Aug 31, 2012

Amish Trial: Sexual Coercion & Violent Haircuts

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Well, now we know what "sexual counseling" from Sam Mullet meant. As per testimony from his, ahem, daughter-in-law, it was to help women become "better wives" and stop failing their poor husbands.

The woman said her husband had a mental breakdown in the summer of 2008 and was in the hospital when Mullet suggested that her husband's trouble stemmed from dissatisfaction with his marriage. Mullet told her he wanted to help the couple with marriage counseling, and she agreed to his request to move in with him, she said.

At first, he wanted hugs, from her she said, adding that she learned he had asked the same of other women.

"Next we had to kiss him or maybe we had to sit on his lap," she said. "I'm not sure what was first."

. . .

She went along with Mullet's wishes because she thought it would help her husband, she said.

Yes, that's right. Sam Mullet's son had a nervous breakdown because his wife wasn't good enough in bed and needed instruction from Sam Mullet  -- a lot of instruction.

A sobbing daughter-in-law of Samuel Mullet Sr., the Amish leader on trial here with 15 followers for terrorizing the Amish of eastern Ohio with beard-cutting attacks, said on Thursday that Mr. Mullet had repeatedly called her into his bedroom for sex in 2008, at one point sending his wife to fetch her.

The testimony of the daughter-in-law, Nancy Mullet, provided some of the most dramatic moments yet in a trial filled with accounts of violent attacks and bitter feuds among the normally peaceful Amish. It also provided the strongest evidence yet of what prosecutors and his Amish critics describe as Mr. Mullet’s cultlike domination of the 18 families, nearly all his relatives, who lived around him in an isolated valley near Bergholz, Ohio.

. . .

Trying to avoid the steady glare of Mr. Mullet, 66, Mrs. Mullet testified that after her husband, Eli, had psychiatric breakdowns, her father-in-law first told her to sit in his lap and kiss him, then days later had her sleep with him nightly for what he called marriage counseling.

“He told me the other ladies had done the same thing,” Mrs. Mullet said, and that her husband “would not get better” if she did not accept his attentions.

Nancy Mullet was "counseled" throughout the two months that she stayed with her father-in-law as her husband received psychiatric care. Even after her husband returned and she moved back into her own home, she was expected to return for regular instruction. She was terrified not to. The pressure from Sam Mullet was explicit, as he told her things like, "I can't understand why you won't obey me, the other ladies can." When she finally put an end to it, he called her a whore. She and her husband gathered a few belongings and fled to Pennsylvania a short time later.

Defense attorneys, who previously argued that evidence of Mullet's sexual "counseling" be excluded in part because it was unproven, did not dispute the accuracy of Mrs. Mullet's testimony, acknowledging that, "it was wrong." As with the hair-cutting attacks, the defense appears to be conceding all the factual elements, disputing only their motivation and relevance.

The prosecution is building a strong argument for their theory that Sam Mullet was an authoritarian leader with absolute control over the Bergholz community. His daughter-in-law also testified that he reserved the right to read and approve both outgoing and incoming mail.

His own sister described him as a "dictator" and his followers as "zombies" when she testified on Wednesday. Barbara Miller and her husband Martin followed most of her children to her brother's community but left after only a few months.

Miller, who is in her late 50s, offered a portrait of her brother that contradicted the benevolent, peace-loving image of an Amish clergyman who preaches the love and forgiveness of Jesus in the New Testament. Sam Mullet had become a fire-and-brimstone preacher who favored the Old Testament, she said.

"He was more about violence, anger and hatred. More of the 'eye-for-an-eye' syndrome -- If he does it to me, I'll do it to him," Miller testified.

Frightened by Mullet and heartbroken by the growing estrangement from her five sons, a daughter and their spouses, Miller and her husband decided to abandon Bergholz and return to their homestead in Mesopotamia. This infuriated her children, she said.

"They said if we go back we're going straight to hell," Miller recalled. "I have been shunned by my children."

Joy at seeing her son Lester at their door one night turned to terror as she and her husband were encircled by a gang and violently assaulted with hair-cutting implements, Lester grabbing his father's beard "so hard that it distorted his face."

Miller said her mind went blank for a while and later she saw her husband in a chair with all the men around him.

Lester had a pair of shears and her son-in-law Freeman Burkholder had a pair of clippers.

The men were screaming at Marty, saying things like, "Nothing is being changed up here."

Marty was saying "please, no," but the yelling continued, she said.

Marty was crying and begging, she said, at that point their daughter Nancy Burkholder pulled her mother around and shook her head.

The women in the group, two of whom were holding babies, sheared off two feet of her hair.

Under cross examination, Miller denied that their assailants had claimed they were attacking their parents for their poor parenting. The defense's aim is to show that this was an internal dispute, not a hate crime based on religion. But testimony like this will be hard to shake.

Another son screamed at me, " 'God is not with you,' and he screamed it twice," she said,

Mullet has clearly differentiated his brand of Amish and positioned himself against sects he doesn't believe are conservative enough. Miller also reported that some of the women sneered at her clothes. I still just find it strange that his quest for conservatism had his followers using cameras and other modern implements. I noticed plastic furniture in a picture of him in front of his home. He's also made himself a millionaire by allowing fracking on his land. I'm no expert, but much of this doesn't strike me as terribly traditional.

The nature of the attacks sends a message about the victims Amishness, or lack there-of. While this was not aimed at degrading them for being Amish, which would be an obvious hate crime, it says they're not true Amish as the Bergholz sect defines it. That's what makes this a hate crime.

The defendants stripped their victims of symbols of their Amish identity because they didn't think they were entitled to them. They shamed one victim so severely that he no longer felt able to preach.

A hair-cutting attack on an Amish bishop left him so ashamed that he stopped preaching and refused to attend a family wedding because he didn't want anyone to see him without his beard, his son testified Wednesday at the trial of 16 Amish men and women accused of carrying out a series of hate crimes on church leaders in Ohio.

In the minutes after the surprise encounter last fall, Andy Hershberger said he looked toward his 77-year-old father. Gray clumps of hair from the beard his father had grown since marriage covered the floor where he sat.

"He was shaking all over," Hershberger said. "He was crying and crying."

What Sam Mullet has created with his Berholz clan is a cultural climate of dominance and degradation. This is how he has kept his own flock in line and his followers clearly took a page from that book. It's a deeply disturbing portrait and sharply contrasts with what has been repeatedly described in media reports as the "peaceful" Amish. I would remind readers, however, that all has never been as idyllic in the Amish world as is commonly believed. While Mullet's forced attentions on women followers are explicit and alarming, there is nothing new or novel about sexual violations among the Amish. Sex abuse is an epidemic in some communities and women are expected to submit to male authority. What is happening in Bergholz is less an anomaly than an extreme and violent eruption of the dark, hidden elements that are always burbling away under the surface of Amish culture. And in true Amish fashion, victims were reluctant to turn this over to the authorities of the English world, hoping instead to handle this through forgiveness and reconciliation. It's an indication of just how outrageous Mullet's behavior is that he and his followers are now facing the possibility of hard time.

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Aug 30, 2012

Friar: Priests Are Victims of Sexually Abusive Teens

Um. Wow.

In a recent interview with the National Catholic Register, Father Benedict Groeschel, of the conservative Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, said that teens act as seducers in some sexual abuse cases involving priests.

. . .

"People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath," Groeschel said. "But that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer."

Pressed for clarification, the New York State-based religious leader explained that kids looking for father figures might be drawn to priests to fill an emotional hole in their lives.

Father Groeschel has a doctorate in psychology from Columbia but I can only assume that he hasn't cracked a book since he obtained it in 1971. He scoffs at notions like age of consent pointing to the long history of adult-adolescent "relationships" and seems blissfully unaware of the power dynamic between an adult authority figure and a young teen.

Making this story even more alarming, Groeschel still teaches "pastoral psychology" at St. Joseph's Seminary, where one presumes he warns seminarians about the dangers of seductive teens.

The interview was with the National Catholic Register, which is associated with the Legionaries of Christ -- an organization most famous for having hidden founder Marcial Maciel's deviancy and criminality for decades. The publication has since withdrawn the article and posted apologies. But a quick scan of the sidebar shows articles like this plea for fairness to the reputation of the Catholic Church. It's not only priests who abuse kids, you know!

Priests and the Church: Those are the real victims, folks. Oh, the injustice!

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Once in a Very Blue Moon

Tomorrow will be our last chance to see a blue moon until July of 2015. Of course, blue moons are no bluer than any other full moon -- only rarer. They're anomalous calendrical events that come about because our lunar cycle doesn't quite jibe with our 12 month, solar calendar. By our current definition, blue moons are really just like other full moons except that they happen to fall as a second full moon in a month. That makes them kind of neat, so people write songs about them.

What makes this blue moon particularly special is that it is also the day that Neil Armstrong will be laid to rest.

There's a rare `blue moon' on Friday, a fitting wink to Neil Armstrong by the cosmic calendar.

That's the day of a private service for Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, who died last Saturday in Ohio at age 82.

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Aug 28, 2012

The Amish Hair-Cutting Trial Begins

I've been reading through the coverage of the Amish hair-cutting trial that kicked off this week. Today's award for the stupidest lede goes to one James F. McCarty of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The law of God will collide with the law of man this week in a crowded federal courtroom in Cleveland, where 16 Amish defendants -- 10 men with full beards, six women in white bonnets -- will stand trial on charges related to a series of beard- and hair-cutting attacks against fellow Amish men and women last year.

That would be true if the government were simply prosecuting Sam Mullet and his followers for  practicing their religion. But that implies that religious freedom gives people the right to assault and degrade other people. That is, more or less, what the defense is arguing -- that, somehow, Sam Mullet had the right to "punish" people who weren't even under his religious authority.

As with U.S. Catholic Bishops, we're now expected to accept a definition of religious freedom as the right to control other people.

Ironically, it was the Bergholz gang who attacked the religious identity and practices of their victims by cutting their hair and beards and photographing them, violating longstanding Amish customs and beliefs. They don't dispute that they did these things. They simply argue that they were entitled to do so. McCarty continues:

In Mullet's world, the word of God provided the imprimatur for him and his followers to punish enemies as he saw fit. That included cutting their beards and hair -- a humiliation more dreaded in the Amish religion than being "beaten black-and-blue," one of the victims said.

. . .

But what federal prosecutors call hate crimes, punishable by life in prison, Mullet calls an exercise of his religious freedom. God's will allowed him to mete out punishment as he saw fit, he said, giving him the power to shame and punish people who ostracized the Bergholz clan and who defied his laws.

So the argument is that the Bergholz clan's religious freedom gives them the right to assault members of other sects by violating their religious beliefs. That takes a rather remarkable level of audacity.

The problem starts with Sam Mullet's abuses of his own followers which are reputed to involve incarcerating men in a chicken coop for days, beatings, and sleeping with other men's wives to "cleanse" and "counsel" them. Mullet who split with other Amish over policy differences became increasingly authoritarian. But those who left his Bergholz community, or were excommunicated, were accepted by other Amish communities. Mullet felt he was being undermined by the refusal of other bishops to respect his excommunication orders and their willingness to take in those he felt were apostates. His followers, in turn, felt their own family members were betraying their faith and pursued them to their new homes, attacking them with horse trimming shears. Prosecutors explained as they opened their case:

[Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan] described how sons pulled their father out of bed and chopped off his beard in the moonlight, and how women surrounded their mother-in-law and cut off two feet of her hair, taking it down to the scalp in some places.

In the final attack, a man and his wife lured his parents to their farm, Brennan said. Once there, the older man’s grandsons held him down while his son cut his hair, she said.

. . .

Prosecutors say those who were targeted in the attacks were people who left the settlement over disagreements with Mullet’s authoritarian methods. Others were bishops who had intervened in Mullet’s decision to excommunicate several members. The bishops agreed the excommunications weren’t consistent with Amish teachings and decided not to recognize the penalties, which angered Mullet and inspired the attacks, prosecutors said.

A good deal of physical evidence was also recovered from the defendants' homes, including hair and shears. A disposable camera with photos documenting the crime was found buried under a tree on Sam Mullet's property. There is a certain irony -- or one might say hypocrisy --  to an Amish clan attacking former members for "straying" from Amish "roots" and using a camera in the process.

Splits like the one that created Mullet's Bergholz group have become increasingly common precisely because of the challenges over where to draw lines between the Amish way of life and the encroachments of modernity.

Some within the community have trouble letting go following a dispute, [Matthew Schrock] said, because the Amish so closely identify themselves based on their beliefs. "When someone believes something slightly different, that's a threat to my existence," he explained.

When there are splits, a new set of bishops and ministers take over. Sometimes the new group will move away but not usually. Those that are pulled apart can join together at weddings and funerals but not for worship services. Even families can be divided.

. . .

"Each side says you go off and do your own thing and that's the end of it," said Johnson-Weiner. "There's an understanding that you can't judge them. It's up to God to judge the choices they make."

What is unusual in this case is the aggression and violence perpetrated by Sam Mullet and his followers. Even stranger is his lack of forgiveness -- a hallmark of Amish culture. (Although, as I have previously noted, there is a very dark side to their forgiveness and reconciliation practices.)

The tactics Mullet is accused of violates basic principles of the Amish who value nonviolence and forgiveness even when churches break apart. "Retribution, retaliation, the use of force; that's almost unheard of," said Thomas J. Meyers, a sociology professor at Goshen College in Indiana.

Stranger than Mullet's aggression was his open interference in the sex lives of his followers. His excommunicated former son-in-law is one of those who has testified to Mullet's unwholesome preoccupation.

Aden Troyer said he was once part of the Mullet family compound. He married Mullet's daughter, Wilma, and the couple had two daughters. Concerned about the way Mullet was "ruling" his followers, Troyer said he started making arrangements to move his wife and children out of the group.

Not long after, Troyer said, Mullet began interfering with their marriage. Troyer said Mullet would ask women, including his wife, "about their sexual relationships with their husbands."

"That's very atypical behavior for Amish to do that," Troyer said. "It's unheard of."

He said, "In the Amish community, no one has jurisdiction over what goes on between a husband and wife. He's the only guy and only leader that I know of that ever has gotten into an Amish couple's married life."

Yet, the jury will hear testimony about Mullet's sexual counseling of numerous married women. To my mind, this more than anything marks the Bergholz clan as a cult in the clutches of a dangerous, charismatic leader. It's just so typical.

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Aug 24, 2012

FLDS Getting Stranger and Stranger

The behavior around Warren Jeffs's stronghold in Texas and among his remaining followers has been increasingly strange -- a no sex edict for most, numerous excommunications, a tower built and then demolished... Now come reports that people are relocating and concern is that it is tied to end of the world prophecies from the incarcerated leader. To my mind, the assembled reports indicate that FLDS is falling apart. Jeffs has lost control of his circumstances and is tightening his grip on those he still deems to be faithful. If there was ever a reason to fear a Jim Jones type incident, now is when I'd really start to worry.

Jeffs is being painted as a martyr and the loyalty of his followers is being called into question. At least that is the way I'd read the flyer that turned up in a school near the Utah, Arizona border. The flyer (above) asks of members, what are you doing about Jeffs's imprisonment? Observes Lindsay Whitehurst of the Salt Lake Tribune:

It reflects what people have been telling me about the message from FLDS leaders: Warren Jeffs is a martyr. He could be free if only the people's faith was strong enough.

. . .

That mind-set that turns any questions about Jeffs back on the doubter, and helps to turn people against each other.

What we're seeing now is a cult purge, as a rapidly decompensating Jeffs projects his shadow onto anyone he can blame for his self-destruction. The truly frightening question is what will he demand of his followers next as proof of their loyalty?

One of the key indicators that FLDS is in a fairly rapid decline is that it appears to be losing its financial footing. And it owes Willie Jessop $30M. Jessop, the former FLDS spokesman who fell out with the sect and became a very public critic, sued Jeffs and two other church leaders for breaking into his business. Similar attempts to intimidate apostates have included things like the recent torture killing of a kitten left on one Isaac Wyler's property. But the most alarming thing about Jessop winning the suit is that it was a default judgment. They never even mounted a defense. And they're continuing to ignore the problem, which may make it a tad difficult for Jessop to collect.

Things are a little different when the defendants are the secretive leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They’ve thus far ignored the suit, prompting a 5th District Court judge to grant Jessop the default judgment.

"Our belief is the leadership is moving assets around," James said Tuesday. In addition to the Warren Jeffs judgment entered July 26, Jessop has also won default judgments Jeffs’ brother Lyle Jeffs, who has been considered a leader in the sect’s border town home base of Colorado City, Ariz. and Hildale, Utah; and John Wayman, a top aide to Warren Jeffs thought to have succeeded Lyle Jeffs in leadership. They share legal responsibility for the $30 million judgment.

It's fairly clear that they don't think the law applies to them but they have to know on some level that the walls are closing in. And that's exactly how they're acting. They're constricting, consolidating, and withdrawing ever more from outside world. They recently stopped paying legal fees for two Colorado City officials charged with misuse of public funds, and left them to file as indigent. They may also be relocating their communities.

Last month members at the Yearning for Zion ranch in Texas demolished a tower days after completing it. When I read about this at the time, about all I could say was, huh. Although I was rather struck by the Babel Tower imagery. But with other signs of relocation, I'm wondering now if the tower -- which to my eye is very obviously a watchtower -- was built because they thought they'd have to defend their position but have been directed to quit the area instead.

The Eldorado Success reported Wednesday a noticeable decrease in activity at the “Yearning For Zion” Ranch and other FLDS properties in the area. The newspaper reported liens have been filed against FLDS members for unpaid bills, and construction has picked up at other properties, including South Dakota and Colorado.

“It seems like there’s been kind of a gradual exodus from Texas,” said Sam Brower, author of “Prophet’s Prey” and a private investigator who works for lawyers suing the FLDS Church.

“They truly believe, and Warren has been telling them, that the end of the world is coming,” he told FOX 13. “And I believe that they’re preparing for that.”

The whole thing reeks of escalating paranoia. Jeffs is acting like a cornered rat and there's no telling what could happen next.

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Aug 23, 2012

Religious Abuse: The Amish Hair-Cutting Trial

The trial of the Amish hair-cutting ring is set to start next Monday, August 27th. And prosecutors will be able to present evidence of Sam Mullet's abuse of his own parishioners: sex with other men's wives, paddling, the chicken coop, all of it. The government's argument is that these things are evidence of Sam Mullet's control over his flock, making him culpable for the hair-cutting raids on other Amish communities.

"His ability to convince those women, as well as their husbands and parents, to permit him to do so, establishes the extent of defendant Mullet's control over the community," the government said.

Based on that, the government said, the jury can conclude that Mullet was aware of 2011's attacks and approved.

In addition to the sexual conduct issues, alleged paddling rituals and punishing members by sending them to a chicken coop "are not inflammatory; they are undisputed facts" that the jury should hear, the government said.

Defense attorneys had moved to have much of this information excluded on the basis that it was unproven and prejudicial. But Judge Dan Aaron Polster has largely agreed with the prosecution. He found that Mullet's treatment of his own people is an element in the crime in question and testimony about that treatment can be heard by a jury. He did agree with the defense that prosecutors not use prejudicial language to describe the Bergholz clan which has been characterized by many as a cult. Witnesses, however, will not be so constrained.

Federal prosecutors will be allowed to question witnesses about Amish leader Sam Mullet’s sexual activities when the hate-crime trial of Mullet and 15 followers begins next week, a federal judge ruled Monday (Aug. 20).

U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster also agreed to allow testimony about Mullet’s use of corporal punishment to control followers, but forbid prosecutors from describing his group with words such as cult, sect, clan, band, schism, faction, offshoot, breakaway, renegade, rogue or splinter group. Witnesses, however, can use any terms they choose.

Judge Polster also upheld the request by defendants that they not be required to swear an oath, in deference to the Amish prohibition against swearing oaths. They will have to verbally affirm their truthfulness.

This is shaping up to be a very interesting case. Once again, what we're looking at is the psychology of influence and how evidence of that can and can't be used in court. As with the James Ray trial, testimony is being presented about a charismatic leader with a sadistic streak about a mile wide. And, once again, we have a defense team arguing that it's not a cult and that the word cult should not be used. Of course, the punchline in the Ray case was that it was the defense which kept using the word and battling a straw man that was never actually argued by the prosecution.

The cult question seems to be coming up a lot, not least in the political sphere, where Mitt Romney's Mormonism has raised concerns about how independent his choices might be were he to become president. I just watched The Mormon Candidate on Current, which asks that question of Mormons and disaffected ex-Mormons, alike. Many, including Mitt Romney's own second cousin, Park Romney, have deep concerns about the hold the Church of Latter Day Saints has on its members' psyches. Says the outspoken ex-Mormon, "I don't really think they understand the degree to which they are engaging in brainwashing. These are masters of mendacity."

Therein lies one of the trickiest bits when it comes to the psychology of influence. Not only don't followers realize they are being manipulated, many leaders don't realize they are participating in manipulation and that their own thoughts are not, in fact, their own. This, of course, raises larger questions about how all of our thoughts are influenced, by whom, and the point at which that becomes dangerous -- let alone a possible element in a crime. As I've said repeatedly, these are very tricky First Amendment questions.

The upcoming trial looks not to be just a trial about a hate crime that arose out of a sectarian conflict. Sam Mullet's crime is being framed as a case of religious abuse, whether or not that terminology ever becomes explicit. The charges against the senior Mullet will only really stick if it can be proven that he either actively or tacitly encouraged his followers to assault the members of other communities with hair clippers.

Religious abusers are dangerous and concerns have been raised by the local sheriff and some of the local Amish that there are shades Jim Jones in the Berghoz community. But I would also caution against the common assumption that religion is a necessary element in this kind of psychological tyranny. Bear in mind that the two landmark studies into the psychology of influence, the Milgram Experiment and the Stanford Prison Experiment, had nothing whatever to do with religion. Abuse of authority can arise in any case of leaders and followers.

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Aug 15, 2012

Olympics Close Goes For Alchemical Gold

We've made it through the entire Olympics, both opening and closing ceremonies, without a false flag incident or alien invasion. This leaves the woo woo world with nothing to do but pick through the Illuminati and Masonic symbolism and speculate about how the elites are mocking us with their openly practiced death rituals. They're not entirely wrong. There was some interesting symbolism in the closing ceremony and, as in the opening, it was fairly well obscured by bad theater. But, again, all I saw were beautiful, recognizable, symbols of ascension. And as with the opening ceremony, if the viewer wasn't looking specifically at that nearly subliminal through-line, there wasn't one. The close was considerably less cluttered and confusing than the opening but it was equally high on spectacle and low on making sense.

They continued on with the theme of "Great Britain has produced many great musicians and wouldn't you like to hear them all in rapid succession but in no recognizable order." As a theme, a "Symphony of British Music" creates a less than coherent narrative. "Disco at the end of the wedding," another description offered by organizers, is even less helpful... unless you're considering the possibility that we are looking at a stream of alchemical symbols. A wedding is a marriage of opposites, or polarities -- a representation of the transcendence of duality and return to oneness. One notable example, attributed to the Rosicrucians, is The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rozenkreutz. Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval give a thorough analysis of the symbolism in The Master Game, concluding:

It seems to us beyond serious doubt that a great allegory of death, rebirth and spiritual transformation lies at the heart of the Chemical Wedding and that Adam McLean is right to compare the entire process to an ancient mystery initiation.

So was the closing ceremony celebrating a completed initiation into the mysteries? I'm inclined to say yes. The only other explanation is that a lot of highly respected talent collaborated on a giant mess with a few random symbols poking out by happenstance.

The most apt and unintentionally funny line came from commentator Bob Costas, at the very beginning, as he described the opening sequence. Narrated by Michael Caine footage from The Italian Job c. 1969, a yellow car explodes and out pops a slightly chubby Batman with his sidekick Robin, as Costas put it, "for whatever reason." That sums up the closing ceremony quite well. "For whatever reason a bunch of stuff happens" would be a very fair tagline. The baffling choices start right there. Why the thoroughly American, DC Comics heroes Batman and Robin?

In point of fact, the sequence itself is a very British, very inside joke. This leaves out Costas and probably most non-Brits watching the spectacle. It's taken directly from a sitcom called Only Fools and Horses, in which the characters Costas correctly identified as Del Boy and Rodney run into some car trouble.

If we are looking at an ascension narrative, it rolls out right here, at the start, with some oblique references to gold. Whether this is alchemical gold,  Olympic gold, or simply a fluke, I still can't say with absolute certainty. But bear with me for a moment as I follow the weird tangents. Only Fools and Horses still runs on a British oldies network called simply Gold. It's logo is a variation on the circumpunct which among other things is the symbol for gold.

The Caine movie The Italian Job, which seems so oddly juxtaposed with Batman and Robin, is about a gold heist involving the iconic town of Turin where the shroud believed by some to be the remnant of a resurrected Christ is kept. It also bears mentioning, perhaps, that Del Boy and Rodney's car is a sunny, golden yellow.

The loveliest and most uplifting message came from John Lennon. The sequence is a center of gravity in a largely disjointed and superficial seeming spectacle. In a project overseen by Yoko Ono, footage of Lennon singing "Imagine" was remastered and the resulting, very crisp print was played as part of an etherial musical number. A giant John Lennon edifice was puzzled together before our eyes. Then it was disassembled, dispersed, and finally white balloons ascended the heavens. Anyone who's ever done the Easter Sunday balloon ritual at church should recognize the symbolism of spirit rejoining God. John Lennon became one with everything before our very eyes while singing a message of peace and unity. I actually teared up a little and John Lennon isn't even my favorite Beatle.

That was a pretty hard act to follow and that such a sorry job fell to George Michael seemed a tad unfair. Sadly, he looked less animated than a dead John Lennon. But he poured himself into some leather pants and put on a game face. The message was clear: FREEDOM. And that's what the language of ascension is all about -- freedom from the illusory world in which we are all trapped in a cycle of unconscious deaths and rebirths. Not to put too fine a point on it, Michael wore a giant skull belt buckle and around his neck hung a slim silver cross -- death and ascension.

A performance of "Pinball Wizard" from Tommy was certainly rife with circumpunct imagery. If you were watching the screen, you saw the concentric circles grow out of a single point of light and then morph into the octagonal structure of the Union Jack.

From there it was an homage to gold... I mean David Bowie. Well, Bowie was used as the jumping off point for a celebration of Britain's contribution to fashion. And all the models were dressed in, you guessed it, gold.

Next we were treated to the dragon (kundalini) imagery of Annie Lenox arriving on a flaming, Viking ship. She sang "Little Bird" about the self as a fallen bird with a dream of ascension.

I walk along the city streets
So dark with rage and fear
And I...
I wish that I could be that bird
And fly away from here
I wish I had the wings to fly away from here

. . .

They always said that you knew best
But this little bird's fallen out of that nest now
I've got a feeling that it might have been blessed
So I've just got to put these wings to test

And after Lenox's gorgeous portrayal of the fire serpent, a performance of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" ended with a recreation of it's iconic cover which depicts a man on fire. Subtle.

And in case you think Pink Floyd wasn't working with some serious alchemical imagery, here's a round-up of some album art.

From there things became increasingly psychedelic. Well, entheogens are one way to pierce the veil. Although, I think the primary lesson in this sequence was that Russell Brand should never, ever sing. If you can't warble out a tune as simple as "Pure Imagination" at least as well Gene Wilder, don't. As for the Britishness, follow the bouncing ball. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which was written by British author -- and spy/playboy -- Roald Dahl. Yes. The famous children's author was a real life James Bond. He also wrote the screenplay for You Only Live Twice. I guess he'd know, having spent a good bit of his life On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Sooooo British.

Brand also belted out a sad rendition of  "I Am the Walrus" from Magical Mystery Tour -- pure rainbow covered psychedelia and my childhood favorite.

Next, commentator Ryan Seacrest gave voice to our collective bafflement over the... um... giant octopus as it morphed out of Brand's psychedelic bus.

As you watch this, try and make sense out of the octopus in the center. Your guess is as good as mine?

I don't know... Cthulhu? No. Lovecraft was American.

The suggestion from deep in the woo is that it represented the Rothschilds, but like the vampire squid that is Goldman Sachs, I don't really think that's how they self-identify. I suppose they could just be mocking us all... with their diabolical partner in crime DJ Fatboy Slim. I'm still more inclined to call it absurd, meaningless spectacle. I don't know. Is there some deep symbolism to the octopus? It has eight limbs like the Union Jack it's splayed out on, and octagonal symbolism seems to abound here. I'm quite sure I'm missing something... Probably something to do with the ordering of chaos in the deep, primordial waters -- much like the divine creatrix energy of spider. The whole show saw repeated images of spoked wheels -- the underlying structure of a web -- from the Union Jack itself to the London Eye (Ferris wheel), to umbrellas.

I have to give mad props to the exquisite Eric Idle who alone seemed to grasp that he was in something far more absurd than Monty Python and had a bit of fun with the Bollywood act that inexplicably hijacked his performance of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" -- a song which Idle sings suspended on a cross in the crucifixion scene of Life of Brian. There is some discussion in the deep woo about the python/serpent connection. Considering that the whole thing has been rife with kundalini imagery, there could be something to that. It could allude to the serpent (in this case python) on a pole. It could also point to the Pythia, the oracle of Gaia, at Delphi. For added fun, look at how much gold is in that sequence. Mont Piton, by the way is a volcanic mountain on the island nation of Mauritius, which was under British rule until 1968.

If the Brazilian sequence seemed out of place in the thoroughly British spectacle, it did at least tie in thematically. It was all volcanoes, mountains, goddesses, and, once again, dragons. But you had to look close. The vocalist was Maria Monte (mountain) and she actually appears emerging from a mountain of spinning umbrellas and singing like a siren on the rocks. Pelé, the famous Brazilian footballer who put in an appearance, shares the name with the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes and with active volcanoes in Martinique and on Jupiter. Also performing was Seu Jorge. St. George is the patron saint of England and he was most famous for slaying a dragon. So, I guess my point is that the fire serpent imagery kept coming even through that oddly out of place, not terribly British, interlude. And the capoeira was fun.

Missing from the US broadcast, perhaps over a rights dispute, was Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" complete with pyramid. Here's a description:

One of the highights featured a stepped pyramid created out of 303 white boxes to Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, and when the song got to, "If I could make a deal with God" all the dancers were in full prostration on the floor.

In numerology, the O counts for zero, so in other words, the white boxes making up the pyramid represented the number 33, the most significant number for any Freemasonic ritual and the highest order that can be achieved.

As I have suggested previously, the number 33 is not arbitrary. It's the number of vertebrae in the average spine and its use in Masonry points to the ascent of kundalini toward the pineal gland, aka, the "all seeing eye."

If there remains a question that the closing ceremony was an esoteric ritual, the conclusion should put it to rest. The extinguishing of the Olympic flame was quite simply exquisite. The flames -- one for each participating country -- fanned out to form a primordial mound from which emerged a flaming phoenix. The phoenix is a later iteration of the Bennu bird of Egyptian myth, born from the abyss with the Benben stone, which is described alternately as a mound, a tetrahedron, and a pyramid. According to Graham Hancock in Heaven's Mirror, the Benben stone "provided the model, and was in fact the name used by the ancient Egyptians, for the capstones (pyramidions) of all pyramids and for the tips (but not the shafts) of all obelisks." He continues:

The model for the phoenix of the later Greeks, the Bennu was another manifestation of Atum, this time in the form of a grey heron that was said to have appeared at the moment of creation, perched atop a pillar on the Primeval Mound. It is important to note, as Egyptologist R. T. Rundle Clark has pointed out, that the rising of the mound and the appearance of the phoenix were not viewed as consecutive events but rather as 'parallel statements, two aspects of the supreme creative moment'.

In the texts that moment is epitomized as the victory of light and the spirit over darkness and death and specifically as 'that breath of life which emerged from the throat of the Bennu bird, in whom Atum appeared in the primeval nought.' In Rundle Clark's eloquent evocation of this scene:

One has to imagine a perch extending out of the waters of the Abyss. On it rests a grey heron, the herald of all things to come. It opens its beak and breaks the silence of the primeval night with the call of life and destiny.

Hmm... That's so evocative of the song by the dragoness Annie Lennox.

So the Olympics closes where it began, with the primordial mound of creation, now having completed a transformation and resurrection into full flight. Much of it wasn't even subtle. It was a celebration of the primal goddess in her fire serpent, kundalini, aspect, reconnecting us to the divine unity.

But if the Olympics ceremonies were a paean to the mother goddess, NBC's coverage kicked her in the teeth. Much about their monopoly on the games has been criticized. That they parceled out the big events during prime time, while trying and failing to maintain a media blackout on the results of the un-aired events, wasn't even the worst of their crimes. It was their endless trivializing of women athletes. They weren't alone in this but as the network with its hands on the coverage valve in the US, the responsibility for that tone rests primarily with them. And their contempt for women was on full display. Their grossest misstep had to be pulled from their website due to outrage. This was the appropriately titled "Bodies in Motion" video. I say appropriately because, ever so typically, women were completely reduced to their bodies.

The video, titled "Bodies In Motion," depicts select female Olympic athletes in slow motion. The first two shots are of one woman taking off her shorts and another licking her lips. The women selected are overwhelmingly white, thin and wearing uniforms that are varying degrees of revealing, and the footage is set to what Jezebel's Erin Gloria Ryan describes as "soft core porn music." The mashup, which was originally posted on, NBC's official Olympics website, elicited a swift wave of criticism from media outlets such as Jezebel and ThinkProgress. The video has since been taken down (the full clip can still be viewed on Jezebel), but the criticism raises larger questions about NBC's coverage of female athletes.

The video is simply hideous. The camera lingers endlessly on women's body parts, panning slowly up to show faces last and almost incidentally. When faces are the focus, it's only because they're too close to their breasts or because there's something arguably provocative going on with their mouths. It's a celebration of all the T&A taking home its weight in gold medals.

All across the media spectrum, women were measured for everything but their athletic accomplishments. Runner Lolo Jones was savaged in a New York Times column for posing nude and for saying publicly that she is a 30 year old virgin. Her nude modeling was, in fact, part of an elegant  spread in ESPN Magazine with both male and female athletes that even included paralympians. The photo is not particularly sexual. It is beautiful. And, anyway, who cares?! It's just so typical. Women are too sexual or not sexy enough. We're sluts. We're weirdly virginal. The one thing we never are is good enough.

Writes Sarah L. Jackson of the appalling coverage of female athletes like Jones:

During the women’s road race on Sunday, commentators continually referred to the competitors as “girls” despite the fact that the top finishers for the U.S. were Shelley Olds, 32, Evelyn Stevens, 28, and a former Lehaman Brothers associate, and Kristin Armstrong, 39, and competing in her third Olympics. That adult women, at the top of their craft, with full lives and countless accomplishments continue to be referred to as “girls” in sports coverage is minimizing to say the least.

. . .

In perhaps the creepiest Olympic sexism, London Mayor Boris Johnson wrote in an editorial earlier in the week that the popularity of women’s beach volleyball at the Olympics could be attributed to the “semi-naked women” who were “glistening like wet otters.” Wet otters?

. . .

Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon has also noted NBC’s “obsession” with motherhood in this year’s Olympic coverage. It seems no commentator can talk about female Olympians who have given birth without reserving most of their praise and discussion for that fact. To top it off, Proctor & Gamble’s “Thank You, Mom” Olympic campaign wants us to spend a lot of time thinking about and being moved by the fact that Olympic athletes have supportive mothers. As Williams puts it, hey, “Suck it dads!” This media obsession with motherhood has some serious implications besides narrowing world-class athletes down to the value of their uteruses (or the one’s they came out of). It also demonstrates the way women athletes are constantly framed by judgments of their sexuality and femininity; something male athletes are simply not subjected to.

Almost completely ignored by NBC was the first American gold medalist in judo. This drove my martial artist husband crazy because judo was one of the few events he cared to see. They never showed the match, only the winner's tearful victory hugs. The judoka in question was Kayla Harrison. But Harrison is more than an Olympic champion. She is a sex abuse survivor who took her power back, put her abusive judo coach in prison, came out publicly in response to the Penn State scandal right before the Olympics, and then went on to win the gold. She is a woman of tremendous courage and strength who ascended from as painful an abyss as one can find herself in.

Kayla Harrison's athletic brilliance was not interesting enough to be broadcast by NBC. That breasts jiggle when women run, however, was so endlessly fascinating that it needed to be shown in slow motion with a bow-chick-a-bow-bow soundtrack.

Such is our sorry state of affairs when it comes to the appreciation of female power. No wonder the symbols of the divine feminine have to be hidden. But the fire serpent -- so demonized in Western culture -- was on full, if terribly misunderstood, display at the Olympics this year. For all the paranoid fear around these symbols, it was exactly what William Henry and Chad Stuemke forecast -- a thinly veiled narrative on the path through the stargate. It even ended with a song about returning to the stars.

No doubt, the woo woo world heard Take That's performance of "Rule the World" as still more confirmation that the Illuminati is laughing at us poor peasants. But that would miss the point. Fans of the movie version of Neil Gaiman's Stardust will recognize it from the denouement, played as our hero marries his immortal beloved, achieves the (celestial) crown, and sheds his mortal identity to become a star. It all seems kind of obvious now doesn't it? Here's a little video montage. Have fun counting the symbols.

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Aug 11, 2012

Cave Art for Children?

No one ever went broke catering to the innate shamanic consciousness of children. For example: Where the Wild Things Are... and a very large percentage of children's books. That one just happens to be my favorite. It has everything: a journey into non-ordinary reality, communication with strange creatures, therianthropy (aka. shapeshifting), use of a boat over strange water. All common features of a shamanic journey.

Sometimes when I'm watching cartoons with my daughter I'm just brought up short by the commercials. Usually it's because of the pandering, manipulative, sugar-pimping marketing. But the GlowCrazy™ Doodle Dome™ I want for myself. If only they made it a little bigger.

Some of this alludes so directly to the mysteries of prehistoric cave art, I have a hard time believing it's not deliberate. Starting at 0:14 on the counter is a sequence on drawing aliens from outer space... kind of like the famous images that appear on cave walls in Kimberley, Australia.

Kimberley, Australia

Around 0:20 on the counter is a child drawing on the shadow of his own hand. I can't help but be reminded of Graham Hancock's description in Supernatural of how the hand paintings evoked the feeling of someone touching the permeable membrane between this world and another reality. Those hand images abound in cave art. And, as in the commercial, they appear to have been done by painting around actual hands.

Cueva de la Manos (Cave of the Hands), Santa Cruz, Argentina

This ad literally encourages children to go into a sensory deprivation chamber and draw spaceships, aliens, serpents, stars, and their own hands. I love it.

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Aug 8, 2012

Richard Dawkins: Psychonaut?

This is a bit of fun. Graham Hancock queries famous atheist Richard Dawkins as to his willingness to experiment with mind altering plants. The answer may surprise you.

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Aug 7, 2012

Could This Be a Lost da Vinci?

We'll have to wait and see if this is really a da Vinci but you know what I notice? Mary Magdalene (?) has no eyebrows. Neither does the Mona Lisa and according to a recent discovery, it's because that layer of paint has worn off. Da Vinci added eyebrows on top of the last layer of glaze to lend a more three dimensional look. I wonder if that's a technique he taught and if the same is true of this painting.

Fiona McLaren, 59, had kept an old painting in her Scottish farmhouse for decades. She reportedly didn't think much of the painting, which had been given to her as a gift by her father. But after she finally decided to have the painting appraised, some experts are speculating that it may in fact be a 500-year-old painting by Leonardo da Vinci and potentially worth more than $150 million.

. . .

The Daily Mail says the painting may be of Mary Magdalene holding a young child. The painting is now undergoing further analysis by experts at the Cambridge University and the Hamilton Kerr Institute, who will attempt to uncover its exact age and origins.

Even if the painting is not a da Vinci original, it is believed to at least be from the da Vinci school, created by one of the master's pupils during the 16th century.

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Aug 6, 2012

Rover Curiosity Takes Pictures on Mars

History was made today as Curiosity landed on Mars. The rover has begun returning photos from the red planet.

Thanks to a remarkable combination of engineering and mathematics, a NASA satellite in orbit around Mars was able to capture a picture of the split second when Curiosity fell from the skies to its successful landing on the surface of the red planet.

"We have ended one phase of the mission much to our enjoyment," mission manager Mike Watkins said. "But another part has just begun."

And in a splendid second act, the rover beamed back its first images from the surface of the planet, including a shot Monday night of Mars' Mount Sharp looming in the distance, the object of Curiosity's own programmed curiosity.

The rover's shadow can be seen in the foreground, with dunes in the distance. And beyond rises the highest peak of Mount Sharp, at a height of about 3.4 miles taller than Mount Whitney in California. The Curiosity team hopes to drive the rover to the mountain to investigate its lower layers, which scientists think hold clues to past environmental change.

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Aug 4, 2012

Sixteen Amish Mullets and Millers Reject Plea

Bishop Mullet Strikes a Pose

The case of the Amish hair-cutters will proceed to trial. The sixteen defendants rejected a plea offer that would have given them sentences of 2-3 years. They'll take their chances at trial where they face potential sentences of twenty years or more.

The defendants include members of an eastern Ohio breakaway Amish group. Prosecutors said the attacks were hate crimes.

The defendants said they were internal church disciplinary matters not involving anti-Amish bias.

So, they're stickin' with that story. Two problems: 1) The judge found that a sectarian conflict can be considered a hate crime and the Bergholz clan is a break-away sect, and 2) That they consider attacking people in their homes and cutting off their hair and beards -- something the Amish consider an assault on their religious beliefs and highly degrading -- a form of "discipline" tells you everything you need to know about Bishop Sam Mullet. He also considers putting his own male followers in a chicken coop and sleeping with their wives a form of discipline. Sam Mullet is one sick twist.

One little detail jumped out at me in this write-up that I had somehow missed. It seems that after butchering their targets' hair, they took pictures of them. (???) That alone is an assault. The Amish believe being photographed is vanity... and this is even worse. Mullet was trying to grant them infamy.

The Amish no camera rule will probably preclude this trial being broadcast in deference to the modest of the witnesses if not the defendants. Sam Mullet actually seems to like being in front of a camera. It's too bad, though. This is a trial I'd really like to see. It's just so fascinating and it's so full of unintentional hilarity.

The judge initially said he intended to split the trial in two — with the first trial for Mullet and six others who have been jailed since their arrest. The judge said he was concerned that a trial with 16 defendants might confuse jurors, in part because nine defendants have the last name Miller.

Sixteen defendants with identical hairstyles and beards almost all of whom are named Mullet or Miller and the judge had concerns that the jury might be confused. Ya think?!

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Aug 3, 2012

Goateed Easter Island Head Tony Robbins

Stephen Colbert's take-down of Tony Robbins and his firewalk fiasco is a must see. Hilarious!!! I do have one small concern: That James Ray will see this -- when he gets out of jail -- and steal some of Colbert's ideas. Can't you just hear Ray telling people that they need to "play full on" as they're rolling in a pit of broken glass? I know I can.

But you know what strikes me? Tony Robbins charges less for seminars than James Ray. And he apparently offers a range of rates based on different levels of access. I also found this which shows a top rate of about half of what James Ray charged for the Spiritual Warrior seminar which was about half as long and killed three people. I'm sure Robbins's income is greater -- many, many more people. James Ray, on the other hand, groomed a substantially smaller following and used a variety of mind manipulation techniques to soak their credit cards for vast sums. You know what else I noticed looking at Robbins's website? He has a clear refund policy... as opposed to a strict no refund policy. If you don't like a Robbins event, you can turn in your materials and get a refund. Compare that to being constantly reminded that you paid a lot of money if you don't want to participate in an activity or you choose to leave. No one got a refund from James Ray. Not even the people he cooked to death.

I say none of this because I think Tony Robbins is a really great guy. And I'd rather roll around in broken glass than go to one of his events. I say it because it puts into such sharp relief what a horrible, awful, dangerous person James Ray is by comparison.

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Aug 1, 2012

Olympics Opens With Ascension Blueprint

I've been getting caught up on my Olympics Opening Ceremony viewing. As stated, I was not home on Friday evening so I had to record it. I was at a Lughnassadh (Lammas) ritual gathering. It rained. We all got wet -- which was kind of nice, actually. And it produced this magnificent rainbow. My husband got one good snap of one end of it, with his cell. You can also just make out the traces of a quickly dissipating second rainbow that started to form alongside it. But it was one of those magnificent, full bows that you could see from end to end, arching over the trees. I was about dumbstruck, not only because it was a beautiful ending to our ritual, but because we were seeing it at the exact same time as this year's Olympics was kicking off, replete as it is with rainbow imagery.

That said, it's taken me a while to plow through my recording of the ceremony... mainly because it's just awful. When it comes to the performing arts, I'm a "less is more" kind of person, so on that score, this show utterly failed for me. I get that Great Britain is rich in history and great literature. It's also produced many great musicians. But did we really have to hear to them all? I hate medleys. They insult my intelligence.

Perhaps the goal was to obscure all the esoteric imagery, because there was a lot of it. I guess if you can't achieve subtlety in scripting your subtext, putting your audience into total, sensory overwhelm is the next best thing. There were some beautiful images and tableaux in both the film montages and the arena performances but they were nearly lost in rapid-fire smash edits, dizzying camera angles, and what I can only describe as a huge, overcrowded mess.

The spiritual imagery started right from the beginning as did the assault on the senses. The opening film featured an electric blue (pearl) dragonfly (immortality) emerging from the water at the source of the River Thames, marked by a stone reading:

Isles of Wonder
This stone was placed here to mark the
source of the River Thames

The dragonfly was just a blue blur, moving about as fast as electrical current.

We followed the flight of the blue dragonfly as it zipped up and over the serpentine curves of the river...

through tunnels...

until it reached the stadium where we saw the triple goddess holding a painting of a swirly, blue person, alongside the 2012/Zion logo and rainbow-colored overlapping spheres.

Champion cyclist Bradley Wiggins started off the ceremony by ringing a bell made at the White Chapel foundry which made our own, ahem, Liberty Bell. I happened to glance up just in time to catch this Jacob's ladder imagery and it took me a moment to understand that the stargate over this man's head was a bell... about to produce a tone.

The stadium show started in ancient, agrarian England and it's all just incredibly Pagan: Maypole dancers, Glastonbury Tor, and a "world tree" perched on top of the tor instead of St. Michael's Tower or any of the churches and other man-made structures that have been there through the centuries. As discussed Glastonbury Tor is a symbol of the primordial mound and while trees and towers are both symbols of the spine through which kundalini ascends, the tree is the richer archetype.

As an aside, just as I was posting this picture of the Maypole, my daughter came into the room to ask me about pole dancing. She just read Stephen Colbert's I Am A Pole (And So Can You), which contains a pole dancer image -- his nod to the arguably inappropriate, full-frontal nudity of Maurice Sendak's In the Night Kitchen. I was in the process of trying to break down, for a ten year old mind, the sexism and objectification of the stripper industry when it suddenly occurred to me that pole dancing is a tragically reduced form of goddess-kundalini imagery. I just never thought about that before. Huh...

But back to the Olympic "carnival." The pastoral scene was disrupted by a "salute" to the industrial age and the beginning of modern warfare. The world tree was ripped out by the roots...

and the tor (primordial mound) birthed a labor force to give their bodies to the Industrial Revolution.

It bears mentioning that the war industry is specifically decried as "Satanic" in the William Blake poem, sung so beautifully by a boy soprano in the beginning of the ceremony. But even in the industrial sequence we were treated to more kundalini imagery. Smoke stacks were raised quicker than Melusine's tower (spine).

Between these smoldering towers, a river of fire snaked its way through to ignite a sphere.

Then, in a somewhat surreal sequence, more rings floated into the scene looking like some kind of spaceships, merging with the freshly forged, ascending one.

Then, of course, they came together to form the Olympic symbol with all it's overlapping spheres and vesicae piscis. But I thought it was interesting that when they were in place they started raining light. The image put me in mind, more than anything, of the Aton with its beams reaching down with the key of life.

Coalesced completely into the Olympic symbol, one of the rings -- probably the one that was just made in the kundalini foundry -- is gold (alchemy). This alludes to the imagery in the promo discussed here, in which molten steel hardens into base metal only to be transformed by the rainbow into shimmering, alien figures.

The less said about the celebration of children in hospital, complete with giant Voldemort and Mary Poppins army, the better, but the upshot of that was... well... You know, when we got home Friday evening, we came in right around this point and all I could say was, "Is that a... giant... baby? What the..."

Said Matt Lauer, "I don't know whether that's cute or creepy." I gotta go with creepy. But it certainly cements the themes of birth and renewal. (I should also add, in fairness to the freakish Voldemort war, that Harry Potter is entirely rooted in Western Alchemy.)

All of this took place in the giant, blue-lit circumpunct that is the Olympic Stadium.

And speaking of rainbows, I was very amused by Saffy's African get-up in the brand new "Olympics" episode of Absolutely Fabulous that aired this weekend. It certainly is a coat of many colors and right on her forehead is a rainbow shaped pattern.

I have little question after watching this ceremony that there was more at work here than the workings of the subconscious. That's a pretty seamless ascension narrative weaving its way through the utter chaos of the show itself. But then, the ascension process is painful, disruptive, and nigh well insufferable at times, too.

As for the much discussed possibility that this could be a first contact, "Disclosure," potential alien war thing... I don't know. Maybe.

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