Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 57, Illuminatus! online reading group

Saul Goodman, as played by John Joyce in the Ken Campbell stage version of Illuminatus!, with Prunella Gee. 

(This week: "The peace symbol," said George, Page 595, to "If we're right about this, we might all be dead before Woodstock Europa opens next week." Page 605.)

At the beginning of Illuminatus!, New York police officers Saul Goodman, head of the homicide unit, and his friend Barney Muldoon, from the bomb squad, are called in the middle of the night to investigate the bombing of the offices of Confrontation magazine.

And in this week's section, we find out why pentuple agent Tobias Knight and Joseph Malik set off the bomb: If I am reading this correctly, one of Knight's organizations, the CIA, wants to deploy the talents of Goodman and Muldoon to see what's up with the Illuminati.

The bombing will draw in Muldoon from the bomb squad (a bombing would only get Muldoon in, page 605) and they want Goodman, too, so what to do? (Even having Malik disappear might only bring in Missing Persons, page 605).

Then I remembered the dummies used by the clothier on the eighteen floor, right above the Confrontation office. Burn the dummy just right before setting the bomb and it might work, Knight thinks, (page 605). (Tobias Knight's monologue on this section begins with "Robinson and Lehrman of the Homicide Department actually started the last phase of the operation," page 602.

And it does work. On page 11, Barney Muldoon explains to Goodman why Goodman was called to the scene, even though nobody was killed: "The call went out to you because a clothier's dummy was burned on the eighteenth floor and the first car here thought it was a human body." And then a couple of pages later, Dan Pricefixer finds the box of memos about the Illuminati ("It's the freakiest box of memos I ever set eyes on. Weird as tits on a bishop," page 13) and the chase is on.

And did you notice another passage where this section ties back to the beginning of the book?

Page 602: Robinson and Lehrman of the Homicide Department actually started the last phase of the operation, and a few sentences later, "Muldoon is on to  us," Robinson told us right off."

Page 19, after Muldoon and Goodman realize they've gotten interested in the strange case:

Methodically, Saul went on, "Who, on your staff, do you think is a double agent for the CIA?"
"Robinson I''m sure off, and Lehrman I suspect."
"Both of them go. We take no chances."

A note on the text:

Page 601, The woman who calls  herself Lady Velkor is an astonishing beautiful women with flaming red hair and smoldering green eyes. She sounds like Marjorie Campbell, the woman with red hair who participated in the Babalon Working ritual with occultist Jack Parsons. (Citation: Oz Fritz, in the Week 12 posting which covers the Black Mass in which Ms. Velkor makes her first appearance: "p.117: the woman with red hair and green eyes recalls Marjorie Cameron who had the same.  She was the woman who entered Jack Parson’s life during his Babalon working eventually becoming his wife.")

(Next week: "Are you a turtle?" Lady Velkor asks again, page 605, to  page 617, "Just then, Joe distinctly heard a rooster crow.")


Arthur Hlavaty said...

One of my favorite quotes in the whole book: "If I call it love, I’ll sound sentimental.If I call it sex, I’ll sound cynical. I’ll call it pair bonding and sound scientific."

chas said...

I'd say that Lady Velkor is Arlen Wilson just as surely as Joe Malik is RAW. Of course, in a holographic novel every character represents multiple mehums.

chas said...

More notes:

597--"Just go ahead," said Hagbard. "A powerful mantra."--Hagbard as Kesey again? Further?

599--Every truth is a truth only for one place and one time...Maybe Logic?

600--When you're actually dealing with these figures, the only safe, pragmatic, and operational approach is to treat them as having a being, will, and a purpose entirely apart from the humans who evoke them. If the Sorcerers Apprentice had understood that, he wouldn't have gotten into so much trouble.

600--Rhoda Chief modeled on Janis Joplin?

Oz Fritz said...

p. 595 - The peace symbol as an instrument of death once again sees the authors putting up two opposite ideas that cancel.

p.597 "Just go ahead" said Hagbard. "A powerful mantra."

That does have the Kesey flavor, it also recalls Burroughs and Crowley with their "here to go" attitudes. It appears quite the powerful mantra when considering "a head" through qabala: head = resh = the Sun, a mantra that resonates well with RAW's last instruction.

p. 599: paragraph 3 that starts with "Because they're under a protective biomystical field" and ends with "... it will call for nothing less than the appearance on the field of battle of the goddess Eris Herself to save the day." - I find quite interesting, relevant and a bit of a clever misdirection.

last paragraph from p. 599, which Tom also quoted from, contains very sound magickal advice.

p.601 paragraph that starts with Frank Sullivan seems isomorphic to the sacrificial ritual murder, the killing of the king myth that Frazer wrote about in The Golden Bough existing in many cultures as an archetype. This gets reinforced by the "WE'LL KILL THE OLD RED ROOSTER" that follows. This sacrificial ritual murder is what every aspirant Crossing the Abyss has to go through in order to get to the other side - to the sephiroth called Binah. The last sentence in the next paragraph relates to that: "Then you rejoin the rest of us in Ingolstadt. Understood!" Binah = Understanding.

p. 603 the paragraph that starts with "Rebecca Goodman.." appears loaded with qabala.

p.604 paragraph starting with "The living room..." - more alchemical/magick puns

Knight's psychic read of Goodman's things that begins, "Trees in Central Park. Nudes of Rebecca, adoration in every line of the pencil..." also resembles an astral trip ( which it is for Knight). The beginning of this sequence, which I quoted, suggests a method for getting out there. Good example of Illuminatus! as an alchemical manual.