Chapter Eleven


    IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD II
    ~ In the Court of the Crimson King ~




    - chapter 11 index -
    pg. 1 - Moonchild | pg. 2 - The Dream The Illusion
    pg. 3 - The Court of the Crimson King | pg. 4 - The Purple Piper
    pg. 5 - Three Lullabies | pg. 6 - Orpheus
    pg. 7 - The Keeper of the City Keys | pg. 8 - The Pilgrim's Door
    pg. 9 - The Gardener | pg. 10 - The Yellow Jester
    pg. 11 - The Dance of the Puppets | pg. 12 - Dionysus
    pg. 13 - The Fool | pg. 14 - Logos
    pg. 15 - The Magician | pg. 16 - Finis


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    "The keeper of the city keys
    Put shutters on the dreams."




    "The keeper of the city keys"

    The character on the High Priest tarot card is the "keeper of the city keys". He is (as identified in chapter three) the Pope. The archetype of the "Pope", when operating in a negative sense, puts "shutters on the dreams".

    "The High Priest card... indicates preference for ritual, creed, the outer forms of religion. Bondage to the conventions of society. Need to conform, to be socially approved."

    - Gray's commentary of the tarot

    But there are also many positive things to be said for the High Priest and it is clear that the title song of In the Court of the Crimson King represents this archetype.

    The High Priest

    Motto:
    Obscure ardens (Burning darkly)
    Deities:
    Apollo; Helios, Sol; Shamash.
    Greek Letter = Wau (Digamma):
    Wruomai = to redeem, cure, heal, save, deliver.
    Trigram:
    I:I Name: Li = the Clinging. Image: Fire, Lightning, Sun. The Second Son, associated with giving light, attention and awareness. East in the Earlier Heaven.


    Verse

    The Sun obscured by night, the heavens' fire,
    Inflaming lunar waters, looks to sire
    The Child, and purify the world with scorn
    Severe, that scorches errors earthly born.
    He holds the heights to which we all aspire.


    - The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

    "The Emperor ...goes on to say "therefore we scorn to err." The Pope under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost may be infallible in matters of faith, similarly the Emperor "overfilled by Justitia" is infallible in matters of law." (p. 232)

    - Frederick II
    by Ernst Kantorowicz

    "The High Priest represents the subconscious masculine elements of the psyche. He is symbolized by the ruddy sun as it sets and travels in the subconscious sea to the next dawn of consciousness.

    The High Priest embodies spiritual aspiration, unreflective moral judgement and the drive toward perfection. He is intolerant of the failings of the flesh and neglectful of the needs of earthly existence. Since he tends to be stern and unforgiving, he needs his co-regents, the Empress, Emperor and High Priestess, to mollify his severity.

    "Pontifex" means "he who prepares the way," for it is the High Priest who makes a bridge (pons) that binds heaven and earth, the fountainhead of religion (religio, from religare, to bind fast). He is the conscience, the inner voice and inner teacher (in-tuition), who sits in judgement of ourselves and others.

    Apollo also has a chthonic side, for he is a god of prophecy like the Babylonian sun god Shamash; during the dark quarter of the year he retires to the land of the Hyperboreans (probably Britain), during which time Dionysus rules in Delphi. Hyperborea was the ancestral home of Leto of the Dark Robe, the mother of Apollo and Artemis, and a goddess of the night. The Hyperboreans helped Apollo found the Delphic oracle. That is, oracles are brought from the dark, unconscious land into the light of solar consciousness.

    The High Priest is the spiritual father, whose function is to lift up, to exalt, to perfect; he is perfectus moribus (ethical perfection)."

    - The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

    "The Emperor is the source of conscious spiritual and moral principles, in contrast to the High Priest, who is the source of spiritual and moral intuitions; they are the light and dark sides of the Eternal Masculine, the bright sun and the dark sun, the conscious and subconscious masculine minds."

    - The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

    As discussed in chapter three, In the Court of the Crimson King is about Frederick II. Appropriately, then, the archetype of the High Priest is a strong component in his life.

    "No Emperor was ever, both in claim and in act, so uncompromisingly the JUDGE as Frederick II. As judge he lived for centuries in the memories of men, as judge they awaited his second coming as the avenger of human degeneracy. A tolerant judge is like luke-warm fire."

    - Frederick II
    by Ernst Kantorowicz
    (p. 269-70)

    "The Emperor Frederick II... believed in the priestliness of his own power. If we can interpret the double-headed imperial eagle of the Hohenstaufen dynasty represented the claims of both the church and the state."

    - Sigillum Secretum

    Imperial Eagle of the Hohenstaufen Dynasty

    Imperial Eagle of the Hohenstaufen Dynasty


    "Frederick meant men to revere his state as an 'imperial church' (imperialis ecclesia), in which he himself was the high priest of justice..."

    - The Holy Roman Empire by Friedrich Heer (p. 84)

    "There are ample witnesses who describe the Emperor himself when he celebrated the sacratis-simum ministerium , as was his custom in later years. Every new cult evolves new rights, and so we find here forms and ceremonies and customs which have never prevailed anywhere in this combination. The Sacra Majestas of the Emperor was enthroned on inaccessible heights, over his head was suspended a gigantic crown ; all who approached must prostrate themselves ; the whole public remained prostrate for a time before the Divus Augustus , who remained in the background like the very Godhead. His voice was seldom heard ; before him stood the Logothetes, who announced the order which the Emperor confirmed by a gesture of his hand. This spokesman played the oracle to the Emperor's sacred and inspired decision, which was, in certain circumstances, accompanied by the tinkling of a bell. Such was the 'most sacred service' and mystery : the High Court - like the High Mass - of the Justice-God-Emperor." (P. 236)

    Frederick II
    by Ernst Kantorowicz


    In addition to Frederick himself, there were (according to Dante) two other "keepers of the city keys" in the life of Frederick II: the pope and Pier della Vigna. Thus we have several senses in which "the keeper of the city keys put shutters on the dreams".

    "There is one other reference to the keys which Dante does not connect directly with the church, but which is filled with suggestive allusions: in Hell 13, among the suicides, he meets Pier della Vigna, whose name means "Peter of the Vineyard," a perversion of Saint Peter who, as Dante says in heaven, died for the vineyard that contemporary popes are laying waste (Pr. 18.131-32). Dante may well have known that members of Frederick's court called it the "ecclesia imperialis," of which Pier della Vigna was the Saint Peter, the rock upon which the imperial church was founded, sometimes in contrast to the "false vicar of Christ," the pope.[36] Pier della Vigna was the secretary of the emperor Frederick, whose name in Italian, Federico, can mean "rich in faith"; Dante has already seen Frederick in the circle of the heretics, so he too is a perversion of his name.[37] Pier boasts to Dante, not unlike the way Boniface boasts to Guido, that he held both keys to Frederick's heart and turned them, locking and unlocking to keep everyone else from his secrets (Hell 13.58-60). He claims to have kept "faith" with his "glorious" (a loaded word) office, but he abused his powers since an emperor's heart cannot belong to one individual. Allegorically, then, we may have a pope (Pier/ Peter) abusing the gifts of his office to serve a false faith (Federico/Frederick), and, on another level, the church using its powers (the keys) to interfere with the proper functioning of the empire; by so doing, by usurping control over the political sphere and interfering between the emperor and his people, the pope is committing spiritual suicide."

    - The Political Vision of the Divine Comedy
    by Joan Ferrante


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