The dark sexual hymn to Persephone’s rebirth into Light

The last couple of weeks I have been completely mesmerized by the clip and song of Interpol’s Lights. It consists of a couple of seemingly not related parts: the clip, a cryptic message at the introduction and the lyrics of the song.

The clip starts of with the following intriguing message:

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Surely beetles have pheromones and these are released at certain times (mating season!), but beetles do not really have chambers and certainly pheromones are released automatically and not by means of ritual.

The clip of the song takes us to this mysterious pheromone-harvesting ritual. A woman in black is carefully prepared by two courtesans (!) for a ritual. At the end of the clip, she has orgasmic movements on an interestingly shaped black stone and milk like substance starts flowing from her eyes and mouth. At the end of the video the complete floor is flooded with the white substance which is collected in a drain.

The lyrics of the song are mysterious. It is like a prayer or an invocation. There is devotion, but there is also something dark and sinister about it. The song ends by repeating: ‘that’s why I hold you’.

 

What can all this mean?

To be honest, it took me a long time to be able to figure out what the deeper meaning of this song could be. When looking up the origin of the word pheromone, I came to the Greek root pherein, which means to transport / communicate.

Further searching on myths and symbolism of pherein, I finally struck gold: another name for Persephone is pherein phonon (bringer of death). Often pheromones ‘transport’ sexual attraction although they can also transport other messages. In the case of Persephone it is death. Identifying Persephone in the clip shed a completely different light on the song.

What do we know of Persephone? She is once abducted by Hades into the Underworld and separated from her mother Core. Core’s grief was so great that she stops all growth on the earth. By the intervention of Hermes (as the messenger of the Gods, he can be as a pheromone himself) it is agreed that Persephone will stay in the underworld one half of the year and will be on earth the other part of the year. Persephone symbolically represents the seasonality of mother earth. As the clip moves from completely black to the floor covered in white one may conclude that this ritual is about Persephone transforming from winter time to spring time. This ritual is held on the shortest day of the year: at this moment the light is born again. This is reflected in the title of the song: Lights. Why Lights might be in plural is be explained later in this article. The outfit of the courtesans indicate that this is an ongoing process: one has de top of her head black (winter) and the other the bottom part of her head (summer). On the longest day an inverse ritual will be held: from white to black. As always, the courtesans would carefully assist in the transformation.

Two things stand out in this ritual. First, there is a dark serious expression on the face of Persephone in particular and the ritual as a whole. Persephone looks as if she is about to die. And in fact she is: although she went through this ritual millions of times before, it remains scary to give up her current form in order to become another. The ritual is meticulous and the journey remains dangerous.

The second thing is fascinating: the transformation from one form to the other is sexual. The way in which Persephone lies and curls on the black stone and eventually climaxes is like she is performing a hieros gamos with the earth symbolized by the black stone. Persephone experiences a petit mort which turns out to be a grande mort and eventually a grande rebirth. Death takes the shape of divine ecstasy and a cosmic orgasm. By the voluntary sacrifice of her life, she brings life and fertilizes the earth. This is symbolized as the white fluid being captured in … a drain! Those who are familiar with the Cabalistic concept of Earth as Malkuth will recognize the drain symbolism. But how can a female goddess fertilize the Earth?

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A clue for this mystery can be found in the tarot card Princess of Disks in Crowley’s Thoth tarot. Here, a Persephone like figure stands in a barren land and decisively points a phallic diamond tipped wand to the ground. The princess has a similar look of intense brooding as Persephone has in the clip. She looks as if she is witnessing a secret wonder. She established her altar in the midst of a grove of barren trees that her fertile presence will restore to health. Persephone’s horny (pun intended!) hairdo of the clip also refer to the horns of the princess of disks. The black stone in the clip has the same symbolism as the barren earth on the tarot card. It is simultaneously a throne and a grave.

Following from the understanding of the periodic ritual of Persephone, the mystery of the Rhinoceros beetle can be understood: when the sexual pheromone message is transmitted, spring starts and as a result the mating season as well. The sperm going down the drain symbolizing the fertilization of the lands for the next spring. In Egyptian mythology Khepri was the scarab beetle god. He way a solar deity and, like sperm, is a fertilizing power. Khepri rules over creation and rebirth. It is quite fitting that within the creation of the world, there the seasonal rites of Persephone are held.

The lyrics point towards a different aspect of the song. The singer is talking to someone and asks for insights, help, and mercy. Could it be that the singer is performing a ritual where he asks for the help of Persephone to help bring forth the light in himself? After a long dark night of the soul? The main sentence of the lyrics is: ‘that’s why I hold you’. He holds Persephone, the bringer of death, in order to be reborn again. Might this be the reason why the song is called Lights instead of Light? Perhaps it is because the Light needs to be reborn every year again and again? Similarly, the Light needs to be reborn in each and every one of us. It becomes clear that the singer longs to be like Persephone: he also longs to make the daring transfer from darkness in order to orgasmically be reborn into Light.

My dance interpretation on Interpol’s Lights

Lyrics Interpol’s Lights:

All that I see Show me your ways Teach me to meet my desires… With some grace

All that I fear Don’t turn away And leave me to plead in this hole of a place… Cause what if I never break Estuary won’t you take me Far away Far away

All that I seek Please police me I want you to police me But keep it clean Uhhh…

How have you been, my day Now let’s take them away (That’s why I hold you) Strong as you’ve seen Old as you behave (That’s why I hold you) You will always obey (That’s why I hold you)

All that I feel Capital ways Teach me to grieve and conspire With my age

All that I can see Domestic spree A seething routine I could never navigate Maybe I like to stray

No heart unseen will be left so clean Not today It’s like you want it that way

All that I see Is peaceful eyes drawn away from me Drawn away from me (Drawn away from me)

We would like to take the sights (That’s why I hold you) And bring silence in disguise (That’s why I hold you, dear) We would like to meet the buyer (That’s why I hold you) That is all your life

That’s why I hold you That’s why I hold you That is why I hold you That’s why I hold you That is why I hold you dear That’s why I hold you That’s why I hold you dear….

 

About how to use evil as a mirror for your subconsciousness

Today I was discussing with a colleague of mine and I asked him what the function of evil was according to him. We quickly realized that this depends on where you come from. For example a devout Christian would most likely shy away from all sorts of evil. He has the 10 commandments and the 7 virtues and when he sins he will go to hell instead of the aspired heaven. The role of evil is clear: stay away! But for the Freemason the role of evil different. A Freemason lives by the credo ‘know thyself’. He tries to become aware of his vices and tries to transform them into virtues. Different than for the Christian, evil for the Freemason is a mirror of things in himself which he still needs to develop. Many spiritual development paths have a similar approach: find and integrate your dark side with the light.

An interesting analogy is Hercules’ work when he fights the Hydra. The Hydra is a nine headed monster, which, when you cut of one head, it grows three heads back. Hercules finally defeats the monster by raising it up to the sun. All heads, except one, dry out and perish. The last head is buried in the ground. In this analogy the Hydra stands for the impure passions within us which we normally try to suppress. But the way to deal with these impure urges is to integrate them into our consciousness. Then we can make choices and deal with them. This work of Hercules is assigned to the constellation Scorpio: it is interesting that this topic comes up at this time of the year.

William Blake in his Proverbs of Hell puts it rightly: ‘He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence’. And it is true. Not only for big topics such as evil. But also for more mundane items. When you have a problem, you can best address it as soon as possible otherwise it grows well out of proportion. Try to not pay a traffic bill in the Netherlands: within a couple of months it will be quadrupled!

But how to use evil as a tool and not to become identified by it? Here the example of Persues slaying Medusa might be inspiring. Medusa is a Gorgon with snakes as hair. Everyone who will look at her will be turned into stone. Luckily, Persues received a polished shield from the goddess Athene. Using this shield to approach the sleeping Medusa, he was able to cut her head of.

 

The trick is to know thyself and not to become identified with your lower self. When you can investigate your vice instead of becoming your vice, then you can slay the Medusa inside of you.

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What’s Good?

Nadat twee vrienden van Lou kort achter elkaar stierven aan kanker, maakte hij de plaat ‘Magic and Loss’. Een plaat over loslaten, sterven, en soul searching. En dat doet Lou op zijn prachtige, rauwe, onderzoekende manier.

 

Het nummer ‘Whats Good?’ vraagt hij zich af wat er nog goed is op de wereld. Gedurende het nummer, realiseert hij zich dat zelfs de donkere en zwarte dingen in het leven zin moeten hebben.

‘What good in a war without killing?’

‘What good in a disease that won’t hurt you?’

Om daarna somber te vervolgen:

‘No good, I guess, no good at all’

Na deze overpeinzingen dat al die nare dingen op een bepaalde manier toch nut moeten hebben komt Lou tot de conclusie:

‘It’s not fair at all’

Het nummer heeft een break en gaat dan verder met Lou die zich maar af blijft vragen ‘What good’: wat is de zin van dit alles. Maar verrassenderwijs komt uit het jaren ’50 achtergrondkoortje een engelachtige respons. Het is alsof Lou deze existentiële vraag stelt aan een hogere macht en er antwoord komt. Lou vraagt: whats good? De whisky drinkende engelen herhalen de vraag: whats good? Hebben wij jouw vraag goed begrepen? Dit gaat zo over en weer, totdat de door Marlboro gesponsorde engelen eindelijk antwoorden: life’s good. Verbaasd herhaald Lou dit antwoord: life’s good? Life’s good, luidt het antwoord. Op dit moment valt het kwartje bij Lou. Na het verlies van zijn vrienden was hij bezig met de negatieve dingen van het leven en was hij de positieve dingen vergeten. Ja, tuurlijk zijn er nare dingen op aarde, maar al met al is het leven een groot prachtig wonder.

De laatste zin van Lou luidt: life’s good, but not fair at all. Hij heeft een Parsival-achtige ontwikkeling doorgemaakt: van naief naar gepijnigd tot de uiteindelijke integratie van beiden in de conclusie:

life’s good, but not fair at all.

Later in de plaat zal Lou nog verder ingaan op wat ‘fair’ nu eigenlijk is. Daar komt hij tot de conclusie dat al het materiele wat je gegeven wordt, je uiteindelijk toch weer terug moet geven. ‘there is a bit of magic in everything, and then a loss to even things out’ (Magic and Loos). Maar de liefde die je in dat leven vergaart, mag je houden.

Het leven is een magisch proces. De titel van de plaat ‘Magic and Loss’ is daarom erg mooi gekozen.

Fear death and be strong

‘you do not fear death. you think it makes you strong, but it makes you weak. how can you fight longer than possible without the most powerful thing on earth: the fear of death. make the climb as the child did. without the rope. then fear will find you again.’

a man needs to acknowlegde his pain and contain it. only then he can use his pain to climb out of the pit. the pit of self pity.

Goodbye Little Prince

Wow… This version of Purple Rain as an honor to Prince by the cast of the Color Purple complately blew me away. For the first time after the passing away of Prince my eyes were filled with tears. Another great talent we have lost this year. The way how Jennifer Hudson and her collegue just sings their lungs out gave me the chills on my spine. The way in which Price is waved goodbye by the cast of The Color Purple gave me goosebumps. It seemed that Prince was welcomed back Home after a long journey through all the realms and different strands of music. He was embraced by his fellow brothers when he came Home to his black soul roots.

Goodbye Little Prince.

De herrijzenis van de masochrist

De herrijzenis van de masochrist.
Ecstatic Dance met Pasen stond voor mij in het teken van wedergeboorte. Door middel van ecstatische dans, heb ik het ego laten sterven om vervolgens te ontdekken dat de ziel dan op staat. Dat lijkt masochisme, maar het is masochristisch. Dat is de Passie. Jezelf doelbewust aan het kruis nagelen en jezelf opofferen voor iets groters. Dus gooi alles eruit wat je in je hebt en ontdek dan dan je een oneindige bron van liefde blijkt te zijn. Offer jezelf op als druppel en ontdek dat je de zee bent. Het offer is fysiek zijn, maar Jezus is ook niet voor niets fysiek gestorven. Maar wees niet bang: je sterft, maar je zult nog mooier herrijzen.

RIP Johan Cruijff.

RIP Johan Cruijff. Een van de momenten die mij is bijgebleven is de documentaire over sportieve en culturele invloed van Johan Cruijff op Barcelona. In deze documentaire uiten Catalanen hun bewondering in woord en vooral gebaar voor Johan. Vooral het moment dat een arts in witte jas in een ziekenhuis provisorisch een actie van Johan naspeelt is mij bijgebleven. Voordat hij de scene naspeelt: hij haalt diep adem om zich zo goed mogelijk in te leven. Zijn vinger dient als Johan en een pil dient als bal. In Nederland zijn we niet zo goed in het eren van helden. We hebben altijd wel wat aan te merken op deze of gene. Maar de Catalanen wisten het wel: Johan was een held die Barcelona bevrijdde van het juk van het Koninklijke Madrid. Johan was misschien wel meer dan een held: een soort van heilige. Dit komt ook naar voren in de titel van deze documentaire. Johan had als stopwoordje: op een gegeven moment – en un momento dado. Maar in het Spaans zei hij: op een moment wat je gegeven wordt en dan kreeg wat hij zei ineens een hele andere lading. Johan: dank je wel voor alle mooie momenten die je ons gegeven hebt.