By Vincent Bridges (02/20/03)
By following our thread of Ariadne, the hidden 17 that connects the shuttle Columbia’s fiery death with Nostradamus’ warning of a comet as a harbinger of the world war with Islam to the Illuminati inspired idea of a faux goddess of Freedom called Columbia and on to Crowley’s Book of the Law, we have arrived at long last at the center of the labyrinth. Instead of the Minotaur however, that perennial symbol of overbearing, virgin eating, masculine authority, we find instead the Star Goddess, offering us a choice: extinction or enlightenment, take your pick.
I mentioned the great conspiracy above, In essence, it boils down to this basic dualism: those who would even aid in the extinction of humanity if it served the purposes of their own greed and ego and those who would rather see humanity attain a degree of enlightenment and save itself from what appears to be approaching extinction. Does anyone really believe that even a small nuclear exchange in the Middle East, South-East Asia or the Far East would not bring on a near total collapse of an already fragile planetary ecology? Does anyone really want their children and grandchildren to live through that?
The message of the Star Goddess is very simple. “Invoke me under my stars! Love is the Law, love under will. Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love and love. There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well!”
“Invoke me under my stars!” This is a clear direction to re-establish the sense of wonder and awe at the universe visible in the night sky that led out ancestors to create religion and spirituality in the first place. Let us celebrate the seasons, let us mark the rising and setting of those stars significant in our myths, let us come once again to understand ourselves in terms of the cosmic mill, the great wheel of time that marks the precessional year. As the very elements that make up our bodies and our planet came originally from the fusion factories at the center of stars, The Goddess is nothing less than factual when she announced that every man and every woman is a star. Therefore “Invoke me under my stars,” is an injunction to celebrate the unity of all life, all mind, in the universe.
“Love is the Law, love under will,” is a simple and direct statement of the basic tenet of Mahayana Buddhism, “all life is holy; all minds are capable of enlightenment,” in a new and radical form. However, the concept itself is as old as the original founding of Buddhism in Tibet by Guru Rinpoche, Padmasambhava, in the 8th century. The mantra for his Guru puja is a Sanskrit phrase, “vajra guru padma sidhhe hum,” which translates, as “The Indestructible Will of the Enlightened Teacher is the Power of Fearless Compassion in Realization.” Another version makes the connection even clearer: “padme dharma vajra citta hum,” or “Fearless Compassion is the Law, the Indestructible will to realize enlightenment.” In the west, this idea has surfaced, as in St. Paul’s “All things are lawful for me, but I will be dominated by nothing,” and St. Augustine’s “Love: and do what thou wilt,” even among the Christians. The idea is that no action, no choice, should ever be undertaken that is not simply and purely an act of Fearless Compassion.
“Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love and love.” Here the Star Goddess is playing on English’s paucity of words for the concepts related to “love.” There should be no mistake as to what kind of “love” is declared the very essence of the Law or Dharma. Fearless compassion, the deep understand than even a single person’s pain and suffering diminishes everyone else, is the very nature of the “substance of we-feeling,” which, according to Doris Lessing, is the main indicator of sentience in the universe. And there are, as the Goddess reminds us, many things that are called love that fall far short of fearless compassion, many ways in which the wrong use of “love” leads not to we-feeling, but isolation and ignorance. Only fools mistake such things for the Love, which is the Dharma itself.
“There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well!” And this is of course the point of the lesson. Love, in the sense of fearless compassion, is not choosing the dove and casting out the snake, but rejecting the duality itself as presented by the choice. Choosing either is limited and limiting; it does not lead to an increase of the substance of we-feeling, but to an increase in isolation and distance. A third choice is indicated, one that resolves the paradox of the dove and the snake.
It has been almost a century since the Star Goddess spoke, and in that time we have seen all too clearly the results of choosing up sides for a deadly game of doves and serpents. Untold millions died in the most cataclysmic century that humanity has ever known, including all the plagues and barbarian invasions of the past. Now, 57 years after mankind attained the ability to destroy itself and all life on the planet through nuclear annihilation, the possibility of that happening seems more likely than at any time since the bad old days of the standoff with the Rooskies over Cuba.
Crowley at least understood that the advent of the new aeon meant a time of cataclysmic change. “The Secret Chiefs had informed me that a new aeon implied the breaking up of the civilization existing at the time. The first act‚ would be to plunge the world into the catastrophe of a huge and ruthless war. The Secret Chiefs told me this war was imminent, he informs us in his Confessions. In fact it was just over a decade away as the Star Goddess spoke and its final act was not played out until 1999 and the last Balkan War.
At height of the Great War, phase one of the century of destruction, and 13 years after the Book of the Law, Crowley had an experience of samadhi on the nature of the Star Goddess. This experience was mentioned only once, in the 1922 commentary on the Book of the Law, but clearly formed an important part of Crowley’s understanding of the meaning of the Star Goddess’ message.
He called it the “Star Sponge,” a most curious title, and while meditating on the starry night sky in New Hampshire had the realization that the physical universe is but a representation of the essential structure which lay behind it. “I exclaimed: ‘Nothingness with Twinkles!’ I concentrated upon this vision, with the result that the void space which had been the principal element of it diminished in importance; space appeared to be ablaze, yet the radiant points were not confused, and I thereupon completed my sentence with the exclamation, “But what Twinkles!’ ”
This realization led him to the idea of a quantum inseparability principle in which “every thought possesses a necessary relationship with every other thought,” and all stars are connected to all other stars by rays of light. In a flash, Crowley also saw that the universe was highly organized, with light as the organizing principle, the mind or nervous system as it were, of the universe. Crowley would never be closer to the Star Goddess than he was at that moment.
Crowley relates this vision while discussing verse 59 of the first section of the Book of the Law: “59. My incense is of resinous woods & gums; and there is no blood therein: because of my hair the trees of eternity.” He comments before relating his vision that “it seems possible that Our Lady describes Her hair as the trees of eternity because of the tree-like structure of the cosmos.” At the precise moment that Crowley had his samadhi on the goddess of space, in a hospital back in England, a new mythology of trees and stars and a goddess of space was emerging from the pen of a shell-shocked young infantry officer suffering from a bad case of trench fever, J. R. R. Tolkien.
Lt. Tolkien, a newly married Oxford graduate, had been in the line with his regiment, the 13th Reserve battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers since late 1915, fighting through the Battle of the Somme with its senseless carnage and Morder-esque landscapes. In the fall of 1916, he came down with trench fever and was evacuated back to “Old Blighty” as the Tommies in the trenches called England. Trench fever was a serious illness caused by vermin and related to Lime Disease and typhus. Tolkien did not fully recover until the early 1920s.
But he put his time in hospital to good use, exploring what would be the key to his literary works, that all language had its origins in, and was shaped by, the mythology it was used to express. Tolkien had unknowingly stumbled on the essential truth behind all magickal philosophy: myth evokes language, language invokes myth; one does not survive without the other.
As an example, Tolkien discovered that the words for tree and star were related in Finnish, and he speculated on the myth that could account for the connection. As he created his own language, High Elven, based in part on Finnish, he wove this philological point into the story. In the Silmarillion, the long and complex tale Tolkien wrote during his recovery, Varda, one of the Valar, the gods of Middle Earth, creates the stars from the leftover debris from the destruction of the pair of light emitting Trees at the center of the original paradise that was Arda, or Middle Earth.
The struggle at the heart of the story is over the remaining Light from the Trees, locked eternally into three fantastic jewels called the Silmarils. In the end, only one of the Silmarils remain, and the Valar place it in the sky as the Morning and Evening star, symbol of hope unlooked for and a sign of the Valar’s continuing concern for the Children of Iluvatar.
Some of Tolkien’s earliest poetry concerned these themes and as he wrote the Silmarillion in the winter of 1917, he sketched out the earliest form of what became the Hymn to Elbereth in The Lord of the Rings. The Hymn in its finished version has some fascinating points of congruence with the Star Goddess from the Book of the Law.
Here’s the Hymn in Elvish, followed by my translation:
Ah elbereth gilthonielSilivren penna mirielO menel aglar elenath!Na-chaered palandirielO galadhremin ennorathFanuilos, le linnathonNef aear, see nef aeron!
O star queen, star kindler,White light glitters down like sparkling jewelsFrom the glorious firmament of the star-host!Looking out to infinityFrom the tree-woven middle earth,White Brilliance, to thee I will chantOn this side of the ocean, here on this side of the great sea!
Elbereth is the name the Elves use for Varda, meaning simply Star Queen. The Elves are the firstborn, the eldest and immortal Children of Illuvatar and they awoke to life when Orion and Sirius rose in the sky for the first time. They therefore worshiped Elbereth/Varda as the great Goddess of the night sky. The Elves Frodo and Sam met in the Woody End of the Shire also sang of Elbereth: “O Light to us that wander here/ Amid the world of woven trees‚” And it is Sam, at a moment when all seems lost, who calls out to Elbereth:
“O Star Queen, star kindler,From the firmament of InfinityTo thee I cry here beneath the death-horror!O watch over me, White Brilliance!”
The message of the Elven Star Queen was one of hope, and to make this point even clearer, Tolkien makes the Low Elven word for hope, estel, out of the Latin root for star, stella. In what is perhaps the most poignant moment of the entire epic, Sam Gamgee looks up from the depths of Mordor and sees a single bright star through the murk. He thinks of Elbereth, and finds both hope and enough water to continue the quest. In this one symbolic image, Tolkien conveys to us the message of the Star Queen, a light to those who wander here below, and the true evil of Mordor and Sauron. They would blot out the sky and bring on eternal darkness through which no star could shine, a darkness in which no hope can be found.
The pronouncement of the changing Equinox of the Gods and the Book of the Law, with its message from the Star Goddess, was heralded by the celestial phenomenon of the Morning Star shining in daylight as an eclipse darkened the sun itself on the morning of March 17th 1904. It was a sign of hope, and an omen of warning: the first act of the apocalypse was about to begin.
While Crowley may have missed the event in the sky, in what is perhaps the strangest coincidence of all, another Cairo resident did not. Khalil Ibrahim Pasha, a wealthy and successful Coptic lawyer from Assiut, was out that morning surveying his newly acquired property in the Cairo suburb of Ezbet El-Zeitoun. As the sun dimmed that morning, Ibrahim had a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She commanded him to build her a church on that spot. It was to take 20 years, and was finished by his son Tawfik Bek Khalil after his father’s death. Built in an unusual Italian style, the Church of the Virgin Mary was a quiet oasis of peace and contemplation for generations of Cairo Copts, until the strange events began in 1968, 64 years after Ibrahim’s vision and the Book of the Law.
A resident of Tumanbay Street in Zeitoun described his recollection of the miracle in a 1968 newspaper interview. “There used to be a big garage for public buses opposite the church, and on 2 April, an hour and a half after sunset, the mechanics and drivers of the garage were alarmed by a disturbance in the street. They ran outside and looked in the direction of the raised faces of the people. A young woman dressed in white had appeared on the church dome. They saw her moving on it and thought that she was about to throw herself off. ‘Be careful, take care, you may fall! Wait!’ they cried, before they realised that the dome was curved and that no human being could walk on it. Then some of the people watching cried out, ‘The Virgin Mary, the Virgin Mary!’ The traffic in Tumanbay Street stopped and the crowd grew bigger and bigger. The whole street was closed and public buses were not allowed to pass through. People would come to Zeitoun and spend the night in the garage opposite the church.”
The apparitions continued for years, recurring sporadically at the Church in Zeitoun and at other places in Egypt, the most recent in 2001 at Assiut, Ibrahim’s birthplace. They were seen by thousands and photographed and in recent years videotaped. From our point of view, the most interesting component of the apparition is that she almost always appears with, or sometimes in the form of, a dove of light. The Star Goddess and the “Christ Bearing Dove” of the Virgin Mary appearing in Egypt are all part of the same archetype.
And it is this same archetype that was both used and misused by the illuminated founders of our country and their symbolic successors at the time of the Civil War. And this same archetype was re-used again by the space program for the first of its reusable spacecraft. By the time of the shuttle Columbia’s synchronistic demise however, the mindset of the mass consciousness was oblivious to the implications, numbed and saddened in a way that did not allow for an expression of the meaning of the event.
Sad as it was, the deaths of seven of the brightest minds on the planet, the psychic impact of the disaster is that of hope, if we can but see it. When the Columbia streaked from darkness into light last Candlemas morning and ignited into a fiery comet of doom and death, it was also a sign of hope and a warning of an approaching apocalypse.
A sign of hope, because if we can read the message and take it into our hearts, then it might be possible to stop the plunge to war. Two weeks after the disaster, between 4 and 10 million people worldwide protested the war on Iraq, and even though President Bush says that the voice of the people don’t account for much in his plans, it is clear that something has shifted, some choice for life, has been made.
But also a warning – If one of the three fools that compose Nostradamus’ Mabus should attack the other and kill one, then the resulting bloodshed and vengeance would be beyond our worst nightmares.
The message of the Star Goddess is not one of despair; no matter how bleak the situation, like Sam in Mordor, we have but to look up at the night sky, while we still can, to find both light and hope.
Let us hope it will be enough,
“O Star Queen, star kindler,From the firmament of InfinityTo thee I cry here beneath the death-horror!O watch over me, White Brilliance!”