Friday, January 26, 2007
FIRE: PERSEPHONE IN THE HOT SEAT
Male Geometry #4, Holly Crawford
You have been fasting for ten.
Venus entered the LAB with a vengeance on the eve of your birthday, putting...
"Persephone in the Hot Seat"
And so you must prepare for the unexpected. You are inside the nest of the Phoenix, wrapped in your signature black dress with red spiral trim, a Selma Karaka original structured for volume through building strips of fabric into a cone shaped spiral.
Oh, to be the calm center of the cyclone! This has been the vision of your emergence ever since you first gazed upon this dress – to enter through the spiral in which ascending transmutes into descending and descending transmutes into ascending.
You are feeling exquisitely light, not quite human, yet the darkness of the dress, the reflecting satin sheets (a birthday gift from Demeter!), is a grounding force. You feel yourself contained in a dynamic that feels new. Could this be Heaven & Earth converging into the hieros gamos? Hermes would know! You say a prayer to this ancient god, patron of alchemy.
This is the miracle of the alchemical process of writing while fasting. It brings all the dark spirit out of the body onto the rectangular geometry of the page. Through all these years you have not forgotten the levity of Manly P. Hall’s pronouncement: “artists must swallow themselves.”
In the nest you discover the source of this quote, an audiotape, The Golden Chain of Homer that Binds Heaven and Earth. This was the single source of knowledge that propelled you through 18 years of the process of self-devouring. The tape contains ancient knowledge you will carry to your grave.
You put it in the tape recorder and turn it on. You have heard it many times. The ominous words of the great teacher launched you on your journey by connecting you to an ancient tradition. The tape resurfaced as you prepared for FIRE. Its presence in the LAB connects the immediate present to your past and future. You turn it on precisely to the place where it had been stopped and record the words:
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER. Any art or science that is commercialized is set back a thousand years at least. It cannot escape into its own integrities. Therefore, prior to the Alexandrian period, it seems that the transforming of base metals was regarded as a literal thing, and it was in Alexandria that this entire concept was made metaphysical and the alchemist became an alchemistical philosopher one in whose nature the transformations were of a higher and exalted nature. Yoga contains a chemistry and alchemy of discipline within the body. India and Chinese traded in Alexandria; there is no doubt that the philosophies of Alexandria were influenced by Buddhism and Yoga. If we take Platonism or Neo-Platonism, or the Hermetic science, and impose a yogic structure upon it, then we have exactly what the ancient symbols of alchemy tell us -- namely that the entire system was founded upon a process of unfolding the potentials in the individual. Yoga became a term in the East and alchemy became its term in the West. They all seem to have been nourished by the same general content and belief. Meaning there was a series of steps in which man moved upward from the Earth into the abode of the deities. In alchemy the abode of the deities would be in man himself.
Fasting is a literal self-devouring. Recording the process through writing – well, that is your specialty. The purification of the body through the transmutation of dark matter into light – the saints knew the importance of fasting to reach the union with the divine but they weren’t alchemists…
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER: All true alchemy, they say, were natural things that were called the prima material, the base substance of everything. And in this base substance is contained everything else. There is a dark earth that is matter and there is a regenerated, redeemed dark earth that is soul power. There is a darkness that is the darkness of ignorance and there is the supreme darkness in which all things of importance are concealed in the profane. There are many levels and conditions of the regeneration of substances but all these regenerations have to take place within the substance itself.
A YOUNG WOMAN IN WHITE GUIDING HER BOYFRIEND TO THE PRESS RELEASE ON THE DOOR. “ I JUST WANT TO SHOW YOU SOMETHING,” SHE SAYS. HE PULLS AWAY, YELLING: “I’M LEAVING NOW!” SHE SAYS: “I WANT TO GET YOU INVOLVED IN ART.” AND THEY ARE GONE.
Venus seems unruly in her passions when, in fact, she is quite harmonious in her actions. We know this from her perfectly geometrical orbit. Your entire process of embarking on The Alchemy of Love was a very orderly method of transmuting the chaotic passions. In this manner your personal passage both invoked and reflected the resurrection of the ancient Sky Goddess into the collective consciousness.
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER. The mystery cannot be communicated; it can only be experienced. The answer has to lie within; in as much as man is locked within a bottle and everything that is necessary for his survival is within that bottle and he must use his own ways of reducing his materialistic pressures and releasing his spiritual convictions and overtones. So we have in the Hermetic philosophy this concept that all things arise within the forms in which they are generated. All things existing have the seeds within themselves for the perpetuation of their material kind and they also have within themselves the hermetic seed of life by means of which all forms less than perfection can be gradually brought to perfection by letting this seed to grow.
In 1989, you were launched into the process during your Venus Return following Inanna’s Descent in Aquarius. You had spent all your free time studying the ancient art of alchemy in the library of the Philosophical Research Society, within walking distance of your Los Feliz apartment. So, when Hermes appeared during your fast in the person of a mercurial playwright and actor, you SURRENDERED to the process of transforming Eros on the page. The outcome of this erotic adventure was your reality novel, Wolf in the Bottle.
In early 1998, during your next Venus Return following the Descent of Venus, Hermes guided you on a path of professional critic. In 2006, you tracked the backward motion of Venus in Southern Chile, where you wrote the book preparing for the transition for this emergence. On January 20, in the ceremony honoring the first station of Venus with the Moon since her rise from 60 days in the Underworld, you were led out of the archetype of Persephone and into that of Oh Mighty Queen.
For 17 years you have been the priestess and scribe tracking the passage of Inanna on her journey of descent and ascent from Underground. Today, January 26, the LAB is the temple where you bring this knowledge to the public.
The Moon is in gentle Taurus today, the sign of the physical expression of Venus. You have calmed down from the intense infusion of FIRE on your birthday and the celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the hieros gamos cosmology on January 23. It is a day for grounding and reflection.
YOUNG WOMAN AT THE WINDOW: Obviously it is some kind of PR stint.
BUSINESSMAN READING THE PRESS RELEASE: She is an astrologist.
Within the installation you have created a solar system. The Cosmic Tree is at its Center, in keeping with the Mayan belief of the Tree of Life at the Galactic Center. The trunk of the tree consists of three intertwined roots. The base is covered with ashes.
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER: The human soul is a tree with its seed in the heart which grows from within and finally becomes the basis of the tree of all knowledge and all wisdom which in the Book of Revelation for the healing of the nations.
The skull in the center of the tree branches is the sun, the dying ego eclipsed by the silver crescent moon. The tree so carefully cultivated by your mother is dead. “Nothing can bring that tree back to life,” she said when you asked her if you could use it for FIRE.
Persephone in her bonnet is dangling in a black balloon from the tree. She is ascending to the Crescent Moon with the Beauty Elixir. The Elixir bottle sits beside the champagne glass before the symbol of Venus created in sea salt. The Venus candle is in the center of the circle. Beside it, the sparkling champagne glass borders the ashes of your past, the broken red candles representing your wounded animus. The skull shaped mound of paraffin behind it is your old skin, the remnants of skin purifying treatment performed under the dark moon.
FROM THE STREET: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?
The seed is contained in the pomegranate, placed beside the symbol of Venus.
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER. The seed of the Great Mystery is in each person. Transmutation is therefore a transformation from the person’s own experience.
You are in the center of the Phoenix nest more relaxed and calm than you have ever felt in your life. You began the Great Work in 1989. Eighteen years of transforming the lust of Venus through alchemy and the process is now automatic. Symbols guide you through.
Tonight, as you welcome Inanna into the Great Work, you will draw the Mercury symbol in Salt to honor the role of the patron of alchemy through FIRE.
The deity Hermes was the son of Zeus. He was originally a deity of Agriculture and fertility but in the course of the rise of Greek culture, he rose to the position of messenger of the gods. As such he is generally depicted with wings on his heels, a winged helmet and carrying a Caduceus, a symbol today of the medical profession. Hermes, one of the more benevolent deities, was associated with the principle of knowledge, also the communication of messages from the heavenly worlds to the abodes of mortals.
When the Romans dominated the area, they knew Hermes as Mercury, a god of swiftness and messages and the ability to read the human mind.…Egyptians had Hermes as Toth, the god of writing. A deity known under three names was to become a tremendously important psychological force in what we term today mysticism.
Two nights ago when the Moon entered Aires and the flame started burning out of control, you became concerned about the scheduling of the Experiment. Typically you engage in this process from start to finish, with extreme focus on each element until it switches to the next. You have perfected the Great Work so that an alchemical transformation takes place almost instantaneously; it used to take months, even years! There is always the danger of bad timing -- when the element can’t be introduced into the experiment because the planetary influence is not powerful enough. Yet, this was not the problem here.
FIRE entered with a vengeance.
In fact, intensity with which Inanna stepped through the sparks into FLAME, overrunning Persephone along the way, made you apprehensive. Entering the calm center of the Taurus Moon, you understand that your body will carry through the transformation for you; the Experiment will carry you to ever-higher levels but the key to performing it in public is to use yourself as a channel to bring the Great Work to the collective consciousness.
There is a meaningful connection in this particular experiment between the alchemist who typically performs the Great Work in private and the pedestrian who acknowledges the experiment with curiosity as they pass by. It is important to keep in mind that the alchemists, in their struggle to perfect on nature, the alchemists were performing the Great Work for the collective good. In this sense too, you are carrying on the alchemical tradition of self-devouring through FIRE as you honor the 20th century tradition of performance art. The two converge within the tight container of the black box of the LAB.
QUESTIONS FROM THE STREET:
WHAT IS SHE DOING?
DOES SHE LIVE HERE?
Oh, the mystery! The alchemical art that you carried on in secret is now reaching the people. They receive the gift at any level they are able. They have never seen Persephone in the flesh. They don’t recognize the nest of the Phoenix. But they are glimpsing at your world in which these archetypes are all too real.
WHO ARE YOU?
You never identified with Persephone and you might not be identifying with her now if all her symbols hadn’t been sent your way and you had not developed a literary style of engaging symbol with a depth providing access to a myth on numerous levels. You refused to see your own vulnerability, your own potential of having your light extinguished by her tale.
The only goddess you ever wanted to identify with was Inanna, Oh Mighty Queen of Heaven & Earth. Yet it was Persephone who grounded you all these years. You received numerous signs of her importance in your life during the journey up to Seattle to retrieve the boxes of Champagne Tango, the novel you celebrate here today, the novel born from your identification with Inanna.
On the way up to Seattle, you stopped at a country fair and visited the many booths of homemade objects. At one table there was a group of handmade dolls. You were so drawn to their purity, the pressed innocence. What would you do with her? “Put your name on it and give it to your mother,” the woman said. You looked the heart of the bodice of the doll: it had your name written in script.
The doll now sits at the foot of the Phoenix nest. PERSEPHONE IS IN THE HOT SEAT, a child’s red chair with cellophane on its seat that appears to be flaming from the floodlights.
The astrologer Demetra George interprets multiple dimensions of the feminine in the astrological chart by reading the asteroid energies through their signs and positioning with other planets in the chart. While giving you a cup of herbal tea, she pointed to Persephone in your chart, positioned in Gemini, the archetypal Hermes who rules alchemy. She indicated its positioning in a Yod with your Aries ascendant and Neptune/Jupiter conjunction in Scorpio – the enigmatic lover. Then she directed your attention to the large painting of Persephone with child behind you.
You felt a surging in your heart when you gazed upon the painting. “She is carrying a child.” Demetra explained: “The child is the creative product of the Underworld experience.”
You nodded. Even then you understood about the Seed. You reached into your handbag and removed your novel, Champagne Tango, and signed it for her. She accepted the gift with a smile.
When you returned to your car, you greeted the doll by name: Persephone. You placed her in a box with Champagne Tango in her arms and sent the package to your mother for Mother’s Day.
“She looks just like you!” your mother exclaimed.
Persephone sits in the HOT SEAT at the foot of the Nest of the Phoenix. In her arms she is holding Champagne Tango. The book covers her face. This is familiar to you and you remember with a shock the photo you have of MP holding Champagne Tango over her face.
And now you write the myth for your time, as Homer did in his time. Hermes reminds you of the critical role of the birth in a voice channeled through Manley P. Hall. You turn on the tape recorder again at a critical passage.
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER. Homer’s Chain is a series of internal steps by which the individual ascends to the final union with the divine. It was represented in the final philosophy with the egg and the embryo. The last change comes when the child is born. The nine months of gestation and the final month of birth.
The birth has to be gestated. You received a message of the dangers of delivery before its time. An artist giving birth to an egg and then destroying it…her life shattering around her as a reflection.
The Blog-Novel is the birth following the gestation that began in March 2006, with the Return of Venus to her position at your birth. But it couldn’t be written until Saturn deemed it timely. You got the message with a Christmas gift of a golden pocket watch in a Tiffany box.
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER: Saturn was the gardener who had to take care of the garden of the soul. He had to weed it and water it. He had to protect it against all forms of invasion. He had to make certain it was not infected. Saturn is also the symbol of Karma, the symbol of repentance and repayment, the symbol of the inevitable operation of cause and effect. Therefore it is Saturn who protects the growth of the seed. He surrounds it with protecting forms; he permits it to be discovered only by the pure of heart. He also in guarding it, must if necessary take out the weeds that have tried to gather there. The weeds being false doctrines, false concepts of life that tried to drive out the true wisdom.
Persephone’s identity is replaced by that of Inanna, who was not raped by Pluto and kidnapped into his domain, but consciously made the choice to enter the Underworld, so that she may know and transform herself from Princess into Oh Mighty Queen.
A mature couple in the window loudly proclaiming;
IS SHE REAL?
You move your arm.
YES SHE IS!
THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER. The growth of the seed in the ground which becomes nutrition and we become part of the growth -- the serpent eating its own tail. It is one living thing after another surviving -- the dependence of life upon life. Out of this interdependence -- the constant feeding of life upon life -- helps all creatures to develop and increase, step by step, until they increase their own perfection.
When the time comes that we have fully blossomed, when we become a cosmic force then at that moment there will burst from us a new solar system, vaster and than anything previously known. We will become a new center of life.
Tomorrow you will arrange for Inanna to be the center of this new solar system. She has arrived with all her fiery intensity and you want to honor her presence and make her feel at home.
A rapping at the window. Holly has arrived with four-dozen roses. One red, the other is flame and two dying bunches in pink, to honor Persephone and her role in this alchemical experiment. Hail Persephone!
Holly places the roses on the bed of the Phoenix: “ Pink is innocent but they are dying. And the red and flame are new.”
Farewell Persephone. Hail Inanna.
Holly is now sitting on the Nest of the Phoenix. “You need a balance between the two.”
GOLDEN CHAIN OF HOMER: There is no creature in which the seed of perfection is not present. The seed is the thing that lives and all the rest is a protection or husk around the seed. It is the seed that transmits life from generation to generation. It is the seed within which is the final transformer of all things. For everything has within its own locked nature, the secret and means of its own ultimate perfection. Everything that exists is destined to be perfect. It is destined to fulfill the reason for itself but it cannot know the reason for itself until it perfects itself and all the experiences of life that have a tendency to advance the good deed – this good deed grows by devouring itself. It lives off of itself. Every form of growth lives off of itself. Love lives off of itself. It lives not because of its attachments or because of its associations. It grows within itself and it grows by devouring the lesser aspects of itself as it ascends. This is the food chain as it applies to life in nature.