Friday, September 14, 2012

Psychotic Phenomena (The Motel)

For the world as a whole, vast as it appears to its inhabitants, we have thus the visual image of an enclosed cell . . . into which or out of which life may move. "To come from outside" and "to get out" are standard phrases in gnostic literature. Thus the Life or the Light "has come into this world," "has travelled here"; it "departs into the world," it can stand "at the outer rim of the worlds" and thence, "from without," "call into" the world. . . .

The sojourn "in the world" is called "dwelling," the world itself a "dwelling" or "house," and in contrast to the bright dwellings, the "dark" or the "base" dwelling, "the mortal house." . . . When Life settles in the world, the temporary belonging thus established may lead to its becoming "a son of the house" and make necessary the reminder, "Thou wert not from here, and thy root was not of the world" (G 379). If the emphasis is on the temporary and transient nature of the worldly sojourn and on the condition of being a stranger, the world is called also the "inn," in which one "lodges"; and "to keep the inn" is a formula for "to be in the world" or "in the body." The creatures of this world are the "fellow-dwellers of the inn," though their relation to it is not that of guests: "Since I was one and kept to myself, I was a stranger to my fellow-dwellers in the inn" ("Hymn of the Pearl" in the Acta Thomae). (Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion)

Fallen angel

For the manner in which life has got into its present plight there are a number of expressions, most of them describing the process as a passive one, some giving it a more active turn. . . . More drastic is the image of falling: the soul or spirit, a part of the first Life or of the Light, fell into the world or into the body. This is one of the fundamental symbols of Gnosticism: a pre-cosmic fall of part of the divine principle underlies the genesis of the world and of human existence in the majority of gnostic systems. "The Light fell into the darkness" signifies an early phase of the same divine drama of which "the Light shone in the darkness" can be said to signify a later phase. (Jonas)

Getting Vertigo

[T]here is a voluntary element in the downward movement of the divine: a guilty "inclination" of the Soul (as a mythical entity) toward the lower realms, with various motivations such as curiosity, vanity, sensual desire, is the gnostic equivalent of original sin. The fall is a pre-cosmic one, and one of its consequences is the world itself, another the condition and fate of the individual souls in the world. (Jonas)


The "drunkenness" of the world is a phenomenon peculiarly characteristic of the spiritual aspect of what the Gnostics understood by the term "world." It is induced by the "wine of ignorance" (CH. VII. 1), which the world everywhere proffers to man. The metaphor makes it clear that ignorance is not a neutral state, the mere absence of knowledge, but is itself a positive counter-condition to that of knowledge, actively induced and maintained to prevent it. The ignorance of drunkenness is the soul's ignorance of itself, its origin, and its situation in the alien world: it is precisely the awareness of alienness which the intoxication is meant to suppress; man drawn into the whirlpool and made oblivious of his true being is to be made one of the children of this world. (Jonas)

Accordingly, the first effect of the call is always described as "awaking," . . . Often the merely formal exhortation, "Wake from your slumber" (or "from drunkenness," or, less frequently, "from death"), with metaphorical elaboration and in different phrasings, constitutes the sole content of the gnostic call to salvation. (Jonas)

Once separated from the divine realm and engulfed by the alien medium, the movement of the Soul continues in the downward direction in which it started and is described as "sinking": "How long shall I sink within all the worlds?" (J 196). Frequently, however, an element of violence is added to this description of the fall, as in the metaphors relating to captivity . . . "Who has carried me into captivity away from my place and my abode, from the household of my parents who brought me up?" (G 323). "Why did ye carry me away from my abode into captivity and cast me into the stinking body?" . . . life has been cast (thrown) into the world and into the body. (Jonas)

Sea or waters is a standing gnostic symbol for the world of matter or of darkness into which the divine has sunk. . . . The many waters is the multifarious world of mortal generation into which the god Man has sunk and out of whose depth he cries up to the supreme God, the Primal Man, his unfallen original . . . We quoted (p. 104 f.) Simon's division of the One into him who "stands above in the unbegotten Power" and him who "stood below in the stream of the waters, begotten in the image. The Peratae interpreted the Red Sea (Suf-Sea), which has to be passed on the way to or from Egypt, as the "water of corruption," and identified it with Kronos, i.e., "time," and with "becoming" . . . (Jonas)

[T]he animus is sometimes . . . a demon of death. For example, in a gypsy fairy tale a handsome stranger is received by a lonely woman in spite of the fact that she has had a dream warning her that he is the king of the dead. After he has been with her for a time, she presses him to tell her who he really is. At first he refuses, saying that she will die if he tells her. She insists, however, and suddenly he reveals to her that he is death himself. The woman immediately dies of fright. . . . Viewed mythologically, the beautiful stranger is probably a pagan father-image or god-image, who appears here as king of the dead (like Hades's abduction of Persephone). . . . One is really "possessed" by the figure from the unconscious. Only after the possession has fallen away does one realize with horror that one has said and done things diametrically opposed to one's real thoughts and feelings--that one has been the prey of an alien psychic factor. (Von Franz, Man and His Symbols)

Soul food

They say that the soul is the food of the Archons and Powers without which they cannot live, because she is of the dew from above and gives them strength. When she has become imbued with knowledge . . . she ascends to heaven . . . whence she came down into this world. (Epiphanius, Panarion)

Fire & Ice

"The planet Earth is the lunatic asylum of the galaxy . . ."

Given these premises, it would be nihilistic to end the narrative here; but evidently, there is more to the story. Lord Love a Duck (it's on Netflix) is a Tuesday Weld movie which again explores the fate of the innocent Soul fallen into the world, and here she proves to be more resourceful. The movie is about vampires. Roddy McDowell ("Mollymauk") is the King of the Underworld--Tuesday Weld's Shadow--he hypnotizes her and follows her everywhere as a sort of sinister doppelgaenger. But like Jareth in Labyrinth, he does it because he loves her, and actually gives her everything she wants. Other people even noticed

Am I the only person who thinks that Mollymauk is a satanic, Mephistophelean character? (He apparently gets Barbara Ann to sell her soul to him by inscribing her name in concrete (with an appropriately-placed "danger" sign near by) next to his alias, and its symbolic (Kabbalistic?) depiction.) Is he even human? Much of what he seems to do suggests that he has occult powers.

We have the requisite Sophia cameo, played by Jo Collins (JC) midway through the film. The Director says that she's been downgraded to a supporting role (the Handmaid takes the place of the Shekinah); Tuesday Weld will be the star of the new picture. The Director makes "bikini pictures" (Art Murder).

Tuesday, wishing for a better life for herself, tries to kill her dimwitted husband (ego death) and enlists the help of Roddy to do it (this is Mina and Dracula all over again)--but Roddy is the one who goes to jail. That is, she learns to use the Devil for her own ends. Roddy's character is basically Norman Bates, which explains why she acts opposite Anthony Perkins in Pretty Poison, which has roughly the same plot--only here it is the Mother who dies.

Once Upon a Time . . .

In the film Higher Learning, Kristy Swanson (the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer), as the innocent Soul, arrives at the school hoping to receive an education; she is instead raped and humiliated, losing hope until she learns how to save herself--with the help of Jennifer Connelly.

It was the One's purpose for our hologramatic universe to serve as a teaching instrument by which a variety of new lives advanced until ultimately they would be isomorphic with the One. However, the decaying condition of hyperuniverse II introduced malfactors which damaged our hologramatic universe. This is the origin of entropy, undeserved suffering, chaos and death, as well as the Empire, the Black Iron Prison; in essence, the aborting of the proper health and growth of the life forms within the hologramatic universe. Also, the teaching function was grossly impaired, since only the signal from the hyperuniverse I was information-rich; that from II had become noise. (Philip K. Dick, VALIS)

These two portions of the Godhead, he thought, have been detached from each other for millennia. . . . the Shekhina intervened in the lives of human beings, to assist them. Here and there, sporadically, the Shekhina remained. So God never truly left mankind. (Dick, The Divine Invasion)

I note the recurrent theme in Jennifer Connelly's films is that there is a dead or missing Father, and she has to take care of the House (of Sand and Fog) while he's gone. In 9 the Father literally split his soul into fragments. Guess it's up to her to try to pick up the pieces after the End of the World (Tikkun Olam) . . .
This leads to the idea that the savior does not come just once into the world but that from the beginning of time he wanders in different forms through history, himself exiled in the world, and revealing himself ever anew until, with his gathering-in complete, he can be released from his cosmic mission . . . (Jonas)

Seductive Jewesses

Nephthys & Isis

The Dark Star

Zebra. Because it blended. The name for this is mimesis. Another name is mimicry. Certain insects do this; they mimic other things: sometimes other insects--poisonous ones--or twigs and the like. Certain biologists and naturalists have speculated that higher forms of mimicry might exist, since lower forms--which is to say, forms which fool those intended to be fooled but not us--have been found all over the world. (Dick, VALIS)

Stepping into the Bates Motel

The Soul in a strange land

Introduction to Time and Death

The Soul falls into bondage

There's a cutter on the loose

Breaking glass in your room again

Killed in the shower

The 1985 Jennifer Connelly film Phenomena starts off resonating strongly with Psycho. In the first scene, a 14-year-old blonde girl gets stabbed with scissors ("cut") in the House of Death (the Bates Motel). She was chopped into pieces--they find her body at the bottom of the waterfall. (This is much better appreciated by watching the trailer.)

Killed immediately before September 11. The descent of the individual soul (the "tourist" in the world) replicates the original cosmic catastrophe.

Caput Mortuum

And here, too, there is an eight-month timespan, indicating that the birth (falling short of the requisite nine months) was "premature."
The plan of the One was that both twins would emerge into being (was-ness) simultaneously; however, motivated by a desire to be (which the One implanted in both twins), the counter-clockwise twin broke through the sac and separated prematurely; i.e. before full term. This was the dark or Yin twin. Therefore it was defective. (Dick)

It's Vampire Country

The single most striking realization that Fat had come to was his concept of the universe as irrational and governed by an irrational mind, the creator deity. If the universe were taken to be rational, not irrational, then something breaking into it might seem irrational, since it would not belong. But Fat, having reversed everything, saw the rational breaking into the irrational. The immortal plasmate had invaded our world and the plasmate was totally rational, whereas our world is not. (Dick)

In order to heal the fallen universe, Jennifer C. as the Healing Psyche comes from the New World (Hyperuniverse I) to Switzerland (Hyperuniverse II) to solve the Mystery of the murdered girls. The place was supposed to be a school, but how can anyone learn anything when a killer is on the loose?

Thus, to retrieve its own, Life in one of its unfallen members once more undertakes to descend into the dungeon of the world, "to clothe itself in the affliction of the worlds" and to assume the lot of exile far from the realm of light. This we may call the second descent of the divine, as distinct from the tragic earlier one which led to the situation that now has to be redeemed. Whereas formerly the Life now entangled in the world got into it by way of "fall," "sinking," "being thrown," "being taken captive," its entrance this time is of a very different nature: sent by the Great Life and invested with authority, the Alien Man does not fall but betakes himself into the world. (Jonas)

Sophie, her "twin" roommate, has been killed--now it's personal. Thus Jennifer is not merely Sophia, in the classic Gnostic sense, but Christ, her unfallen "male" syzygy who will participate in the restoration of things. The "pearl of great price" for which the soul descends into the world is Sophia, the fallen aspect of the anima mundi that has in herself the seeds of redemption--
What is the meaning of the Pearl? . . . In the glossary of gnostic symbolism, "pearl" is one of the standing metaphors for the "soul" in the supranatural sense. . . . Whereas almost all the other expressions can apply equally to divinity unimpaired and to its sunken part, the "pearl" denotes specifically the latter in the fate that has overtaken it. The "pearl" is essentially the "lost" pearl, and has to be retrieved. The fact of the pearl's being enclosed in an animal shell and hidden in the deep may have been among the associations that originally suggested the image. . . . When the soul is addressed as "pearl" . . . it is to remind it of its origin, but also to emphasize its preciousness to the celestial ones who seek for it, and also to contrast its worth to the worthlessness of its present surroundings, its luster to the darkness in which it is immersed. . . . as undoubtedly as the envoy's experiences can be substituted for those of the Pearl, if this is to represent the soul, just as undoubtedly is the recovery of the Pearl itself the primary concern of the Celestials which prompts the mission of the Son with its otherwise unnecessary dangers to himself. The Pearl is an entity in its own right; it fell into the power of Darkness prior to the sending out of the Prince, and for its sake he is ready to assume the burden of descent and exile, thereby inevitably reproducing some of the features of the "pearl's" own fate. In fact, the interpreters' puzzle, the interchangeability of the subject and object of the mission, of savior and soul, of Prince and Pearl, is the key . . . to gnostic eschatology in general. We can confidently take the King's Son to be the Savior, a definite divine figure, and not just the personification of the human soul in general. Yet this unique position does not prevent him from undergoing in his own person the full force of human destiny, even to the extent that he the savior himself has to be saved. Indeed, this is an irremissible condition of his saving function. For the parts of divinity lost to the darkness can be reached only down there in the depth in which they are swallowed up; and the power which holds them, that of the world, can be overcome only from within. This means that the savior-god must assimilate himself to the forms of cosmic existence and thereby subject himself to its conditions.

Sophia . . . corresponds to the Pearl . . . As we have seen, she had been abducted into the creation by her own offspring . . . The divine origin, though at some remove, of these cosmic agencies, and therefore the conception of the whole story as one of divine failure, is an integral point . . . (Jonas)

"Short form of Margarita (Spanish), from Margaret (Greek) 'pearl'."

"One day, Jenny, a man will look into those eyes and he'll drown . . . and never be saved."

Hence, in The Rocketeer, it is Jenny herself who becomes the Black Pearl lost in the waters of the South Seas dance (as Kotze writes).

(Note the painting behind her . . .)

(John Lash)

This composite character thus reveals its complexity as the Redeemer and that which is Redeemed, who not only operates from without but within as the anima mundi. As in House of Sand and Fog, the theme is of breaking into her own creation. The Shekinah remains in exile from her rightful place within the Temple.

The Star becomes a stranger in the land of darkness

When I was a little child and dwelt in the kingdom of my Father's house and delighted in the wealth and splendor of those who raised me, my parents sent me forth from the East, our homeland, with provisions for the journey.  . . . They took off from me the robe of glory which in their love they had made for me, and my purple mantle that was woven to conform exactly to my figure, and made a covenant with me, and wrote it in my heart that I might not forget it: "When thou goest down into Egypt and bringest the One Pearl which lies in the middle of the sea which is encircled by the snorting serpent, thou shalt put on again thy robe of glory and thy mantle over it and with thy brother our next in rank be heir in our kingdom." (The Hymn of the Pearl)

Retrieving the Sparks of Light (seeking, finding, and gathering her own garments)

There is a strong suggestion of an active-passive double role of one and the same entity. Ultimately the descending Alien redeems himself, that is, that part of himself (the Soul) once lost to the world, and for its sake he himself must become a stranger in the land of darkness and in the end a "saved savior." . . . This seeking, finding, and gathering of its own is a long-drawn-out process bound to the spatio-temporal form of cosmic existence. "I wandered through worlds and generations until I came to the gate of Jerusalem" (J 243). (Jonas)

". . . hyperuniverse II, being deranged, at once tormented, humiliated, rejected and finally killed the micro-form of the healing psyche of her healthy twin . . ."

(Idolatry is the ultimate blasphemy . . .)

The Dark Night Rises

JC is Transfigured in front of her "disciples" (who really hate her) and then the flies of Death come . . . this is always the first stage of Initiation. They brand her as a devil and try to have her committed, for she brings Darkness in her wake and must, in turn, descend into hell.

"And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns . . ."

"Because she is dark, therefore is she feared . . ."

22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.

"The power within the Cube allows whoever wields it to literally reshape reality around him." 

Guided by the Cosmic Cube entrusted to her, she follows the thread of Death back to its source, within the House and madness of Hyperuniverse II--the Insane Mother archetype.

Once the devotee has risen to the highest height and knows himself to be encompassed in the Divine Name, which he has 'unified,' he is supposed to leap into the abyss of the 'other side,' in order, like a diver, to bring up sparks of holiness, there held in exile. 'But only a perfect zaddik can accomplish this meditation, for he alone is worthy to descend and make a selection from among the kelippoth, the realms of the "other side," even against their will. If anyone else sends his soul down among kelippoth, he may well prove unable to raise up the other fallen souls, or even to save his own, which will remain in those realms.' (Gershom Scholem)

Down the rabbit hole

[T]he Primal Man, seeing his impending defeat in the encounter with the forces of Darkness, "gave himself . . . as a man who has an enemy mixes a deadly poison in a cake and gives it to him" . . . By this sacrificial means the furor of the Darkness is actually "appeased." Here the connection of the gnostic savior-motif with the old sun-myth of nature religion is obvious: the theme of the hero's allowing himself to be devoured by the monster and vanquishing it from within is extremely widespread in mythology all over the world. Its transposition from nature religion to the symbolism of salvation we witness in the Christian myth of Christ's harrowing hell . . . (Jonas)

"Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me . . ."

Self in Reflection

The caller in gnostic symbolism is the messenger, and the called the sleeping soul. Here, however, the called sleeper is himself the messenger . . . If we add to this the duplication of the messenger's figure in his heavenly garment, his mirror-image with which he is reunited at the completion of his mission, we perceive some of the logic of that strain of eschatological symbolism which has been summarized in the expression, "the saved savior." . . . It symbolizes the heavenly or eternal self of the person, his original idea, a kind of double or alter ego preserved in the upper world while he labors down below . . . Its fullness marks the fulfillment of his task and therefore his release from exile in the world. Thus the encounter with this divided-off aspect of himself, the recognition of it as his own image, and the reunion with it signify the real moment of his salvation. . . . the celestial form of the invisible because temporarily obscured self is one of the symbolic representations of an extremely widespread and, to the Gnostics, essential doctrine. It is no exaggeration to say that the discovery of this transcendent inner principle in man and the supreme concern about its destiny is the very center of gnostic religion. (Jonas)

The Reflecting Pool

Pretty Poison (the Red Pill)

The devouring has also an effect on the devourer. . . . within it the devoured substance acts like a soothing poison, and whether its desire has been satisfied or dulled, its attack has by this means been stopped. Both substances are poison to each other, so that some versions make the Primal Man not so much be defeated as in anticipation of the effect voluntarily give himself to be devoured by the Darkness. (Jonas)

Jenny barfs in the Sync

And here, precisely as in House of Sand and Fog, her sojurn in the House of Sorrow climaxes in her own near-death-by-pills in the bathroom of doom.

When the Watcher [?] stood in the boundaries of Light, he shewed to them his Maiden who is his soul; they bestirred themselves in their abyss, desiring to exalt themselves over her, they opened their mouth desiring to swallow her. . . . she thrust herself within them like piercing lightning. She crept in their inward parts, she bound them all, they not knowing it. (Psalm CCXXIII of the Manichaean Psalm-Book)

After that, hyperuniverse II continued to decay into blind, mechanical, purposeless causal processes. It then became the task of Christ (more properly the Holy Spirit) to either rescue the life forms in the hologramatic universe, or abolish all influences on it emanating from II. Approaching its task with caution, it prepared to kill the deranged twin, since she cannot be healed; i.e. she will not allow herself to be healed because she does not not understand that she is sick. This illness and madness pervades us and makes us idiots living in private, unreal worlds. (Dick)

The Mother (as the dark aspect of the schizophrenic Hyperuniverse II) has a Son, the abomination Ialdabaoth, who is monstrous and devious in appearance; but he has no power over Jennifer, and she triumphs over death and the grave (with a little help from the Ape of Thoth Sophia). In House of Sand and Fog, Ben Kingsley (the Goblin King) also tries to kill Jennifer Connelly to avenge the death of his Son; but he succeeds only in killing himself. And thus, to be brief, is the Happy Ending to this great adventure.

(When Hyperuniverses Collide, or: Ariadne in the Basement)

A parallel with fellow labyrinth-builder Ellen Page can be noted:
  • In An American Crime Ellen Page (Hyperuniverse I) gets locked in the basement, tormented, and killed by the crazy mother (Hyperuniverse II).
  • In Phenomena Jennifer Connelly (Hyperuniverse I) gets locked in the basement, tormented, and yet is still able to triumph over the crazy mother and her son (Hyperuniverse II).
This seems to express how their composite characters are similar, yet at the same time somehow different (Damsel in Distress vs. Redeemed Redeemer). While Ellen Page (the Architect) is dying in An American Crime, she concocts an elaborate fantasy about being rescued. This speaks to the fundamental anguish of the World Soul--"The Mind is not talking to us but by means of us."

Split personality?

1 comment:

  1. That's really lovely, in a dark sort of way.

    "she will not allow herself to be healed because she does not not understand that she is sick."

    This is the lesson I'm learning this week, I guess, being trapped at the cabin.


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