Sunday, March 19, 2006


When a man buries a pole in the sand,
he automatically creates a sundial and begins to mark time.
To begin marking time is to begin creating a culture.

In the beginning there was Void. The world was cloaked in boundless oceanic darkness penetrated only by the glowing din of scattered, innumerable and unnamed nebulae. Islands of gleaming, radiant antiquity. A wordless, untested rorschach of hoary archaic night.

The first map was not at all of-this-world. The blasphemy of astrological cartography was the invisible connect-the-dot graffiti etched into the otherwise capricious nebulae. Before there were no codices and tomes of charts and tables - no statistical graph-iti - inquiring into the 'reason' of the heavens. The first map was a contract written in blood. What 'real' terrain could astrology claim? To draw the heavens was to inaugrate the extraterrestrial despotism of the stars over the earth.

The philosopher-priest sat watching the shadow of the gnomon, the man-made phallus emerging from the adobe floor. Astronomy existed for centuries, before sundials, through the artifices of this simple device. It was only a stick. But the astrologer, his robes caked with the months of dust, watched the stick with the patience of an ascetic before his god. The span and ebb of the equinox was indicated, prophetically, in the signs and language of shadows. Pythagoras the Magician wanted more.

Gnomon - the "indicator." The signifier.

Babel, Eiffel, the Collosus - all were predestined in the chronomancer's first, archetypal erection. It was a phallus to measure against nature. Men could only ride the bull when they made-believe its testicals were smaller than theirs'.

Already the dramatis personae had appeared. Chronos, Mars, the Pleides - Time, War, and the Seven Sisters. The zodiacal signs weaved the first and eternal narratives in their luminous procreation. Constellations of meaning. Movements of negotiation, struggle - erotic and violent: necessity and purpose spelled with finality in the frost of stellar opalescence. The constellations decided the destiny and doom of every man, woman, and child. The golden threads of necessity were already bound before the first babe cried its dissent.
Why, why, oh why have I been born into a life that has already begun to end?

The heavens return no reply, for their law has already spoken. In dreams we can still the whispering of the daimon, the muse, the alien will of extraterrestrial Idea. The cosmos was a despotism; it was never a democracy.

Then there emerged those heroic ones, the archetypes of anarchy, taking up arms in the gigantomachal war against heaven. Gilgamesh the master of slaves. Pythagoras the magician. Gilgamesh conquered others. Pythagoras conquered himself. And then... there came Socrates, the fateful slayer of magic.

Pythagoras the Ionian trekked to seek the wisdom of all the wizards of antiquity. The hermits-arcane who chose not the wars of men, taking up instead the greater gigantomachy of the stars. He culled their secrets and added them to his own giodesic thaumaturgy of number, sphere, and line: Egyptian necromancy. Persian polito-theurgy. The ecstatic theophanies of the Cretan priestess. He even visited the barbarian shamans of the cold North, learning the indescipherable babble of their runic incantations. It was the age when all of the arts and sciences were considered magic.

Who knows what would have transpired if he had consulted the occult alchemy of the Taoist geomancers. History never recorded the handshake between Pythagoras and the old sage, Lao Tze. Pythagoras extended his hand in partnership. But who would have understood the meaning of this Occidental salute? Lao Tze could only smile and bow in silence. The signs were confused; the distance between the two men grew with the bowing. The East, the true Orient, receded infitely away from Pythagoras' salutory grasp.

The war between Europe and Asia had already begun with the kidnapping of Io, the woman who gave Ionia its name. The children of Gilgamesh had already taken up arms against the children of Herakles. Gemini smiled over the battle between twins. Pythagoras, a true son of Io, would have nothing of it.

Rumors circulated the ancient world: they said that the coffin lids of the pharoahs, the sarcophogae of the skeleton-kings locked away in their cyclopean palace-crypts, were inscripted with maps sufficient for navigating the ways and by-ways of intergalactic currents. Celestial code maps - the secret of magical interstellar travel beyond - transcribed from the last whisperings of cold dying lips. Schematics for dragonboats seaworthy enough for the primordial ocean of night, the "River of Heaven." Just as one could sail the Mediterranean in life, Pythagoras heard, one could sail the Milky Way in death and in mystical un-death.

Pythagoras wondered to himself, pondering the secrets lurking behind the black mirror of the sky ocean...


David said...

I like alot of this, but I think it suffers from how cursory it is. I think you should slow down, spend more time on less ideas. I'd like less meta-talk and more expansion. Try writing a scene, make some shit up if you need to; since most of this stuff is about the way we think and percieve, I'd like to see what these episemic/ontic/phenomenal changes mean for the people experiencing them -- without the people much of this is meaningless.

Also, I'm not sure what you're going for by mixing the myth stuff with literary/anthro concepts like's interesting, I'm just not sure if I get it.

Like I said: I think alot of this is extremely interesting, and well-written, it's just that I need it to tie into something...I'm having trouble finding the 'golden thread' that weaves this all back into one theme/problem/character/happenstance.

David said...

Why were the the nebulae capricious?

Can you explain what it is you're doing grammar-wise with "theirs'"?

'giodesic' = geodesic?

What is Persian polito-theurgy? Sounds badass...

One last nitpicky thing -- Can chantings be 'runic'? I thought that runes were a alphabet...

Jeremy said...

This was a last minute post right before spring break. I was doing some doodles at work without spellcheck.

Thanks for the comments. As for writing, it was pretty experimental.

Nebulae can be capricious, since celestial bodies do not organize themselves into constellations. Humans are the ones who see bulls and archers into the stars.

Politico-theurgy is a made up word. I was trying to illustrate the type of religion practiced in Babylonian theocracies. The ancient ziggurat state was something truly mysterious and sinister.

I still use signification in a very general way. It needs clean up. Chants can be runic, here, because I want to blur the idea of what language is. The development of language and sacred symbols point to a radical change in consiousness.

What do you mean by meta-talk?

David said...

By meta-talk I mean the attempt to make grand, sweeping statements about the working of the cosmos...

I don't trust meta-theory, and I don't think you do either; so I think you should try going micro, not macro.

I guess, for me, all this type of stuff fails to accumulate any meaning if it doesn't attach itself to real human occurences. I think that if you just try to go 'out there' you tend to get lost -- but if you 'go in' in order to 'go out' it becomes much more powerful. As above so below and whatnot.

I really like what you're doing, but I just don't know if it can get us anywhere if doesn't ally itself with hylic, organic fluctuations of the everyday here-and-now.

The stuff about the priapic sundial and the orderings it brings is extremely thought-provoking (and just fun to read) but I want to know how that affects *my consciousness.*

Moreover, before sundials and maps, wasn't there one far more important invention that had far greater ramifications for what we are? Language, of course. It was what got us kicked out of Eden, the unifying epistemological barriers were broken down, and we all began to redefine the universe on our own terms. And I don't have to point out to you the relationship language has with magic: ancient magicians thought that to name something -- to know its real, secret (occult) name -- was to gain power over it, and they were right.

After language we go, in a astonishingly short span of time, from nomadic non-hierarchacal hunter-gatherer societies to static agrarian communities that have rigid social structures. It began the march of the sun-kings and it's an epoch we still haven't escaped: Jesus Christ, burn it all down, fucking cocksuckers.

So back to my main point....(sorry for the digression I'm running very, very low on sleep). With art and creation we should do everything we can to increase awareness and build up to exit velocity. Pynchon said we were wrong: it's not a rainbow, it's a circle, and we have to break free -- after that it's glorious ascending.

Drunk On Arrival said...

Hah! Dave's Annual Tour of Blogs 2006 begins, sponsored in part by the frightening and the brain rattling. You don't know me; I mean, you don't really know me, but I figured jumping on Rigdon's (sorry. I hope I don't make you lose friends) blog and expanding out from link to link in this vast net we call the intraweb, is a good means to dig through Atlanta literary stuff. And that sort of savvy net-spelunking makes me better at what I do, right? Everyone wins. Either that, or it's one of them pyramid schemes, and only I win. I can't remember.

Let's start. The opening quote. Are you quoting yourself? I'd scrap it. You say the same thing later, in better terms. And Idon't think this has the length or winding complexity that requires a quote to keep everything anchored. It stays pretty focused throughout. It doesn't need a harness.

The first paragraph, cool. There's some nice, vivid imagery. I'd be worried about working with a metaphor that's so oversaturated in writing (I mean, the creation of the universe, dude!), but if you can live with it, I can too. Some of that's real evocative.

The first map was a contract written in blood. Sigh. Yeah. Any creation demands sacrifice. “And Thus, Was the First CapriSun drained from the heart-blood of philosophers and the menstrual blood of sacred mothers!“ The image of the stars' despotism over the earth is good, real good. But does it really make that much sense? What do we sacrifice for the sake of navigation? We proceed to conquer and rape and pillage, maybe, but we've been hitting each other with rocks and sticks for eons. Are we sacrificing the ability for creation for the sake of knowledge? If you think so, you should do more than allude, or carve your allusions a little closer to the truth.

You imply a connection between phallic worship and this primordial cult of mathematics/time. The connection between the sundial and these phallic monuments is sharp, but is there anything there to support it? These priests are simultaneously worshipping time, mathematics, and celestial navigation. That's a lot to work with. At least they need to be bound a little tighter. I'm honestly not that familiar with the Colossus, but does the Eiffel Tower really stand in league with Babel? I know this myth repeats in other places. Ovid for sure, Africa, and I believe there's some Indian and Native American background on it too. And then there's always (dum dum), WTC. Maybe too soon. It would either come off as sensational or really good. Work with myth cycles that complement big balls syndrome.

The bull? It doesn't resonate too well for me. You have all these big, floaty analogies, and then suddenly your metaphor is vague bull-riding. What about the slaying of the Cretan minotaur, or one of countless Arthurian cycle stories, or Bodacious the rodeo bull who was put to sleep for just murdering and brutalizing the shit out of riders left and right, who's son has already had to have been retired for being too fierce. Monsters born and bred as nothing but sadistic killing machines, so some hardass country motherfuckers can prove they're men.

The cosmos was always a despotism? Talk about it.

There's some interesting images here, and some good ideas. I'm not sure if I buy that man's explorative nature is the source of destruction and strife. I do like some of the imagery. I think your problem is you're too floaty. You're talking in abstracts, and to a large degree, they're abstracts that have already been touched on in most religious and mythological texts. The universe comes from oblivion. It's born out of two opposing forces. Man's discovery of civilization makes him do evil things and forces catastrophe down from the heavens. You're not to fault. You just chose a tricky style of writing. Abstracts is nearly impossible, because really, what can you say that hasn't already? I'm curious about what sort of audience you're aiming for and where you need to go with this. If anything, it needs tightening. You have a lot of ideas and metaphors floating around, but you need to rein those ideas in tighter and bind them under a few common ideas. A lot of your word choice comes across as thesaurus stacking, and I don't think that's required, because a number of your metaphors are good enough without it.

Personally, it's too abstract for my personal style, but I'm not going to knock you for trying it. You've got some good ideas there.

Drunk On Arrival said...

*ahem* I just realized my first comment said "It stayed pretty focused throughout" but that was premature. My problem with the use of the quote is that when you put a quote there, it's typically to establish the central thread that runs throughout the piece. My problem with this (treatise? what is this?) is that it rolls around all over the place. I'm all for some meandering fiction, but it needs to be patterned in the kind of way that it loops back in to the core and doesn't gain any unsightly fat from the trip.