The Return of Those Who Fly (II)

One Vision to Resist the Singular Vision (And it’s not where you’d expect)

I recently became sweetly obsessed with Alexander the Great and Hephaistion, and I know when that happens, a story is getting reactivated in the collective consciousness, in the form of a new film, a sequel, a documentary, etc. Whether that means “I sense a disturbance in the Force” is yet to be seen, but what this sweet state always does is to quickly put me up to speed with everything of interest. I was right: 2020 will see the opening of the Amphipolis tomb, one of Alexander’s expensive monuments to his Hephaistion, to the public. My first reaction was that it looks significantly like one of the ancient gateways of the Fairy Folk. (Source of news: https://www.geeksout.org/2019/07/29/opening-in-2020-alexanders-monument-to-hephaestion-is-a-new-queer-history-pilgrimage/)

I’ve now compiled a playlist of songs and music videos on the topic, which I will share with you. You may wonder what some worship songs are doing on this list. To quote a friend, “Perhaps through the Dreamers of yesteryear, the meaning will reveal itself to all.”

I grew up with the Heroic Tradition, myself. Most of my life I believed that seeing those heroes as being lovers was my special secret, something only I could do or see. Even after discovering others made the same interpretation, I couldn’t yet perceive that the Heroic Tradition was – in fact – deliberately aimed at an audience of tomboys like me, more than at men, regardless of what historians will tell you about heroic myths being used to teach the men of Greece a combination of racism and misogyny. Initiates didn’t write for those men, much less told us women that we are “slaves to our passions.” Instead, they were our allies and understood our passion well. Our literature teacher’s conspiring glint in her eyes, when she explained the adventures of Enkidu and Gilgamesh, makes perfect sense now! Haha. [1]

It was watching a rerun of Oliver Stone’s Alexander (2004) which brought me this realization, that my friend was right about the Dreamers of the past. Regardless of what the myths were used for in antiquity, it is still for us tomboys to decide on the final interpretation, and I choose love. Why? Because without us “Babylons” (Barbelon, a girl who behaves like a son or brother; also Bab’ili “Gate of the Luminous Beings” such as the Ishtar Gate featured in the film), there is no “proud gay identity” to which the heroes could refer, on a personal level, and which could thus be reflected in myth to convince the naysayers before we tomboys get here. Since the heroes were taught misogynistic attitudes by their elders, they found it difficult to engage in their own relationship fully, as it would have been perceived as the highly disreputable behaviour of a man acting the part of women.

Again, what’s with the worship songs? :)))

Here I will refer to shamanism as the primordial tradition of humankind. A God, as Alexander wished to turn his love into (by petitioning the Oracle of Siwa) is the dreaming-body of your one and only Soul Mate… the only person who makes you feel this amazing, and you do the same for him. So it’s kind of important, spiritually, that it isn’t just friendship or camaraderie there, if we grant someone’s partner divine status and decide to go on a pilgrimage (count me in! but just saying). Don’t get me wrong, I’m going with an asexual Hephaistion too – but I’m saying that asexuality is part of the spectrum of real sexuality, not its absence. It is simply misunderstood, because certain gestures, etc. are ascribed a lesser meaning than they have for the asexual person (the embrace is a huge example of this). Therefore, calling the relationship with your God “romantic, but not sexual” is an artificial division, and indirectly offensive – a Victorian throwback to fears or disdain of surrendering to so-called lower passions (what I see into Alexander’s fear, as he kept such needs separate in his life – something which intrigued me a lot). In truth, there is nothing low or high about purity of the heart, just connection; it’s pulling away from it that hurts your mate. I can imagine the Oracle of Siwa asking, like in the comedy film The Terminal: “Where’s your green form? I can’t do anything without it. Go to the wall. NEXT! … Sir… your light green form?” – but in this case the light green form is true love, and the oracle would know that. If you don’t have a psychosexual connection (though claims to be a single body with him, or veiled declarations like “Take, take without ever regretting it!” would all be evidence to the contrary…), then he’s not your Soul Mate, therefore not a romantic link, therefore not quite the God in your heart. However, it’s often very hard to be yourself in this world, so that’s probably why it took eight months for the oracle to figure out an answer… it doesn’t take that long for a trained messenger to ride from Babylon to Egypt and back!

The irony here is that, long before their deaths, Alexander was driven by the idea Hephaistion could be engineered into gaining the same afterlife status as himself, so that they’d ultimately never be apart; but then this status (“Everyone loved Alexander, Son of Zeus”) was only ever real when Hephaistion directly looked upon him as his shining sun. Otherwise, there is no universally held opinion of the man or his conquests  in LotR- which is quite normal, I might add. So the many attempts to set up life markers to honour Hephaistion “equally” (e.g. marrying him off to a Persian princess) ended in self-precipitated crises for them both. Again, the heroes were taught certain values and cultural patterns, what constitutes honour and shame, etc. – but when they become heroes and pass into Fairy Tale, it’s in spite of those learned patterns, not because of them as is nowadays assumed to be the “esoteric meaning” of Hero Worship. Those patterns affect girls (tomboys) too, because we want to be heroes and knights, just as much. But there is a difference between esoteric (inner meaning) and exoteric (outer meaning), and the cultural climate is merely exoteric. If you seek the esoteric, think Medusa, Circe, etc. These characters are remnants of a shamanic vision in a pagan world which had already shifted towards “the gods of man.” [2] 

Furthermore, during the single-standardization of spirituality by the Christian Empire, several esoteric cults of the Divine Heroes (Bismillah, “In the name of the Perfect Human Being”) were suppressed, either eradicated or merged with the new religion. It’s time we recovered from that. The Perfect Human is not a singular pattern, nor is it an elite collective as such… it is the Perfection which exists in the eyes of the Beloved. That’s why there are many different conceptions of virtue. Yet religion would have you believe that by striving for moral superiority over other people, you alone will somehow escape that hidden Disaster recorded in books like the Bible (asteroid impact, an extinction-level event which has already happened, but was feared could happen again). This is nonsense. The only way to escape is if ALL PEOPLE stand united, and thus the information about the Lightbody Perfection is released (which has a part to play in the protection of the planet, and is central to any form of participation in the cosmic). An asteroid-type object will not look to swerve left or right because of your beliefs or the next person’s.

Back from Space to this playlist for now, though: I’ve put it together like a collection of clues relating to when Alexander mysteriously dreamed about “finding immortality in darkness in a cave at the end of the world” and he was told to look for the initiates of that ancient knowledge. [3] Exploration romances have him “cross  the land of darkness with his servant, in search for the water of life.” This sounded a lot like imagery from The Lord of the Rings – which then led me to Zeus abducting Ganymede, the Cup Bearer, via the symbol of the ‘Eagle and Child’ pub in Oxford where the meetings of the Inklings took place. The rest you may discover for yourself. Right now, I cannot stop laughing as I remember how one time, my rebel-hearted friend (disappointingly) called worship hymns “quite relaxing, actually” but I had no clue what that really meant! hahahaha! They do sound overtly gay and chill-out, don’t they… It makes sense, since Jesus did describe himself as gay and divine. Whoops! So I stand corrected. (I should’ve remembered King David’s music was equally relaxing, and that he and Jonathan were of the same Heroic Tradition. I was not relaxed, because religious groups have horrible effects on people via their teachings, which aren’t as attuned to queer takes on theology as the music can be; but these days I understand more about how running away from our pain conditions us down the line. It’s the Soul Mate’s pull that stands against this conditioning. For Christians, the Soul Mate is called the Holy Spirit or Guardian Angel, but the many fears associated with actively contacting the spiritual often transforms this angel into a demon for them. Nevertheless, if Jesus can help people understand it is not a demon, it’s your soul, then it’s all good. After all, it would seem he went through the same struggle there.)  

It is said the death of Alexander the Great was a mystery, that the doctors couldn’t figure it out and just gave his symptoms the name “fever”… not because the science wasn’t advanced, but because this fever acted strangely in their eyes. This reminded me of the initial stages of enlightenment, when Gnostics experience symptoms like the flu. So perhaps he didn’t experience “an emotional downward spiral” entirely, but a more complex, sacred process of devotion like the one described in Sufi traditions, where Lovers become ill with longing for each other’s soul. This illness is explained as the Light inside, consuming all impurities before the union. It was this appearance of illness that frightened the people of old against becoming involved with Those Who Fly (Upyri), and contributed to the latter’s twisted image as evil vampires – whose irresistible pull is all-consuming, like a funeral pyre. But regardless of how many heroes “followed each other down to the House of Death,” I ask you to remember that liberating the Light inside does not actually require the death of the material body – it simply depends on how open your mind is.

Conclusion:

I am barely beginning to realize the many clichés that are running our lives, expectations dictated by collective stories of “rise and fall.” The prevalent mentality today is that you either get the Dream, or you get a quiet life with your love, but these are mutually exclusive and there will always be some kind of loss. Your lover is your downfall, pitted against you in sanctified betrayal of your utopian craze. [4] We celebrate such ideas and imagine we have some kind of insight, that the Hero is someone who bravely and cynically defeats the Giants. Yet somehow, this fails to be logical thinking. Indeed, it is valuable to look into the past for insight into power struggles and then opt out of them, knowing what they are about, or why you desire the world so badly. But a cliché is simply that, no more, and until now I’d been ignorant of the real reason why things tend to go bust: fear… Fear about being different, other, whether female, queer, or divine. Not even the movie trailer for Alexander manages to escape that duplicitous loop of selling it as being about gory battle and glorious conquest (and um, some misplaced sexual attraction from Olympias! ew…), even while the movie itself outdoes the scenes in TLotR where Frodo and Sam are candidly debating the finer points of Hero Worship (if you remember how that went)! So it’s clear to me now that the topic is queerness as a whole. Being queer, or a woman, is the only reason why it would appear that greatness and love are somehow incompatible. It’s a twisted message rooted in cultural rejection of the Other, with the resulting erotophobia spreading like a disease. So it’s not your lover who is your downfall, it’s yourself… yet it doesn’t have to be so, in the end.

King-and-Lionheart

Footnotes:

1. The final resting place of Achilles and Patroclus is not the official tomb built for them in Troy. As it turns out, it is the White Island in the Black Sea, a rock also known as Serpent Island, where I spent many holidays dreaming as a kid – that’s where I promised myself to my Soul Mate, swimming in the sea… “The Serpents” is a name for the true initiates, the awakened Elves or Ili, who are distinguished by their fun-loving nature, sexiness, meditative disposition, androgyny, and of course by their “Dor” – the name Romanians call the poetic tradition of Cosmic Longing for the Beloved. By the way, I get such a kick out of so many videos using scenes from Oliver Stone’s movie with Romanian subtitles left in! (There is a prophecy out there that when we discover Hercules’ gear buried in the mountains, we will become “Defenders of Men” – “Alexandros” – and that’s when the Light will return to the world. Cool!)

2. The widespread social approval of male-male relationships sadly did not amount to ancient Greece being the “liberated” culture it is often taken for, especially in the West. Homoerotic attraction was seen as (desirably) temporary and universal, with the “universal” being for me the clearest indication that they didn’t get it. Without subscribing to an essentialist view of sexual identity, it is nevertheless more logical to imagine that sexual diversity really exists, and that it is something for the individual – instead of imposing a single, masculinist standard of conduct on the entire (male) population that involved multiple partners of both sexes, lack of exclusive attachment, making love in a “moderate” way, partnering in order to give youth social standing, etc. So it was only a handful of people (usually from elite backgrounds) who felt targeted in their sensibilities during philosophy class (e.g. “I like Achilles, because he loved Patroclus; why do they teach his mourning was excessive?”), who could be called the Dreamers – and they were odd back then, not the norm. This is supported by the shamanic substrate of Greek myths. Shamanism involves an initiation into how our “social eyes” create the delusion of living universal truth (“Athens promotes perfect freedom of thought” in this case), and a shaman is also called a Dreamer. The biggest problem with the universalist approach is that it never quite gets sexuality as real and complex, so it becomes just another closet. It also frames some people as more “virtuous” than others based on how they feel inside, which wreaks havoc on one’s sense of community and outlook.

3. The book The Persians by Gene R. Garthwaite offers some unique insight as it delves into how the philosophy of Zoroaster became a political tool. It suggests that Zeus of the Greeks was the same deity as Ahura Mazda from Zoroastrianism. The cosmic dualism of Ahura (light) and Ahriman (darkness) was used by the Persian Empire to promote itself over the tribes it had conquered. In other words, the empire and its ruling dynasties were cast as the mythical “light,” versus the tribes in the role of “darkness.” Yet the idea of an “oppressive” Persian Empire is merely a Greek tale – as Greek as this curious light-bias. What could all this mean? The Magi, Zoroastrian priests who took to travelling the world any time extreme dualism would take off (such as when Romans adopted only certain points from Manichaeism), promoted a subversive “heresy” instead: both Ahura and Ahriman originated in an androgynous spirit called Zurvan (Time), so the cosmic struggle ends when Ahriman is projected into the fire of the Abyss. Axis-shifting astrology from Zurvanism was also alluded to by Jesus regarding the Fish, meaning the Ili (“Cast your nets again” – meaning the imaginary grid around the planet must be shifted before humans can catch their Fish of Light). Zurvanism was increasingly being seen as a heresy and fell out of everyday ritual, but Zoroastrians continue to worship the formless fire, or vibration of knowledge, to this day. I found suggestions that Bagoas may have worshiped the formless fire too (a reference to androgyny), and as such his importance to the story of Alexander would be that of a spiritual prostitute, rather than a fallen one serving only material needs.

4. In response to queries about Alexander being a tyrant (I’d say just very driven overall, and coming down from such highs is a pain, as the Persians can tell you): tyranny is in how you tell the story, while looking for a hero or a villain. It doesn’t really help human understanding. What helps is to notice the vision that came through cracks in his preconceptions as he was maturing, beginning to see that maybe he could shape his own destiny beyond what he’d been bred to be. I find it amazing that he was awakening through exploration and travel – an inspiration to tomboys for sure! To this very day, he remains linked with exploration, and with uniting people across the globe. With that in mind, there is no problem worshiping a human being as divine, because the Soul is non-dualistic: it is continuous with both the person, the human, as well as plant-life, animals, God, and the Vision itself (my favourite scene in the Alexander film is when he flashes this huge, childlike grin, discovering monkeys have hands just like ours).

Farvardin-divinity-in-humanNote, however, that this type of worship is DARK, always was: Khemetic, or black, meaning “to see in the dark” – the mystical flash through which we see is the Soul Mate of that person, who is in turn given as the True Hero, by the Hero. It is like a gift, not like a system of belief from on high. So by doing this, you are also highlighting your Soul Mate, and shifting the Axis to its rightful position. Exploration Nation, here we go.

  1. Kutless – Promise of a Lifetime
  2. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – Your Guardian Angel
  3. Lee Ryan – Don’t Leave Me
  4. 30 Seconds To Mars – The Kill (Bury Me)
  5. Sanctus Real – Love Like Yours
  6. Andreea Bălan – Zizi (You Are My Sun)
  7. David Gray – Babylon
  8. Don McLean – Babylon
  9. The Outfield – Voices of Babylon
  10. Avicii feat. Sandro Cavazza – Without You
  11. Avicii feat. Adam Lambert – Lay Me Down
  12. Tolkien Ensemble – Verse of the Rings
  13. Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence (original version 1964)
  14. Ganymed – It Takes Me Higher
  15. ABBA – When I Kissed The Teacher
  16. Google Translate Sings Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler
  17. Adam Lambert – Lucy (feat. Brian May)
  18. WWRY Musical London – We Will Rock You (“thunderbolts and lightning” scene)
  19. Hillsong Worship – I Surrender
  20. David & Jonathan – Lovers of the World Unite

BONUS for super-geeks: Sprechen Sie Attisch? – a sample of how conversations between our Heroes may have sounded in Attic Greek. It may prove useful on a pilgrimage. O haire!

Bibliography:

To be added soon