October 13, 2012
The Ancient Evil:
Diana And The Goddess Tradition
A problem that has been perplexing me for some time is the role of the Goddess Diana as the female archetype for the last half of the Age of Pisces. The adoption of the goddess Diana or Artemis as she was known in Greece signifies a resurgence of the Matriarchy. This is a rather remarkable comeback as the Matriarchy was virtually unknown in the nineteenth century, all but forgotten.
I’m sure the interpretation of Diana’s history and her relationship to Astrology will be met with some dismay as these subjects are not properly understood. Essentially the problem is one of memory; in this case historical and racial memory. Memory on one level is a desire to retain and understand the past whether on a personal or historical level. From the past the future may be predicted. What has gone before will likely happen again. It was this knowledge that made the calendar a necessity. If one has a starting point, such as the shortest day of the year the return of flora and fauna may be roughly known. To make the year more manageable it was divided into seasons and months to mark more easily the passage of the days of the year. This knowledge led to a whole cycle of gods, goddesses and myths. Thus a terrestrial zodiac was derived denoted by symbols appropriate to the seasons. As it was assumed that what happened on earth was a reflection of what happened in the skies the terrestrial zodiac was translated to the stars and thus we have the Astrological Zodiac in which the twelve signs reflect the weather pattern on earth.
Just as there are twelve months in the year so the skies were divided into twelve portions called Ages. The length of the Ages was determined by the Great Year that was of some twenty-five thousand years plus duration. The Great year was determined by the rotation of the earth on its axis as evidenced by the stars of the North Pole.
Each Age has it male and female archetypes. In Greece the Arien Age was presided over by Zeus and Hera. Thus each set of archetypes has a lifetime of two thousand plus years and then they make the long slide to Far Tartary and back again.
The Piscean Age which has become universal began with the male archetype of Jesus of Nazareth while in mid-Age the archetypes where transferred to the female side- Diana in the North of Europe and Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the South of Europe.
While the mechanism used to achieve this is fairly clear the exact process can only be surmised.
While it may be difficult to believe the Astrological Zodiac must have begun development about a hundred thousand years ago being in the fourth cycle at the time of the dawn of the Age of Pisces. Thus as a method of timekeeping the Zodiac has a long history.
One may question the hundred thousand years and yet the Mesopotamian myths mention a past of at least that long. One usually doesn’t credit the ancients with actual knowledge but I think it is time to take them more seriously.
For much of that hundred thousand years during the long Ice Age the level of the Mediterranean was much lower probably being a long valley with a succession of large lakes fed by the Nile and the Propontis while the outflow was at the Pillars of Hercules. As the Med Valley was habitable it must have been inhabited. Undoubtedly a civilization developed that was fairly sophisticated. One needn’t look for extraterrestrials for human development.
Thus when the Ice Age ended returning the accumulated waters to the oceans the waters rose forcing the Valley’s inhabitants to seek higher ground until the sea level became static. While denizens fled to all sides of the Med the civilization bearers occupied Lower Egypt, the emerging Nile Delta. A second area in which civilization in some form must have survived was the island of Crete.
It was on this island that the religious formula that became a basis of Europe was formed. The basis was provided by the Hellenic Greek tribes that began their invasion of the Greek peninsula c. -1700.
The Greek penisula was occupied by an ancient people called Pelasgians. They like the Cretans were descendants of the Med Valley peoples as were the Cretans and Lower Egypt. The Pelasgian religion closely resembled that of the Cretans. The conquering Hellenes imposed their Greek language on them while setting about solving the religious differences into one unifed religion. This was done following a usual pattern.
The Hellenes followed an Aryan Patriarchal model while the Pelasgians and Cretans followed a Matriarchal type.
How much religious development took place between 8000 BC when the waters rose and 2000 BC when things had settled must have been very large. An important thing to remember is that the human mind is continually handling information. Problems of memory have been continually remedied with new storage technologies. They have been continually developed to today’s immense ability to be able to very nearly store entire reality. Every phone call in the world 24/7 can be stored and retrieved at will so that totally inconsequential information is on record but will never be read.
The time lapse between improvements in storage and retrieval were immense in the early days increasing rapidly to the present. The earliest known city, the remains of which date not coincidentally to c. 8000 BC is located at Catal Huyuk in Anatolia which would have been a rural backwater to the Med civilization, but a high degree of communal organization is evident. One imagines the Cretan civilization was similar but more highly developed. There is every evidence that the Great Mother religion was fairly highly developed at the time the waters rose.
The Cretans certainly brought the religion to a degree of perfection. Obviously there is no agreement as to the degree while the substance of religion can be only guessed at.
Presently the Goddess advocates picture the Matriarchy as some kind of golden age of
peace love and happiness. This is not the case. The Matriarchates lived in a period of very primitive mentality. Nor is the female of the species any less bloody minded than the male. The memory of the matriarchate was still strong enough for later males to dismiss the matriarchate as a period that was not too kind to men. Indeed, if one bears in mind that the sacrificial bulls were substitutes for men and that bulls were often sacrificed in holocausts which means a hundred bulls or more then it follows that at one time a hundred men or more were sacrificed to the Great Mother. Obviously this would leave rueful memories in the minds of men.
This memory may have been played out in the tale of Iphigenia At Aulis.
Shall we examine the participants in this drama, Agamemnon, Clytmnestra, Iphigenia and Diana?
Zeus in the apparition of a swan had intercourse with Leda who then lay two eggs. Both bore twins. From one egg Castor and Pollux emerged. These two represent the soltices, Castor, winter and Pollux summer. From the other egg Helen and Clytemnestra emerged. These two represent the equinoxes, Helen the Spring, Clytemnestra the Fall. One might compare Helen to the Cretan Loving Goddess with the erect snakes held hip high and Clytemnestra to the Angry Goddess brandishing the two writhing snakes. Thus the two goddesses are representatives of Diana.
Now Agamemnon was punished by Diana for killing a deer and then boasting that he was a better hunter than she. Agamemnon and the Greeks were assembled at Aulis but unable to sail for lack of wind. A sacrifice was deemed necessary to allay the winds. Ordinarily a male would have been the sacrifice to Diana. Instead Agamemnon sacrificed his and Clytemnestra’s daughter probably in vengeance for his punishment by Diana and the slaughter of all those males during the Matriarchy.
Clytemnestra herself was a representative of the Matriarchy so the story is involved.
While my interpretation might be controversial I think it clear that the Cretan goddess became Artemis/Diana. At any rate it was the Argive (from Argos) mainland goddess Hera who would be chosen as the wife of Zeus. Therefore the Cretan goddess would have lost her consort and been a loose cannon.
Zeus himself was of Cretan origin probably intended to be the annual consort of the Goddess. As religion evolved the characters of the Gods and Goddesses changed so that while there is continuity the attributes and characters change enough so that the religious figures have to be located in time and place.
When the Hellenes, or Greeks, began to arrive the Cretans had already created a political organization known as a thalossocracy, a sea based empire. The islands and at least the coasts from Aegean to Italy were under Cretan rule. The Greeks then challenged the power of the Cretans as well as seeking to impose the Patriarchal religion on the Matriarchy.
This method of taking control was the same as that of all religions replacing another. As in such situations the overcome religion submits to greater power but continues a more or less clandestine existence. Thus the Aryan Greeks converted religious sites such as Delphi to Patriarchal shrines. Where the necessisity existed in Matriarchal strongholds, they apparently attempted to exterminate the Matriarchates. Persecute them out of existence, perhaps, as happened to the Lollards of England.
In this case, Perseus’ assault on the Gorgon Medusa could have signified an all out assault on the Matriarchal stronghold as was the story of the Iliad in which the Patriarchal Greeks waged a ten year war to exterminate Matriarchal Troy. Whether factual or not it is true that when the post-Troy dark age ended the Greeks were in possession of the Anatolian littoral.
Of course the preferred method was by stealth and intermarriage. Intermarriage may have required the extermination of the males to acquire the women which was commonly done. Thus, Zeus’ frequent rapes of women may commemorate such takeovers.
As the assimilated gods appear to have been indigenous the Greeks must have taken over the pre-existing gods while changing them to Patriarchal from Matriarchal. Thus, while Zeus is clearly a Cretan god, probable annual consort of the Great Mother, he was transported to mainland Argos where as a woodpecker he raped the Argive goddess Hera becoming her lord and master, or her husband.
The consort of Hera was Heracles, a sun god. When Zeus took Hera from him as his wife this left Heracles at loose ends without a purpose. The Greeks gave him a new lineage and the role of the champion of the Patriarchy and punisher of the Matriarchy.
In this case Zeus seduces Alcmene in the disguise of her husband Amphitryon impregnating her with Hercules. Just as Heracles was a loose cannon after the marriage of Zeus and Hera the Cretan Great Goddess was without a consort when Zeus left Crete. The problem is what identity was she assigned? When Heracles was born two snakes were sent by the Matriarchy to kill him. The baby Heracles strangled both, one in each hand. Symbolically then the Cretan religion was imagined to be destroyed and possibly its Great Mother murdered.
A great problem however that remains hidden from me is the origin of the Peloponnesian Lady Of The Lake. As the Cretan Great Mother was also a Mistress Of The Animals it is quite possible that she was taken to the mainland from Crete where she became an Artemis and possibly the Lady Of The Lake.
At some later time the Cretan priesthood would be carried from Crete and installed as the priesthood of Apollo at the premier Greek shrine of Delphi. So, how much of the Greek religion was of Aryan origin and how much of the ancient Med Valley religion through its Cretan development isn’t clear but the two must have been extensively intermingled making the Cretan Great Mother a probable Artemis/Diana and the Lady Of The Lake.
I have found no references in Greek mythology to the Lady Of The Lake but the Lady as Vivian turns up in the Arthurian epics of +1000-1300 when they were formulated. In those she is referred back to ancient Peloponnesian times. I haven’t found the sources of the medieval writers but they must have been in possession of some mythological sources that no longer exist.
I would now like to examine the transition from the male archetype of Jesus in mid-Piscean Age to Diana in Northern Europe and Mary, the Mother of God in the South.
Before leaving the Ancients however let me say that having organized a pantheon the Greeks then removed the various gods from their home locales and established their residence on Mt. Olympus deep in the more densely Aryan populations of the North of Greece.
The religion of no one Age is secure because the transition to the next Age is always looming. Just as Zeus had replaced Cronus of the Taurean Age so the Greek male archetype of the Piscean Age, Dionysus, was maturing as Zeus’ replacement.
However, in the long war between Europe and Asia the balance of power was to shift toward the Asians. Dionysus was discarded to be replaced by the Semitic Jew, Jesus of Nazareth. The Jews had quietly been infiltrating Western society while actually contending for pre-eminence in the East and Egypt. This would erupt into the Roman-Jewish wars of the first two centuries AD.
As the early Christians were a purely Jewish sect it is no wonder that when Paul of Tarsus turned the Jewish cult into a universal religion that that religion reflected Judaism to a large extent. Judaism being an intolerant religion that intolerance was replicated in both the Roman Catholic and the Greek Orthodox Churches. The result was that any competing religious views were viciously suppressed. After the fourth century the old Creco-Cretan religion was anathematized on the pain of death.
As would happen in the fifteenth century when the Ottoman Moslems conquered Constantinople and the Greek scholars fled East to India and West to the Roman successor States numbers of the Olympian priesthood undoubtedly fled into the German lands to the North. Just as the Arian priests fled North to escape Catholic oppression where they converted the German tribes so the Olympian priests sowed their beliefs among the Germans. That’s one reason so many Olympian beliefs are found in German folk tales as collected by the Grimms.
As the Lady Of The Lake is a Matriarchal myth it follows that the Cretan priesthood of Delphi sowed Matriarchal ideas among the Germans. It can be little wonder that Vivian, The Lady Of The Lake, appeared in the French chivalric myths created from the eleventh though fourteenth centuries.
Not only that but Vivian represents the Matriarchal resurgence against Catholic Patriarchalism. Vivian of course was none other than Artemis/Diana. It was thus that Diana became the female archetype of Northern Europe in the second half of the Piscean Age.
It would be a mistake to suppose that the Olympian gods died quiet deaths or deaths at all. It is one thing to outlaw a belief system and another to erase it from the memories of those who had used that belief system for two thousand years. The Christians were at best a conquering horde no different from the Patriarchal Greeks who attempted to destroy the Cretan religion. The Catholic Church was no more able to contain the Olympians than the Greeks were able to contain Cretan religion. Just as the Greeks had had to accommodate the Cretans by installing them at Delphi so the Catholic Church had to accommodate Olympians while the struggle never ceased.
Just as the Iliad was part of an immense mythological cycle detailing the struggle between the Matriarchy and the Patriarchy so the Arthurian epics detailing the Matriarchal, Patriarchal and Church as Aryans sects was even more immense and sprawling. The huge corpus of the Vulgate-Lancelot may just be the largest literary work in the world while being only part of the story.
So Arthur being installed at Camelot as the wise and benevolent Patriarchal monarch, Vivian had her home beneath a northern French lake. The problem for her was how to subvert Camelot and restore the Matriarchy. After all the court of Arthur was guided by and protected by the magic of the great magician Merlin. So long as Merlin was on the job Arthur was invulnerable. Vivian’s first task was to eliminate Merlin.
Bear in mind that an ages old system that these participants can have had no knowledge of is being satisfactorily worked out according to the principles of that system. One can understand how active minds could penetrate this arcane system but the miracle is that naïve minds could understand what was intended and how to further it. But then I am participating here in furthering events into the Aquarian Age and am no member of any priesthood; I was just a guy standing on the corner watching the girls go by while reading the odd volume. Do I know what I say I know? I can’t even guess but at the same time I can’t keep from writing as though I do. Blame it on the muse.
Vivian was a cute girl; Merlin was a half daft old man susceptible to a young beauty’s charms even though he knew better. Vivian smiled at him and the wisest dope in the world fell for it. But, isn’t that the way the sisterhood always works. If you’ve got a job to do, keep it zipped up.
Enamored of Vivian Merlin took her into his confidence. He was reluctant to share his magic with her but she coaxed and he caved. Once the wiliest of womanhood had obtained the old wizard’s knowledge she turned on him entombing him in the matriarchal symbol, Mother Earth, where he remains today muttering useless spells in an effort to remove the stone.
Part one of her effort was now achieved. Arthur was unprotected and vulnerable. It was only necessary to find the means and the agent. Vivian already knew the means. Arthur would marry the beautiful but flighty Guenivere. Arthur was old sobersides as he had a kingdom to rule so Guenivere was on the lookout for the dark romantic lead. It just so happened that Vivian had a boy in training who was now about to emerge into lusty young manhood. He was the most perfect knight in the world save one, who was yet unborn and to be his son.
When this lad was a young boy Vivian had lured him down to the lake from whose shores she abducted him taking him to her submarine palace for training. Lancelot became a fairy prince. Now, this is important: Vivian although a virgin was an alpha mother . All those bundles of genes out there who yell and stomp thinking that makes them alpha males aren’t. It’s not in the genes its in the mothering. Look for the alpha female. So, Lancelot was the alphaest of all living males.
As an emblem of her authority Vivian dressed Lancelot as well as the horse he rode out on in shining white velvet. Guenivere’s prince had come.
This Dandy, Lancelot, then went to Camelot and was deputized by Arthur to fetch his bride from her father and thus began a liaison with the Queen that would disrupt the famous Round Table resulting in a war between Patriarchal Arthur and Matriarchal Lancelot that brought the kingdom to its knees.
Arthur’s original sword drawn from the stone had been stolen and replaced by Excalibur a sword given to him by Vivian. Thus Arthur originally armed by the Patriarchy was now defended by the power of the Matriarchy or Diana. When Arthur died the sword was returned to the Lady Of The Lake and Arthur was taken to her bourne, Avalon to be tended by the fairie maidens. Symbolically England had passed from the Patriarchy to the Matriarchy; what began two thousand years earlier between the Cretans and the Greeks was now resolved in England in favor of the Matriarchy.
In the South of Europe the female archetype of the Piscean Age was Mary who delivered Jesus to the world in Virgin birth somewhat like Vivian giving virgin birth to Lancelot. At the same time that Diana assumed authority in the North Mary began to be worshipped in a form known as Mariolatry in the South and assumed pre-eminence over Jesus, the male. The contest then shifted to one between the Dianites of the North and the Marionites of the South.
If one assumes that the sexual battle was over by 1300, then the battle of the female archetypes began. That began to resolve itself when Henry VIII separated England from the Papacy rejecting Mary, the Mother of God. Luther did the same for the Germans. This conflict resulted in the horrific Thirty Years War that nearly destroyed the German people. At war’s end Protestants, that is the Dianites, were in control of the North while the Marionites held the South.
Dissension in the North and South was still rife until the Enlightenment broke the power of the Church releasing all kinds of repressed religious views of which the religion of Diana was merely one. One wonders how much of the women’s movement of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was influenced by the concept of Diana The movement today is heavily influenced by a goddess cult, not Mary, but Diana and probably the Egyptian Isis. One imagines that there must be some continuity.
The interest in both Greek mythology and the Arthurian epics did not wane during the nineteenth century, if anything increasing. Tennyson’s Idylls of the King was a major retelling of the story while the quest for the Holy Grail is an ongoing theme.
The Matriarchy was all but forgotten in the conscious memory of Europe that had become patriarchal on the surface. In mid-century against stiff resistance the Swiss mythologist, J. J. Bachofen uncovered the Matriarchy reintroducing it into intellectual history. The concept was stoutly resisted but a reevaluation of the evidence over the succeeding hundred years has reestablished the knowledge of its existence.
On the popular level the great English novelist H. Rider Haggard toyed with the idea in several significant, even great, novels that have been slighted through a lack of understanding. The most significant of that set of novels, the She saga, has become one of the world’s great classics.
She, or Ayesha, her actual name, means Life was definitely not a mother goddess, as far as we know she had been chaste for two thousand years. Life might be interpreted in the sense of Mistress Of The Animals, so it wouldn’t be unfair to associate Ayesha with Diana. Haggard was no mean mythologist.
He associated with the well known mythologist Andrew Lang with whom he also collaborated on The World’s Desire. He was very well read in mythology, Greek, Egyptian and Israelite. The year after Haggard wrote She in 1888 he followed up with Cleopatra, a very good Egyptian novel. He followed that with the astonishing interpretation of the Helen myth in The World’s Desire of 1890. Within the compass of these three novels he unraveled the meaning of the Hermes/Mercury staff- the Caduceus.
In She Ayesha wore a golden belt composed of two snakes whose heads opposed each other at her waist. They represented the combat between good and evil in Ayesha’s mind. Both natures of the Cretan goddess were united in Ayesha.
By the time Haggard wrote The World’s Desire two years later he had separated the two impulses into two persons. The evil aspect of the goddess was the ruling aspect of the Egyptian princess Meriamun while the pure loving aspect of the goddess belonged to the spirit of Helen whose character was the world’s desire.
Thus the rod of Mercury’s staff represents the spine while the two snakes entwining the rod represent the good and evil impulses who facing each other are at war with each other. In modern psychological terms it could be said the snakes represent the Anima and Animus- the left and right halves of the brain or, in other words, the ovate strand of DNA and the spermatic strand. The wings mean that the whole apparatus is sheltered under the wings of the goddess. It is also quite probable that the points of the chakras are intended by the twining. See my full explication here: http://idynamo.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/a-review-part-iv-she-by-h-rider-haggard/
Hermes/Mercury was one of the old Matriarchal gods who was reborn as a Patriarchal god so that the Patriarchal Mercury bears the Matriarchal emblem of the Caduceus before him thus representing both religious outlooks.
Haggard was the rock on which his near disciple, Edgar Rice Burroughs, built his church. Without saying that Burroughs was an expert Greco-Roman mythologist he began reading mythology at a very early age while his Junior High years were spent at the Harvard Latin school of Chicago where he was placed under a heavy classical regimen. He also continued to read Greek mythology throughout his life while also being interested in anthropology. Thus, while he might not have had the scholarly background of Haggard he must have known enough to follow Haggard’s argument, if not consciously at least in his subconscious memory.
When Burroughs created his fantasy lost city of Opar its goddess, or high priestess, was even named La which is French for She. Whether he was aware he was working with a vision of Diana isn’t relevant as the notion of She/Diana was engraved in what Jung would call the collective unconscious and hence his own.
Ever the Patriarch, Burroughs turned the tables on the Diana/Vivian Merlin story and made La submissive to Tarzan while Tarzan was unmoved by either her beauty or her love.
A sort of version was also told by the very good but now nearly forgotten novelist Robert Hichens in his novel of 1905, The Garden Of Allah. This story in turn influenced Burroughs as well as the much more conscious mythologist Edith Maude Hull who wrote The Sheik in 1921. Today Mrs. Hull’s reputation, such as it is, rests on The Sheik and The Sheik’s reputation on the movie represention of Rudolph Valentino. In point of fact Mrs. Hull’s novel was a study of Diana, the name of her heroine, that follows to some extent the version of Burroughs. (See my full review of The Sheik here http://idynamo.wordpress.com/2007/10/12/a-review-1921s-the-sheik-by-em-hull/)
That Mrs. Hull was a part od some sort of Diana cultish interest is evidenced by this 1920s photo of woman posing as Diana. The collective memory and/or unconscious has kept the vision of Diana/Great Mother alive for a minimum of three thousand years. The Ancient Evil had been transmuted into Freudian psychology.
Today the worship of the Goddess has been revived in the Feminist Movement and is thriving. Indeed, a Matriarchal Revolution has been in progress since perhaps the 1850s and now seems to be rapidly approaching fruition, at least among the Aryans of Europe and America.
Time will tell whither the Ancient Evil will triumph.
April 17, 2011
Maid Of Constant Sorrow
Blonde On Blonde
One can only guess at Edie’s feelings when Dylan dismissed her so brutally from the lines of One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later). She must have intuited if not known that her short and glorious career as the toast of New York was going nowhere. She came to New York with a handsome inheritance that she squandered in a trice, her parents disapproved of her conduct to the the point that they cut her off from support leaving her as Dylan had sneered in Like A Rolling Stone, a poor little rich girl ‘who had never lived out on the streets but now she was going to have to get used to it.’ Screamingly in pain from amphetamines one can only imagine her bewilderment with no way to rectify the situation. Whatever golden opportunities she may have had were now gone forever. Frome here to her death in 1971 would be one long wailing ‘horrorous’ nosedive that is terrifying to relive as a writer even. My stomach quakes as I try to organize the course of events.
Chuck Wein, one of the Harvard homosexuals she had associated with and who had come to New York with her was her evil genius, some say Svengali, who had guided her to Warhol and the
Factory and then presided over her self-destruction. Then for that brief glorious summer of ’65 she had set New York on its ear as a companion to Andy Warhol. Made her feel giddy and indestructible. Andy was apparently in love with her but as a self-centered homosexual was too flaky to work out a relationship that would give her dignity while he was unable to support her more than extravagant tastes.
Behind Warhol was Dylan competing for Edie’s favors which he won in December of ’65 and then discarded her like an old shoe. He recorded the course of his relationship with Edie in various songs from mid-1965 to the completion of Blonde On Blonde in the Spring of ’66. His own career course was changed dramatically in July of ’66 when he had his motorcycle accident.
It might be well to review the songs that comprise Blonde On Blonde now. The song list of Blonde On Blonde is as follows:
1. Rainy Day Women #12 And 35
2. Pledging My Time
3. Visions Of Johanna
4. One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)
5. I Want You
6. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
7. Leopard Sking Pillbox Hat
8. Just Like A Woman
9. Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine
10. Temporary Like Achilles
11. Absolutely Sweet Marie
12. Fourth Time Around
13. Obviously Five Believers
14. Sad Eyed Lady Of The Low Lands
With a knowledge of the lyrics the titles themselves read consecutively tell story while the lyrics confirm the tale. The story hinges on who the two women are. One is Dylan’s mother who blasted herson’s psyche when at about the age of twelve she told him in so many words that he had ruined her life by being born. Apparently it was more than Dylan could handle because it was then that his lifelong misogyny began. It is forbidden for a son to revenge himself on his mother so his only recourse was to take it out on another woman or women. Dylan has been a serial misogynist.
One of the women he chose to vent his spleen on was Edie Sedgwick. Thus the two rainy day women most likely are his mother and Edie. All the time Dylan was bedeviling Edie he was courting Sara Lowndes who he eventually married in November of ’65. It was a quiet wedding that didn’t became known for several months and not widely known until later than that. He married just before he succeeded in abstracting Edie from Andy’s entourage so there is no doubt that he was only toying with Edie as a surrogate for his mother.
He may actually have cherished her vulnerability from drugs, inexperience in the world and low self-esteem. She would have been as helpless as a baby, almost like shot gunning fish in a barrel. Sara was his Madonna, Edie his whore. He waits to the very end of Blonde On Blonde to mention Sara and then he wrote Sad Eyed Lady Of The Low Lands for her. Of course, this was all very mysterious for us back in ’66 because we knew nothing of what was happening in New York. None of us had even heard of Sara Lowndes until she showed up as Dylan’s wife
As blogger Jim De Rogatis says, when he sat down to listen to Blonde: What I discovered was an artist who sneered and snarled with more venom and conviction than Johnny Rotten, and
finally it dawned on me: Dylan was a punk…
Jim wasn’t there at the creation as I was, he is a younger man. I guess my soul was so canchred at the time that I welcomed the sneering and snarling as an expression of my own trauma while today I find the venom is so grating that I can no longer listen to Dylan’s records. Besides he borrows nearly everything.
The album opens on a note of forced sardonic merriment as though in a house of ill fame and ends with the dirge dedicated to his wife, Sara. I leave the interpretation of that up to you. I can’t pretend at this date to understand the lyrics to Sad Eyed Lady. One would have to know more of her and Dylan’s courtship. Dylan thought she was supposed to be impressed that he wrote a song for her with a title that sounds like another of his caustic insults.
To take the songs in order: Rainy Day Women is a raucous, very noisy mocking song along the lines of Like A Rolling Stone with its refrain of ‘How does it feel?’ On release the song was so noisy it was nearly unlistenable, certainly objectionable and barely music. Time has conditioned our ears. The refrain here: Everyboyd must get stoned, has layers of possible meaning. While the allegory of stoned meaning pelted with rocks is present, stoned can also have a secondary meaning of smoking marijuana. I don’t think the meaning has anything to do with getting ‘stoned’ from dope. I think it’s a combination of the first meaning and what was perceived by Dylan as a devastating insult from his mother.
The refrain must refer on one hand to his mothers perceived ‘stoning’ of Dylan by her announcement to him that he had been basically unwanted. That stoning is turned around to apply to his ‘stoning’ of Edie in vengeance. He then gleefully taunts and mocks her with the refrain: Do not feel so all alone, everybody must get stoned (How does it feel?) which refers back to his earlier song about Edie, Like A Rolling Stone.
In order to make ‘poetry’ of his taunt, our incipient ‘Shakespeare’ gives several poetic references that have nothing to do with rocks or joints. For instance the line ‘They’ll stone you when you’re riding in your car’ must refer to radio DJs pitching products. Thus stoning is meant as a verbal assault. One can compare that line with the Rolling Stone’s Mick Jagger’s lyrics to his song Satisfaction:
When I’m drivin’ in my car
And that man comes on the radio
He’s tellin’ me more and more
About some useless information
Supposed to fire my imagination
I can’t get no, Oh, no, no, no
Hey, hey, hey, that’ what I say
I can’t get no
So Dylan’s use of ‘stoning’ is giving or getting unpleasant information.
Song #2, Pledging My Time merely means he is obsessed with his mother’s ‘information’ that he was unwanted which is reflected in song #3, Visions Of Johanna when he sings: These visions of Johanna have conquered my mind. Johanna being his mother. Then there is discussion about Andy and Edie. (see my essay at http://idynamo.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/exhuming-bob-xxviii-visions-of-johanna-decoded/ for a full discussion.)
Song#4 Sooner Or Later mocks Edie who he ‘really did try to get close to’ as he dismisses here as he would have like to have dismissed his mother. Song #5 is self-explanatory.
Song #6, Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again awhile the lyrics are unclear must refer back to I Want You on one hand and forward to Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat and Just Like A Woman on the other. He’s stuck inside of Mobile, i.e. he wants his mother with the Memphis Blues, i.e. he want his vengeance on Edie is a possible interpretation. At any rate it is placed between I Want You and the two Edie songs so it must be related to all three.
Then come two really unnecessarily vicious songs that everyone agrees are about Edie- Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat and Just Like A Woman. There are no obvious reasons for Dylan to express such vehement, disfiguring hatred of the poor girl unless he’s visiting his repressed hatred of his mother on her.
Song #10 Temporary Like Achilles involves Edie and Andy and himself. I doubt if Dylan had any understanding of the Iliad, if he had even read it, so apart from Achilles short life and the seven month interruption of his relationship with Edie by Warhol an interpretation is somewhat of a hazard.
Songs 11, 12, 13, Absolutely Sweet Marie, Fourth Time Around, and Obviously 5 Believers seem to wander off topic. I have read one interpretation in which the blogger thought Obviously 5 Believers was a response to the Beatles Norwegian Wood. Or possibly they lead into song #14 Sad Eyed Lady Of The Low Lands that Dylan says he wrote about Sara Loundes. The lyrics of this ‘poem’ are incomprehensible but if I had been Sara I wouldn’t have taken the title as a compliment, especially not after being locked out of a discussion about Dylan, Edie and his mother. After all, this is a married man lashing out at Edie.
After completing the LP Dylan left for his 1966 tour of England in which there was such a violent reaction to his electric backup band. I don’t remember their being a violent reaction made on the West Coast. For myself I welcome it. I never did like that faux folk crap he did anyway. Apparently Dylan didn’t either. A new expanded edition, lots of new material. of Robert Shelton’s biography, No Direction Home, just released by Omnibus Press is available, speaking in 1965 Shelton quotes Dylan thusly: ‘There never was any change. No instrument will ever change love, death in any soul. My music is my music. Folk music was such a shuck. I never recorded a folk song.’ He did however call himself a folk singer.
So, whoever shouted Judas at the Manchester concert knew what he was talking about. I never listened to those nauseous early Dylan records anyway. Blonde On Blonde was released in June of 1966 while Dylan was thrown by his ‘chrome horse’ on 7/29/66 thus putting an end to the first phase of his career.
I don’t know what Edie thought wen she heard the record that summer but one supposes she would have recognized herself as the topic of the conversation. Warhol certainly did and he was not amused. Knew something about motorcycles too.
Both Edie and Dylan were so heavily into amphetamines that they probably were not responsible for their actions. Drugs tend to put one into an internal state in which the outside world assumes a subordinate position, almost irrelevant, to one’s interior reality. A person functions in his own mind as a sort of magician who can comman the world to his own world. A certain type of insanity I suppose. Right and wrong are merely expressions of one’s own subconscious will. As Dylan confused Edie with his mother who he subconsciously wished to punish he transferred those feelings, that resentment, that hatret onto Edie as his surrogate mother thus gaining his revenge. How much satisfaction he got isn’t known and he’s not telling.
Edie herself was so far gone into amphetamines as to be oblivious to what was happening in her life. As far as she could dissociate her life from reality she could obviously make black white and vice versa.
Having dealt with Dylan’s relationship with Edie, let us return to January of ’66 to take up again the story from there.
Chap. 14 has been posted as of 6/23/11
December 1, 2010
Understanding The Myth And Music Of Bob Dylan
Stephen Hazan Arnoff: www.forward.com/articles/133344/
Stephen Hazan Arnoff comes back among us to talk around Sean Wilentz’ Bob Dylan In America and Greil Marcus’ Bob Dylan: Writing 1968-2000 by which is meant Marcus’ writings on Dylan, more specifically reviews of songs and LPs. I have read and reviewed Wilentz while having bought Marcus I flipped through it determining it was more for possible reference than reading, definitely not literature per se.
Startlingly Arnoff is able to compare the Dylan portrayed to both Homer and God.
In “Odysseus’ Scar,’ the first chapter of his study “Mimesis: The Representation of
Reality in Western Literature” (1953), Eric Auerbach presents the history of Western literature as a choice between two creative paths. “It would be difficult” he writes, “to imagine styles more contrasted than those of these two equally ancient and equally epic texts.” The first epic mode is that of Homer, a realm where the narrator shines an overwhelmingly bright light on the characters and situations of his story. There are no gaps in the Homeric narrative. No details of circumstance or motivations of characters are left unexplained.
The second mode is biblical. Here, Auerbach finds a storytelling tradition depending on gaps and fragments “fraught with background.” For biblical literature and its narrative decendants, motivation and detail are purposely obscured so that a life of interpretation and commentary thrives continually. While biblical scribes and their rabbinic heirs cluster around laconic narratives that leave the burden of imagination to interpreters, the Homeric mode prefers richly detailed depictions of reality in which the responsibility for imagination lies with the storyteller.
In other words the Bible, like Dylan’s lyrics, is just words. I suppose Homer’s ‘overwhelmingly bright light’ is why the Iliad is the least understood of the world’s great literature while as much commentary on it exists as on the Bible. Mr. Arnoff is sometimes difficult to follow.
One reason that Homer writes so will with relative clarity is that he is the prototype of Western scientific thought in which the purpose is to make things clear with an overwhelmingly bright light while the murky mythopoeic thinking associated with Semitic thought is based on supernatural hocus pocus that defies rational explanation.
Much the same as the latter can Dylan’s approach to ‘literature’ be explained. Dylan’s movie Masked And Anonymous written by himself has his character Penelope explaining Dylan’s lyric approach to his other character Pope John-Paul II thusly as she makes little boxes with her fingers: “I like Jack Fate’s songs because they don’t have definite sense. They don’t mean anything except what you want them to mean. I like that.” (or words to that effect.)
Well, Bob is Jewish as are Wilentz, Marcus, Arnoff and Auerbach so I suppose there is no reason that they wouldn’t reject precise science in favor of biblical gobbledegook. I wouldn’t brag about it though.
Of course one can see any artist’s work through any lens one wants but one always leaves oneself open to ridicule whether just or not. Certainly Arnoff is ridiculous as he goes on:
Christopher Rick’s “Dylan’s Visions Of Sin (Ecco, 2004) and Dylan’s own memoirs, “Chronicles, Volume One (Simon and Schuster, 2004), now share the title of “Brilliant Studies Of Dylan’s Work” because they model how Dylan- a combination of market-savvy rocker, Homeric bard and biblical seer- has carved out a place in popular culture for art “fraught with background.”
I just can’t see Dylan as more than a ‘market-savvy rocker.’ He is in no manner a Homeric bard while he definitely poses as a biblical seer. No matter what his past he is now a mediocre country and western singer in the pattern of 50s artists like Slim Whitman and Hank Snow, who he even imitates, in Masked And Anonymous. His band might be competent, good or, even, excellent but they aren’t playing anything out of the ordinary.
Bob Dylan is a legend only in Stephen Hazan Arnoff’s mind and those of Dylan’s die hard fans which, while numerous, are not universal. He is the product of incessant drum beating by people like Arnoff, Marcus and his house shill, Sean Wilentz.
We are not talking Shakespeare, Homer or even the Bible. We are talking about a market savvy ‘rocker’ who writes meaningless lyrics subject to whatever the hearer chooses to project on them. He admits that his lyrics mean nothing. That is neither poetry or literature.
If a ‘market savvy rocker’ can make hundreds of millions of dollars on this basis I suppose that does make him a legend for his time. However, Mr. Arnoff, spare us the comparison with Homer.
Pt.I: H.G.Wells, Sigmund Freud, Edgar Rice Burroughs And The Development Of Contemporary Sexual Attitudes
August 14, 2010
H. G. Wells, Sigmund Freud, Edgar Rice Burroughs
And The Development Of Contemporary Sexual Attitudes
Certainly it is to be hoped that (the) naturalistic school of writing will never take firm root in England, for it is an accursed thing. It is impossible to help wondering if its followers ever reflect on the mischief that they must do, and, reflecting do not shrink from the responsiblility to look at the matter from one point of view only, Society has made a rule for the benefit of the whole community, individuals must keep their passions within certain fixed limits, and our system is so arranged that any transgression of this rule produces mischief of one sort or another, if not actual ruin, to the transgressor. Especially is this so is she be a woman. Now, as it is, human nature is continually fretting against these artificial bounds, and especially among young people it requires considerable fortitude and self-restraint to keep the feet from wandering. We all know too, how much this sort of indulgence depends upon the imagination, and we all know how easy it is for a powerful writer to excite it in that direction. Indeed, there could be nothing more easy to a writer of any strength or vision, especially if he spoke with an air of evil knowledge and intimate authority. There are probably several men in England at this moment who, if they turned their talents to this end, could equal, if not outdo, Zola himself, with results that would shortly show themselves among the population. Sexual passion is the most powerful lever with which to stir the mind of man, for it lies at the root of all things human; and it is impossible to over-estimate the damage that could be worked by a single English or American writer of genius, if he grasped it with a will.
–H. Rider Haggard
Appendix to the Broadview
Edition Of She
For a long time now I’ve put off writing about Edgar Rice Burroughs in relation to H.G. Wells. Wells has been difficult to get a handle on, a point of entry. But the Woodrow Nichols’ article on nudity in Burroughs on ERBzine pointed in the direction of changing sexual attitudes in the twentieth century. Coupled with reading the above quote of Rider Haggard I realized that Wells and Burroughs were two of those powerful writers capable of unleashing those sexual passions. They, coupled with Sigmund Freud, did change sexual attitudes in the twentieth century.
That is not to say they were alone but of all of the hundreds of writers between then and now all their books remain in print continuing their work.
The sexual problem is central to civilization while it has been handled differently in the development of civilization. For some time it seemed that the Patriarchal model would be permanent. J.J. Bachofen, the great Swiss mythologist of the mid-nineteenth century, was the first to challenge the Patriarchal model. In his studies of mythologies he perceived that behind the Patriarchy first came a Matriarchy while at the beginning was a Hetaeric period. All three had different sexual approaches while all three attitudes have survived into the current age competing for dominance.
In the first Hetaeric stage of development Bachofen believed men used women, and woman, indiscriminately whether with force of persuasion when the sexual urge hit him. A good picturalization of this can be found in the movie, In Quest Of Fire. As there was no knowledge of how offspring were conceived the women of the horde merely accepted the inevitable bumper crop of children.
Being a sexual object puts an unbearable burden on the female of the species no matter how natural. Since most females began bearing at twelve or thirteen with the onset of puberty they were worn out at twenty with few probably surviving to thirty. Indeed, a huge percentage must have died in child birth from twelve to twenty. One imagines a surplus of males in the horde not unlike affairs in the nineteenth century when men frequently went through two or three wives or more as the women died young in childbirth.
While conception or paternity wasn’t recognized there was no mistaking motherhood. By some process of refinement the sexual mores of hordes evolved into Matriarchy which acknowledged female parentage while giving women some sort of sexual control, preference if you will. The change from the Hetaeric to the Matriarchal inevitably left behind a reactionary or conservative group who saw no reason for change or giving up their sexual prerogatives. Thus conflicts between the two attitudes, perhaps warfare.
The Matriarchy was still thriving when history began to be recorded. Thus Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey concern the Patriarchal revolution against the Matriarchy amongst the Europeans. By now paternity had been discovered by which the male discovered that he impregnated the female which he now considered the most important part of the process and one which involved the exclusive use of the female as he had no wish to care for another man’s children. Hence Patriarchalism- the primacy of the father- evolved putting the three systems into conflict and competition. This is a main theme of Greek mythology.
Concessions had to be made to the Hetaerists who were irate at the loss of their prerogatives. Hence temple prostitution undoubtedly evolved in which all the young females were kept in a temple compound until they had sex with any man who demanded it. Civilization being civilization, of course, there was a fee, hence protitution. Upon completion of the duty the female was released.
The Patriarchal revolt was a long slow drawn out process with many setbacks and compromises such as the above. Indeed, the Patriarchal god, Apollo, wrested Delphi from the Matriarchy but in the Matriarchal reaction he was forced to share the shrine with the effiminate Matriarchal hybrid god, Dionysus who, himself was destined to replace Zeus as the avatar of the Piscean Age. He assumed both male and female characteristics in the attempt to arrange the sexual conflict. That’s why the Jewish prophet Jesus of Nazareth, who substituted for him in yet another compromise is so effiminate. With the admixture of the Semitic influence in European religion with its uncompromising Patriarchalism the evolving Catholic Church was all but able to extinguish the Matriarchal Dionysian influence as well as the Hetaeric. Chastity, celibacy and monogamy became not only dominant but exclusive.
Just as the Matriarchy, while suppressed, has never disappeared or admitted defeat so also the Hetaerists have survived assuming different disguises while waging continued war with the Patriarchy and the Scientific view which is say Western Science and the Roman Catholic Church.
Reviled by the Church and persecuted sometimes to death the various sects fought back often posing as Catholics to become priests, even occasionally a Pope, and bore from within. Thus arose the Free Spirit sect which demanded the right of access to any woman at any time in any place. Thus John Sinclair in 1960s and 70s demanding the right to ‘fuck in the streets.’ An irrational request by any other standard. The Free Spirits delighted in debauching nuns when they had sufficient numbers to seize a place.
The spirit surfaced among the Anabaptists, for instance, who were not only suppressed but destroyed root and branch. With the Enlightenment when the Hetaerists surfaced as the Libertines we hear of them forwarding the French Revolution while their ideals were absorbed by the nascent Communist political movement. The Libertines per se seem to have transmogrifed into La Vie Boheme after the Napoleonic Empire, Bohemianism reaching down to our time.
La Vie Boheme as depicted by the French novelist Henri Murger evolved in the early nineteenth century along with their more overtly criminal cousins, the Mohicans of Paris as the novelist Alexandre Dumas styled them and known as Apaches by the end of the century. In the US fifties the Apaches were represented on TV with a mystifyingly violent effect as Apache dancers from France. I suppose the Apache style was transmogrified into the New York Bohemian style also. So this quasi-criminal Bohemian Apache style pervaded Euroamerican civilization through the nineteenth century and in diluted form into the twentieth and present day. The Fall 2010 Nordstrom catalog for instance celebrates the New York Haut Boheme.
I was trying to relate this latter day form of Behemianism to Burroughs in my three part series on Presley, Lennon and Yoko Ono that Bill Hillman courageously published in ERBzine but over some very strenuous objections. I presume I lost the Bibliophiles on that issue.
That Burroughs was fascinated by the Bohemian style while actually furthering the Hetaeric sexual program is fairly obvious. He said that he wrote his first unpublished work, Minidoka, in Ragtime speech, that is to say the Bohemian mode. In other words ERB considered himself plenty hep, at least a closet Bohemian. Some may find that disturbing but, it is so. In ’60s NYC terminology ERB would hve been of the Haut Boheme. Along with those sympathies went a set of Hetaeric sexual mores that Burroughs advocated.
I have already examined the Bohemian influence of George Du Maurier on Burroughs with his novels Peter Ibbetson, Trilby and The Martian. Du Maurier was also of the Haut Boheme. A photograph of ERB behind the camera in Idaho in 1899 shows ERB dressed in full artistic Boho mode. He had just emerged from a short stay at the Chicago Art Institute where he would have immersed himself in Boho mores as artists then and now were virtually all Boho, at least in outlook. Writers too.
It seems quite extraordinary that Libertinism was discouraged and contained between the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century. Perhaps the answer can be found in the transition from aristocratic society to bourgeois society. Perhaps the Bourgeois requiring a different sexual morality than the aristocracy succeeded in imposing their version of sexual mores by sheer numbers.
Libertinism did regain prominence amongst the wealthy Haut Boheme of NYC thence spreading throughout society as a Bohemian sensibility began to displace the Bourgeois.
A book I have reviewed on ERBzine, found in ERB’s library which he read, GWM Reynolds’ The Mysteries Of The Court Of London scrupulously records the libertine activities in a fictional form of Prince George, later King George IV, whose career of seduction ended only in the 1820s. Certainly Reynolds’ depiction of the libertine actiities of George and his circle out Zolaed Zola by more than somewhat.
The whole libertine attitude was nowhere more prominently displayed than in NYC’s Haut Boheme nightclub, Studio 54. So the suppression of the libertine spirit during and since the reign of Queen Victoria was short. Perhaps Haggard’s novel She echoes the memories of the Libertinage of the eighteenth century Hellfire Club in some obscure way.
Haggard had no reason to put on airs because as I pointed out in my review of his King Solomon’s Mines that novel is smutty from top to bottom while ‘She’ has some very salacious passages. As Horace stands watching the scene of She and the dead body of Kallicrates for instance one is more than excited. She had murdered her former lover Kallicrates for running off with another woman. Immediately remorseful she kept the body preserved in perfect condition for two thousand years. She could even psychically animate the body so that it stood although still insensate. The necrotic effect is hypnotizing, making the reader a voyeuristic accomplice of Horace. As he and we watch the bodice of She’s dress slips to her waist exposing her magnificent charms according to your imagination. As we watch she then raises her arms above her head lifting and pointing the golden orbs. She does this not once but twice so it is clear Haggard was exciting and taunting his readers. If one imagines Ursula Andress who played She in one of the movies the effect is exhilarating indeed.
Haggard aside, as he says there were writers in England and America who were champing at the bit to alter the course of sexual history. Chief among these was H.G. Wells in England and our own Edgar Rice Burroughs. Both would make significant contributions to the ‘change’ but the most effective writer of them all was the secret sexual pervert, the undisputed master of them all, Sigmund Freud. But to go first to H.G. Wells and take things in order.
Yoko Ono And The Men Who Influenced Her
Review by R.E. Prindle
Clayson, Alan: Woman: The Incredible Life Of Yoko Ono, Chrome Dreams, 2004.
Yoko Ono involved herself with several of the most influential men in the arts during the sixties, seventies and eighties of the twentieth century. She drew her inspiration from them patterning her own efforts after them. At the same time she was one of the leading feminists of the day having her share in shaping and furthering the movement. The mantra was female liberation, equality between men and women. In fact women were equal to men in the West but only by acknowledging the biological differences between men and women. The fact is the differences are real and not social constructs as women would have us believe. The fact is women are women and men are men. So, in seeking ‘female liberation’ feminists were seeking much more than ‘equality’ however the term may be defined.
The fact is that in the Ages old war between the sexes feminists are seeking to restore the Matriarchy and destroy the Patriarchy. That is why many men favor feminism, they prefer the Matriarchy. Thus the feminists are atavistic. Yoko and her cohorts wished, in her words, to restore ‘heart’ as she viewed the Matriarchy and eliminate ‘reason’ as she viewed quite rightly the basis of Patriarchalism. Nevermind that bilogical science has invalidated the concepts of Matriarachy and Patriarchy. This is a post Matriarchy and Patriarchy world.
Circa -2000 in the West men revolted against the mind stifling Matriarchy and the vaginal swamp of the ‘heart’ seeking to establish
the authority of the infinite power of the mind of Zeus on ethereal Olympus. This is the story of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and the Greek myths in general recording the struggle.
The Western male was able to impose the ascendency of reason over the heart for 3000 years until the disestablishment of the old order by science about mid-nineteenth century. The center could not hold during this period of extreme change as W.B. Yeats put it as the rearrangement of the intellectual order moved into the twentieth century.
Yoko Ono sought with her feminist fellows to return to the biological innocence of 2000 BC. She herself had no talent. Filled with audacity she pitted her ‘heart’ against the reason of John Cage, Andy Warhol and John Lennon. I’m sure she had a mentor for her so-called performance art but I am as yet unaware of who he may be. Perhaps Maciunas and the Fluxus group.
Thus her first manifestation as an artist was based on the musical ideas of John Cage while her artistic efforts were at least based in the avant garde ideas of the Fluxus group. Her first assault on the NYC art world failed so in 1961 she returned in defeat to Japan. When she returned to NYC in 1964 she found an entirely different art scene. On the musical side the focus was on Bobby Dylan and the Beatles while on the artistic side Andy Warhol and his Factory had destroyed the Abstract Expressionists and the old avant garde. Dylan, the Beatles and Warhol had in fact usurped the avant garde which now had little meaning. From my point of view held at the time the avant garde had ceased to exist. Of course I didn’t understand exactly why or how.
From 1964 when Yoko returned to NYC until 1966 when she left for London I’m sure Yoko was at a loss. She developed her silly
notion of Bagism at this time even having a black bag on a stand in Max’s Kansas City that some one or ones were supposed to slide into. This seems to have been thought a lame idea at the time as it seems now.
At this time while retaining allegiance to John Cage’s musical ideas she was falling under the influence of Andy Warhol’s artistic notions. Warhol’s intent had been to destroy the idea of ‘fine art’. In this he pretty well succeeded. As Yoko expressed it you didn’t need any talent to be an artist. She seems to demonstrate this notion in her own artistic efforts. Warhol had also redefined the notion of film with his static studies. He then sought to combine his film ideas with live music, probably in competition with Bob Dylan who was also attempting to move in that direction. Warhol adopted Lou Reed and his band the Velvet Underground as the Factory house band while creating a multi-media show called the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, innovative for its time. Thus a concert at his hall, the Dom, was an ‘experience.’
While Yoko makes no mention about how this, actually, incredible development affected her there can be no doubt that she was well aware of Dylan, the Beatles and the Warhol Experience and was affected by it. Indeed, the first manifestation was the making of her Warhol style films such as Bottoms.
The second manifestation was her removal to London to seduce either Lennon or McCartney of the Beatles, thus in the manner of Warhol’s adoption of the Velvet Underground she sought to co-opt the Beatles, the premier rock group in the world. Real chutzpah and more than one upping Warhol. I think it would be nonsense to think she had any other goal in mind.
She undoubteldy learned that Paul McCartney was actively involved with John Dunbar and his Indica Gallery that opened in 1965.
Some say she first set her sights on McCartney but the more vulnerable Lennon showed up and the Spider Woman spread her web.
She was still married to her second husband, Tony Cox, but, regardless of what she says she very aggressively pursued, or attacked, Lennon. Lennon was emotionally under water unable to handle his success while drugging himself out of his mind. He was unwillingly married to his wife Cynthia. It appears that he married Cynthia out of duty when she became pregnant. He doesn’t seem to have been happy in his virtue. Yoko had no difficulty in capturing his affections.
Now, just as Warhol had adopted the Velvets and imposed his female singer, Nico, on the band Yoko sought to imp[ose herself on the Beatles through Lennon. At this time she was still musically completely in thrall to John Cage understanding nothing about Rock music. She and Lennon had made a ridiculous LP called Two Virgins in 1968. She combined her cagian screechings while using an avant garde 'performance' notion of the couple posing nude on the cover; full frontal on the obverse, full posterior on the reverse. As no store would carry the cover the couple reverted to Yoko's idea of Bagism placing the cover inside a plain manila envelope or bag. While it didn't sell the record this form of Bagism was actually a successful artistic statement. The nude cover given an outer garment so to speak.
Well, the public was prepared to forgive the Beatles anything but the other three Beatles weren't prepared to forgive Yoko for forcing herself on them thus she broke up the most successful act of the sixties. Still, she had succeeded according to her wildest dream. Lennon and his wonderful reputation and fortune were hers. She had gone from a neglected, nondescript 'performance' artist to center stage, not on her own womanly talents but by attaching herself to a talented man. Yoko's 'heart' was useless without the male intellect. Yoko was now the most influencial feminist in the world. She knew what to do with that.
After several 'performance' acts such as the 'Bed In For Peace' the couple left England to return to the place Yoko wished to subjugate artistically, New York City. She had raised herself to a par with Andy Warhol. She now had to meld her musical and artistic goals through Lennon and Warhol.
On the musical side she began to develop her rock n' roll skills under the tutelage of Lennon. While not abandoning the avant garde notions of John Cage she now emasculated her husband. Always semi-delusional or perhaps completely so, she fantasized that she was not only equal to Lennon in skill and popularity but superior to him. She imagined herself more popular than Lennon. Thus one has such travesties as the LP Double Fantasy. It was only after Lennon's death that she was forced to recognize than Lennon's fans did not appreciate her efforts. So she failed as a musician.
She quickly tired of being Mrs. Lennon. Thus she and Lennon separated for eighteen months or so during the years 1973-75. She then realized that her financial well being and musical acceptance depended on Lennon. In 1975 she called him back resuming their relationship until his death in 1980. But, things had changed.
She began to adopt Warhol's life style on her return to NYC. While she propagated the notion that she was some sort of business whiz Iam having difficulties discovering any such skills. It appears that with the enormous income of Lennon she emulated Warhol in
spending her way to prosperity.
She was in a position to not only match Warhol’s spending but exceeding it by many times. Through the seventies and eighties Warhol came into his own as an artist while reaping a fortune doing portraits. There appears to have been no effort on his part to invest in income producing vehicles. Rather he bought stuff. He purchased buildings in NYC and elsewhere while acquring undeveloped acreage in places like Aspen. He shopped nearly every day buying antiques from furniture to objets d’ art by the bushel almost as though he were trying to excel the incredible W.R. Hearst.
He usually didn’t even look at the stuff once he bought it merely filling rooms with his shopping bags. At his death all this junk was auctioned off for 25 million dollars, a nice appreciation in value.
Yoko followed the exact pattern buying apartments and houses as well as an extensive dairy farm with a herd of prize cows. She not only had but has five apartments in her principal dwelling, the Dakota apartment building and many other houses scattered around.
Like Warhol the Dakota apartments are stuffed with junk. Valuable, but, you know, stuff. She bought at good prices. Her extensive collection of Egyptian antiquities was mostly purchased before a steep rise in value.
Like the Rothschilds of old Yoko didn’t do all her own shopping but employed agents to search things out. Chief among these was an associate of Warhol’s, Sam Green, and an Hungarian immigrant by the name of Sam Havadtoy.
There should be no surprise then that she now has an extensive collection of Warhol’s artwork as well as his portraits of Lennon. The Warhols would have been purchased for form 25 to 50K while now being listed on her assets at tens of millions. She also has been said to have a good collection of Magrittes as well as one assumes other artists. So, much of her net worth is tied up in artwork purchased through Sam Green.
Sam Havadtoy was an antiques dealer as well as an interior designer. He appears to have been a somewhat shady character. It is very difficult to find much about him, however there is a sharp portrait available from the notorious A.J. Weberman ( http://www.acid-trip.org/lennon/ )
…(the Lennons) hired a sleazy Eastern European bisexual to renovate the pad. (Dakota) I had heard of this dude, whose name escapes me, from an asswipe named BRUCE KIRSH, who worked for him. KIRSH told me that the dude, who worked for the King of Morocco, would form a dummy renovation company, hire employees like Kirsch who were willing to work under false names, then, when it came time to pay taxes, everyone would disappear. I learned of him long before he was hired by John and Yoko, and I was taken aback when Yoko took up with him after John’s death.
I know that Weberman is not particularly well thought of by fandom but this is because of his harassment of Dylan who did, after all, misrepresent himself to the revolutionaries like Weberman. A.J. himself is an intelligent observer who was wading through it when it was deep. I do believe he knows what he’s talking about although his interpretations of Dylan’s lyrics seem absurd.
I would have to question Yoko’s judgment in taking him in. Both he and Sam Green were candidates as successors to Lennon with
whom she consorted in front of Lennon before he died while Yoko chose Havadtoy as his successor the day he died.
Perhaps she selected Havadtoy over Green because he was more rough trade. With Lennon while managing to reconcile revolution with peace and love with Havadtoy she discarded peace and love in favor of strong arm methods against her former employee Fred Seaman when it was totally unnecessary.
Havadtoy was living in a homosexual arrangement with his business partner when Yoko beckoned him to switch to her. Apparently an able switch hitter he was lured by the money to this much older woman. The arrangement did last for twenty years before Havadtoy removed to his native Hungary taking a nice cash settlement and several of the Warhols.
Thus, just as Warhol had his live-in homosexual arrangement so after Lennon’s death Yoko adopted the exact arrrangement. Today she apparently lives alone, a seventy-eight year old woman.
After Lennon’s death there was an accession of from 30 million to a possible 100 million dollars as their last album, Double Fantasy, sold into the millions while the rest of Lennon’s catalog and one assumes the Beatles’ catalog was reinvigorated while all things Lennon sold. This is, of course, no reflection on Yoko but the inevitable result with intellectual properties when the maker dies.
Post-Lennon, then, Yoko realized that her recording and art careers were nil. Heart without intellect is worthless. She then became the caretaker of the Lennon legacy. His recordings, of course, continued to sell, but even his artwork eclipsed that of Yoko. So she suffered the humiliation of being a mere appendage to a man. The feminine dismal swamp was eclipsed by the Olympian heights of the male intellect. As in ancient times the God had trumped the Goddess. And yet as with Hera and Zeus the Goddess gets her way. Yoko came up with the money and goods while Lennon’s spirit was wafted into the stratosphere.
As any reader of mythology knows Hera ruled the Lernean swamps of Argolis while Zeus ruled the gods on ethereal Olympus. Thus one has the symbolism of the biological difference between the male and female.
In ancient times the female had her share in magic. She knew herbs and plants, was familiar with poisons and cures as with the arch witch of the ancient world, Medea. The reputation of the female witch even as a consort of Satan persisted down through medieval and post-medieval times, indeed, even up to the dawn of the scientific enlightenment. One would have thought that magic and witchery were a thing of the past in the 1960s and yet Yoko embodied the whole female swamp mentality.
She established something called the Spirit Foundation attributing the direction to Lennon who in fact knew nothing of these matters but followed her lead. The Spirit Foundation celebrated the ancient art of the Shaman or witch doctor. Shamanism itself even preceded the Matriarchal swamps of Argolis. It was a rich repository of magical tradition. Further the Foundation was feminist in that it was dedicated to preserving the magical traditions of the women of the Pacific islands still living in such archaic societies. The wealth generated by the male intellect was appropriated by the female vagina or ‘heart.’
In her own life and that of Lennon’s Yoko was addicted to a variety of magical practices- astrology, numerology, Tarot readings, and indeed she traveled to the Caribbean to sell her soul to Satan through the offices of a female curandera. Her Tarot reader, John Green, was a priest in the shamanistic, magical, Yoruban African cult of Santeria.
Her feminism was more a magical effort to restory Matriarchal supremacy over the Patriarchy thus reversing the Patriarchal victory of three thousand years previously. Indeed, what has been called the movement for female equality is nothing more than a covert campaign to restore the Matriarchy.
Thus while Yoko o9riginatd nothing she usurped the abilities of the reason of men- Cage, Warhol, Lennon and male magicians such as John Green. Indeed the Trojan War itself was a war of men in service of women.
In her associations with men she preferrred to deal with emasculated types such as homosexuals like Cage, Warhol, Sam Green and Sam Havadtoy. Lennon claimed to have always been dependent of women for comfort and guidance while Yoko caught him at his most confused and vulnerable.
While she received direction from Cage and Warhol she was able to manipulate Lennon out of his talent somewhat as Vivian did that of Merlin of the Arthurian saga. When Vivian had usurped Merlin’s magical knowledge she buried him deep much as Lennon was put out of the way. Yoko then appropriated his wealth and residual income after his death. It was this constant inflow of cash that allowed her to propagate the notion that she was a financial genius.
Then as the female of the ‘heart’ or vaginal swamp she managed and appropriated the reason of Olympus through Cage, Warhol and Lennon. What she got from Havadtoy other than brute strength is not clear to me.
As such Yoko is Woman. In her case a seeming reversion to the archetypal Shaman of the most ancient times.
Edgar Rice Burroughs On Mars
Thuvia, Maid Of Mars
Apparently at this time in his life ERB’s mind was focused on hypnotism. The raison d’ etre of the novel seems to be his explanation of hypnotism and some of its effects. He certainly makes a fascinating story of the phenomenon. In fact the whole story concerns hypnotism with a few embellishments to get Carthoris and Thuvia to Lothar and once he’d exhausted the possibilities of his hypnotic theme he ended the story and even then he ends on a wild hypnotic note.
Thuvia was his fourth Mars novel and his first without John Carter. The hero is Carthoris the son of John Carter and Dejah Thoris. ERB’s father, George T. had died about a year previous to the writing. This novel was written shortly after The Lad And The Lion. As it includes a scene of psychological rebirth it may be a declaration of independence from his father, severing the relationship more denfinitely than did Lad.
On entering the land of the Lotharians Carthoris passes through a cave quite similar to the birth canal. There are Banths, Martian lions, before and one huge one behind him. Those before seem to vanish while the one large Banth remained behind him; that would be the memory of his father and the past. Carthoris placed himself in a posture of defense in the dark but the charging Banth passed to his side missing him much as a ghost from the past might do. Thus ERB seems to dispense with the Old Looney aboard ship in The Lad And The Lion who did represent ERB’s dad.
Thuvia had been kidnapped by a disappointed suitor who had her taken to Aanthor, one of the innumerable dead cities lining the shores of the vanished seas. There she was captured by the Green Men who fled through the cave to Lothar. There Carthoris and Thuvia are delivered to the scene of the action by ERB.
Carthoris then finds Thuvia in the possession of the Green Men who are waging a gigantic battle against the Phantom Bowmen of Lothar, themselves aided by large prides of both phantom and real Banths.
Piles of Green Men killed by little arrows lie about amongst legions of Bowmen who have been cut down, and still they stream through the city gates. Carthoris who has gotten to the side of Thuvia and she marvel at the carnage. They turn to watch the defeated Green Men flee. When they look back they are astonished to see that the dead Bowmen have all disappeared while the dead Green Men no longer have phantom arrows sticking in them. The pair are at a loss for an explanation. The Banths however were real and were now gorging themselves on the remains of the Greenies.
As a nice touch ERB has Thuvia essentially hypnotize the Banths. Rather than fear them as Carthoris does she merely makes a low melodic warbling sound that so charms the Banths that they come fawning before her.
This may seem improbable or even impossible and yet I have seen it done but with house cats. What can be done with one size cat I’m sure can be done with all sizes. The effect was quite astonishing with the woman I saw do it but the result was exactly as ERB describes it. Apparently he’d seen it done too. ERB thus establishes the ability of Thuvia that will be even more important soon.
Thus they gain access to the city of Lothar by passing through the Banths with safety. As a nice touch ERB gives Lothar an exotic round gate that rolls back into a slot. Perhaps he had seen a house with such a door somewhere. Once inside they meet the Lotharian Jav who begins to unfold the story while unfolding the hypnotic power of the mind.
If ERB had read H. Rider Haggard’s Cleopatra that deals quite extensively with hypnotism in a scenario somewhat similar to this one Haggard may have been another source for Thuvia. Quite possibly ERB had ingested and digested his earlier reading so that he wasn’t aware of how close he was to the originals. After all, anyone who could learn of Numa, the Roman King, from his Jr. High studies and think he had invented the name Numa for the king of beasts twenty years later, which he says is what happened, probably could think he was inventing his details himself.
Many strange phenomena appear to the pair on their way to the palace of the despot who was named Tario. They see marching files of Bowmen who appear and disappear. But the Bowmen are not real they are a projection of the mind of Tario who has hypnotized the pair into seeing what isn’t there.
While it is clear that ERB is quite familiar with Homer’s Odyssey it isn’t quite so clear what he knows of Homer’s Iliad or Greek mythology in general. One hesitates to give him too much knowledge and yet elements from the Iliad and Greek mythology seem to materialize before one’s eyes like the Phantom Bowmen of Lothar.
One can’t know whether ERB read the Iliad more than once and whether that once was in the seventh or eighth grade. How much he understood of an early reading like that would be questionable. I first read the Iliad in the seventh grade but got nothing but impressions of the action from it. The gods, goddesses and humans were very confusing. Lot of boy and girl stuff that was well beyond my experience. I have read the book seven times in various translations since. It was only in the fifth, sixth and seventh readings that I began to develop what I would consider any real understanding of Homer’s message.
One of the things I understand is that the Iliad is a story about the power of mind and its limitations. Zeus, of course had the mind of ultimate power that gave him the advantage over mortals and the other gods. Tario in Thuvia has the most powerful mind in Lothar which keeps him in authority over the few permanent emanations in Lothar. But, these are all figments of his or someone’s imagination.
It seems that long generations before the women had all died out leaving only the men who over a period of time would also have died out but they survived by being able to imagine themselves. Here we have a possible reference to Poe’s The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar. In that story Valdemar was a dying man who was first hypnotized and then expired. Being under hypnosis while alive he could not actually die as he was hypnotized alive. This is somewhat the condition of the Lotharians.
Taking hypnosis a step further ERB posits that there are phantom ‘realists’ who believe they can wish themselves into a permanent corporeal existence of which Jav is one. Opposed to them are the phantom ‘etherealists’ represented by Tario who believe they must remain imaginary.
Getting back to Greek mythology in which we do know that ERB was read the ‘realists’ believe that they have to eat so they conjure up ‘ephemeral fruits’ on which to gorge themselves.
Ephemeral fruits make their appearance in the myth of Typhon and Zeus. So there is a possibility that Jav and Tario is a version of that myth. Hera in her squabbles for supremacy with Zeus conjures up the monster Typhon to take on Zeus. Typhon makes mincemeat of Zeus removing his sinews and bones and placing them in a leather bag in a cave in Caria. Sad plight for the Big Fella with the all powerful mind and no sinews. Worse yet, as a god he is immortal so there he and his all powerful mind are in his sack perhaps for all eternity.
While Apollo and Hermes come to the Big Guy’s aid by putting the dry bones back together and reattaching the sinews the nymphs feed Typhon ‘ephemeral fruit’ that looks like the real thing but lacks nourishment. Thus when Zeus is reassembled and ready for action he faces an enfeebled Typhon who this time he easily defeats. Great story when you think about it. So there you have two stories reflected that ERB may or may not have read but having read them probably didn’t consciously remember them as he was writing. I can’t guarantee ERB read those stories but I can state with assurance that ERB just didn’t make this stuff up. He never does; it all has been suggested from someplace. It is not impossible that he heard similar stuff from Baum and the Theosophists in California. ERB does have a retentive memory that provides him with a lot of material.
Thuvia and its successor Martian novel- The Chessmen Of Mars- are an examination of mind and matter. The later Mastermind of Mars and the Synthetic Men Of Mars are examinations of the application of mind to matter. In the Chessmen the mind and body were separate entities. It will be remembered that the Kaldanes were also skilled hypnotists.
Here ERB is interested in a projected reality, in itself a form on insanity in an unbalanced mind. PP 66-67, Ace paperback:
Jav speaking: “(The Banths) that remained about the field were real. Those we loosed as scavengers to devour the bodies of the dead Torquasians. This thing is demanded by the realists among us. I am a realist. Tario is an etherealist.
“The etherealists maintain there is no such thing as matter- that all is mind. They say that none of us exists, except in the imagination of his fellows, other than as an intangible, invisible mentality.
“According to Tario, it is but necessary that we all unite in imagining that there are no dead Torquasians beneath our walls, and there will be none, nor any need for the fierce scavenging banths.”
‘You, then do not hold to Tario’s beliefs?” asked Carthoris.
“In part only,” replied the Lotharian. “I believe, in fact I know, that there are some truly ethereal creatures. Tario is one, I am convinced. He has no existence except in the imaginations of his people.
“Of course, it is the contention of all us realists that all etherealists are but figments of the imagination. They contend that no food is necessary nor do they eat, but anyone of the most rudimentary intelligence must realize that food is a necessity to creatures having actual existence.”
“Yes,” agreed Carthoris, “not having eaten today I can readily agree with you.”
“Ah, pardon me,” exclaimed Jav. “Pray be seated and satisfy your hunger,” and with a wave of his hand he indicated a beautifully laden table that had not been there an instant before he spoke….”It is well,” continued Jav, “that you did not fall into the hands of an etherealist, then indeed, you would have gone hungry.”
An interesting passage laden with humor and a joke or two. On the one hand this is a takeoff on Bishop Berkeley and those who believe that nothing is real but only a figment of our imaginations. They do believe that when you close your eyes the world ceases to exist. I could never follow the argument, and on the other hand the ideas can be construed as a variation on the Theosophical belief that the gods were first ethereal becoming more materialistic as existence descended to man who is most material. Thus Tario is visible air, as it were, as an ethereality while Jav is condensed into, as he believes, permanent air/matter while Carthoris and Thuria are solid matter as humans.
The food Jav produces is ephemeral food. It looks real but having no real substance has no nourishment. As he smirkingly says: It is well that you did not fall into the hands of an etherealist. Then, indeed, you would have gone hungry.” A funny joke. But Jav has hypnotized the pair into seeing the food even though Carthoris is not so hypnotized as to not realize it is not real food. He eats it anyway.
Once in this land where nothing is real but the Banths, one wonders that we don’t have a situation that was replicated later in the movie The Manchurian Candidate. In that movie the hypnotized soldiers imagine they are at a ladies social and actually see American women where Korean people are.
Perhaps Carthoris and Thuvia are standing in an empty field talking to themselves. Perhaps the Lotharians exist only in their own imaginations but have conjured Carthoris and Thuvia out of thin air. Pretty spacy stuff.
As Carthoris is hypnotized he is easily persuaded to do things he wouldn’t ordinarily do such as letting Thuvia be led away alone to Tario. He does and Thuvia meets Tario alone mystyfied that Carthoris would let her out of his sight. Seeing Thuvia the etherealist’s phantom cojones are aroused and he makes an all out assault on Thuvia. As he doesn’t exist, of course, the assault can only have force in Thuvia’s imagination. Just as those little arrows the Torquasians believed were real killed them one wonders what effect a phantom penetration would have on Thuvia. Would she have a little phantom child after a phantom pregnancy?
We’ll never know because she pulls out her thin blade stabbing Tario to his phantom heart. He falls apparently dead seemingly oozing out his lifeblood. But, as we know he is an etherealist hence only a figure of someone’s imagination we know he must be feigning death with phantom blood.
Hearing Thuvia’s screams Carthoris races to the rescue followed by Jav. Jav, who should have known better, is overjoyed confessing his desire to replace Tario. It was almost like a plan. Tario leaps up explaining he always thought Jav did and now he is going to execute him.
Here ERB evades the issue taking a cheap but effective way out. These two guys are actually magicians and should be made to match powers in efforts to do the other in. ERB isn’t up to it so he has Jav cave just awaiting his fate that he could always evade with his hypnotic powers. Now, we’ve all been advised not to trust our senses so whether any of this happened is open to question. Nevertheless a hole opens in the floor, the floor dishes so that all falls into the memory hole. The three are ostensibly history.
They are precipitated into the chamber of the Lotharian god. One might expect this god to be pure essence but instead he is pure matter. As so often is the case a Burroughsian god turns out to be a lion or the Martian Banth. Why Jav should be concerned isn’t clear as he has no real substance and can’t be eaten while with his hypnotic powers he could make the Banth believe it was a mouse.
Carthoris draws his sword but this one’s a piece of cake for Thuvia. Using her own particular hypnotic talents she charms the Banthian god and all four walk out through the Banth’s quarters as chums.
At this point Jav calls into existence old Lothar for us all to see.
Outside the gates of Lothar Jav conceives a desire for Thuvia. Using considerable hypnotic talent he persuades Carthoris that he and Thuvia are heading for the woods. Carthoris walks off alone convinced he is leading Thuvia by the hand. He is soon disillusioned. Returning he finds the realist Jav really mauled by the Banth and dying. Thuvia and the Banth have headed back to Aanthor. Carthoris has no choice but to follow.
Now, what’s been going in addition to this hypnosis stuff is ERB’s ongoing attempt to reconcile his Anima and Animus. He has followed the usual Pyche and Eros storyline of Apuleius’ Golden Ass of Greek mythology. The Anima and Animus get together, circumstances separate them, then during the rest of the novel they try to get together amid difficulties, finally succeeding.
In Lad And The Lion ERB introduced the lion as his totem. Even though a male lion it is associated with his female Anima. At the risk of repeating myself, just in case anybody has been reading this stuff for the last four or five years the cause and evolution of his dilemma progress thusly:
In 1883 or 1884 ERB was terroized on a street corner by a young thug he identifies only as John. Possibly Emma was with him and kept walking abandoning him to his fate. Thus it was suggested to his subconscious that his Anima had abandoned him. John being the terrorist filled the vacancy. Thus ERB had the seemingly impossible anomaly of a male representing his female Anima.
We know this was the result because ERB writes incessantly about it. In the Outlaw of Torn the king’s fencing master, De Vac lures young Prince Norman/Burroughs outside the gate. Norman’s nurse Maud representing his Anima noticing too late rushes to the scene to be struck down dead by De Vac. Thus ERB’s Anima is murdered. How does ERB handle this? In his dream image ERB has De Vac take Norman to London where they live in the attic of a house over the Thames River. The house is a symbol for self, the attic being the mind. Water is a symbol of the female. The house extending out over the water but separated from it indicated the separation from the Anima. To compensate for the impossible situation of a male on the Anima, De Vac improbably dresses as a woman for the three years they live together in their attic. At the end of the novel Norman/Burroughs kills De Vac.
In the succeeding novel The Mucker he associates himself with the Irish thug Billy Byrne. Byrne being paired up with the socialite Barbara Harding is also an impossible match. It would seem probable that ERB’s father and John were two of the components clothing ERB’s Animus. Thus ERB has this very strong feeling about having a dual personality that he talks about constantly.
In Lad And The Lion we have the improbable situation of a powerless ship, representing the self, drifting up and down the Atlantic endlessly, manned by the deaf and dumb Old Looney, the Lad, and a Lion in a cage on deck. That the Old Looney who represents ERB’s father was deaf and dumb probably indicates he wouldn’t listen to ERB and had nothing to say that the Lad/ERB wanted to hear. So, the Lad was brutally abused the whole of his childhood. That’s how ERB saw the Bad Father. It would seem that John Carter represents the Good Father as ERB would have liked him to have been.
With De Vac and John dead the Lion begins to take his place as the male aspect of ERB’s Anima which has now been reoccupied by a female reprsentative. The male lion becomes a permanent aspect of the Anima in 1922s Tarzan And The Golden Lion as Jad-Bal-Ja. In Lad he and the Lion go ashore after the death of the Old Looney, or, in other words, his father, where the lion is loosely associated with the Arab princess Nakhla. Lad was written a short two months before Thuvia.
Now Thuvia wows Carthoris/ERB by charming the raging Banths/lions of the battlefield and the Lotharian God. Thuvia and the god become as one as she walks by his side her fingers twisted in his mane. So the traditional goddess of the male Anima is united with a male god to form ERB’s Anima. The female Anima who moved closer to reassuming her place in Lad now definitely becomes part of ERB’s psyche.
They pass through the tunnel before Carthoris. As ERB exits the tunnel he encounters his doppelganger Kar Komak. This is great stuff actually. Komak is literally a new man. He was the first successful materialization of an hypnotic imaginary man of the Lotharians. That’s likely enough, isn’t it?
He comes running through the scarlet furze, naked, to greet Carthoris. Well, picture that. Nakedness is something else appearing regularly in ERB”s works most notably in Tarzan And The City Of Gold. (See my review.)
The duo then continue on to Aanthor where as they arrive they are met by Torquasians who upset the plans of the men of Dusar who had come back to pick up Thuvia. We know that Carthoris for sure represents ERB because he takes a sword swipe to the forehead that lays him out. Thus the novel has the obligatory bash to the head recalling ERB’s adventure in Toronto.
When the sleeper wakes he finds the dead carcass of Thuvia’s lion lying half across his body. Probably his left half that derives from the ovum. Must have been uncomfortable to say the least. Thus the male half of his Anima is now dead and the female half in possession of the Dusarians. ERB gets her back and as in Psyche and Eros the Anima and Animus we may assume are permanently reunited.
Not quite but that will take us too far afield to discuss it this moment. I deal with the future development of the problem in my reviews of Out There Somewhere (The Return Of The Mucker), Bridge And The Oskaloosa Kid (The Oakdale Affair) and Marcia Of The Doorstep.
A Part 3 will follow that attempts to deal with the bigotry charges against Burroughs. If there is such a thing as guilt concerning the issue, ERB is not guilty, of course.
August 16, 2008
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs #16
Tarzan And The City Of Gold
Tall, magnificently proportioned, muscled more like Apollo than Hercules,
Garbed only in a narrow G-string of lion skin
With a lion’s tail depending before and behind,
He presented a splendid figure of primitive manhood
That suggested more, perhaps, the demigod
Of the forest than it did man.
This novel follows Tarzan And The Leopard Men in the sequence in which the novels were written. Ballantine lists it as number sixteen while placing Leopard Men in eighteen in the sequence in which they were published. In order to understand Burroughs’ psychological development however Leopard Men should be read before City Of Gold.
The amazing use of symbolism in Leopard Men is continued in City Of Gold. I am convinced that at this
time Burroughs was investigating the Indian religion of Vedantism. Swami Prabhavananda had established a temple in Hollywood at the beginning of the decade which quickly took hold. The symbolism would be employed by the Vedantists while Burroughs’ interest in symbolism itself was piqued. Shortly after this novel ERB purchased a 1932 volume entitled The Scientific Dream Book And Dictionary Of Dream Symbols by one Johnathan B. Westerfield. Thus ERB was investigating the psychological origin of his dreams. The man was trying hard.
It is clear that this sequence of novels is heavily influenced by Homer, especially by his Odyssey. Homeric motifs run all through these five novels while as Doctor Hermes and David Adams have pointed out Burroughs uses the Athenian monetary unit, the drachma, as the currency of Cathne.
A third probable source would be from the Legends Of Charlemagne volume of Bulfinch’s Mythology. In the last Bulfinch tells of a City Of Gold in which an enchantress keeps the paladins of Charlemagne captive. That story seems to be based on Homer’s story of Circe and Odysseus, or Ulysses in the Roman telling, so Burroughs combines both stories in his own enchantress, Nemone, of his City Of Gold. One may take the City Of Gold to be the Sacred City of the Iliad.
The rival kingdoms of Cathne and Athne- my spell check just pointed out to me that Athne respelled is Athen which is very close to Athene or Athens- have Greek sounding names reinforcing the Homeric connection.
While the sexual symbolism of Leopard Men is dark and brooding placed in a swamp not unlike the Lernean Swamp of Greek mythology in which Heracles fought the furious female Hydra, The City Of Gold is much brighter and airier, more intellectual than the darker urges of the subconscious.
Having now read many of the Tarzan novels four-five and even six times I am astonished at how well they maintain their freshness from reading to reading. Rather than weary me, each reading is a fresh experience that opens a whole new vista of possibilities. The more I seem to understand of what I’m reading the more signficance the words have as the story seems to rise from the page to form concrete living images, as it were.
In this novel expecially I am impressed by the pacing, the effort put into preparing the scenes and the masterly execution in which each word assumes its independent value almost as though ERB had put as much care into word selection as, say, the poet Tennyson. Of course we all know ERB read Tennyson as well as other verse and poetry while also being familiar with song lyrics. Thus while writing prose he is able to maintain a poetic intensity.
The opening scene is an excellent example of his skill. Tarzan is out hunting when he is spotted by some shiftas. He’s in Ethiopia at the end of the rainy season. We aren’t told why he is there but he has commanded Nkima and Jad-Bal-Ja to stay home. As a corollary, just before he leaves Emma two years later he will take a solo vacation to the mountains of Arizona. The spatial arrangement conveyed in this scene is that of Tarzan between the shiftas and the prey he is hunting. While he is silently stalking the prey the shiftas are more noisily stalking him. The movement of the shiftas which can be seen by the prey but not by Tarzan who has his back to them is caught by the prey who looks past Tarzan to the shiftas. Tarzan noticing the prey looking beyond him also looks back to spot the shiftas stalking him.
The spatial concepts involved are astonishing while three views of time are also evident. I only picked up on this aspect with my fifth reading. My interest was thus piqued and heightened so that the novel took on an entirely new aspect. The scene as written is so well paced and spaced that it made a vignette I’m sure I shall never forget, while I now long to duplicate such a scene in my own writing.
The patient lulling slow pace of Tarzan’s hunt was now broken. As Tarzan’s quarry fled, the action between Tarzan and the shiftas became fast, furious and frenzied, while the sexual symbolism bursts into one’s consciousness.
As the shiftas bear down upon him Tarzan realizes that he cannot escape by running. If he could have he would have because as Burrughs never tires of noting there is no disgrace in running from a force majeure. Instead Tarzan shot arrows among the the shiftas. Than as a shifta bore down on him lance leveled:
There could be no retreat for Tarzan; there could be no sidestepping to avoid the thrust, for a step to either side would have carried him in front of one of the other horsemen. He had but a slender hope for survival, and that hope forlorn though it appeared, he seized upon with the celerity, strength and agility that make Tarzan Tarzan. Slipping his bow string about his neck after his final shot, he struck up the point of the menacing weapon of his antagonist, and grasping the man’s arm swung himself to the horse’s back behind the rider.
Abilities like that make Tarzan Tarzan and I’m sure such a feat could be done in reality as in the imagination although possibly not if Tarzan had had the bunchy muscles of the professional strongman. Smooth ones flowing beneath the skin like molten metal are undoubtedly a prerequisite.
Dispatching the shifta Tarzan is now symbolically seated on a horse. The horse directly plunges into a river to swim to the other side. In mid-stream the horse and rider are attacked by a crocodile that Tarzan kills or disables. Emerging from the river Tarzan gallops into a forest where he abandons the horse for the security of the trees.
There in a short passage we have a wealth of symbolism that tells in a few paragraphs what ERB could have developed in many chapter if told in straight prose.
The horse is a symbol of the female. Thus Tarzan as Animus is symbolically united with his Anima. the horse plunges into the river which is also a female symbol representing the waters of the unconscious. Still mounted Tarzan is in the conscious sphere above water while the horse is submerged in the subconscious. The crocodile also a female symbol representing the greedy, devouring, emasculating aspect of the female attacks. The horse turns upstream in an attempt to flee the croc. Tarzan strings his bow firing an arrow, as a masculine symbol, into the crocodile’s mouth disabling it thus escaping the disabling aspect of the feminine while with strange violence sending the arrow down the throat. One has to think about these things.
The horse scrambles up on the opposite bank signifying a change in life, then gallaps into the forst of the subconscious where one goes in search of oneself. The forest here is the same as all those underground mazes in Burrough’s corpus.
Once in the forest Tarzan abandons the horse, or Anima for the security of the trees where he is above it all. Apparently there is a deep cleavage between his Animus and Anima. Now begins a very strange encounter. Burroughs apparently felt he left something of himself on the other side of the river so he goes back for it.
Coming upon the camp of the shiftas he notices that they have a bound captive. As this appears to be what he returned for one can only speculate that the bound captive is an aspect of himself. Perhaps the captive represents his marriage to Emma in which he is in the bonds of matrimony wishing to escape them. Tarzan takes action. At this point Burroughs offers this rather remarkable passage describing the Ape-Man. p. 15:
It was difficult for Tarzan to think of himself as a man, and his psychology was more often that of the wild beast than the human, nor was he particularly proud of his species. While he appreciated the intellectual superiority of man over other creatures, he harbored contempt for him because he had wasted the greater part of his inheritance. To Tarzan, as to many other created things, contentment is the highest ultimate goal of achievement, health and culture the principal avenues along which man may approach this goal. With scorn the ape-man viewed the overwhelming majority of mankind which was wanting in one essential or the other, when not wanting in both. He saw the greed, the selfishness, the cowardice, and the cruelty of man; and, in view of man’s vaunted mentality, he knew that these characteristics placed man upon a lower spiritual scale than the beasts, while barring him eternally from the goal of contentment.
In the above quote ERB outlines the central problem of mankind. In the evolution of mankind from beast to homo sapiens the much vaunted mentality of HS has failed to make the transition from the pure mentality of the beast to that of, essentially, the god. In orther words his origins are dragging him back as he tries to make the leap to the next stage of evolution and development.
While having a godlike intelligence rather than using it to elevate himself above primal desires as the direction of the nineteenth century was going, in the early twentieth century Freud undercut the drive to perfection dragging mankind back down to primal desires. This is Freud’s great crime for which he should be burned in his effigy of Satan once a year in a great world wide holiday. Thus as Man uses his intelligence to get at the root of things, and I think we’re very close to understanding all, Man’s primal desires lapsing back into the ‘unconscious’ of Freud, and make no mistake the current conception of the unconscious is of Freuds’ personal devising, devise even more fiendish ways of evil as that knowledge increases. Thus rather than aspiring toward a spiritual contentment Man chooses to give in to desires that lower him beneath the hyena.
Thus Tarzan, who has attained spiritual contentment, and become godlike, looks with scorn and contempt on the humanity of his fellows preferring to think of himself as a ‘spiritually pure’ beast.
While this attitude is a theme throughout the oeuvre and the corpus as a whole perhaps this rant was sharpened by the developing difficulties at MGM. Shortly after this was written Tarzan, The Ape Man hit the screens scrambling ERB’s vision of Tarzan forever. The screen Tarzan has no intellect. In the movie Tarzan’s Desert Adventure Boy even has to read Jane’s letter to him.
On his way to the shifta camp the ever present Numa is between him and the desperadoes. Taking to the trees of the forest to pass over Numa he spots a strangely garbed man in the shifta camp. Still smarting because he lost his quarry and operating on the primitive logic that since the shiftas had deprived him of dinner it would only be right to deprive them of something they wanted, he decides to free the captive.
He was about to fail in his attempt when the ever present Numa saves his skin by attacking the shifta camp. In the confusion Tarzan and the prisoner escape. The man turns out to be an Athnean named Valthor. Having escaped they must put up for the night. Sheeta the panther is abroad. As David Adams is wont to point out, for Burrough Sheeta is a sexual symbol, so the next scene has strong homoerotic overtones.
The question is who does Valthor represent. He is curiously vague in personality. As Burroughs was obsessed with the Jekyll and Hyde notion at this time I suspect that Valthor is an aspect of Burroughs’ own personality with some sort of relation to Tarzan as Jekyll to Hyde. Valthor’s life is saved as Sheeta leaps for him so that one feels he may be related in some way to Stanley Obroski, another alter ego of Tarzan, who will actually die in the succeeding novel, Tarzan And The Lion Man.
In this novel, in putting up for the night, Tarzan with his superior junglecraft, finds a tree where two horizontal branches fork. He cuts some smaller limbs to form a pallet for himself for the night. He had eaten but he is unconcerned whether the able bodied Valthor has eaten or not. Tarzan does not hunt for other men. If he hadn’t already eaten he would have made a kill and shared the abundance.
Valthor lies down on the ground. Sheeta is watching silently. So silently even Tarzan does not hear him breathe, until readying himself to springs, he quietly brushed a leaf or two. Tarzan hears for his ears are not as yours or mine. As Sheeta launches himself on Valthor Tarzan shouts a warning while rolling from the pallet to descend on Sheeta’s back.
Now, this scene replicates a similar scene in Beasts Of Tarzan when Tarzan leaps on Sheeta’s back in midair as she was about to leap on the ape, Akut. I hadn’t thought of homoerotic overtones between Akut and Tarzan but they may be there. It may be signficant that Akut later became the mentor of young Jack Clayton otherwise known as Korak The Killer.
In the instance of Akut, the ape became sort of a vassal of Tarzan, while in this story Tarzan and Valthor become fast friends although the relationship is one of superior to inferior- Batman to Robin. After killing Sheeta, Tarzan takes a more motherly attitude toward Valthor, making a bed for him in the tree because he knew Numa was prowling the forest. That undoubtedly he knew that before was he leaving Valthor for Numa?
They awoke in the morning. p. 26:
Nearby, the other man sat up and looked about him. His eyes met Tarzan’s and he smiled and nodded. For the first time the ape-man had an opportunity to examine his new acquaintance by daylight. The man had removed his single garment for the night, covering himself with leaves and branches. Now as he arose, his only garment was a G-string and Tarzan saw six feet of well muscled, well proportioned body topped by a head that seemed to bespeak breeding and intelligence. The wild beast in Tarzan looked into the brown eyes of the stranger and was staisfied that here was one who might be trusted.
Not exactly a description of love at first sight but a definite tinge of homoeroticism. Brown eyes. In fact Tarzan and Valthor become fast friends. Quickly learning each other’s language by the point and name system, or at least, Tarzan learning Valthor’s language, they are soon chatting away amiably.
Valthor comes from the mountains but after they wander around for a week he admits he is lost. Tarzan gets the general direction then setting out in a bee line. Their goal is the huge extinct volcano, Xarator, which they soon locate. Just as Leopard Men was cast in the erotic swamps of the feminine as Old Timer lusted and panted after Kali Bwana so The City Of Gold is located in a valley high in the mountains where heaven and earth meet and the cold incisive intellect works best. Tarzan is not going to lust; like brave Ulysses he is going to resist the sexual blandishments of his Circe, Nemone.
Both City Of Gold and Tarzan Triumphant take place near or in volcanos so the volcano must link the two stories. The extent of emotion involved in this one is indicated by the atmospheric conditions as the two men enter the valley. Compare this scene with that of Tarzan The Invincible when Tarzan and La leave Opar. the symbolism is ferocious.
The scene is set in the mountains of Ethiopa. The rainy season is about to end but the last and most furious storm of the season bursts on the two. It seems certain here that Valthor is another aspect of Burroughs’ Animus in the Jekyll-Hyde sense. In this case the two are not so widely divergent as Jekyll and Hyde but are closer in aspects . Tarzan is still definitely superior and Valthor inferior.
Athne and Cathne are twin cities in the valley but they have to pass through Cathne- The City Of Gold which is to say perfection- to get to Athne. Athneans are Elephant men while Cathneans are Lion Men. As the two begin to cross the valley the great storm breaks. The storm no doubt symbolizes that storm feared by Burroughs of actually separating himself from Emma, certainly one of the most difficult thing he would ever have to do.
The separation must have been terrific internal trauma so that ERB kept putting it off rather than face it. One imagines that as in a situation like this Florence was continually asking him when he was going to tell Emma. It would be another two years before he could force himself to make the break. It is significant that just before he left he took a leave of absence from Emma returning to Arizona where, as here, he stayed in the mountains, the White Mountains of the Apaches. Thus his time in the Army must have had more significance for him than we credit. He must have thought, as miserable as he appeared to be, that those were the happiest days of his life.
In Cathne the rains came down. This was the mother of all storms. Between the thunder, lightning and literal sheets of rain the two were severed from all reality. They were walking ankle deep along the road. Once again they have to cross a stream. ERB has seen such a stream in Arizona, so this whole situation seems to be recalled by his Army days. Actually the nine months he spent in Arizona was a fairly rainy period of fourteen inches. In February 1897, I believe, four and half inches fell probably in one stormy period. ERB records a stream that became a raging torrent in his last Western novel. To some extent then he was writing from experience but already thinking of the good old days before he married.
As hard as it was raining in Cathne the river should have been unfordable but art has its demands.
Valthor knowing the ford begins to lead Tarzan across. He gets too far ahead. Tarzan in his uncertainty misses a step being swept away by the flood. He is now in the possession of the waters of the feminine, that is, his female problems, just barely able to get his breath. He is swept from side to side by the violent action of the waters, tumbled head over heels, but he keeps his mental presence. There is a great waterfall ahead of him which threatens certain death. The symbolism should be clear. In a last ditch effort Tarzan catches a rock hauling himself from the water, if I am correct, on the same side of the river, in other words, Emma. He doesn’t cross which is symbolically important. Refer that back to the earlier crossing in which he actually crosses but then returns.
Gathering his senses about him he sees some lights, going to investgate. He unwittingly stumbles into Nemone’s garden. Out of the frying pan, into the fire so to speak.
Brave Ulysses has found his Circe.
The scent of the big cats fills this book. Already Sheeta and Numa have had nearly equal billing with Tarzan and Valthor; now lions are given prominence. Now Tarzan emerges from the flood, which symbolizes a major life change, into the land of lions and lion worship. the ownership of lions is a mark of distinction in Cathne, Cahtnean chariots are even drawn by lions which brings to mind the chariots of goddesses like Cybele, Harmonia and Cadmus. Nemone will promise to reward Tarzan with three hundred lions, apparently an incredible number making him the top Lion Man. Remember the next novel Tarzan And The Lion Man will continue the theme.
Continuing an old theme from Tarzan And The Golden Lion a lion is even the god of Cathne. The symbol of Nemone’s Animus is a great black maned male lion named Belthar. The novel will devolve into a battle between Nemone’s lion, Belthar, and Tarzan’s lion, Jad-Bal-Ja. Also continuing an old device employed in Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar by the jewels and in Tarzan And The Ant Men by Tarzan’s locket this story is unified by the image of a great lion drawing ever nearer to Tarzan. So amid all these lions is the true Lion Man, Tarzan’s personal lion. His own guardian animal.
It does seem clear that ERB associates the big cats with sexuality.
ERB is building this story very carefully with great attention to spacing and pacing. Captured by the
Cathneans ERB takes care to ingratiate the Big Bwana with the troops. He has Tarzan and the Cathnean soldiers enter into a spirit of camaraderie as he introduces them to and instructs them in the use of the bow. Nemone is instroduced but seems to take little notice of the Big Guy condemning him to fight in the arena.
Taken to a prison cell he and we are introduced at some length and in some detail to a character named Phobeg. Phobeg is billed as the strongest man in Cathne.
ERB devotes an amazing amount of space to his confrontation between Phobeg and Tarzan. His development of such a minor character is unusual. I think what we have here is a confrontation between Tarzan and the actual man who inspired Burroughs to create Tarzan, the man who was the physical basis of the Lion Man. Phobeg can be no other than the first important body builder in the world- The Great Sandow. Just as in Tarzan The Magnificent Burroughs takes care to indicate that Tarzan has now replaced H.M. Stanley as the symbol of Africa, so here he puts down ‘the strongest man in the world’ in favor of his hero.
Sandow (1867-1925) had died a few years earlier. While other muscle men had replaced Sandow, most notably Charles Atlas, Burroughs was still obsessed by the man he had seen at the Columbian Expo of 1893. It would seem certain that ERB occasionally picked up a copy of Physical Culture Magazine to keep up on the latest builds. He couldn’t have missed the memorial copy devoted to Sandow, the greatest and still the greatest of the body builders. The award given to Mr. Olympia is called the Sandow.
While bowled over by the strongman, and strongmen, ERB was always offended by the bunchy muscles created by body building. he repeatedly makes allusions to strongmen throughout the corpus while Tarzan himself is both the antithesis and the perfection of the strongman. That is why Tarzan has smooth muscles flowing like molten metal beneath his skin while in this case Phobeg as a Sandow surrogate has the knotted muscles of the body builder.
If Burroughs found Sandow’s build offensive he would have gone apoplectic at the most recent champions who seems to have developed musculature as far as it can go. Unlike builders like Charles Atlas, Gordon Scott or Arnold Schwarzenegger who aspired to the Apolline figure, Ronnie Coleman and his successor Jay Cutler have opted for muscle upon muscle until there is nothing but muscle with no attention to a human shape. As an example check out Jay Cutler the current Mr. Olympia and holder of the Sandow at www.emusclemag.com. This guy is only 5’9″ but bulks up at 320 lbs., paring down to 275 for performance. And that is literally all muscle. One look at Cutler and ERB would have been foaming at the mouth
Just as Sandow was billed as the strongest man in the world, so Phobeg is billed as the strongest man in
Cathne. ERB makes him a braggart in relation to Tarzan but if he was the strongest man in Cathne he had little reason to respect Tarzan’s physique which was more like ‘Apollo than Hercules.’ Tarzan’s strength though greater than Phobeg’s was disguised.
At they are to fight each other to the death in the arena this allows Burroughs to introduce another of his interests which may be related, that of professional wrestling. Burroughs had Tarzan jokingly suggest that they stage the fight much as professional wrestlers. Burroughs who still attended the matches was disgusted becasue the matches were pure entertainment, something he should have applauded. Then as now the professional wrestling matches were staged. Professional wrestling then as now has more to do with entertainment than sport. Either you can get caught up in the fun and drama or you can’t. ERB obviously did although as he still thought of the shows as wrestling he felt put upon.
After several pages of Phobeg’s bragging and Tarzan’s false humility the ‘really big shoo’ begins. Tarzan and Phobeg are the last act on the program and they would have been a difficult act to follow.
ERB must have loved this part as the lenghty description of the gambling taking place is many times more detailed that he usually is. Whether the gambling aspect went on at the wrestling matches he attended or not, I don’t know. The odds naturally are for Phobeg, whose Cathnean reputation is immense and accurate as concerns the past. Everyone expects the inveterate gambler Nemone to bet on the sure thing as was her custom. They hedged their bets when they could at fantastic odds. Nemone then surprised them by betting on Tarzan. Nearly bankrupted the whole coterie of Lion Men.
Tarzan wins of course but refusing to kill Phobeg he instead does his trademark thing lifting Phobeg above his head and tossing him into the stands at Nemone’s feet. Now that is one hard act to follow.
Having now won his liberty, a lion man named Gemnon is assigned custodian of Tarzan taking him under his wing. Up to this point there seems to be no reference to contemporary affairs except for Sandow and wrestling. At this point ERB displays a numerous and surprising set of literary references.
Go To Tarzan And The City Of Gold part two.
July 9, 2008
Men Like Gods
Tarzan Pays Homage To Heracles
First published in the online Magazine: ERBzine
The Golden Age of Strongmen had captured the imagination of the world between 1890 and 1910….Into the 1920s the strongman continued as a living wonder and inspiring vision that could be had for the modest price of admission
-Ed Spielman: The Mighty Atom:
The Life And Times Of Joseph L. Greenstein
When I was a child and youth in the 1940s and ’50s the legendary strongmen of the turn of the twentieth century were, if no longer living, living legends. At least one, Bernarr Madfadden, the father of American bodybuilding, was still going strong.
The most legendary of the strongmen was Frederick Mueller who was known professionally as the Great Sandow.
In his heyday Sandow was so strong that he was capable of ‘exploding’ or breaking the ‘Test Your Strength’ machines in the arcades of Vienna, Austria. There were so many broken machines that it was thought a vandal was destroying them but when apprehended it was discovered that Sandow was not only testing his own strength but the strength of the machines. He flippantly suggested that they be made of better materials.
On stage as Spielman relates, Sandow, who was trained as a turner, could do a back somersault over a chair with a thirty-five pound dumbbell in each hand. He could do a one arm chin-up with the grip of any of his fingers of either hand, including his thumbs.
He could…wait a minute! I’ve heard something like that before. Oh yea, I remember now. In Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan And The Lion Man he has Tarzan leap up to seize stakes pointing down from a ten foot high wall, then draw himself straight up until his torso was above the stakes, then roll over the top defeating the purpose of the stakes. Was he thinking of the Great Sandow when he wrote that?
I think he was.
Burroughs was a fan of boxing and a great admirer of the strongmen of the Golden Age, although he didn’t like the bulky physiques. He repeatedly denounces the physical build of the Strongmen in preference for Tarzan’s ‘smooth rippling muscles.’ In my day the bodybuilders were ridiculed as being ‘muscle bound.’ But the ladies panted when they said it. Tarzan is as strong or stronger than the strongmen but sleek.
Next one asks is there any place that it can be shown that Burroughs ever saw Sandow? yes, and where else? The Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893. The Expo was a life changing experience for 17 year-old Ed Burroughs. Bill Hillman of ERBzine has written a wonderful series on the influence of the Fair on young Burroughs.
The influence of the Fair was as moving for the rest of America and the World as it was on Our Man. There apparently has never been so influential a World’s Fair as that of Chicago of 1893.
One of the best attended features of the Fair was put on by the Great Sandow. Bodybuilding had already gotten started in England. Sandow was a student of the innovative Professor Attila in London. He came to the attention of Florenz Ziegfeld while performing in New York. Ziegfeld brought him to Chicago for the Expo. Sandow was a sensation.
He created quite a stir at the fair. Not only did Burroughs see him there but so did a man named Bernarr Macfadden. At the time he was known as Bernard McFadden but he chose Bernarr because it sounded more like a lion’s roar and Macfadden because he thought it looked more distinguished in print. As a result of seeing Sandow Macfadden became the father of bodybuilding and the health movement in the United States. John Dos Passos spoofs him in Vol. III, The Big Money, of the his USA Trilogy.
Macfadden was the discoverer of isometric exercises, which his student, Charles Atlas, renamed Dynamic Tension and made a fortune.
Unless I’m mistaken Macfadden would cross ERB’s path sometime between 1908 to 1912.
Sandow made bodybuilding a rage after the Fair while Macfadden organized the sport around his magazine ‘Physical Culture’ which he began publishing in the wake of the Fair. Sandow also opened the way for a number of strongmen to build careers on their physiques.
They all passed through Chicago. How many of them ERB paid the modest price of admissio to see we can’t know, but as he always speaks of the strongmen in the plural one assumes that he saw several.
Anyone who has watched the Strongest Men In The World competition on cable TV will understand how impressive both the feats and the physiques of these men were.
In ERB’s day a man called Warren Travis Lincoln could lift a platform that held twenty-five men with his back. That was a weight of about 4200 pounds.
G.W. Rolandow could stack three decks of playing cards and tear them in two. One assumes that was before they were plastic coated.
Emil Knaucke who weighed in at five hundred pounds, a spectacle in itself, could hold a car above his head with one hand. Spielman doesn’t specify make or model.
Louis Cyr, one of the most famous strongmen, could restrain a team of horses on either side at the same time. Really spectacular stuff.
A man like Arthur Saxon of the Saxons was considered to be the strongest man in the world. He could do a bent press of nearly five hundred pounds. As in the photo, in the bent press a lifter raised a barbell above his head with one hand in a bent posture then raised another weight with his other hand.
Eighteen ninety to nineteen-ten were formative years for ERB. He would have from fifteen to thirty-five so that when he saw Sandow in ’93 at seventeen he was at a most impressionable age.
ERB turned 40 in 1915 and 50 in 1925.
By the twenties vitamins and food supplements had been discovered and were being developed for commercial use. Vitamins were still novel when I was kid in the late forties. Not everyone knew of their value as late as then.
The Great Sandow, Louis Cyr, and a trio of German strongmen called the Saxons were all naturally strong but by the 20s it was possible to build muscular Adonae from the scratch of a 98 lb. weakling. With vitamins, food supplements and a rigorous regimen for bodybuilding a normal body could be turned into as mammoth a specimen as Tarzan, as witness Arnold Schwarzenegger and his contemporaries who emerged from New York City gyms in the 1960s.
In point of fact you didn’t even need all that gym equipment. If you followed the body building plan of the most famous Adonis of the 40s and 50s, Charles Atlas, all you needed were your own opposed muscles.
Atlas took Macfadden’s isometric exercises and called them the more commercial sounding Dynamic Tension. By pitting one muscle against its opposite fantastic results could be achieved.
Charles Atlas, who changed his name from Angelo Siciliano, was voted the world’s most perfectly developed man in 1922 by his mentor, Macfadden and Physical Culture magazine.
Angelo, born in 1894 in Acri, Sicily came to the US in 1904, thus he would have been 18 in 1922, 18 in 1912.
Siciliano actually had been a 98 lb. weaking who had sand kicked in his face by a bully. His girl friend actually did walk away from him. Siciliano then built himself up into what I’ve always considered to be the image of Tarzan and changed his name to Charles Atlas.
I was not as successful with the Dynamic Tension plan Chuck sold me in the 50s but then I didn’t try that hard and I couldn’t afford the food supplements which are indispensable. Nevertheless it had become possible to turn out ‘Men Like Gods’ on an assembly line basis.
It is more than likely that Burroughs was very familiar with the bodybuilding or fitness program of Macfadden. That photo of him flexing his muscles on the dock at Coldwater is that of a man who has been working out. I can’t beleive that a man who was interested in magazines as Burroughs was couldn’t be familiar with Physical Culture Magazine. Not only would he have the living memory of the Great Sandow in his mind from the Expo but Bernarr Macfadden had moved his headquarters from Battle Creek to Chicago in 1908. He had a very prosperous looking facility.
During these years from 1899 when ERB was bashed in the head in Toronto to 1910 at least, he complainedof excruciating headaches that began when he got up in the morning and lasted through half the day. These would have been very enervating affecting his ability to work. In The Girl From Farris’s he has his hero Ogden Secor suffering from the same headaches going from doctor to doctor ‘tinkering with his skull’ in hopes of finding relief. The doctors could do nothing for Secor so he undertook a fitness regime which eased his situation. So must have ERB.
Once again, the picture of ERB standing with his legs apart flexing his muscles on the dock at Coldwater in 1916 shows that he was either proud of a moderate physique or he was trying to develop those ‘rippling’ muscles like Tarzan and Charles Atlas.
At fifty in 1925 ERB probably thought himself beyond the age when he could develop his physique into a semblance of his creation, Tarzan. Ten or twenty years younger and you might have seen Burroughs as another Charles Atlas or Tarzan.
There is every reason to believe that sometime between 1908 and 1912 he developed an interest in Macfadden’s program.
When he sat down to begin his Tarzan series at the end of 1911, Burroughs’ mind must have been filled with the feats of Sandow and the other strongmen. Anent this, Tarzan’s leopard skin loin cloth was borrowed from the strongmen. Leopard skin shorts were de riguer for the bodybuilding crowd.
Of course the role models for these strongmen were Samson and Heracles. The latter is better known in his Roman usage as Hercules. For the purposes of this essay I will refer to him as Heracles in hs Greek manifestation.
Especially in his original manifestation Heracles was a Sun god as the companion of the Earth Mother, Hera. When the Patriarchal system was imposed on the Matriarchy Hera was wed to Zeus while her former consort, Heracles- The Glory Of Hera- was demoted to the role of Holy Fool and the strngest man in the world.
ERB often refers to Tarzan as a Jungle God and a latter day Hercules. Burroughs had a good Greek and Latin education so one might asume that he had some familiarity with the cycle of myths devoted to the feats and tribulations of that ancient type of all strongmen, Heracles.
In fact, without stretching the point unduly, one can posit a relationship between the Pelasgian Sun God, Heracles and the Flaming God of Opar and through them to Tarzan; they can be construed as one.
Whether ERB was conscious of what he had done in conflating the three cannot be determined for sure but as he was manipulating valid historical data why shouldn’t he have been conscious of what he was doing? The Aztec ritual of tearing the heart out to offer to the sun god is implicit in scenes where Tarzan lies across the sacrificial block, pardon me, altar. The annual sacrifice of the queen’s consort is implicit once again as La raises the sacrificial knife. A blatant resemblance to Cybele and Attis.
While the subconsious is always important it is the conscious mind that organizes, plots and writes. As a writer I may have subconscious motives which may emerge but assembling and organizing my material is a conscious intellectual act. It is axiomatic that one cannot write what one does not know.
One of the great mysteries of mythological studies has been the relationship of Heracles to his namesake the former Matriarchal Earth Goddess, Hera. I noted just previously, during the matriarchy as the Sun, Heracles would have been appropriately called ‘The Glory Of Hera’ or of the Earth. The same notion can be applied to Mesopotamian and Egyptian mythology. For instance, as David Adams points out somewhere, the lion is a symbol of both the sun and the matriarchy. It is a fact that the body of the Sphinx at Memphis is older than the head. The head of the original has been replaced by that of a man. It therefore follows that the Sphinx was carved during the Matriarchy having either a lion’s or a woman’s head. After the succession of the Patriarchy the head was changed to reflect the New Order.
In the Greek Oedipus myth the Theban Sphinx was still represented as the original matriarchal symbol of a lion with a woman’s head. Woman-lion/sun/Heracles. The answer to her riddle after which she committed suicide was ‘man’ which denied the Matriarchy, hence she had to kill herself as the Patriarchy thus symbolically replaced the Matriarchy. Apply that to the Egyptian Sphinx and the change of heads.
Now, the original Egyptian Sphinx was exactly the same as the Theban Sphinx: a woman’s head on a lion’s body. the Sphinx is positioned to be looking due East at sunrise in the Age Of Leo. Thus, perhap, the secret of the Sphinx is simply that as Mother Earth she sat waiting for her consort Heracles (or his Egypian counterpart) to appear on the horizon each morning.
The notion has simplicity to recommend it.
As we all know, Oparians were a group of Atlanteans isolated from the main body when mythical Atlantis broke apart and sank beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. The worship of the Flaming God was inherited from the parent civilization by Opar.
Thus whether Burroughs knew what he was doing or not he always gets the sequence of events right.
Without getting into any discussion of if, where or when Atlantis may have existed, let me say, neverttheless, that all the evidence points to a predecessor civilization anterior to Crete, Pelasgian Greece, Egypt and Mesopotamia in much the same way Atlantis preceded Opar.
The predecessor civilization must have existed in the Mediterranean Basin during the last ice age when ocean levels, scientists tell us, were several hundred feet lower than they are today. There are evidences of quarrying several hundred feet below sea level on the flanks of the island of Malta for instance. Given this as a fact, then when the ice melted and the waters rose during the Great Flood to their present levels any society or civilization that existed in the Mediterranean Basin was forced to move to higher ground which is to say above the present sea level.
One thing is certain, if the Basin was habitable it was inhabited.
The disruption caused a long dark age from which mankind only slowly recovered. At the same time these relatively highly developed people moving into less developed savage societies had a fertilizing influence introducing more sophisticated ideas and methods such as agriculture.
Lower Egypt, one of Two Lands, was obviously settled by the displaced Libyan dynasty. After centuries of warfare the Upper Egyptians succeeded in conquering Lower Egypt uniting the Two Lands. The Third Dynasty was a Libyan Dynasty so that the warfare was translated from an external one to an internal one in which the Libyans defeated the Upper Egyptians. During the Libyan Dynasty the great pyramids were built reflecting in some way the the flooded predecessor civilization.
So Crete and Pelasgian Greece received survivors also. The Sumerians of Mesopotamia attribute their civilization to the advice of Oannes, John in English, who came from the sea.
Often ignored by classical scholars but obviously part of this great Mediterranean culture is ancient Spain. Now, Spain has one of the great traditions of the worship of Heracles as a Sun god. This tradition preceded and was uninfluenced by any Patriarchal tradition from Greece. In point of fact the Patriarchal Heracles went West to annex the Spanish traditions to the Patriarchal cause. In the process he rounded up the cattle of the Sun i.e. the Matriarachal Heracles to bring back to Greece. Throughout history, including modern Africa, lifting another man’s cattle transferred his authority to oneself. See the great cattle raid of Cooley in Irish mythology. It therefore follows that the Greek Patriarchal myths of Heracles are built on an earlier Matriarchal mythological cycle while being perverted or converted to Patriarchal needs.
Heracles was originally a sun god. He was the original of the Flaming God. I can’t say Burroughs knew this either consciously or subconsciously, however as we will see there is substantial evidence to indicate that he was consciously manipulating the material.
The city of Seville in Spain is built over a Sun Temple in which Heracles was the sun deity. This site beneath Seville can still be vistited today. Assuming that the history of the Spanish Heracles developed independently of the Greek Heracles which after all is a Greek interpretation of a Pelasgian god then it follows that the two traditions must have come from a common source. That source cannot have been other than the ante-deluvian civilization of the Mediterranean Basin.
It follows then that whatever names they were known by in this anterior civilization Hera was the Great Mother Goddess while her ‘Glory’ Heracles must be no other than the Flaming God, the Sun. What else could the ‘Glory’ of the Earth Mother be?
Thus when the Great Flood, which must be the same as that spoken of by the Sumerians who would have gotten the story from Oannes, destroyed the civilization of the Mediterranean Basin the inhabitants fled to the former highlands surrounding them taking their traditions with them. The Spanish Heracles was yet identical to the Pelasgian and Cretan models which later became variant.
When the Greeks entered Pelasgia at the beginning of the Arien Age, the Zodiac dates back to the anterior civilization, they found this remnant of the ante-deluvian civilization with immemorial religious traditions occupying the land. As the Arien Age began a great shift in the mental and social organization of man progressed in its evoltuion. The shift was from a Matriarchal consciousness to a Patriarchal consciousness. In other words, the God replaced the Goddess as the most important sex. Fecundation became more important than actual reproduction.
This meant that all the divine myths had to have all the sexual relationships reversed so that the God took precedence over the goddess. Hera could no longer be allowed to have a male god as her subordinate ‘Glory’, the roles had to be reversed. Hera would have to become the dependent of Zeus.
Homer’s Iliad is one key in the story of this reversal.
As Hera was unwillingly made subordinate to her Lord and Master, Zeus, Heracles had to be appropriated by the God. The Patriarchy then turned Heracles into a scourge of Hera and she his enemy in ridicule of the previous dispensation. Kind of a Burroughsian style sly joke.
The meaning of the name Heracles as the glory of Hera was thus lost. Heracles lost his identification with the Sun becoming a buffoon as the greatest of men; a physical giant of somewhat dim intelligence. Hera’s glory was turned into a laughing stock but still a good sort of fellow who could aspire to godhood at death.
In the Patriarchal myths Heracles destroyed various Matriarchal cult centers such as the Hydra at Lerna, the Stymphalian Swamps, the Stag of Artemis, the Nemean Lion and others. His cycle of adventures was involved in replacing the Matriarchal with the Patriarchal sarcastic ‘Glory’ of Hera.
To make a feeble Patriarchal attempt at accounting for the meaning of Heracles’ name Homer tells the following story in book XIX of the Iliad. Zeus, influenced by the goddess Folly, announced to the assembled Gods on Olympus that before the day was out a descendant of his lineage would be born to a mortal woman who would be the greatest man in the world.
Hera, who hated the infidelities of Zeus, heard his proclamation with scorn. She knew her husband but too well. She knew he referred to Alcmene who was bearing Heracles but she also knew that a son was to be born to the wife of Sthenelus who was only seven months pregnant. Sthenelus was of the lineage of Zeus.
Hera rushed off to visit Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, to ask her to hasten the birth of Eurytheus while delaying that of Heracles. The former having been born first became the greatest monarch of the age after the Patriarchal fashion but by Matriarchal means.
Hastening back to Alcmene Eileithyia uncrossed her legs allowing Heracles to be the younger son of Zeus born on that day. While Heracles was the bravest and strongest of men he was nevertheless compelled by Hera’s resourcefulness and prompt action to be subservient to Eurystheus. Thus the will of Zeus which could not be averted was perverted by Hera to thwart the Big Guy’s will.
Heracles was still the strongest man alive but he was subordinate to the will of Hera through Eurystheus, portrayed as one of th weakest and most cowardly men of his time hiding behind his mother’s skirts but by the grace of Hera and the matriarchy, the greatest ruler.
Zeus, appalled by his lapse of judgment threw Folly off Olympus from which she is still banned.
In that sardonic manner Homer explained the meaning of Heracles as the glory of Hera. She had used him to Ace Zeus. Heracles had been stripped of his role as the glorious Sun companion of Hera. He comes down to us as the strongest man who ever lived. In the Roman nomenclature of Hercules he became the role model of every strong man who ever lifted a dumbbell. Yet they all wore leopard skin shorts, the leopard being a symbol of the Matriarchy. You can’t fool Mother Nature.
To Burroughs who was a student of Greek mythology the great strongmen of the Golden Age must have appeared as men like gods. Their feats of strength, their marvelous physiques, were so far beyond the abilities of ordinary men that they must have seemed to be in a class by themselves far above mortal men.
In that sense Tarzan is the greatest of the strongmen, above Sandow, Arthur Saxon and even Heracles.
Heracles himself had been demoted to a mere mortal although his legend was so great that he was allowed immortality by the Patriarchy after his mortal death. Unwilling to grant him too much credit he was allowed to be the doorman of Olympus. He held this position throughout the Arien Age being replaced by St. Peter in the New Dispensation of the Piscean Age.
Burroughs, familiar with the mythic cycle of Heracles, however he understood it, plays with both identities of Heracles in the person of Tarzan at Opar. He also brings in a number of elements from H. Rider Haggard’s novel She. There can be no doubt of the influence of Haggard. Burroughs even names his heroine La which is what ‘She’ is designated as in French translations of Haggard’s novel. The palance of Opar is also based to some extent on the labyrinthine caves of She.
There are many literary influences for the creation of Tarzan not least of which are the real life H.M. Stanley and Haggard’s fictional heroes Sir Henry Curtis and Allan Quatermain. I would now like to direct attention to a third, that of the heor of She, Leo Vincey.
If one closely examines Vincey it will be discovered that he too was a Sun King whose death had been caused in an earlier incarnation by She. The cartouche which contains the name of Leo’s distant Egyptian ancestor was translated as ‘The Royal Son Of Ra’ or son of the Sun as in Egyptian mythology Ra is the sun.
Leo also translates from the Latin as Lion so we have the Son of the Sun who also is a Lion Man which is how Burroughs refers to Tarzan in ‘The Invincible’ and undoubtedly as how he always thought of his creation.
Haggard translates Vincey as the Avenger. Tarzan is the ‘Avenger’ or guard of Africa. Haggard describes Vincey as almost inhumanly beautiful while Tarzan is the most handsome man in the world not unlike Charles Atlas.
Haggard’s She is indescribably old kept forever youthful by having bathed in the fire of eternal youth. Hera was also eternally youthful and a virgin queen. She restored her youth and virginity by bathing annually in a holy spring. Hera’s bath obviously refers to the Spring rains which inundated Mother Earth just prior to vegetation springing forth in virgin birth. After the summer heat the vegetation dies down and Earthy Hera becomes barren once more to await her bath and return to virginity.
So a connection can be made between Sun>Heracles>Vincey>Tarzan and Mother Nature>Hera>She>La.
Burroughs La was neither ancient nor immortal in the personal sense although she was the latest in an immortal line of Priestesses. She is a priestess of the Sun or Ra, The Flaming God.
Haggard’s Leo Vincey was the direct descendant of Kallikrates She’s great love of two millennia past. She, or Alyesha, to use her name, had killed Kallicrates in a rage. Kallikrate’s descendants were sworn to avenge the murder. Thus Vincey travels from England to far off Africa to locate this fabulous woman.
Kallikrates was the love of Alyesha’s very long life. When she recognizes Leo Vincey as her lost lost love she saves his life while offering him eternal youth if he will only bathe in the flames of eternal life. He hesitates to do so. To encourage him Alyesha steps once again into the flames which was a serious miscalculation. She crumbled to dust. Thus while Leo Vincey doesn’t actually avenge the death of Kallikrates she is nevertheless his victim.
Tarzan while actually born in Africa was conceived in England so he made the trip to Opar from England although he is ignorant of La. When Tarzan is captured in Opar he is laid on the altar of the Flaming God, La with the sacrifical knife raised, looks down on this Jungle God, this man like a god, and falls in love. Thus we have a replay of the She-Kallikrates situation.
Unable to take Tarzan’s life, La releases him begging him for his love. Alyesha’s full title was She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed in the Matriarchal sense. The old conflict arises, Tarzan is more on the Patriarchal side, he has his moly in the waistband of his loin cloth, monagamous we are led to believe, happily married, so the Lion Man Sun King declines the honor of being mated to La>Hera. He asserts his Patriarchal prerogative to disobey although he always has a soft spot in his heart for La.
In a fairly masterful way ERB conflates the legend of Heracles, the fiction of H. Rider Haggard and the incredible strongmen of the Golden Age and his own little bit to write a charming and beautiful story which is fairly simple on the surface but one which becomes immensely rich with a deeper understanding of the sources.
Ernest Hemmingway once said that before one sat down to write one should have ten time the information in your possession as you put on paper else the story will seem shallow and contrived. It would seem that the sources upon which Burroughs was drawing, from the bodybuilding strongmen of his day to the legendary cycle of Heracles to the adventures of H.M. Stanley and the fiction of H. Rider Haggard might well fulfill Hemingway’s dictum.
When one searches for the sources of Burroughs one finds layer after layer of golden riches while discovering that in fact ERB did indeed create a man like a god- Tarzan The Magnificent.
This is a quote taken from Bonzo Dog’s song Mr. Apollo. I don’t know whether the reader is familiar with the Bonzos but they were one of my favorites. Several glorious LPs. Neil Innes came from them as well as the great but tragic Viv Stanshall. Leave those drugs alone, boys.
Follow Mr. Apollo,
Everybody knows a healthy body
Makes a healthy mind.
Follow Mr. Apollo,
He’s the strongest man the world has ever seen.
If you take his courses
He’ll make you big and rough.
And you can kick the sand right back in their faces.
A few years ago I was a four stone apology-
Today, I am two separate…Gorillas.
Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band
Long may they wave.
May 19, 2008
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#18 Tarzan And The Lion Man
First published on the ezine, ERBzine
The Center Of The Circle
Burroughs does a remarkable thing in this ring that clearly shows the Greek classical influence per Erling Holtsmark in his Tarzan And Tradition. ERB disolves his story and cast of characters after the last Bansuto attack. The cast is dispersed in several directions but ERB will deliver them all to Omwamwi Falls as he begins the three right hand rings: 3-2-1
In fact this does follow the Homeric tradition. The story of the Trojan Wars was actually a massive story of which only three parts survive, the Iliad, which concerns the central part of the epic and th two Returns, The Odyssey and The Oresteia. All the rest has been lost or survives only in fragments such as ‘The Judgement Of Paris.” Originally the epic was thousands of pages long. There were undoubtedly few scholars who had ever read the story in its entirety and fewer still who understood it.
It seems incredible that a very young ERB could have grasped the structure so completely while seeming to understand it so thoroughly. Holtsmark quotes ERB as saying that he was rereading Plutarch’s Lives in 1923 when he discovered that Numa was the name of a Roman emperor, actually one of the Republican kings, To that point he had believed that he had made up the name.
Thus we learn that ERB did some rereading and his subconscious supplied material. He could have, it is plausible, read the Iliad and Odyssey a number of times over his life. Along with other classical reading the basic method was established in his subconscious which he was able to consciously manipulate.
The Trojan War was the first of the three great sprawling European epics, unmatched in any other literatrue. The second was the Arthurian Saga also huge, sprawling through many thousands of pages and many different variations. The story has its roots in Greek mythology as well as in the Christian ethos. The Lancelot-Grail alone is several thousand pages. Burroughs doesn’t seem to have been much concerned with it. Indeed, most of it would have been untranslated in his time thus being unavailable to him.
The third great cycle was the strange nineteenth century English pursuit of the Grail in the search for the source of the Nile. In my estimation a rather peculiar obsession. This story too occupies several thousands of pages as all the participants recorded their efforts in copious detail. Livingston, Stanley, Burton, Baker and Speke have written magnficent narratives. Speke walking the Nile North after just having discovered the source actually ran into Baker following the Nile South. A remarkable accidental encounter that goes unnoticed. The best overview and history of the quest is Alan Moorehead’s The White Nile of 1960. He provides an adequate background for these modern knights in seach of an unlikely Grail. The Tarzan oeuvre might be indluded as a fourth cycle based on cycles one and three.
The first and third epics then involved ERB intimately. The Tarzan series is based on the Africa of the Nile Quest while framed in the literary construction of the first.
Burroughs then dissolves his story after the Bansuto attack then telling the story of the several participants on the way to Omwamwi Falls in the manner of the Homeric Returns. He then reassembles them less Obroski at the Omwamwi or Murchison Falls on the Nile. Thus the river cascading from the plateau is actually the Nile. What he calls the Thames on the plateau of the City of God must be indeed a substantial stream.
We have already dealt with the fate of Stanley Obroski and Tarzan. After the last Bansuto attack the Arabs agreed to take the midnight to six watch. During the night they folded their tents and silently stole away taking Rhonda, Naomi and the map with them.
Orman decides to go off in pursuit of them alone. Bill West convinces him to take himself along so the two abandon the safari to pursue the girls and Arabs.
Tarzan neutralizes the Bansuto by having them promise to be kind to Whites so the remaining safari members are able to somehow get their trucks and equpment to the Falls unmolested, that leaves the girls, the Arabs and Orman and West.
After leaving Obroski shivering with fright in a tree Tarzan comes upon Orman and West as they are being attacked by a lion. Plummeting from the convenient tree Tarzan dispatches the lion, immediately disappearing back into his tree. This is the first incident of the cast mistaking Tarzan for Obroski. I happen to think Burroughs handles this confusion extremely well. After all, Burroughs has firmly established Obroski’s cowardice with the safari members.
Orman and West’s astonishment at the seeming Obroski feat is very genuine. Later when Tarzan supplies them with a buck while translating Arabic from Atewy their astonishment can’t be more complete. Very effectively handled. Having supplied them with food Tarzan points them in the right direction and gets them started with a swift kick so that leaves the Arabs and the girls to account for. This also begins the comparison of the qualities of Rhonda and Naomi.
The Arabs have the map to the valley of diamonds that they believe is genuine and indeed it is. Unable to read English, the language of the map, they make promises of freedom to gain the cooperation of the girls. Rhonda scoffs at the genuineness of the map believing it a movie prop. However they can locate their position according to the landmarks provided by the map. Astonishingly they are able to locate all the landmarks which lead them to the Omwamwi Falls.
Naomi accepts her captivity while Rhonda plans escape. She effects this by saddling a couple ponies at night while driving the rest of the herd off. This episode is also well handled and quite believable given that this is a fantasy novel. The net result is that Naomi is recaptured while Rhonda makes it to the falls where the story is forwarded by her capture by the Apes of God. Another little joke, I presume.
Following both the map and Rhonda the Arabs and Naomi arrive at the Falls. The action then finishes the parallel story to Tarzan and Obroski of the girls and begins the right second ring story of The City Of God. This is a magnificent story full of many twists and surprises. In our day this stuff has been used over and over so that the imaginative feat is diluted or lost. If one places one’s imagination back in 1933 one can marvel at Burroughs; ingenuity while seeing how disappointed ERB was that the novel fell flat. Such is life.
February 5, 2008
Something Of Value
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Evolution And Religion
Bad Motorcycle With The Devil In The Seat
Don’t go out tonight,
They’re sure to take your life,
There’s a bad moon on the rise.
(a.) The Evolution Of Religion 0-1875
Prior to, say, -800 the approximate date of Homer’s Iliad, religion was comprosed of all three facets of learning: Religion, Philosophy and Science. The reason for the Priesthood was intact. Then beginning with Homer in the Greek world, who was reverenced with good reason, learning became gradually secularized as the Pre-Socratics developed Philosophy and Science independently of the Priesthood. In the West this was the real deathblow to religion; in the Semitic East no such development took place. The Semites are incapable of either Philosophy or Science.
About this time also, Astronomy as a science developed, which doomed Astrology to insignificance although its traditions linger on as the world prepares for the Age of Aquarius. It will really happen too. Don’t ask me how, but it will, it is happening. If you want to read an excellent analysis of aspects of the Age of Pisces check out C.G. Jung. The amazing thing is that there is little to indicate a system for perpetuating this design of ancient times, no evidence of a secret society forwarding Astrological designs. The ancients having set the plan in motion apparently knew it would be self-perpetuating as individuals like myself, and I have no interest in Astrology per se would penetrate the workings of the design moving it forward whether advertently or inadvertently. But you have to look at it to see it. My interest was aroused when I detected a constant presence. I myself have no prejudices, I don’t dismiss phenomena out of hand. The Tarot has its significance also. You don’t have to believe it, you study its historical development.
Astrology was still a very active force as the Age of Pisces dawned. The Semitic Jewish reaction was based on the dawning of a new Age, the Piscean. When this mistaken adventure ended in 135 AD, when it became clear that the New Age meant little in concrete terms, although defeated militarily and dispersed from Palestine the Jews still had that old ace in the hole. Religion.
There was still the spiritual world. While the Rabbis censured Jesus of Nazareth as an imposter a cult of Jewish followers developed after the death of Jesus. The Jews in those days or just previous to the Jewish Wars had been active proselytizers. Large Jewish communities existed in all the cities of the Roman Empire including Rome itself. For various reasons these facts have been downplayed. Any serious historical study of the role of the Jews in the Roman Empire is severely discountenanced, at least in American Universities.
As orthodoxy required circumcision and following the ridiculous Jewish dietary laws, I mean, what makes wine kosher or not is whether it has been touched by non-Jewish hands somewhere in the winemaking process, the limits of conversion may have been reached. A lot of folks might think such a condition mere bigotry but I decline to comment. Paul realized this, thus he wisely discarded circumcision and the dietary laws in his version of Christianity. This at least made it possible to convert the Gentile although without bigotry Christianity could never have succeeded in being more than a prevalent religion. Persuasion can only go so far. A religion can’t get anywhere without bigotry.
After Constantine made Christianity the official religion, empowered, the Catholic Church went to work to suppress all other forms of thought, religious, philosophical or scientific. The academy of Plato was shut down while the library at Alexandria was burned to the ground.
Thus the Semito-Roman Catholic Church solidified its position as the official representative of Christ on Earth.
Now, after Jesus was crucified the remaining disciples and adherents were run to earth where possible and killed. It became expedient to flee into hiding. From this dispersal has arisen the tradition of the Holy Grail. This fabulous literary repository has come down to us attached to the exploits of King Arthur. Known to most through the collation of Mallory, the original documents run to tens of thousands of pages. The Vulgate-Lancelot alone is close to ten thousand 350-400 word pages.
The legends which begin with the crucifixion represent a secret history of Europe. There is much interesting investigation being forwarded on the topic currently by Laurence Gardner and his series of books, he can be accessed at his Mediaquest site on the web, and Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln in two interesting books: Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Messianic Legacy. There are others but these two series are most direct. There’s a lot more actually but much of it is very speculative. Worth looking into though by the right minds.
According to these writers Mary Magdalen fled Palestine for Marseilles in southern France where she bore a son of Jesus. This son became the progenitor of the Merovingian line of kings of France. These in turn presented a challenge to the authority of the Semito-Roman Catholic Church. Thus the Church encouraged the usurpation of the throne by the line that would be known as Carolingian which when the Church succeeded in crowning Charlemagne the Holy Roman Emperor it gained the right to invest the royal houses of Europe. The Merovingians were thus dispossessed.
With the right to make or break kings in a quasi-theological empire the success of the Church was more of less assured although in a still very difficult political situation. Still, all Europe West of what became Russia was brought within its sway, hence the recent Polish pope.
Not content with leaving well enough alone the Church in the eleventh and twelfth centuries encouraged the recovery of Palestine from the Moslems. Contact in the East introduced two heresies which were to have a decisive and devisive impact on subsequent history down to the present day.
The Europeans chose to invade Palestine during the heyday of the chief of the assassin cult, Hassan i Sabbah. Thus while having only a limited military success, still a Christian presence was maintained for over two hundred years which is about as long as the United States had been in existence, the crusaders were infected with a heresy. At the same time the Cathar heresy was introduced into Europe from the East. The Cathars also known as the Albigensians, and the Knights Templar presented the Semito-Catholic Church with a soul destroying problem. This is where the Church met its Waterloo although it would be difficult to understand what else they could have done.
Westerners don’t seem to understand that if you’re going to interfere in other people’s lives you have to go all the way or suffer the consequences. The assassins of Hassan i Sabbah introduced a very potent brand of heresy into Europe in vengeance for the invasion of Palestine. Both examples have proven very pernicious and ought to have been suppressed.
The watchword of the Cathars is given expression in the Rabelasian phrase: Do What Thou Wilt. I haven’t read Nietsche but he gave a different formulation in ‘Nothing is true, everything is permitted.’
Thus the Moslems through the Assassins were able to corrupt the morality of the West. Thus Cathars prospered across Southern France where the aurthority of the Semito-Catholic Church was challenged. If the Cathar heresy, really an error, grew the Church would find itself displaced.
The rule of the Church is that the Church cannot shed blood, which is why heretics were burnt, but they could get others to do it for them. Establishing the Inquisition to smell out heretics the Church called on the French crown to crusade against the Albigensians. What do you do with people who will believe differently than you do? As Victor Hugo said, you have to kill them so that a new world may arise. As Lenin and Stalin believed, you have to exterminate the recalcitrants. As Hitler said, there is the final solution. Well, that’s what they did to the Albigensians. The soldiers asked how they were to determine whether one was or wasn’t a Cathar, they were told to kill them all, God would know his own.
The devastation if not total was a very serious attempt.
Here you have one of those insuperable problems, what are you going to do? If you do nothing you lose, if you let God sort out his own, you lose. The Cathars would have been enough trouble but then the Church was faced with the Templar heresy. Same solution, same results.
The only consolation the Semito-Catholics had was that at about this same time the troops of Genghis Khan swept over the Middle East rooting the Assassins out of their ‘impregnable’ mountain fastness.
The result of the Church’s action and that of their royal accomplices was a seething hatred of both by the survivors who after all, believed nothing was true and everything was permitted. Dangerous people with dangerous ideas. Several subversive organizations arose, the Free Spirits, Beghards and Beguines who eventually came together as the Libertines in pre-Revolutionary France.
The Church demonized the survivors, according to Laurence Gardner as witches, hence the witch hunts. I’m not sure it is true but it does make sense, provides a rational motive for the persecutions. With the inquisition in place Europe was made a hell on Earth. Nevertheless learning wiggled out from under the suppression of the Church to flower forth as the Enlightenment. Thus after the Cathars and Templars Science presented a challenge to the Church which has been the knock out blow. Both the Semito-Catholic Church and the Semitic Jews were presented with a very difficult problem which no amount of persecution could resolve.
The Church has stubbornly clung to its authority giving up only a minimum to reason. The Inquisition itself was only discontinued in mid-nineteenth century. The Jews, on the other hand, were thrown into complete disarray by the Enlightenment at least in the West. The great bloc of Judaism in the Pale of Eastern Europe responded much more slowly but then very large numbers of that group emigrated to the United States during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries where the religion faced even more serious challenges.
The Western Jews ran through a whole series of experimental forms before, under the influence of the Eastern Jews, the compromise of Zionism was evolved.
Along the way Marx, Einstein and Freud evolved political, physical and psychological pseudo-scientific ideas which had the effect of confusing the West.
Aiding the emergence of Science and the freeing of speculative religion from the suppression of the Church was the French Revolution of 1789. The Revolution was as epochal an event in the Piscean Age as the crucifixion of Christ. The Revolutionists restarted their calendar at year one which was probably symbolically correct.
It is probably signficant that Jean Baptiste de Monet, the Chevalier de Lamarck, was appointed professor of invertebrate zoology at the Paris Museum of Natural History in the critical year of 1793. As an evolutionist Lamarck preceded Charles Darwin. In his Tarzan And The Lion Man Burroughs mentions Lamarck along with Gregor Mendel and Darwin as well as the proposer of the germ theory of evolution, August Weismann, who Burroughs did not mention by name. While Burroughs played with evolution in many fantastic ways his playfulness was informed by a thorough grounding in the learning of his day.
One has to be very alert and attentive to see just how playful he is.
In Tarzan The Terrible the primitive species, mistakenly called races in most discussions, had tails. When Tarzan wishes to disguise himself he affixes a severed tail to his posterior. Now, there was a legend of a tailed people in the Congo Basin. The legend was based on the fact that this tribe affixed animal tails on their posteriors much as Tarzan does. Thus Burroughs combines evoltuionary speculation with historical legend and fact in a humorous episode. It’s possible he may have been waiting a hudred years anyone to get that joke. He picked up his information from H.M. Stanley’s In Darkest Africa.
The Revolution itself was not as spontaneous as it is often depicted nor is the wanton destruction the result of a frustrated peasantry. The Revolution was planned and coordinated by the descendants of those very Albigensians and Templars Church and Crown had crushed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The Albigenian and Templar heresies and error were thus released on the world in a more concentrated form than previously. The disorder in society today is caused by the followers of those errors.
Burroughs was born a short 70 some odd years after the failure of the Revolution. Sixteen years after Darwin released his Origin Of Species on the world. In between incredible advances were made. Champollion broke the hieroglyphic alphabet of Egypt opening the ancient world to us. The ancient civilizations of the Middle East were unearthed. Surely all those ruins Burroughs speaks of were influenced by those discoveries. Babylonians, Sumerians, Hittites, Cretans and other discoveries such as Schliemann’s unearthing of Troy and Mycenae. The Church was delivered one blow after another as the authority of its Holy Scriptures crumbled into falsehood.
At the same time a plethora of suppressed religious speculation burst the bonds of repression. Esotericists stumbled all over themselves to formulate doctrines. The Spiritualist movement sprang up fully formed like Athene from the forehead of Zeus. The greatest of the great, Madame Helena P. Blavatsky, ransacked the religious speculative literature of the ages to reassemble it into a spectacular tour de force she called Theosophy. Just as religion, Philosophy and Science had diverged c. -800 she now tried to reunite them under one head. She couldn’t do it but her work is a magnificent effort none the less.
If you’ve got the time and patience The Book Of Urantia is an equally stunning tour de force. Great science fiction if nothing else.
Thus Edgar Rice Burroughs was born into this incredible religious, intellectual and scientific ferment. Learning had become so vast that no one mind could grasp all the details, but like Madame B, it were better to fail gloriously than never to make the attempt. Underneath all the foolery and fantasy of his fiction ERB went at with a will.
(b.) Relations Of The Sub-species 0-1875.
At the risk of being repetitious it might be appropriate here to quote Darwin again to keep the thought fresh in our minds:
As the species of the same genus usually have, but by no means invariably, much similarity in habits and constitution, and always in structure, the struggle will generally be more severe between them, if they come into competition with each other, than between species of distant genera.
So, when the Semites erupted from the desert the modern phase of competition between the Homo-Sapiens sub-species began. The populations had now expanded so that there was not room for all. One sub-species must drive out all the others. Thus the outer reality, or world of appearances, will and must triumph over the inner world of wishful thinking. So the world turns.
We see this in the recent extension over parts of the United States of one species of swallow having caused the decrease of another species. The recent increase of the missal-thrush in Scotland has caused the decrease of the song-thrush. How frequently we hear of species of rat taking the place of another species under the most different climates. In Russia the small Asiatic cockroach has everywhere driven before it its great congenor. In Australia the imported hive bee is rapidly exterminating the small, stingless native bee. One species of charlock has been known to supplant another species, and so in other cases. We can dimly see why the competition should be most severe between allied forms, which fill nearly the same place in the economy of nature, but probably in no one case could we precisely say why one species had been victorious over another in the great battle of life.’
Let us never forget that there is a great battle for life while with Homo Sapiens we can precisely say why one species will be victorious. I cannot show the victory but I can show, for my purposes here, how the struggle progressed to 1875. The next section following will take us to 1950, the next after that to 9/11 and than a fictional effort will end with a possible scenario of the end of civilization as we know it.
The method followed by Homo Sapiens is easily learned, you just have to condition yourself to accept the facts, the outer reality rather than the inner world of wishful thinking. In encounters before this period the method was simple. A band of invaders conquered the indigenous folk, slew all the males, kept the females for themselves. In an evolutionary sense this is the natural method.
Amongst, lions for instance, a male is only allowed to enjoy his Pride for a limited time. Then a couple males gang up on him, driving him away. One of the new males then acquires the lionesses killing the former lion’s offspring at the same time. The complacent females then go into heat producing a new group of offspring for the new male. Simple. Why the simp lion helps his fellow for no reward is beyond me but it works the same way among Homo Sapiens.
So when the Saxons drove the Britons out of England into Brittany where the Britons conquered the natives, the Britons not only massacred the males but they cut the tongues out of the women so that the language wouldn’t be corrupted. Very offensive to our professed standards but completely within the range of normality. I mean, you know, get real. This sort of thing can and will happen again. Nazi Germany wasn’t any aberration. The Jews of today are calling for the extermination of one billion White people. This is a fact. Google Noel Ignatiev and see for yourself. Your problem will be that you just won’t take him seriously although the evidence is clearly before your eyes.
In this great struggle of life all sub-species of Homo Sapiens are more or less physically equal. Mental genetics have given HSII and III the edge in scientific intelligence. Along with the intelligence comes the ability to see farther and clearer so that lacking tunnel vision the will is blunted. Rather than following the ancient methods and disposing of indigenous peoples, which they could easily have done at the time, the HSIIs and IIIs created a legacy of ill will through their misguided benignity which at the end of this period began to come back to haunt them.
From the period of Mohammed the sub-species began to be moved around in earnest.
A legacy of the Semitic Moslem triumph was that the West was cut off from all intercourse with the East. The Moslems blocked all the formerly active trade routes. The legacy remains today when otherwise well educated historians know nothing of Africa and many points of the Near East.
Having conquered the Mediterranean littoral of North Africa the Semites began the penetration of sub-Saharan Africa. Superior in both intellignece and will to the First Born the Semites treated them as though they were mere animals, intelligent Apes. If the African slave trade hadn’t existed before, it began then. It was brutal.
Many Africans converted to Moslemism because it gained them immunity from being enslaved. They in turn captured non-Moslem Africans to sell to the Arabic Semites. This Moslem African slave trade began c. +700 and continues to the present day although the Semites will deny it.
North of Arabia the Moslems captured part of the Byzantine Asian lands while occupying Persia, central Asia and parts of India plus a fair penetration into China. Today if one includes Pakistan, Bangladesh and India as a unit the Indian subcontinent is predominantly Moslem.
In the West the Moslems were slowly driven from Spain which was accomplished just as the Ottoman Turks who had invaded the Middle East from Central Asia destroyed the last vestiges of the Roman or Byzantine Empire.
The Ottomans then began the conquest of the Balkans moving into the Ukraine, Romania and Hungary to the very Gates of Vienna before the combined forces of Austria, Poland and Russia drove them back to the present borders just as Edgar Rice Burroughs was being born. An incredibly long struggle that was just a pause in hostilities. After that defeat the Ottomans were known as ‘the sick man of Europe.’
During this entire period from the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the fifteenth century Europe was in turmoil as society reformed from a congeries of Germanic tribes into a semblance of the modern nation states.
In 1492 a Genoese sailor named Christopher Columbus changed the direction of European society. Cut off from the East by the Moslems who took advantage of straddling the trade routes to charge exorbitant prices for Easter luxuries, Portugal led European exploration of the world circumnavigating Africa finding an ocean route to the Orient thereby bypassing the Arabs eclipsing their prosperity sending them into complete stagnation. Maybe this is what Bernard Lewis means by ‘something went wrong.’
Columbus found the islands of the Caribbean Sea occupied by the Caribs. Here we can see clearly Darwin’s dilemma resolved. Between the introduction of virulent diseases to which the Caribs were unacclimated and brutal treatment the Europeans like the Asian cockroack drove their predecessors before them. What had been a Carib lake became a European lake and would soon become an African lake.
The islands were perfect for the labor intensive sugar industry but the Europeans didn’t want to do the intensive labor themselves. They in turn went to the great slave capitol of the world which the Semites had not yet exhausted to bring large numbers of the First Born out of Africa. Like all ruling classes the HSIIs and IIIs having displaced the native Caribs, were now displaced by the First Born who at present have possession of the Caribbean Islands.
So now if Darwin were alive he could see how it works. Caribs>HSIIs & IIIs>First Born. Simple.
The Spaniards also overran Mexico, Central America and South America. Here their numbers were few in comparison with the indigenes who were apparently of a hardier stock than the Caribs. The Spaniards were able to maintain their dominance over the indigenes of the area. Even today the President of Mexico is of obvious European descent while the peons are Indios.
Following Columbus’ lead the English and French invaded further North in lands that became the United States and Canada.
Once again here we can plainly see how one species of Homo Sapiens displaces another just as one species of swallow did to its great congenor.
The new invaders from Europe displaced the native Homo Sapiens along the seaboard then as their population steadily increased they rolled the aboriginals back before their advance. There was no attempt at extermination although there was callous disregard for life in the human sense. In the evolutionary sense there was no consideration of aboriginal rights.
At the same time the First Born were removed from Africa to serve as laborers in the English colonies of North America. The First Born would never have left Africa had they not been removed by the Semites and HSII and III. The First Born secured no presence in the Middle East with whatever implications that holds, but from Brazil through the Caribbean to the United States First Born territories were extended greatly.
The orginal HSIII population which originally controlled Central Asia was either driven from the area by invading Mongolid tribes or exhausted their numbers migrating West. As numerous HSIII populations have existed in the Caucasus and in other pockets of central Asia the latter is unlikely. The HSIIs were undoubtedly driven before the Mongolids in the Darwinian sense. the Mongolids first made their appearance in the West with the fifth century Huns. They swept all before them until defeated in what amounts to a last ditch stand by the French. From the Huns forward Central Asia belonged to the Mongolids.
Then in the thirteenth century on the heels of the Western Crusades Genghis Khan organized the Central Asians to conquer both the Chinese Mongolids in the East as well as sweeping West to overrun Russia and Eastern Europe to the North before retiring back into the Steppes from which they exercised hegemony over Russia for hundreds of years.
To the South the Mongolids rolled over the Moslems before being defeated in Mesopotamia then, again, retiring back into the Steppes.
The russians eventually threw the Mongolid yoke off, then by running gunboats on the Volga they were able to prevent the Mongolid hordes from crossing. Thus Central Asia was brought under control.
The French and English quickly followed the Portuguese into the East. By then the Spanish had already seized the Philippines. European religious interference caused the Japanese to close their borders to both ingress and egress. From the early seventeenth century to nearly the birth of ERB Japan was isolated taking no part in world history.
With either superior luck or organization the English branch of HSII and III was able to be the most influenctial branch in the East. All of India was brought under their control, both Hindus and Moslems. Southeast Asia acknowledged at least the hegemony of England. The Dutch seized Indonesia while the French annexed Indo-China.
England, France and Germany were in the process of annexing China itself when they were interfered with by the United States. As usual the United States with so-called good intentions produced the opposite result. John Hay of the United States announced his Open Door Policy in regard to China forcing the European branches to back down from their concept of spheres of interest. America has been a very destructive force in world politics.
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, lacking sufficient colonists of their own, England began moving Indians and Chinese from their homelands into their colonies. Thus these peoples who up to that point had been quite content to remain where they were realized the advantages of colonization themselves. Before too long they would in their turn be colonizing Europe and the Americas.
Although Chinese and Japanese migrations will fall mainly in the period after ERB’s birth, well before mid-nineteenth century the Chinese had begun a substantial migration to the West Coasts of the Americas. In 1849, the time of the California gold rush, they represented a very substantial percentage of the West Coast population. It was because of the Chinese that Dennis Kearney announced that California was White Man’s Country.
Fearful of being overrun by the Chinese, which was a very well founded fear, Kearney led the effort for a congressional law excluding Chinese from immigration. This law was secured in 1882. It was repealed or superseded by the 1965 revision of the immigration act which was promoted by the Semitic Jews.
Americans concentrate only on what happens in this country but in fact once stirred up by the British the Chinese began to emigrate to all parts of the world as circumstance allowed. Americans refuse to allow volition to any other people assuming the role of world directors is some sort of perversion of Manifest Destiny
End Of Part III. Go to Part IV.