rather in terms of certain effects worked by the symbols on the character of the individual and the structure of society than in terms of their obvious incongruity as an image of the cosmos. Their value, in other words, is not that of science but of art: and just as art may be studied psychologically, as symbolic or symptomatic of the strains and structures of the psyche, so may the archetypes of myth, fairy tale, archaic philosophy, cosmology, and metaphysics.”

Joseph Campbell, “The Symbol without Meaning,” Flight of the Wild Gander, p.98-99

What worries me most about today’s audiences is that they don’t have the skills or their political worldviews and beliefs are so rigid they cannot properly interpret great cinematic storytelling when they see it.

To read, as one critic wrote, The Revenant is “… basically (a) circle jerks for white boys who think it’s significant to watch a “hero” suffer sadistically via dastardly betrayal, emerge battered yet triumphant against all odds and get that sweet, sweet revenge against an adversary who is 100% evil” is to fall short of the exquisite array of themes, symbols, dramatis personae, and archetypal struggles embodied and achieved in collaboration by some of our finest actors, director and cinematographer working today.

Indeed, The Revenant begins its thematic journey from the title (one who is raised from the dead) and then proceeds through the raw abject world of survival where its protagonist, the decent trail guide and loving father, Hugh Glass, is ravaged by the embodiment of nature itself only to be betrayed, buried and left to die by a loquacious and manipulative sociopath.

Here we have a protagonist/antagonist mano y mano duel worthy of and reminiscent of some of the greatest personal battles in cinema going back to Von Stroheim’s Greed and following through to Bladerunner’s Roy Batty v Rick Deckard.

Thematically, the filmmakers construct an ingenious metaphor for modern society so much more intelligent and pure than simple revenge porn. In the end Glass realizes that while revenge enabled him to survive against all odds, it comes at the cost of his own humanity.

In the end, he’s gone too far and can never go back. And he reveals this through his harrowing gaze into the camera in the film’s final moments.

Virgil’s The Eclogues: The Poem That Inspired Christmas

VirgilAeneid3Here it is folks: Virgil’s The Eclogues, the poem (37 BCE) that set the entire Greco Roman empire a fire with a messianic dream and implanted the mythopoeic beau idéal that a god child would be born and bring about a golden era of peace on earth:

“Now the last age by Cumae’s Sibyl sung
Has come and gone, and the majestic roll
Of circling centuries begins anew:
Justice returns, returns old Saturn’s reign,
With a new breed of men sent down from heaven.
Only do thou, at the boy’s birth in whom
The iron shall cease, the golden race arise,
Befriend him, chaste Lucina; ’tis thine own
Apollo reigns. And in thy consulate,
This glorious age, O Pollio, shall begin,
And the months enter on their mighty march.
Under thy guidance, whatso tracks remain
Of our old wickedness, once done away,
Shall free the earth from never-ceasing fear.
He shall receive the life of gods, and see
Heroes with gods commingling, and himself
Be seen of them, and with his father’s worth
Reign o’er a world at peace.