Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Widow's Son Reading Group, Week Sixteen

A representation of man placed between the Macrocosm and Microcosm from the works of Robert Fludd

Week Fifteen (pg. 261-274 Hilaritas edition, Chapter 3&4, Part Three,  all editions)

By Gregory Arnott
Special guest blogger

Chapter 3 begins with three more disreputable, desperate men discussing the planned assassination of Sigismundo and Pierre. Pierre is still alive! Hooray -- and he seems to have learned his lesson about being directly involved with “wetwork,” even if he hasn’t found a more reputable career. While Henri, who seems to have taken the place of Lucien as the overconfident lieutenant, points out that Sigismundo is bound to be unarmed, hungry, and tired, only Louis is astounded by his feat of making it out of the Bastille. None of them seem to consider that the abilities of one who could do such a thing might still be a match for would-be assassins, even if they happened to be unarmed, hungry, and tired. (Circumstances that might make them all the more dangerous -- and I doubt that the three men here are much more well-fed or well-rested than Sigismundo.)

As in the beginning we are also taken into the confident ponderings of Lt. Sartines who is puzzling over what appears to be a record of memberships in a secret society similar to the one proposed in Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Before going over some of the names on the list I’d like to say that the line “[t]he secret usually turned out to be a Hebrew or Arabic word that meant nothing to anyone but a mystic” made me laugh.

Either the Author or Sartines is mistaken about the parentage of Charles Radclyffe. He was not the illegitimate child of Charles II but rather his mother, Lady Mary Tudor, was a natural child of James and the actress Moll Davis. Radclyffe was raised in the Court-in-Exile of the Stuarts as a companion of James II’s son James Francis Edward, the Old Pretender who led the Fifteen, and participated in Charles Edward’s invasion, the Forty Five. He has been tied to various conspiracies and named as one of the possible Past Masters of the Priory of Sion.

Both Isaac Newton, whose reputation at this point in history (18th Century) would be analogous to the present day reputation of Einstein, and Robert Boyle are claimed as members of whatever Sartines is examining. Newton and Boyle are similar as both are respected a historical founders of modern science yet both were enthusiastic alchemists and theologians. (Always worth pointing out that Science is directly descended from Magic, same as Religion.) Johann Valentin Andrea was a German theologian who is often assumed to be the author (on his own claims) of The Alchemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, the third Rosicrucian Manifesto which was radically different than the first two in so far as it was pure allegory. Andrea also wrote the philosophical romance Christianopolis which is a similar work to Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis.

Robert Fludd was an early scientist but one whose famous contributions to Science are limited to his arguments with Kepler. Fludd was much more prolific on the occult end of things and was an active participant in the Rosicrucian conspiracy/brotherhood/joke/hoax. His works are known for their lush illustrations, which are still reproduced in many books on mysticism and alchemy, and his defense of occult traditions. His enthusiasm for Qabalah, astrology, Rosicrucianism, neo-Platonism, and alchemy led to many criticisms from his contemporaries. Kepler accused him of being a theosophist in his letters, an assertion that appears historically accurate. Another commentator claims that Fludd did a lot to free occult philosophy from Aristotalean thinking which is something I would imagine old RAW, no friend of “the Master of Those Who Know,” would appreciate.

Both members of the Gonzaga family of Northern Italy mentioned here have been posited as former Masters of the Priory. Louis, better known by the Latinate form of his name Aloysius de Gonzaga, is also a Saint of the Catholic Church. The rule of the Gonzaga family in Mantua would have come to an end only a half century before the present narrative. Connetable de Bourbon, better known as Charles III Duke of Bourbon and Montpensier, seems to have been mostly interested in soldiery during his lifetime and is naturally named as a Past Master of the Priory in many other documents.

The next name on the list, you guessed it: Frank Stallone.

Sartines goes on to ruminate on Poussin’s troublesome painting which has lately been in the possession of Louis XV.

The next chapter is fast paced as letters fly back and forth discussing Sigismundo’s whereabouts and different schemes are playing out to claim him. Signor Duccio seems like Sigismundo’s best hope of escape from Paris but Sigismundo seems to reward his efforts with a punch in the gut. I believe the “P” sending communiques to the Duc de Chartres is Pierre who seems to still be the coordinating agent for the wetwork crew. Cagliostro seems smug and to be on top of matters, an attitude and circumstance I believe doesn’t change until the end of Nature’s God. We end this week’s reading with Sigismundo in a courtyard of unsold angels, confronted by the assassins from chapter three.

From Eric: “I thought of Bach’s Goldberg Variations this week, and then I thought, no, it doesn’t seem operatic enough for all this action. Then I thought of the use of the Goldberg Variations in Silence of the Lambs.”


Oz Fritz said...

The first sentence of Part 3 Chapter 3 has qabalistic data along with a pun to suggest looking in that direction: "Marcel said Pierre was the man you wanted for wet work." The M of Marcel = mem = the element WATER. The P of Pierrre = peh and corresponds to the element FIRE. Water mixes with fire to produce steam, a motive force. "He just moves, you know, merchandise." Esoterically speaking, the "merchandise" in this case could = "the living one." Also, M + P = 120 = ON.

p. 174 Bluejay edition: "...but he believed that the mouche was sincere in claiming that it was very important to these Grand Orient cultists."

mouche = 134 = burning (Sepher Sephiroth) which suggests fire.
Grand Orient, G = gimel, the path connecting Tiphareth-6 to Kether-1 = The High Priestess - a metaphor for striving for enlightened consciousness. O = aiyn = Pan = all. These initials also suggest the Burroughs/Gysin trope, "We are here to GO, a trope Crowley previously emphasized in "Magick Without Tears."

Oz Fritz said...

p. 175 shows a little congruence with Pynchon's "V." That book has as its basis a mystery about something starting with the letter "v." Many nouns get suggested as to what v stands for and Pynchon plays on this letter throughout the book. I elaborated about this in a recent blog post.

At the bottom of the important 'strange document" given to Sartines we see:
"La Fils de la Veuve
Et in Arcadia Ego"

Wilson continues with the translation:
"Beautiful; it runs back in time to the Merovingians and then . . . 'The widow's son' – 'And in Arcadia, I . . .'
The last part then, was in code. That would not be put into writing at any time, but only communicated viva voce. Probably in a graveyard at midnight, Sartines thought sardonically."

Wilson gives the French translation of "The Widow's Son: "La Fils de la Veuve. Qabalistically, F and V are interchangeable, they both correspond to the Hebrew letter vau.
"... but only communicated viva voce." He could have said "only communicated orally," but then it wouldn't have two uses of the letter v.
"...graveyard at midnight" suggests death. "Beautiful" at the start of this passage gives a coded way for surviving death, a subject that seems an agenda for both Wilson and Pynchon."

Alias Bogus said...

In relation to the family tree I am not clear if we should take it as a list of members of a secret society, or as members of a bloodline (?) Given that it appears to go all the way back to Jesus (?) I might prefer to assume it lists a geneaology, rather than a list of (say) Grand Masters (unless a qualification for Grand Master includes belonging to the bloodline).

Sartine’s list does seem based on the list of Grand masters offered by The Priory of Sion, which certainly includes Fludd, Boyle, Newton, Radclyffe, etc.

However, the original does not appear to include the Royal Family members mentioned (I found one Stuart), interspersed with these alchemists and scientists. I guess RAW has combined these kind of lists….and added Giordano Bruno, Jacques de Molay (what does K.K.J. stand for?), Dagobert, etc.
As I recall, the HBHG geneaology of the bloodline also included the St Clair/Sinclair family, as linked to the Rosslyn Chapel, and they seem to link back to the Knights Templars (and de Molay).

If you haven’t read the book HBHG, you can find a PDF here.
You can also find the full text in the Internet Archive

PS: As far as I can see, the “punch in the gut” does not accidentally thwart Duccio’s attempt at rescue, rather (sensibly) happens to the ‘plausible’ (pretending to work for his uncle) Italians organised by Cagliostro to capture/kill him. They pursue him with knives. But I share Siggy’s confusion.

PPS In my wanderings, I discovered a reference to Horus as “the widow’s son” (after Set killed his father Osiris).
Then I found Cain described that way (conceived by Eve, before Adam existed, fathered by Samael).
And, later, that Perceval gets described that way in the Grail Legends. All very elusive.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

I am as confused as Alias Bogus about the list. Many of them are supposed grand masters of the Priory of Sion, as he says, but a few do not fit into the list. If RAW mixed together different lists, what was the point?

I also was under the impression that the man Sigismundo punched was part of the assassination plot rather than Duccio, but perhaps the ambiguity is the point -- the reader cannot be sure, any more than Sigismundo can be sure if any given person is a friend or foe.

Oz Fritz said...

I had the same impression as Tom, that the Italian ostensibly trying to help Sigismundo wasn't Duccio. Ambiguity gets introduced because both apparently work as stonecutters.

Regarding the discrepancies in the lists, my opinion is that Wilson has a different agenda apart from staying consistent with Jesus lineage conspiracy theories.

RAW appears a little more explicit with the bardo/alchemical subtext in Chapter 3. "The secret usually turned out to be a Hebrew or Arabic word that meant nothing to anyone but a mystic" (p. 174). We'll skip the mystic puns in that sentence to note that a major component of Qabalah concerns the transposition of Hebrew letters into Arabic numbers. "Sepher Sephiroth," begun by Macgregor Mathers and completed by Crowley remains the authoritative dictionary for this transposition.

Referrring to the mystery expressed by ET IN ARCADIA EGO:
"The more usual interpretation is more vague and suggests that Arcadia (linked to the Golden Age) contained secret knowledge that abolishes the fear of death (symbolized by the tomb). This represents my preferred interpretation though I suspect the "secret knowledge" has more to do with linguistics than a tenuous connection that Arcadia has to a vague Golden Age.

I've been interested in the mystery about Arcadia since becoming godfather to E.J. Gold's youngest daughter Arkady born in 1993. I wondered about the name and noted all references to Arkady and Arcadia - for instance, the latter is part of Crowley's seminal poem "Hymn to Pan" found at the beginning of "Magick in Theory and Practice." "Hymn to Pan" was recited at Crowley's funeral at his request. It begins:

"Thrill with lissome lust of the light,
O man! My man!
Come careering out of the night
Of Pan! Io Pan!
Io Pan! Io Pan! Come over the sea
From Sicily and from Arcady! ..."

Gold, by his own admission, creates labyrinths - see his book, "Life in the Labyrinth," perhaps the most explicit theoretical look at his presentation. He is the son of H.L. Gold, the editor of Galaxy Magazine in the "Golden Age" of science fiction. The elder Gold published and helped develop many of our favorite classic science fiction writers. Consequently, we find many science fiction titles in E.J. Gold's esoteric reading list, one of them being the original Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov. To greatly oversimplify, in that story a foundation gets created to preserve human culture, technology and civilization through a dark age predicted to last 30,000 years. We subsequently discover that a second hidden (occult) foundation got established to preserve psychological and psychic arts. Conflict ensues between the two foundations. A character named Arkady gets introduced, a young girl, who can act as a bridge (or the arc) between the two. To be continued ...

Alias Bogus said...

"The secret usually turned out to be a Hebrew or Arabic word that meant nothing to anyone but a mystic"
I confess, that when trying to find out about Freemasons (without joining) I came across references to The Lost Word, and it didn’t really help when trivial research led to “Jah-Bu-Lon” (יהבעלאון a mysterious Hebrew word, or whatever) *FNORD* as the chances that such an important secret would leak out into the ‘real world’, seem remote.

And although the handshakes, etc, appear to have leaked online (like many ‘secret’ conjuring tricks from the world of entertainment) I have no reason to suspect that ‘knowing’ that sort of word changes my life.

Without involvement in the magick world, I can’t help but guess that the metaphorical depth of meaning belongs to older ‘translations’ like “In the beginning was The Word”.

I have difficulty imaging my grandfather (my mother’s father) – a Royal Arch Mason – worshipping…

JAH = Jahweh, the God of the Hebrews
BUL = Baal, the ancient Canaanite fertility god associated with 'licentious rites of imitative magic'
ON = Osiris, the Ancient Egyptian god of the underworld.

…in Thirties England, but anything might prove possible. He seemed like a Christian (played organ at the local church, etc).

You can find evocative material in The Masonic Dictionary

[Upon a clay tablet found amid the ruins of an ancient city upon the Euphrates was found the words of a hymn - a hymn about a Word. The song is old, five thousand years old, and perhaps twenty-five centuries older than any Hebrew scripture, and, in any event, it antedates the final development of those writings. Shall we pause to listen?

The Word that causes the heavens on high to tremble,
The Word that makes the world below to quake,
The Word that bringeth destruction to the Annunakis,
His Word is beyond the diviner, beyond the seer!

His Word is a tempest without a rival.
The Word of the Lord the heavens cannot endure,
The Word of Enlil the earth cannot endure,
The heavens cannot endure the stretching forth of His hand,
The earth cannot endure the setting forth of His foot!]


To narrow down the search, this *missing word* seems like a name for a god (?)

[Masons are given a new name at the beginning of their initiation into the mysteries, but this name only suggests the real new name that they are to have. The real name comes only to him who overcometh and who hath eaten of the hidden manna. It is then that he receives a white stone and in the stone a "new name" written. (Rev. ii, 17.) Nor must it be thought that there are not those who have eaten of the "hidden manna" and who know their new names.]

Revelation 2:17 King James Version
17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

I grew up in show business, where one’s ‘birth name’ and ‘professional name’ can make all the difference, just as some tribes (apparently) give people a ‘street name’ and their ‘true, secret name’ (given at initiation, which, if shared, gives magical power over them).

Hard to know the relationship between success and names for Archie Leach / Cary Grant, or Bernard Herschel Schwartz / Tony Curtis, or Norma Jeane Mortenson / Marilyn Monroe.

Why did Giuseppe Balsamo change his name to Cagliostro?

Oz Fritz said...

I've been time-challenged to finish this interpretation of ET IN ARCADIA EGO. I connected it with a character named Arkady from Asimov's "Foundation" series, significant to me for sharing the name of my goddaughter, who becomes the link from the First Foundation to the Second Foundation. These foundations got set-up to preserve human knowledge and culture for a 30,000 year dark age. The two foundations need to get peacefully connected in order to preserve the experiment. So Arkady becomes both the arc that connects the two and a symbol for the ark that preserves humanity as in Noah's Ark. The Ark of the Covenant served as the vessel to preserve the Hebrew's sacred relics when wandering in the desert for 40 years before finding the Promised Land (whatsa matter, couldn't they have asked for directions??) in that fabled story even bigger than Star Wars. Thus arc/ark represent a homonym that means a connection between two things through a difficult period.

In the "Book of Thoth," Crowley predicted an imminent 500 year period of Dark Ages. (In private correspondence, he also predicted the 1960's would be the decade that would understand and popularize his writings; thank-you The Beatles among others) I know other prognosticators predicating an impending Dark Ages. Perhaps we entered them almost 20 years ago with 9/11 or maybe slightly earlier when Clinton got impeached for the improper use of a cigar and lying about it? The Trump dystopia certainly seems no exception to these predictions. (A little Yankee-centric I admit). The science fiction classic, "A Canticle for Leibowitz," by Walter Miller has a plot concerned with preserving science and technology through a post-nuclear holocaust period. It also appears on E. J. Gold's reading list.

Oz Fritz said...

RAW writes, in part, about the painting title ET IN ARCADIA EGO: "... and suggests that Arcadia (linked to the Golden Age) contained secret knowledge that abolishes the fear of death (symbolized by the tomb)" (p.177). I suggest this secret knowledge can get seen through looking at the language and applying Qabalah. This title, in my opinion, represents an arc/ark through death. Convert most of the letters in the first two words, ET IN, into some of their qabalistic correspondences: E = The Star tarot card; T could = Teth = Horus = the Lust tarot card depicting Babalon (the human aspect of Binah) taming the beast or could = Tau = the cross = Spirit = The Universe Tarot card. IN - I = the ego of identity, but not the ego of the lower circuits Freud popularized as the common interpretation of that word, rather the I created by the alchemical application of the unified will of circuits 5 - 8 in Leary's model. N = Nun = the Death tarot card. ET IN ARCADIA EGO - Leary called C5-8 the extraterrestrial (ET) circuits, you can read "The Game of Life" to find out why. The I goes into death, N, then ARCADIA, then EGO - a new life. In other words, this phrase suggests an arc/ark from one life through death to another life. I don't know about abolish, but some knowledge and experiential proof of this would seem to greatly reduce the fear of death.

RAW and E.J. Gold were friends. They appeared on a few panels together at a Fourth Way convention in San Francisco in 1980. Gold appears a leading investigator in the field of death and dying credited with writing at least two Western interpretations of "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" - "The American Book of the Dead" and "The Lazy Man's Guide to Death and Dying," the latter featuring an Introduction by Robert Anton Wilson.

This avenue leads down a convoluted rabbit hole to Wonderland. One more quick example: "The Grand Orient has a real (italicized in the book) secret ..." (p. 177). EGO - E = The Star; GO = Grand Orient. The chapter ends with he sentence "Some bastard just escaped from the Bastille last night." In my view, also saying: someone just escaped from the tyranny and prison of death. Death = everyone's "last night."

This material evidence shows that RAW rates highly as a mind blowing genius of epic proportions! Certainly deserving a tell a vision show.

This "certain secret knowledge" continues into the next chapter, but I only have so much time.

Rarebit Fiend said...

Oz- thank you for all of your analysis. I really appreciated reading it last week even if I didn't respond. I always do. School has been busy.

everyone- I did try to amend my mistake concerning Duccio in this week's post.

Alias- Masonry varies from state to state, let alone continent to continent, but the word I was given was not JaBuLon. I haven't seen it online, I've never looked that hard, and have only read it in one book. I'm sure it is well known but I haven't been looking.

Rarebit Fiend said...

Oz- I read "A Canticle for Leibowitz" the week after the election. I felt like it was a unique time in my life where the possibility of nuclear war was more real than it ever had been before and I could experience the book like earlier readers. I also read Leigh Brackett's "The Long Tomorrow" which deals with similar themes- I enjoyed it more though!

Crowley's warning about the forties certainly seemed true enough. The horsemen have always been riding, but I don't think anyone could fault Crowley/Aiwaz for proclaiming the new Aeon one of blood and terror.