CHAPTER THREE:

IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING



- chapter index -
pg. 1 - Epitaph | pg. 2 - The Iron Gates of Fate
pg. 3 - The Fate of All Mankind | pg. 4 - Moonchild
pg. 5 - The Court of the Crimson King | pg. 6 - The Purple Piper
pg. 7 - Averroes | pg. 8 - The Keeper of the City Keys
pg. 9 - The Pilgrim's Door | pg. 10 - The Return of the Fire Witch
pg. 11 - The Gardener Plants An Evergreen | pg. 12 - The Prism Ship
pg. 13 - The Grinding Wheel | pg. 14 - On Soft Gray Mornings
pg. 15 - Divining Signs | pg. 16 - The Yellow Jester
pg. 17 - Remember the Future | pg. 18 - The Return of the King
pg. 19 - The I Ching | pg. 20 - Octants

- page index -
21st Century Schizoid Man | I Talk to the Wind


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The album starts in the future, with Twenty First Century Schizoid Man , and works it's way backward concluding in the 13 th century, with In the Court of the Crimson King . This sequencing conforms to occult ideas about the nature of time.

"According to Merlin and others, mortals tend to face the opposite direction from that which time actually flows, as when we are seated in a train facing away from the engine. But it is the frozen past that unfolds, not the blazing future. We move away from becoming into the permanence of that which finally is. We alter continuously the shape of our history as we live it backwards. We watch the world recede rapidly as we move into the Nothingness of the Void and are swallowed up by it."

- The Magician's Dictionary by E.E. Rhemus

Merlin 'remembering the future' was used by T.H.White in The Once and Future King .
At the end of In Court of the Crimson King , the music accelerates rapidly and is swallowed up into the nothingness of the void.

"...the creative act is an eternal moment, out of common time, not sequential. Our expectations are based on the past and actually are constituting the present. Future leans back to create the present, which is heading to the future. It's a strange concept to be told with words, but a creative artist has a clear perception of future leaning back to the present."

- Robert Fripp, ET Newsletter # 296



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21st Century Schizoid Man

Compared to the studio version, the second version of 21st Century Schizoid Man on disc one of Epitaph is a particularly ferocious performance . I previously thought the sharp contrast between this song and I Talk To The Wind was only an effective dramatic device, but it can also represent the contradictions in Frederick II. Twenty First Century Schizoid Man represents the significantly violent aspect of Frederick's nature. I Talk to the Wind represents his thoughtful poetic aspect.

"Enchanting amiability and gaiety were paired with cruelty; harshness and rigidity existed side by side with superior intelligence and a keen sense of reality; tolerance and intolerance went hand in hand; impulsive sensuality did not stand in the way of genuine piety; imbalance and inner discord pervaded his personality and his achievements."

- Encyclopedia Britannica

"For the magician, the Self and the World are the same thing. When we try to separate them we get the errors of Science and Religion. The hieros-gamos (or "divine marriage") of alchemy is none other than the marriage of the Sun (the self in the world) and the Moon (the world in the self) -- Shining and reflection, projection and introjection, Yang and Yin. HPB suggests that the Sun and Moon stand for secret planets, but conventionally the Sun stands for revelation via self-expression."

- The Magician's Dictionary by E.E. Rhemus

Hermes Trismegistus:
His major teaching: "As above, so below." (Or as we can add, "As within, without.")

- The Magician's Dictionary by E.E Rhemus

21st Century Schizoid Man also represents that which took place following the Council of Lyons: the Final Metamorphosis of Frederick II

"With pain and wrath and scorn Frederick received the news. How could the Roman Emperor, the Lord of all majesty, be accused of lese-majesty and deposed ! Sternly he bade them bring his royal treasure. Choosing amongst his many crowns he selected one and himself placed it on his head and grimly remarked : he had not yet lost his crowns and would not let papal baseness nor council's decree rob him of them without most bloody battle. His position now he said was better than before. Previously he had to obey the Pope, now he was free ; without obligations.
In Lyons they had called him 'Proteus,' who was not to be caught because he constantly changed his form. He was now ready for the final metamorphosis thrust on him. Something of that northern defiance and northern horror which formed part of his make-up now found vent, when Frederick II turned to his followers with a new saying : 'I have been anvil long enough . . . now I shall play the hammer.' !"

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz
(p. 599)

"Cat's foot iron claw"

"Frederick had struck a new note, and passed into a supernatural world in which no law was valid save his own need. He had long realised that he would be compelled to loose terrible and savage forces ; he shrank from it and sought to avert it by the humblest offers of peace. He did not seek the role of the Scourge of God."

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz
(p. 603)

"Neuro-surgeons scream for more"

A reference to medical experimentation and Frederick was no stranger to this sort of endeavor.

"Frederick II conducted experiments to extend his knowledge of the human species. These experiments created a scandal amongst his contemporaries, for it would still take another 300 years before the taboo against looking inside the human body was broken."

- A Journey Through Time

"The 1240 Imperial edict with which dissection of human corpses was authorised, for study and scientific purposes, was another powerful trait of Frederick's modern profile. Knowledge is achievable only through direct ""hands on" experience. Frederick ordered the study of anatomy as mandatory for medical students."

- Frederick II by Lorenzo Matteoli

"Innocent IV had not recognised that a man like Frederick II could be bound only by fetters of his own forging. Innocent trusted to his papal power of binding and loosing, to excommunication and deposition, and had thus released from bondage the Antichrist, whom the Lord himself had held in in fetters for a thousand years."

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz
(p. 603)

"At paranoia's poison door"

"Love was barred ; he must fulfill himself through hate. 'Because they above all others have cut us to the HEART, therefore shall we pursue after them with greater zeal and fury, . . . and the hate that consumes us will be slaked only by their utter annihilation."

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz
(p. 604)

"Blood rack barb wire
Politician's funeral pyre
Innocents raped with napalm fire"


"All Europe suffered terribly under him, friend and foe alike, Italy and Germany more particularly. Except for those who worshipped and followed him, Frederick now became in very deed the incarnation of evil. Every act of his now appeared more tyrannical, more monstrous, and was, in fact, more ruthless"

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz
(p. 604)

"Death seed blind man's greed
Poet's starving children bleed
Nothing he's got he really needs"


Although 21st Century Schizoid Man and Frederick are very dark, like the sun, Frederick would have trouble acknowledging his own dark side:

"During the day, when the Sun holds sway, his face is always bright (except during eclipse - see 6.Love), but during the night, when the Moon holds sway, her face is sometimes bright and sometimes dark. Therefore, like the moon which is darkened every month by Nature's law, women are regularly confronted with their dark side, which they consequently acknowledge. Man, however, has the illusion that, like the sun, the brilliance of his mind is never dimmed (so long as he suffers no disappointment), and so he is inclined to attribute his own dark side to women, who regularly present their dark face, inviting his disappointment and blame. These feelings engender bitterness in many men, but they can be a source of wisdom for men who acknowledge the Sol Niger (Black Sun) in their own psyches. (Jung, MC 247-8)"

- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus



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I Talk to the Wind

The "straight man" represents tradition, conservative values, orthodoxy. The "late man" is the "hippie", the rebel, the non-conformist. In I Talk to the Wind the rebel is speaking to the traditionalist who will not hear him or cannot understand the value of what he is saying. It is as though he is talking "to the wind", or a brick wall, who "cannot hear".
The life of Frederick certainly resonates with the youth of the the late 60's/early 70's. Like the "flower children" he rebelled against the older generation and eschewed convention. In turning against the traditional values of his father figure (the Pope) an epic struggle ensued, a struggle not without parallel to that which occurred between God and Satan. Frederick's life was really the drama of the adolescent aspiring for autonomy on a grand scale and this is the very aspect of Frederick (the Crimson King) that most interested me as a teenager. Foremost among Frederick's resemblances to Peter Sinfield's creation was his particular rebellion against religious authority.

But, because the alter-ego of Frederick is Zeus, who represents the Air element, I Talk To The Wind can also be seen as self-referential. Frederick, the rigid traditionalist and enlightened progressive, is both "the straight man" and "the late man". The song could as well be titled, "I Talk To Myself" ("but I'm not getting through" - or "I can't change my essential nature"). As can be seen from the above reference, Frederick could be talking about (or to) himself in the song and not be aware of it.

"The Emperor's mantle covers his left side, to show his habitual repression of the subconscious."
"The conscious Sun cannot see himself by his own light, but he can be seen clearly from the perspective of the Moon ."

- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

"The phenomenon was remarkable : however violently his terrible and primitive force broke forth it was always controlled by the restraint of a Roman Augustus., who might tolerate vice but not indiscipline. He once described his own ambition : 'to repress even the most righteous impulses of the spirit, and in virtuous self-discipline to preserve a Caesar's calm.' Thus we too must picture him. A Scourge of God not in the aberrations of Ivan the Terrible, not sunk in sinister and brooding gloom, bit in a more eerie windless calm, the detached aloofness of a timeless God."

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz
(p. 608)


Frederick II
Shrine of Charlemagne, Aix-la-Chapelle



In the Court of the Crimson King ~ The Yellow Jester return to
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In the Court of the Crimson King ~ The Return of the King



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