Internet Harpies!

HARPIES

 

HARPIES!
BY
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

The ancient Greek myths still hold true today, as is evident to anyone who becomes familiar with them and takes a good look around. I noticed the appearance of Harpies in early Internet forums and in the open publishing precincts of the literary world.

Harpies are variously described in the ancient literature as half-birds, half-maidens, sometimes as carrion-eating vultures with women”s faces – vultures, incidentally, are incredibly beautiful in flight, yet have a loathsome appearance associated with their beneficial function on the ground. Not all classical representations of Harpies are ugly, yet all are invariably weird. Harpies appeared with storms that caused men to disappear from the face of the earth. With much help from poets, they gained the reputation for being terrible, man-hating wind bags whose main endeavor is to blow men away. Wherefore Harpies naturally hate their long-winded competition – inspired authors – and are mortal enemies of great literature.

As wind-spirits, Harpies have also been associated with the ancient conviction that ghosts impregnate mares; in that event, fleet-footed horses are born instead of human-bird creatures – Harpies use their equine offspring to spread their mischief throughout the world. Yes, spreading mischief is the main occupation of Harpies. Their very name implies “snatchers”. They instinctively endeavor to steal the spirit of men, to suck the breath out of them, to leave them for dead!

We find Harpies in poems about the Argonauts. Hesiod reports that the miserable old king Phineus was blinded by bright Helios because Phineus preferred a long life to eyesight. Another account relates that Phineus had two children by Cleopatra, daughter of the North Wind. When Cleopatra died, Phineus remarried, and his new wife put him up to blinding her new stepchildren. As punishment for that deed, Zeus gave him the choice between death and blindness. In any case, Phineus chose blindness, which angered Helios so much that he sicked the Harpies on him. They snatched up or befouled his food, so that he nearly died of hunger. Well, the Argonauts arrived on the scene and made a deal with Phineus: they would get rid of the Harpies for him, provided that he showed them how to reach their destination – those who cannot see have the gift of prophecy, while those who can see cannot find their way. Phineus gave them a map and told them how to get through the Clashing Rocks. The Argonauts made good their word, killing many Harpies, and banishing others to the Strophades Islands, where they are bound by oath to forever remain. Vergil relates the encounter of Aeneas and his crew with the Harpies there:

It was on the shores of the Strophades first I landed
The Strophades–as the Greeks call them–are islands
In the great Ionian sea and there the appalling Celaeno
And the rest of the Harpies have lived since the house of Phineus
Was closed against them and they were driven by fear
From the tables where they had gorged themselves in the past.
No more disgusting monster nor plague more cruel
Nor agent of heaven”s anger more dire than these
Was ever thrust up from the Stygian waters.
They were birds with the features of young girls, their droppings
Were utterly nauseous, their hands had talons,
Their faces eternally pinched and pale with hunger.
Here we made landfall and when we entered the harbor
We saw rich herds of cattle everywhere
At graze about the plains and goats at pasture
With none to guard them, so we rushed upon them
Weapons in hand, and called upon the gods,
Even great Jove himself, to share our plunder.
Then we spread seats along the curving shore
And addressed ourselves to a delicious banquet.
But suddenly with a horrifying swoop
Down from the mountain eyries stooped the Harpies
With a great clattering of wings and ripped
The feast in fragments and fouled everything
With their filthy contact–they stank revoltingly,
And screeched appallingly–So once again
We set our tables, moved our altars and kindled
Their fires in a deep recess hidden beneath
An overhang of rock and hedged in by trees
But once again, from a different quarter of sky,
The raucous flock swooped down from their hidden lairs
And fluttered around their prey with their hooked claws
And fouled the feast with their mouths. Then I commanded
My comrades to take up arms: we must wage war
On the loathsome tribe. Obedient to my order
They unsheathed their swords, hiding them in the grass,
And covered up their shields. Then, when the sound
Of their swooping wings was heard along the shore
Mineus blew a trumpet blast from his lookout
High on a rock. My comrades charged and engaged
In a new form of battle–trying to wound
These disgusting birds of the sea. But however hard
They struck they could not even mark their feathers
Nor inflict wounds on their backs–they simply escaped
By soaring quickly into the sky and leaving
Half-eaten food and a trail of filth behind.
But one of them, Celaeno, perched on a spur
Of rock, and spoke–a prophetess of woe.
”You have slaughtered our cattle, you have felled our bullocks–
Do you mean to make war to justify your deeds,
True kindred of Laomedon? To make war
And drive us Harpies, blameless as we are
From our ancestral home? Listen to me!
Take heed of my words and fix them in your minds!
The prophecy the Almighty Father Jove
Imparted to Phoebus Apollo and he, Apollo,
Imparted it to me, chief of the Harpies,
And now it is mine to impart the words to you,
Your course is set for Italy. Summon the winds,
They shall obey, to Italy you shall go,
You shall be granted entry to a harbor.
But you shall not put one stone upon another
To encircle your fated city with its walls
Before the utmost pangs of ravenous hunger
Force you to gnaw at and wolf your very tables
In payment of your brutal assault upon us!”
So saying she flew off and swiftly fled
Into the wood. My comrades” blood went cold
With sudden dread. They had no more heart to fight
But bid me sue for peace with prayer and vows–
Whether these creatures were goddesses indeed
Or vile and disgusting birds….”

Mind you, in Vergil’s account the Harpies had been minding their own business on their island and merely retaliated for Aeneas” offensive landing. In any event, the Harpies” oath to stay on their own island apparently did not bind them fast in respect to brilliant authors. I happen to know that the Harpies are flitting all over the literary world today, doing all the damage they can do to brilliant authors. I just encountered one. She is the foster child of a Magpie.

Of course the Magpie family is famous for generating chatterboxes who do not know what they are talking about, hence they fill the world up with their blather. Magpies are relatively harmless, however, and many of them become fine authors. After all, one has to start somewhere, and practice makes perfect. When frustrated by their own failures, Magpies often attempt to become literary critics in order to feel better about themselves: we find them constantly criticizing other writers on subjects such as spelling, punctuation, grammar, much of which they are rather bad at themselves. Many of the writers they presume to teach have already become chattering critics on their own, without any help at all from the Magpie family. Not much harm is done, however, as the growth of the Magpie family merely provides a mediocre platform for great artists to look down upon and to write occasional caustic commentary on.

Magpies are easily shooed away, but not Harpies. A Harpy perched in the comment facility on the edge of my web nest at an open publishing site. Hers was not a courtesy call – Harpies could care less about common courtesy. I gave her a second chance to be polite, but to no avail. I clicked on the name she left, went to her nest, found myself reading a story about two lesbians in a shower, left a polite comment, and flew back to my nest. I figured this would provide her with an opportunity to behave hospitably. But no, she returned again and again to my territory to harp one critical cliché after another, much of it Magpie chatter learned from her foster mother. But her own nest was an appalling mess, and, despite the flattering comment I had left there, she proceeded to announce to my guests that I was a bad housekeeper. Well, since I could not delete her comments, I could not clean up the mess. Here is a typical comment, insulting not only me but my guests as well since she implied they were too stupid to judge my writing for themselves:

ATTENTION READERS! ATTENTION READERS! This author is LOUSY and does not know what he is talking about. He is a wind bag, a writing machine. Do not bother to subscribe to or to read him.

She did not stop there: that particular aspersion continued for 200 more words, and it became more foul-mouthed as she went along. She was following her mythological instinct as she tried to foul the food I had set out for my guests. What she hated most of all was my free speech. If she had had her way, she would have snatched away my free spirit and smothered, it rather than mothered it like good women I know are wont to do.

Mind you, however, that I did not really mind her behavior after awhile, and I even missed her when she did not come around – I feared she had fallen ill, and would go over to her nest to leave a comment or two. When she showed up yet again and fouled my nest with her droppings, I eventually learned to use them grist for the literary mill. As a matter of fact, her leavings turned out to be pretty good fertilizer. Other Harpies began to show up at my nest, increasing traffic, then decent people flocked in to curse them. I learned to greet them all with a curse – traffic actually thrives on curses! Notwithstanding the derogatory comments left behind, the defamed artist intuitively knows that his underlying works are brilliant. Like the noble statue covered with pigeon droppings in the public square, his works shine beneath the leavings of fleeting flocks of Harpies.

But I must say nothing more on this subject, for if the whole secret got out, the Harpies might get wise and take an oath to never return again to my shining precincts.

E

Source Quoted:

THE AENEID, Transl. Patric Dickinson, NY: Mentor, 1961

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Sisyphus (a play in progress)


APXH


SISYPHUS:

My name is Sisyphus.

If it were not for me,

Mortals would have nothing

To talk about at all.

I am responsible

For the apparent rise

Of the Sun –

They give me no credit

For its fall!

I am not deaf to the gossip

About me,

And my shameless stone.

An author said of late

That I lead

An entirely futile life,

A life of one absurd revolution

After another,

Instead of doing

What any man

In his right mind

Would surely do,

If only he knew

What was rolling

Down the mountain –

Free himself,

Forthwith and forever,

From Fate!

Not that he would

If he could.

WE:

To what do we

Owe your appearance?

SISYPHUS:

People barely know themselves –

I periodically enlighten them.

WE:

Why?

SISYPHUS:

Why?

Because people

Must be stoned –

They have rocks for heads.

And I am duty bound

By obedience to myself,

As president of myself,

To trick the inmates

Of this perverse,

Rolling round house,

Into shattering their stones,

To free themselves

From the concatenations

Of their foolhardiness.

Wherefore I am named Sisyphus,

Or Se-sophos,

Meaning, Very Wise,

WE:

Tell us Sisyphus,

Where did you get

Your shining stone?

SISYPHUS:

Dragonessa Medusa,

Supreme female wisdom,

Made my marvelous mirror.

WE:

We see the light,

But are not enlightened.

Pray tell, then,

What have you done

For us lately?

SISYPHUS:

I so loved the world

That I created the gods.

WE:

Blasphemy!

Vanity!

Impiety!

Perjury!

Absurdity!

Will Sisyphus,

Who surpasses

All mortals

In intelligence,

Who is shrewdest

In contrivances,

Like a god,

Never learn

From the gods,

That he is merely

A mortal man?

Blasphemy!

He uses god’s power to destroy god.

Vanity!

He names god to flatter himself.

Impiety!

He exalts ungodly over godly.

Perjury!

He lies against his own law.

Absurdity!

What could be more absurd?

CRITIAS:

Will you stand by silently, Sisyphus,

Confronted here as you are

By these capital charges?

SISYPHUS:

I have already said quite enough

To sufficiently incriminate myself.

CRITIAS:

And I, Critias,

Am duty bound

To rid the community

Of deception,

Whether the community

Likes lucidity or not.

SISYPHUS:

Then you have

Multitudes to condemn.

So many heads must roll.

Streets must run red

With blood gushing forth

From necks gaping

On every corner.

Few are left standing

In the end,

When people thirst

For higher power.

WE:

Be gone, Critias!

We need no bloody tyrant

To slake our thirst

For aristocratic blood.

We are equal under our law,

By, for, and of the people.

CRITIAS:

What greater tyranny can there be

Than democracy over noble virtue?

A noble character is more credible

Than any law commonly considered,

For no mere talker may overcome it.

Many severed heads of big talkers

Are duly attached to our rostrum.

WE:

Aristocratic heads,

For the most part,

Hang from your rostrum!

We each are cattle

Humbled by our numbers.

Noble virtue shall not overcome

The dignity of our laws,

Or the grace of our god,

Nor shall big talkers!

Now this sophisticate, Sisyphus.

Claims to have so loved the world

That he created even the One God,

Thus he vainly puts his cause

Before the First Cause.

Would you plead his case?

CRITIAS:

If Sisyphus speaks truly,

That he created the gods,

He created tyrants over fools –

I prefer several to one –

And you should thank him

For exposing the truth

About your divine idiocy.

Gods,

States,

Laws,

All tyrants,

Yet you call me tyrant!

I fear not democracy,

For if gods, states, and laws

Are human creations,

They are no match

For the learned man.

WE:

A tyrant and a sophist!

What more could we ask for

In a big talker

Who claims nobility

Instead of divinity?

If only he were a demagogue,

We might call ourselves free!

CRITIAS:

Your political order is your true religion,

And your demagogue its talking idol.

SISYPHUS:

I created the gods

Then the one and only god –

And that was a restoration.

CRITIAS:

Thus you speak

To further incriminate yourself,

The self-created god,

To whom I put this question,

If you dare to answer:

Why were the gods created?

SISYPHUS:

There was a time when the life of all men

Was unordered, bestial, the slave of force:

There was no reward for the virtuous;

There was no punishment for the wicked.

So men devised laws of retribution,

That Justice might be their great dictator,

Having arrogance as its servile slave,

And if anyone sinned, he was punished.

Since the laws now forbade them to commit

Their usual crimes out in the open,

They began to commit them secretly.

A very wise and clever man appeared,

And for love of man he invented fear

Of the gods, that mortals might have on hand

Useful means of frightening the wicked

If in secret they did or thought of some

Evil deed. And therefore he introduced

The Divine, saying that there is a god

Flourishing with immortal life, hearing,

And seeing with his mind, and thinking of

Everything and caring about these things,

And having divine nature, who will hear

Everything said among mortals, and will

Be able to see well all that is done.

If one secretly plans something evil,

He will never escape the gods in this,

For they have surpassing intelligence.

Together with these words he introduced

The most pleasant of teachings heard by men,

Covering up the truth with false theory,

He said the gods dwelt in remote places,

Out of reach of the understanding of

Mere earthly mortals, where he could therefore

Use gods to frighten men out of their wits,

And convince them hard life has its rewards

And its punishments in a hereafter,

As dictated from those upper regions,

Where they saw lightning and heard dread thunder,

Beheld the star-faced body of heaven,

The beautiful embroidery of Time –

The skilled craftsman who brought forth the bright mass

Of Sun, and wet shower upon the Earth.

With many fears did he surround mankind,

Through which he established the deity

In a fitting place with his argument,

And thus he quenched lawlessness among men.

For the first time mortals were persuaded,

To believe in a high race of deities.

CRITIAS:

May I presume that this man

Is none other than you, Sisyphus,

Who have laid claim to creating the gods?

SISYPHUS:

You may so presume.

CRITIAS:

I cannot say that I blame you,

At least not for the tyranny,

But I question your devices,

For gods created by men are deceptions

Which can be destroyed by wise men.

SISYPHUS:

But I am the wisest of all men,

Surpassing all mortals in intelligence,

Shrewdest in contrivances,

Like a god, as it were.

CRITIAS:

It is best that a real tyrant rule directly,

By virtue of truth,

Than for people to be deceived

By false representation.

WE:

Death to Critias! Death to Critias! Death to Critias!

As for you Sisyphus,

Your sophistry rolls over our heads,

Day by day,

Just to sink into night,

Again and again.

Why raise our hopes so highly?

To cruelly let us down?

What have we done

To deserve this stoning

Unto death?

Have you no shame?

Death to Sisyphus! Death to Sisyphus! Death to Sisyphus!

SISYPHUS:

Your death sentence is most condign,

For without the light of Day,

You would have no Apollo

Attending your far-flung future.

WE:

But what of Night?

And all that Darkness implies?

SISYPHUS:

A living thing that needs the light

Must rest at night,

Lest its yearning

give it cause for burning.

WE:

But we are afraid of the dark.

SISYPHUS:

Wherefore I gave you gods

To mask Chaos with Cosmos,

That you might understand

One another and be secure

In your numbers, as One.

Have you forgotten so soon?

WE:

Threefold Goddess

Rose from Chaos,

Dressed in Earth,

Sea, and Night.

Black-winged Night,

Mother of Mystery,

Courted by Wind,

Laid a Silver Egg

In the Womb of Darkness,

Hence Love was hatched.

To move the Cosmos.

Now Darkness lives

Under Earth,

And Night resides

In the West.

When Day retires,

Night appears

In her chariot,

Drawn by steeds

Good and Evil,

With Starry Court in train.

She leads the Twins,

Death and Sleep –

Night saved Sleep from Death,

And Mighty Zeus,

In awe of Night,

Dared not intervene.

Ambivalent Night,

Frightening friend,

Hides guilt and innocence,

Conceals stolen valuables,

Covers lover’s charms,

Fosters fear and hope,

Turns sticks into snakes,

Logs into monsters,

Monsters into gods.

Mother’s introspection,

Provokes vigilance,

And prepares us for

The surprises of

The Enlightening Dawn.

SISYPHUS:

Hence my cue,

The Crowing Cock.

What of the Fateful Sisters

Dwelling well in the cave

Nearby the Moon?

WE:

Clotho who spins,

Lachesis who draws,

Atropos who cuts,

By the light

Of the Silvery Moon,

Tell us please,

Whose face among us all

Is the most beautiful?

processing….

The Medusa Hairdo Revived

Medusa 1

THE MEDUSA HAIRDO

BY DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

“Medusa loved to feel the serpents which served for hair curled close to her neck and dangling down her back, but with their heads raised to form an impressive bang over her forehead – in what has since become the fashionable style at Rome. And when she used a comb, their poison would flow freely,” wrote the poet Lucan.

Medusa 2

Medusa, as we know so well, could turn anything into stone with a mere glance. “No living creature, in fact, could bear to look at that face, not even the serpents on her head; which explains why they curled back from her forehead.”

Medusa 6

Nero himself adopted the Medusa Hairdo. Maybe the Medusa Hairdo will become the rage again in our own time if we can find a suitable model – how about Sharon Stone? After all, Elizabeth Taylor’s adoption of ancient Egyptian garb and cosmetics was all the rage at one point time – a girl could not wear too much blue eye shadow.

Muslim women could drop the veil if the Medusa Hairdo were effectively styled. That would suit two prehistoric cosmetic purposes: disguise the creature oft preyed upon; frighten away would-be attackers; turning them into stone would no doubt suffice. Cosmetic camouflage became ritualized hence we have social camouflage; stereotypical facial characteristics emerge as images of beauty, and vary over time. Perhaps the “stony look” we observe in some men and women today is a vestige of the Roman Medusa Do.

Women employ cosmetics to put their cosmos in order. The cosmetic art of kosmetikos was not only a matter of camouflage and adornment but was a medical art as well. Cosmetics had hygienic uses and were employed as medicines for disease, such as the eye paint used by Egyptians to protect their eyes from a disease caused by exposure to the Sun. Cleopatra wrote a book about alchemical cosmetics. And of course there are psychological advantages to putting on one’s face or war paint: a woman feels more beautiful and secure. However, “painting her eyes and arranging her hair” did not save Jezebel from her fate, as we see in 2 Kings 9:30.

All sorts of substances were used. For example, pomades for damaged hair were made of sheep and bear grease; hellebore and pepper mixed with rat’s heads and excrement; bone marrow of the deer; and so on. As for beauty, coiffures for men and women even in prehistorical times included permanent waving and bleaching – urine was used as bleach.

Medusa 3

The Romans set the standard for civilized elegance with their attitude towards hygiene and their liberal employment of perfumes and cosmetics. What Ovid said of the art of cosmetics applies to many artistic techniques to this very day: “Artifice is a fine thing when it’s not perceived…. The art that adorns you should be unsuspected.”

Both sexes of the Roman upper class invested several hours each day in their toilet. Caesar himself was in the wig business: he reportedly forced Gauls to cut their hair as a sign of submission; hence blondish wigs were plentiful in Rome where blondes were having more fun. Portraits in those days had detachable hairstyles to keep up with fashion. Since razors were dull, Caesar preferred to have his facial hairs plucked out one by one; there were depilatories available, made of such substances as resin, pitch, ivy gum extract, ass’s fat, she-goat’s gall, bat’s blood, and powdered viper.

Lucan mentions the Medusa Hairdo in Pharsalia. Cato is marching in Africa at the head of a remnant of the republican forces during the Civil War; the supreme commanders of the opposing forces were Pompey and Caesar. A spring surrounded and inhabited by all sorts of snakes was encountered in the middle of the desert. The men, fearing the water was contaminated by snake poison, would not drink it, but Cato assured them that snake venom has no effect unless a person is bitten; he took a gulp of the spring water himself to prove his point, the only time he had ever taken a drink before his men instead of after them all.

Medusa 4

Lucan did not know why Libya was beset with snakes, so he turned to mythology. “Having been unable to ascertain why the soil of Libya is mysteriously plagued with such myriads of venomous reptiles, I can do no better than record the delusive but widespread legend of Medusa, daughter of Phorcys. Medusa is said to have lived in the far west of Africa, at the point where the ocean laps against the hot earth, in a wide, untilled, treeless region which she had turned to stone merely by gazing around her. The story is that, when her head was cut off, serpents were bred from the fallen blood and came hissing out to display their forked tongues.”

Medusa 5

Lucan further notes in respect to Libya that Athena wanted Medusa’s head for a trophy, so she advised Perseus how to cut it off. She gave Perseus a bronze shield, and instructed him to fly backwards, using the shield as a mirror, when he reached the Libyan frontier, thereby avoiding petrification. Perseus found Medusa asleep there. and cut off her head. He wanted to fly over Europe with it but Athena forbade him from doing so because Europeans would look up and be turned to stone. So he flew back over Libya with the head; the blood dripped onto its soil, wherefore the extraordinary abundance of snakes in that particular region of Africa.

 

XYX

Alicia Keys Medusa Do

Note: Translation by Robert Graves appears in the Penguin edition of Lucan’s Pharsalia

 

 

 

 

 

The Real ISIS Unveiled

ISIS PIC

 

ISIS

From The Black Virgin

by

David Arthur Walters

 

Everyone who enjoys the river of life loves a parade in its honor. Wherefore let us tear down our ramshackle houses of discrimination and build a fleet of floats to launch on the flowing floods of time, keeping in mind, as we proceed with our crafts, the mother ship of liberty, the Ark. We shall remember fondly the Argo while at our drafting boards: she was endowed with a reasoning soul; she was devoted to freedom; she permitted no slaves to board her. Aeschylus said of her, “And tell me where’s the sacred beam/That dared the dangerous Euxine stream?”

May we sincerely enjoy our procession on our way to embarkation, as did the Egyptians proceeding to the banks of the Nile to launch their sacred barque, or proceeding to the temple wherein flowed the sacred Other-World stream whereupon they placed their ark. Yes, let us proceed accordingly by the while, fearing not The End receding in impenetrable mystery, nor fearing that we may wind up knowing too much of the Arcanum for our own good. True, we may, like After Thought (Epimetheus, brother to Prometheus, Forethought) realize too late that all-gifted Pandora’s vase bears goods that turn evil once born into the world; nevertheless, Hope remains in her treasured chest. As Apuleius said of the “Procession of the Savior Goddess” whose “true name” is Isis: “Another carried a box holding secret things and concealing within it the hidden attributes of the sublime faith.” Well, the Cornucopia is ideally inexhaustible but, of course, beside the goods are found necessary evils.

In Black Land (Egypt), the Queen of Night was invoked as Isis. The goddess was compassionate there, at least in comparison to Kali in India, where conditions warranted more ruthlessness. Naturally Kali, Black Mama, Magic Mother of Maya, merely received what was given to her as destructive thanks for her great creative gift of the Universe to men. Kali wore a necklace of skulls representing the letters of the alphabet; even a moron could become a great poet if he recounted them. By virtue of her maya, The Great Mother, Mahamaya, also appeared in India, in an apparently kinder form as Vak, Goddess of Speech, and as Sarasvati, the River Goddess of Eloquence and hence the source of all knowledge and wisdom. But let us return to the goddess of the Nile.

The Black Virgin in her black hidden-Moon form, was the secret inspiration of Light. The pure, nude Isis is black, but she appears in many colors such as blue-green, red, white, and yellow-gold. As Mother Earth she was the black virginal soil of the Nile, periodically clothed in green garb. She originated in the deepest recesses of Africa, traveling from there far and wide. She eventually took the form of a Nubian woman: Nubian women were famous for their beauty, especially in Egypt where Isis staged a stellar performance (her constellation is Virgo), as we can see from her Ten Thousand Names, capitalized to emphasize their archaic propriety:

The Only One, Great Virgin, Mother Egypt, God Mother, Original Mother, Female Ra, Eye of Ra, Green Goddess, Lady of the House of Life, House of Horus, Queen of the Nile, Lady of Tears, Purifier with Water, Creatrix of the Nile Flood, Wife of Inundation, Mother of Stars, Parent of Seasons, Savior of Rich and Poor, Lady of Love, Eternal Throne of Pharaoh, Hidden Goddess of the Underworld, Queen of the Dead, Magician, Healer, Lady of Words of Power, Lady of Breath, Queen of Heaven, Lady of Ten Thousand Names, and so on to infinity beyond the ten thousand heretofore mentionable.

Isis is associated with Mary, Lady of Sorrows, or, in Hebrew, Miriam; that is, Sea of Sorrow. In Chaldaic, Miriam is Mistress of the Sea: sailors have called Isis the Virgin of the Sea, Stiller of Storms, Pacifier of Gales. Miriam was the sister of Moses (Egyptian: “born” or “son”) who was “pulled from the water” (Hebrew: play on the word “Mose”). Moses, like Isis’s son Horus, was hidden in a papyrus ark, or nest, near the water. Miriam was also associated with water when she led the singing of praises after the parting of the sea, and also when she died: the life-giving water in the desert dried up.

Isis in her Marianist form is the Ark of the Covenant of the Living Lord; she is the House of the Lord; she is the Immaculate Lady who cannot be spotted in her archetype: but to intentionally defame her is an exposition of misogyny worse than cursing one’s own mother.

The original Ark in which the Covenant was deposited contained the secret, perfectly bisexual Name of the Ineffable Creator known only to Mary – in Isis’ case, Isis managed to extort the Name of Ra by means of poison, saving him when it was revealed within her. In response to the evocation of the Original Mother, the Name was divided into Two Hands impressed on volcanic tablets – one, female, the community, or Bride; the other, male, the executor of the laws, or Groom. Upon the tablets were Ten Words of the Fingers of Fire, the Seeds of Life, the Perfect Ten who is One – as witnessed in the decimal system when 9 is perfected by adding 1 (=10).

Thus the Ark of Isis/Mary was built to carry the Seeds over the waters of Chaos, that the Living Law be planted in the Promised Land as her Son, the Decalogue Incarnate. The Ark, cleansed of memory by the baptismal flood waters, served as the Natural Womb of the Son of Man during the perilous voyage from the Other World. Replicas of the fateful, miraculous landing occasionally surface; some of them are made of black basalt; some have been painted with black resin. In other words, black madonnas upholding black sons have been unearthed. Heretics were even murdered for declaring that the black marianic madonnas recovered were images of Isis suckling Horus, the son and avenger of his father Osiris. They were also been burned at the stake for claiming Egyptian magic and religion to be superior to its Christian consequences. Nevertheless, when the old temples and their sites were being whitewashed or demolished, some of the devils to be cast out were overlooked – one idol of the Black Virgin even miraculously appeared in a Pope’s inner chambers.

Now then, the river or way of Isis is the retinue of living beings proceeding by means of her Ark, the Vessel of Light and Life. Men replicate the Ark name their various vessels. Arks are appropriately of feminine gender. For example, the Boat of Ra, the Sun-disc Boat of Millions of Years or the Boat to the Other World, are all feminine. Speaking of the Other World; from whence comes Life and whither does it go to return again? From the Other World, personified and directed by Isis, albeit presided over by Osiris (just as Kali the Energy is presided over by the dead Form of her spouse Siva), whom Isis resurrected with her power of breath in order to conceive Horus to avenge the Father who presides over the Other World.

The Secret Chamber, the holy of holies cradling the mystery of human life, is the ark, or womb. From birth to death to birth: what links life to life? The marriage of life and death (the Fates are three, presiding over birth, and death, and the wedding of life and death) the womb is the ark of over the sea of death.

“Ark” is a marvelous and magical word; ‘tis a clue to the meaning of arcane, coerce, and exercise: an ark “contains and maintains, prevents and wards off, pursues and drives out, keeps moving and practices.” When we exercise understanding, we coerce chaos: we build containers, categories and concepts, boats of knowledge, ships over seas of distress. Hence an ark is not merely a nest, a basket, a box, or a chest; nor is it merely a cave, a coffin, a tomb, or a pyramid. An ark is always a conveyance as well, a chariot through and over and under all the elements to the Beyond. Furthermore, the ark is a space ship, a time capsule bearing time. And a book is an ark, and so are archives and libraries: the banks of the rivers of memory carved out of the elements for future generations are arks of civilization.

Moreover, the soul is the boat of the self on the ocean of spirit. The mind is the ark of light. So is the heart an ark, the ark of love and truth and justice. The house is an ark if it is a home, as is the church housing its infinitesimal portion of the infinite.

But let us not wander too far astray with the Patroness of Navigation, too far to remark that the Island-in-Papyrus-Swamps where Isis conceived Horus and hid him in a nest lest he be murdered, is an ark closer to our instant subject.

During the foregoing parade of terms, several furrowed brows were observed in the crowd. Not everyone was amused or enlightened by the festivities and glowing floats. In fact, certain countenances were waved as flags of contempt, disgust, consternation, and anger. Some remarks were overheard concerning cow-headed freaks and the worship of the Moon, dogs, and crocodiles. Why, one man shouted obscenities as if his own mother had just been vehemently cursed and his father transformed into an impotent cuckold. Let the parade continue nonetheless.

Speaking of dogs and crocodiles, a crocodile rising and setting with the Sun was an ark known to the ancient Egyptians as “the fish and seat of Horus, son of Isis.” Quite naturally, another animal, the sacred cow, never to be eaten, is an ark. As for Isis’ Moon, it is the month, the ark or measure of time. Speaking again of dogs, curious dogs helped Isis find a buried child: hence dog-headed Anubis keeps watch over gods just as dogs watch over men. And let us not forget the ancient ship of the sea, the camel, the mosque of the imaginative Muslim.

Nonetheless, judging from the epithets (expletives deleted) shouted by the irate man from the crowd gathered for festivities, Isis’ personal character remains in grave doubt; a doubt that must be addressed.

It is true that Isis, like many of our most prominent forebears, has been the subject of malignant rumors concerning sex and death. The charges were brought long after the facts alleged; if true, the deeds were not considered to be immoral at the time of commission. Furthermore, as civilization supposedly advanced, so went Isis: her stories were brushed up and revised according to current taste, and, when she fell out of favor altogether, she was whitewashed, renamed, put aside in an alcove lit by candles.

In any event, we are not about to tear up our constitution because of the violence that secured it. Leaving aside the grisly details of her righteous violent moods when exasperated, the acts recounted in the ancient texts assure us that Isis was the very epitome of a chaste and devoted wife and mother. She did not cheat on her husband, nor did she remarry after her death; in fact, she went to the four corners of the earth, risking life and limb, to find him and raise him from the dead. And when, after finding him, he was stolen away by his brother and cut into pieces, she found all the pieces (save the erect vital one) and bound him together again; then she forgave the perpetrator.

Nowhere in the wide world could be found another such a persevering, courageous, compassionate, and merciful woman! No son of man, having heard of her sorrows over her sick child and how she saved him could want a better mother. Her ancient promise to her son was inscribed on a stele found Alexandria:

“I will protect thee, O my son. Fear thou not, O son, my glorious one. No evil thing whatsoever shall happen unto thee, for in thee is the seed whereof things which are to be shall be created.” And furthermore, “No reptile that stingeth shall have the mastery over thee, and no lion shall crush thee or gain mastery over thee. Thou art the son of the holy god.”

Apuleius said of Isis, many years later, “Thou art in truth the eternal and holy savior of the human race, beneficent in helping mortal men, and thou bringest the sweet love of a mother to the trials of the unfortunate.”

Isis was not, as a rude Byzantine iconoclast said disparagingly of her Western form, a purse to be used for deposits and then cast aside once the investment matured. Isis bore the gift of the healing power of wisdom because of her undying love. Indeed, she was called the Daughter of Wisdom; her mentor Thoth was father of Wisdom. Observing her love and sorrow for her poisoned child, Thoth gave Isis the healing power with the guarantee it would work in all like cases.

An ancient stele mentions a noble woman whose child was stung by a deadly scorpion because she refused to help Isis, who said:

“Mine own heart was sad for the child’s sake, and I wished to restore to life him that had committed no fault. O poison of Tefen, come forth, and appear on the ground; come not in, approach not, for I am Isis the goddess, and I am the Lady of Words of Power, and I know how to work with the words of power, and most mighty are my words! O all ye reptiles which sting, hearken unto me, and fall ye down on the ground!”

Isis applied her hands to the stricken child–mention was also made of the use of barley and an herb–and the child was saved from certain death. So by the exercise of her powerful method, the saving ark of words and technique, she coerced evil and staved off death.

Moreover, Isis was called the Lady of Immaculate Conception because of the resurrecting power of her breath. She raised the father from the Other World to conceive the son in this one. And, as mother’s milk saves the child from death once resurrected, so do her words save him from death due to ignorance while living in this world. Therefore, Isis’ civilizing inventions were legion: for example, the arts of writing, healing, spinning, brewing, bread making, sailing, and irrigation. Her agricultural achievements, by the way, allowed Osiris to abolish cannibalism; that is to say, the eating of animals including man, the most divine animal as far as her shaven-headed intimates were concerned.

Our résumé parading Isis’ virtues would be inadequate if we failed to respond to the serious allegations questioning her conceptual virginity. Indeed, we have heard from the crowd a rebuttal against the virginity proposition, indicating a contradiction that, once made obvious, would supposedly wreck even the faith of a devout fool if only he were mentally competent enough to entertain it: to wit, that the mother of all living beings cannot be, at the same time, a virgin. It is said that such a woman would be a dissolute slovenly slut rather than an absolutely virtuous woman. Our response to the defamation could be as rambling as the Nile or as convoluted as the magic serpent of Isis. Nonetheless, we must respond confidently and at some length; after all, logical contradictions are not necessarily fatal, agonizing as they may be: we see their synthesis in marriage persisting everywhere despite all arguments to the contrary.

Yes, we have heard the ancient rumor that nary a virgin could be found in all of ancient Egypt. But that aspersion is as profane and vulgar as the rumors of orgies associated with Isis’ festivities. The wiser perspective must be employed here; and, as we know, wisdom is little known, especially the esoteric wisdom that defies common sense. The initiates of the occult cult of Isis knew well the fecund secret of carnal knowledge: more expressly, that what is forbidden and kept secret excites the passions enormously. That is to say, the virginity of Isis is occluded precisely for productive reasons, causes, and becauses. Her illusory veils conceal the prized purity of her grail; her seemingly impossible perfection is the original motive of the desire always falling short of her underskirts.

Eternal Isis came before all men and women born of her; thus she, Universal Mother, is unspotted by vulgar precedent and is, therefore, unimpeachable except by those who hate life and love death; even so, Isis would comfort those who regret the day they were born, forgiving their ignorant contumely. Therefore all impeachments fail to convict the Lady of Mercy who takes precedent over everything within her ark and thus presides over the fairest trial of all.

Our abstract grammatical intercourse should be more concretely embellished by reference to the intercourse of the Nile with its Ground on the river bed. Wherefore witness the black virgin soil embracing the Nile, a strip of fertile earth broadening as it approaches the delta. The river depositing its alluvium is sometimes alluded to as Osiris, black god of the Other World and father of this green one, who periodically appears as the dragon flood subdued by Isis. The dragon rises and falls in cadence with her joys and sorrows. Her tears flood the canal of life with the fertile silt of love lost upriver. After the waters break, fall and recede into the earth, Isis rejoices in her offspring Horus, inspiring him with her power of breath. Horus comes to “avenge” Osiris, his father who is back at work in the Other World. Therefore is Earth given renewed life, and mankind given insight.

Pray note that the ancient Egyptian theologians, in their trinitarian efforts to reconcile unity with diversity in order to explain how there can be two yet only one, or how two can come from one or become one, sometimes resorted to speculative hermaphroditism. Nevertheless, their highest god, being therefore omnipotent, had no difficulty conceiving without the benefit of opposite sexes and logical proofs. In any event, the self-fertilizing Nile matrix was their primary guide, male or female or both, their self-ruling or autarkical archetype, wherein was concealed the unity of the cosmic trinity: cause-force-effect, or mother-father-child, who are one because no one is conceivable without the other two. But the Universal Mother, when the unity is divided, has virginal priority and is actually the unifying principle between the father and the child.

Furthermore, the extrapolation of the holy nuclear family, the familial triangle, is accomplished by means of royal incest: another explanation for the original production of population is implausible. We are still, loosely speaking, engaged in incest; for the virtues of human progression, incest was technically limited to the Royal Circle, where the centralizing force was conserved as life branched out from the Big Bang like rays from the sun disc. In the Royal Circle, the Virgin Universal Mother is the mother of her father who is her brother and her husband as well as her son. She is the perfect circle of family relations. She is the Virgin of Immaculate Conception because she alone gave birth to the first man. The Universal Mother, when unity is divided, still has priority.

Speaking abstractly on behalf the iconoclasts who adore Isis untouched, no physical image or metaphysical concept of Isis does her purity absolute justice: any factual or ideal representation is therefore blasphemous, even the most pleasing portrait of Madonna.

Metaphorically speaking, the mystical Isis is analogous to the absolute, continuous space that goes on forever and ever uninterrupted, a void pregnant with every possibility. That space has a real meaning although nobody knows just what it is. It is the absolute space of “common” sense, analogous to divine presence, the “empty” space metaphysicians and physicists regard as existentially untenable and conceptually impossible after imbibing great draughts of befuddling formulae from her breast. Isis, in that non-sense, is absolute liberty at the root of matter, mother of mass by virtue of her inertial matrix.

‘Twer as if something comes from nothing, that nothing being therefore the “container” or ark of the All. As boundless as continuous “empty” space may be, we still imagine space as feminine: she is the most voluptuous of females because of her infinite virginity. In her each man has his virgin to cultivate, his virgin plot of soil by the Nile, and she is as good as any and as good as all: she is a model of perfection, for no two objects can occupy the same portion of her at the same time, yet she occupies or contains them wherever and whenever they may be in the wherever/whenever continuum.

Now then, as we have been making the virginity of Isis perfectly clear, the Sun of her Maya is about to set upon our parade. Nevertheless, we shall proceed gaily into the festivities of the Night, for only there may the black virginal beauty of Isis be truly intuited.

XYX

ISIS EYE