Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 62, Illuminatus online reading group



Wolfram von Eschenbach, "another famous German musician," page 670


(This week: Book Five: Grummet, page 655, to page 670, "and you will not be disturbed.") 

With this entry, we begin with the characters trying to make sense of what has just happened in Ingolstadt, and I have to be careful because I can't really ex  ain much of this section without introducing spoilers.

However, by a nice synchronicity, we are about to begin the month of May, which in the Catholic church is the month devoted to the Virgin Mary.  The deaths of the members of the American Medical Association take place in the early morning hours of May 1.


An early Byzantine depiction of the Virgin Mary. 

While May 1 is International Workers Day, it is also a traditional beginning of summer holiday for pagan cultures.  It is apparently a big holiday in Great Britain. 

The text of Illuminatus! associates May not only with Mary, but with Eris and with many other female deities, "Dian, Dan, Tan, Tana, Shakti or even Erzulie," page page 658.




The Cathaginian goddess Tanit, rendered with a lion's head. 

Dian sounds like "Diana," the pagan virgin goddess.  Tana is apparently another name for the moon goddess. Shakti is the "great divine mother" in Hinduism.  Erzulie is a female Haitian African spirit.  The names giving in the passage also are suggestive of the goddess Tanit. 

Some notes:

The Honest Book of Truth, page 657. Discordian document also quoted elsewhere in Illuminatus!.  For more on the article and on Kerry Thornley, see Adam Gorightly's article.  UPDATE: Oops, it's not from the Honest Book of Truth. See Adam's article on this.

In Athens, a certain classical scholar waking in a small cell ...  page 657. Greece was under a military dictatorship from 1967 to 1974.


This was the old gentleman with the white mustache and the unruly forelock who had spoken harshly to George in the lobby the night before last. Page 667. Adolf Hitler, who along with the other Nazis in the hotel suite had hoped to obtain immortality as a result of the mass slaughter of the people at the festival. See Appendix Lamed, page 768.

Page 670, "the Minnesinger Wolfram von Eschenbach." His most famous work, Parzifal, is a story about the search for the Holy Grail.  The depiction of women in the work fits in with the May theme.

(Next week: "Hagbard left at the same time the old waiter did, " page 670, to page 687, "You can always tell the higher members by their sense of humor.")


80 comments:

Eric Wagner said...

Great blog! I think I will wait until May 1 to do my reading this week.

Oz Fritz said...

p. 658 "Queen of the May" - the May Queen also turns up in Led Zeppelin's immortal "Stairway to Heaven", a classic song about alchemical transformation.

The four Princesses of the tarot get attributed to Malkuth, the chapter we've just entered, and this appears cognate with the female deities mentioned as well as the May 1st celebration.

JCG said...

I completely forgot about the state of the U.S. in these concluding chapters...

Eric Wagner said...

Happy May Day! And Wednesday marks the Orson Welles centennial.

I couldn't find a translation for the Greek on pg. 657.

Hagbard parodies a line from Hamlet on pg. 665.

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