Chapter Four

- chapter 4 index -
pg. 1 - In the Wake of Poseidon | pg. 2 - The Devil's Triangle | pg. 3 - Garden of Worm
pg. 4 - World on the Scales

- page index -
Eleusis | The Golden Fleece | Plato's Spawn
Sad Paper Courtesans | World on the Scales | Peace: An End

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In the Egyptian myth, Typhon dismembers Osiris, scattering the remains everywhere. In Greek mythology, Dionysus is killed by a destructive force equivalent to Typhon (the Titans) and similarly dismembered. His remains are also scattered. Dionysus is a son or aspect of Zeus, who has previously been identified with the Crimson King.

'It is said that Zeus became unquestioned father of the gods by his conquest of Typhon, the serpent of the cosmic sea, just as Yahweh conquered Leviathan in Biblical lore. The resemblance of both of these victories to that of Indra, king of the Vedic pantheon is, to me, beyond question."

- The Serpent as Divinity

Demeter behaves very much like Isis when she searches for her daughter, Persephone, who has been kidnapped by Hades, king of the underworld. In the myth of Persephone, Hades represents, like Typhon, the dark force of nature. As mentioned earlier, on the album cover, Hades/Typhon is found in the lower left hand corner. He is the red-faced man with a helmet and horns. Persephone is found in the upper right hand corner. Kore (the virginal Persephone) is found in the upper left hand corner. Demeter is in the middle of the painting, next to Dionysus and between Hades and Persephone.

"...the fleeings of Dionysos and the wanderings of Demeter are fundamentally similar to the deeds of Osiris and Typhon and to the stories all may easily hear from the tellers of myth. The same explanation applies to the things which are kept hidden in the sacred mysteries and which must not be spoken of by the initiates nor shown to the masses."

- Plutarch - On Isis and Osiris

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"Schelling suggested already in the mid-nineteenth century that Dionysos and Iacchos (Bacchus) were masculine counterparts of Demeter and Persephone--that indeed they were all aspects of a single deity (490)! In this century, Metzger has proposed that Demeter, Dionysos, and Persephone together formed a kind of holy trinity which presided over Eleusis."

- The Ecole initiative: The Eleusinian Mysteries

"Plutarch notes "The ancients worshipped Dionysus and Demeter together". The sanctuary of Eleusis is we are told "a temple of Dionysus" "Dionysus was represented seated on the same throne as Demeter, nay on the lap of the goddess. In Rome they made Dionysus and Persephone Liber and Libera the children of Demeter (Ceres)."

- The Epiphany of Miraculous Dread

"The Eleusinian Mysteries, the most sacred and revered of all the ritual celebrations of ancient Greece, were held annually in honor of Demeter and Persephone. They were instituted in the city of Eleusis, some twenty-two kilometers west of Athens, possibly as far back as the early Mycenaean period, and continued for almost two thousand years. Large crowds of worshippers from all over Greece (and later, from throughout the Roman empire) would gather to make the holy pilgrimage between the two cities and participate in the secret ceremonies, generally regarded as the high point of Greek religion. As Christianity began to spread, the Mysteries were condemned by the early Church fathers; yet the rites continued for hundreds of years more and exercised considerable influence on the formation of early Christian teachings and practices.

Yet another controversy concerns the question whether or not a heiros gamos, or Sacred Marriage, also featured in these rites. There are three or four pieces of circumstantial evidence, most of them originating in the statements of early Christian Fathers, which have been used to infer the existence of a heiros gamos: According to Clement of Alexandria, Demeter was sometimes referred to as "Brimo" (the Mighty, the Raging), on account of her anger toward Zeus for allowing Persephone to be kidnapped (Protreptikos II, 14; Loeb 35). On the basis of this evidence, many investigators have concluded that some form of Sacred Marriage probably took place at the Mysteries, and that this ceremony culminated in the symbolic birth (or rebirth) of a son."

- The Ecole Initiative: The Eleusinian Mysteries

The Devil's Triangle is meant to evoke the idea of the Eleusian Mysteries in several ways. The wanderings of Demeter are suggested by the opening minutes of The Devil's Triangle, Merday Morn . Both, the Rites at Eleusis and The Devil's Triangle , address the dark force of nature, "the Mighty, the Raging". Both the Rites at Eleusis and The Devil's Triangle begin in March (with a march in the case of The Devil's Triangle ), the beginning of the war season, and end in a time of peace, September, the end of the war season, in the case of the Greater Mysteries. (The Lesser Mysteries took place in March, the Greater Mysteries in September.)
The birth of a divine child, a component of the Temperance card, is a feature of the Eleusian Rites and is depicted at the end of The Devil's Triangle .

"For nearly 2000 years the annual celebration was held. Never the secret of the mystery was revealed. Initiates passed the night together in the darkened telesterion or initiation hall, where they beheld a great vision which was "new, astonishing, inaccessible to rational cognition." Of the experience, they could only say that they had seen ta hiera, "the holy" - it was forbidden by law, under penalty of death, to say more (Wasson et al, 1978). Plutarch recorded that Alcibiades was sentenced to death for profaning the Mysteries in Athens. Ruck (1981) proposed that Socrates was also executed for revealing the Mysteries.

The Eleusinian Mysteries were driven into extinction by the Christians in the fourth century of our era, when they destroyed the Eleusian sanctuary."

- Eleusis

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There is another implication to The Devil's Triangle .
Triton, Scerion and Typhon have in common two things:

Storms -

Triton: "A mere breath churns air currents toward tempestuous rage."
Sceiron: "The violent wind that blows down on the travellers."
Typhon: "The father of destructive and fierce winds"

and the Argonauts -

The Argonauts beseeched Triton to aid them in navigating safe routes and calm the waters of the great Deluge.
Sceiron was killed by Theseus, one of the Argonauts. The Argonauts would refer to a strong wind as the "Hand of Sceiron" as the Athenians had "given the name Sceiron to the Argestes, the violent wind that blows down on the travellers".
The Argonauts encountered Typhon's son in the Garden of the Hesperides.

The Devil's Triangle is the quest for alchemical gold, the quest of Jason and the Argonauts. In Merday Morn the Argonauts begin their journey calling on Triton to protect them. In Hand of Sceiron , they encounter the storm they must overcome to reach their objective. In Garden of Worm , though they still must survive the storm (typhoon) and several trials, they have arrived to claim the gold. Garden of Worm includes a reprise of the main theme from In the Court of the Crimson King , the song representing alchemical gold in the first album. At the conclusion of Garden of Worm , the storm has ended and we hear the evanescent moment of alchemical completion.

"Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece constitutes a fabulous example of the archetypal process of Nature referred to in the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Tristmegistus as "the operation of the Sun". Joscelyn Godwin in his brilliant forward to Antoine Faivre's contemporary survey, The Golden Fleece and Alchemy remarks that C. G. Jung anchors Jason's argo along with the Hermetic great work solely to the psychic level of personality integration...Here the miraculous ram becomes a sacrifice, its fleece hung upon an oak tree in a grove sacred to Ares and guarded by a dragon."

Another reason for the "Mars" theme:

"Ares, known to the Romans as Mars, also indicates the element Iron, rich in philosophical sulfur..."

"...The ultimate product of this labor mythically known as the golden fleece refers to the philosopher's stone."

- Hermeticism and the Golden Fleece by Joseph Caezza

"Snidas, in his Lexicon, thus expounds the Golden Fleece: "a treatise written on skins, teaching how gold might be prepared by chemistry. Probably it is called golden by those who lived at that time, on account of its great importance."

- Alchemy or the Hermetic Philosophy by Alexander Wilder

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The other Temperance theme of the album is the world out of balance, environmentalism. Pictures of A City , Cadence and Cascade , In The Wake of Poseidon and Cat Food all represent modern man out of touch (out of balance) with nature and himself.
In The Wake of Poseidon , using seemingly medieval examples to illustrate modern man's lack of connectivity to the natural world, shows how we have been poisoned by modern religion.

"Plato's spawn cold ivyed eyes
Snare truth in bone and globe."

As mentioned in chapter three, this song is about the problem of medieval neo-Platonism, which is essentially a refusal to study, or attempt to learn anything from, the natural world. "Bone and globe" represent methods of divination.

"Michael Scot's instruction of Frederick appears at times to have been intended to guide him away from the magic and secret arts. Thus, Michael distinguishes between what he calls mathesis , the true mathematics, or the true learning, and matesis , meaning divination or false mathematics, the art of magic.

"Frederick II assumed a commanding position among a small group of men of the thirteenth century whose insistent search for the natural causes of all things, whether animate or inaminate, gradually pointed the way for the human itellect to escape from its preoccupation with the miraculous. In an age rigourously disciplined in the acceptance of the supernatural and the miraculous as adequate explanations of phenomenon , Frederick moved boldly across the restrictive boundaries delineated by the Church."

- The Emperor Frederick II von Hohenstaufen Immutator Mundi
by Thomas Curtis Van Cleve, p. 309, 259-60

The "acceptance of the supernatural and the miraculous as adequate explanations of phenomenon" persist in the modern world in the form of legalistic religions.

"Harlequins coin pointless games
Sneer jokes in parrot's robe.
Two women weep, Dame Scarlet Screen
Sheds sudden theatre rain,
Whilst dark in dream the Midnight Queen
Knows every human pain."

The harlequins are priests or clergymen who "parrot" the ideas of others and concoct, for their gullible flocks, pointless rules to live by. The weeping women are members of the congregation who can only act as though they have any contact with the divine. Meanwhile, Hecate, the triple goddess depicted on the album cover "knows every human pain". She is the Midnight Queen, the unconscious in all of us that has only to be contacted.

Cat Food would not be out of place on Lizard (as one of the album's cosmic circus acts), but on In The Wake Of Poseidon its purpose is to illustrate how absurd and unhealthy our attitudes toward food have become as result of our disconnection from the spiritual in our lives.

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Pictures of A City portrays the soulless nature of life in the city, where humans are seen as no more than commodities. Because Cadence and Cascade is also about people as commodities (courtesans are prostitutes), the song extends the theme of Pictures of A City and ingeniously turns it on it's head. Pictures of A City is about how human life itself has lost any sense of the sacred. Cadence and Cascade deals with the loss of the sacred in our attitudes toward sex. Modern man would find the idea of sex with a prostitute as sacred to be extremely paradoxical. In ancient times, the sexual act could be a sacred event within the context of prostitution.

"Specifically, the virgin priestess cults were housed in temples where men paid to have intercourse with women, such as Mary Magdalene, as an act of religious devotion. Joseph Campbell in his The Power of Myth interviews with Bill Moyers explained that this coupling resulted in the spiritual side of man being awakened out of the animal at the level of the heart to the compassion and suffering of others. The Virgin Mary was thought to have been an Alma Mater (Great Mother) in this cult and Jesus' immaculate conception was what Campbell describes as the result of man's spiritual birth: the moment gods are born!"

- The Anthropology of Mysticism: Reviving the Goddess

Cadence and Cascade is about how we have lost the sacred dimension to sex and refers to the temple prostitution of antiquity. The temple prostitute was known as a heirodule. Cadence and Cascade are

"sad paper courtesans"

because they no longer understand the sacred nature of what they do. They are a pale imitation (a paper tiger) of their former glory. It was in our wanderings at the...

"caravan hotel where the sequin spell fell"

...that we lost our "pagan" understanding of nature.

"The Divine Feminine and Masculine cannot be separated or alienated from each other.

This is the way of alchemy, put so well by Caitlin and John Matthews 'where each man stands for the Logos or God, and is capable of mediating that force, and each woman stands under the macrocosmic influence of the Goddess or Sophia, and is capable of mediating that force. As a man is able to experience the love of a woman, the inspiration of his inner companion - the muse or sibyl - and behold the macrocosmic beauty of the Goddess, so, too, is woman able to experience the love of a man, the inspiration of her inner companion - daimon or prophet - and behold the macrocosmic beauty of the God'. This means that we have to go beyond the concept of polarity, of male and female, Sun and the Moon, King and Queen to embrace the complementarity of mind, body and soul. We may be polarities without, but indeed one of the goals of the Great Work is to become Complementaries within and see this Wonder Working without in all worlds.The hierodule had the understanding of this mating in all levels and mediated this reconciliation in her or his religious practice."

- The Mystery of Sacred Prostitution: Yesterday and Today by Roseanne Lopes, PhD

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"The central idea of the Temperance card is the blending of opposites to achieve a harmonious state, the proper mixture, the solution, which frees us to see the right way. In action it is finding the middle way, taking the right action (which may be inaction). In temperament it is the proper blending of the four humors (fiery choleric, airy sanguine, watery melancholic and earthy bilious)."

"In air, fire, earth and water
World on the scales.
Air, fire, earth and water
Balance of change
World on the scales
On the scales."

"Thus, on the Emerald Tablet…"

Note that the Emerald Tablet, written by Hermes Trisgmegistus, was first translated in the west by the German scholar Albert Magnus, a subject of Frederick II and mentor to Thomas Aquinas.

"…we read, "The sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth is its nurse." Fire, water, air and earth - all the elements participate in the quintessence, all the opposites are resolved in the Divine Child. (Crowley 103)

- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

...the Temperance trump corresponds better to Horus, the divine child of Isis and Osiris (High Priest and High Priestess), conceived when they coupled while still in the womb; indeed, the two eyes of Horus are the sun and moon (e.g., Plutarch, I. & O. 12, 52)."

- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

In Egyptian mythology, Horus, who is Osiris resurrected, exacts vengeance upon Typhon for the death of his father.

"...the divine child will be found in the center of the earth-egg, but it must be further refined (in the later trumps) before the Great Work is complete."

- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

The birth of the divine child and the tempering process he/she undergoes is portrayed by the final movement of the Devil's Triangle.

"This alchemical process recalls the birth of Asclepius the Savior, rescued by his father Apollo from the womb of Coronis as she was consumed on her funeral pyre (see 6.Love). When the child was grown he was blasted again by Apollo, but was resurrected as the god of healing. Remember also Dionysos, rescued by Zeus from Semele's womb when she was incinerated by his blazing glory, and sewed into his father's thigh as surrogate womb; later he was dismembered by the Titans, but was resurrected as a god (by Demeter, in some stories; Kerenyi 274). Finally this trump recalls Demeter's attempt to give Triptolemos immortality by tempering him in the fire, and a similar myth in which Isis tried to immortalize the child of Queen Astarte, who comforted her when she was searching for Osiris (Plutarch, Isis & Osiris 15-6).

"The child has assimilated the opposites of its parents; it embodies the Coincidentia Oppositorum, which will lead to redemption (21.World). (Jung, MC 29-37, 294-5, 314-6, 380)"

"The child is born out of death (trump 7), but before it can reach its destined apotheosis (trump 21), it must mature, and as an adult undergo another death and rebirth."

- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

A death and rebirth which takes place on Lizard .

"By Temperance the masculine and feminine fluids are blended. They correspond to the primeval waters of the Babylonian Genesis: Apsu, the sweet, fresh waters of the Abyss (governed by Ea, i.e. Hermes), and Tiamat, the bitter salt waters of the ocean (who is female). (Walker 107)

"The rainbow is also a symbol of promise and renewal, the reborn child. It represents the peace after the storm that destroys old structures and patterns…"

- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

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Peace: An End

Peace: An End is meant to symbolize this concept, appearing after the storm of The Devil's Triangle , on the dawn of a day without end. The rainbow symbolizes an end, like death, of the war.

Thus revealed is the meaning of the album's title. Poseidon represents the forces of nature (within and without) which we must heed if we are to get our selves and our world in balance. But, moreover, Poseidon represents the storm. In the wake of the storm, the trials every individual must weather, is to be found alchemical gold.

In the quest for the Golden Fleece, the Argonauts had occasion to perform an act paralleled in the story of Noah and the Ark: the release of a dove.

"These rocks were huge cliffs wrapped in mist, which, dashing against each other by the force of the winds, closed the sea passage making it impossible even for the birds to pass between them. Phineus 2 told the ARGONAUTS to let fly a dove between the rocks, and to watch if it passed safe through. So, when later they came to the place they released a dove, and when the rocks had recoiled after the bird had passed, they rowed hard and passed through. From that time the Clashing Rocks stood still because it was fated that they should come to rest completely once a ship had made the passage."

- Argonauts by Carlos Parada

In the story of the Ark (the Argo) a dove signals the end of the storm and a rainbow appears.

"…it heralds the new manifestation following dissolution of the old, the alchemical Coagule following the Solve. Indeed, the colors of the rainbow correspond to the alchemical Peacock's Tail, which heralds the completion of the Magnum Opus. (Case 155; Crowley 103; Nichols 251; Pollack 97; SB&G 45)"

- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

And, of course, The Peacock's Tale , a Sinfield pun, appears in the next album, Lizard , heralding the completion of the Magnum Opus.

In the Wake of Poseidon ~ Garden of Worm return to
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Chapter One The Metaphysical Record In The Court Of the Crimson King In The Wake Of Poseidon Lizard The King In Yellow The Sun King Eight
The Lake Which Mirrors the Sky In the Beginning Was the Word In the Beginning was the Word...side two Eros and Strife Dark Night of the Soul...Cirkus Dark Night of the Soul...Wilderness Big Top Islands
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