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Bacon and the Bird


Marvin Haines

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IN DAYS of yore, (January 29th, 1845, to be exact,) a certain epic author with an even more epic moustache sold a poem to the magazine WIley and Putnam. That poem - which some say he was paid as little as $7 for - is, of course, The Raven.

"But wait!" you say, "That has nothing to do with Sir Francis Bacon!" Just hang on for a little longer.

I suppose I could summarize the entire work and then subject you to my analysis of it, but I assume every one of you has taken at least one high school literature class in which The Raven was discussed.

I will, however list some facts that may be relevant to Baconians:

- According to Wikipedia, in an early draft of the poem, the famous bird was not a raven, but an owl. I find this remarkably interesting, because in the final version, the raven sits "upon a bust of Pallas." Pallas was the title of the Greek goddess Athena - Bacon's muse and the symbolic "Spear-Shaker." Athena was the patron goddess of owls and also the goddess of wisdom - apparently the source of the myth that owls are wise.

- The Raven taps at a shutter to attract the narrator's attention. Although the number of taps is not specified, I liken this behavior to the "three knocks" of speculative Masonry (Ask and it will be answered to you, Seek and ye will find, Knock and it shall be opened to you.) The main difference here is that if such symbolism is inferred, the narrator should really be doing the knocking, as he is the truth-seeker. 

- Although Poe was likely never a Mason, let alone a Baconian, he does make reference to speculative Masonry in at least one of his stories - The Cask of Amontillado. He has even been known to include quotes from both Bacon and "William Shakespeare" as epigraphs to his works. The chilling story The Pit and the Pendulum takes place during the Spanish Inquisition - a time when many Masons were persecuted by the Catholic church and quite possibly subjected to the kind of torture described in this work.

I will apologize for posting something slightly off-topic this time. I just thought it was too good not to share!  

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18 hours ago, Marvin Haines said:

- According to Wikipedia, in an early draft of the poem, the famous bird was not a raven, but an owl. I find this remarkably interesting, because in the final version, the raven sits "upon a bust of Pallas." Pallas was the title of the Greek goddess Athena - Bacon's muse and the symbolic "Spear-Shaker." Athena was the patron goddess of owls and also the goddess of wisdom - apparently the source of the myth that owls are wise.

Just for fun, but not all just fun. 😉

https://digital.libraries.psu.edu/digital/collection/emblem/id/930

image.png.6dde27eacce3a58293f39344c69bfe3a.png

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Before thou bring thy Workes to Light,
Consider on them, in the
Night.

 

We may consider this a teaching from 1635 when these emblems were published.

Funny how in bed at night I am solving my programming tasks in my head so I can be ready for work soon as I wake/get up. I am up early so I can get my work done before distractions take over.

But the above statement is also about another time frame. And is about more than a single person's work.

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17 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

Before thou bring thy Workes to Light,
Consider on them, in the
Night.

 

We may consider this a teaching from 1635 when these emblems were published.

Funny how in bed at night I am solving my programming tasks in my head so I can be ready for work soon as I wake/get up. I am up early so I can get my work done before distractions take over.

But the above statement is also about another time frame. And is about more than a single person's work.

This appears to be inspired from Aristotle's "Metaphysics". The owl's ability to see in the dark was compared to the day-light blindness of bats. To see like an owl in the dark is to be able to exercise one's human intellect when things aren't clear.

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On 9/24/2023 at 11:18 PM, Marvin Haines said:

IN DAYS of yore, (January 29th, 1845, to be exact,) a certain epic author with an even more epic moustache sold a poem to the magazine WIley and Putnam. That poem - which some say he was paid as little as $7 for - is, of course, The Raven.

"But wait!" you say, "That has nothing to do with Sir Francis Bacon!" Just hang on for a little longer.

I suppose I could summarize the entire work and then subject you to my analysis of it, but I assume every one of you has taken at least one high school literature class in which The Raven was discussed.

I will, however list some facts that may be relevant to Baconians:

- According to Wikipedia, in an early draft of the poem, the famous bird was not a raven, but an owl. I find this remarkably interesting, because in the final version, the raven sits "upon a bust of Pallas." Pallas was the title of the Greek goddess Athena - Bacon's muse and the symbolic "Spear-Shaker." Athena was the patron goddess of owls and also the goddess of wisdom - apparently the source of the myth that owls are wise.

- The Raven taps at a shutter to attract the narrator's attention. Although the number of taps is not specified, I liken this behavior to the "three knocks" of speculative Masonry (Ask and it will be answered to you, Seek and ye will find, Knock and it shall be opened to you.) The main difference here is that if such symbolism is inferred, the narrator should really be doing the knocking, as he is the truth-seeker. 

- Although Poe was likely never a Mason, let alone a Baconian, he does make reference to speculative Masonry in at least one of his stories - The Cask of Amontillado. He has even been known to include quotes from both Bacon and "William Shakespeare" as epigraphs to his works. The chilling story The Pit and the Pendulum takes place during the Spanish Inquisition - a time when many Masons were persecuted by the Catholic church and quite possibly subjected to the kind of torture described in this work.

I will apologize for posting something slightly off-topic this time. I just thought it was too good not to share!  

It's always interesting to see how the same familiar symbols are used to make narratives. The raven doesn't have only one possible meaning. He is associated with Apollo and with Elijah, the prophet (who appears in the End Times). In both cases these are mediators between men and Gods. The Raven is also a symbol of death, and in certain contexts of rebirth, of bad luck or a bad omen. 

The subject matter of this poem is death of a loved one and the psychological terror that accompanies it, so we are immediately talking about the same sort of contemplative idea as the Freemasonic stories that exploit the uncertainty of death. The Freemasonic stories were heavy in the soothing aspects of rebirth and reunions if you reached the symbolic teachings of the Holy Royal Arch. Poe's work is not directly stressing that. 

 In this poem it is likely that Poe was playing with the fact that Athena was said to have taken the name Pallas because of the extreme grief she experienced from the death of a dear companion.

The raven was appreciated for its alleged ability to speak, and Poe uses this for effect by having it say only one word "nevermore", meaning never again to drive home the finality which terrorizes.

The Raven taps on the door and then on the window. Tapping on the window is symbolic of a message from the spiritual realm. The fact that it is reoccurring tells us that the thoughts are reoccurring and in need of a response. This is assumed to be a symbolic knock on the consciousness of man by the idea that a loved one is no more--dread and acute grief.

The poem suggests three possible comforts. We could imagine that the three here is symbolic of the three aspects of a trinity. This might get us back into the Freemasonic genre. The poem is also a memento mori, a common enough theme in literature. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, RoyalCraftiness said:

It's always interesting to see how the same familiar symbols are used to make narratives. The raven doesn't have only one possible meaning. He is associated with Apollo and with Elijah, the prophet (who appears in the End Times). In both cases these are mediators between men and Gods. The Raven is also a symbol of death, and in certain contexts of rebirth, of bad luck or a bad omen. 

One of my favorite Stillwagon paintings is "Raven's Vista". Keith, like myself, thought of the Raven as Magic.

image.png.e9d0d47998c2c30fffe4c1c17970e454.png

Funny, "Raven" was my first online handle back in the 90's years before I knew of Bacon. And I was still using it when I eventually did learn of Bacon.

 

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13 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

One of my favorite Stillwagon paintings is "Raven's Vista". Keith, like myself, thought of the Raven as Magic.

image.png.e9d0d47998c2c30fffe4c1c17970e454.png

Funny, "Raven" was my first online handle back in the 90's years before I knew of Bacon. And I was still using it when I eventually did learn of Bacon.

 

You, or I, do come with our biases. With literature we are free to interpret as we want. The best guide to what the author may have meant, if he never described it, is to look for context clues. Pallas' association with grief from loss and the main character's similar state suggests that the raven has landed on Pallas in front of the main character to remind us that death comes to grip us all in that way. The raven speaks, and if he speaks from the other realm then that is magic, no? Mind you, any suggestion that is made which you unconditionally accept is something that I would characterize as magic going on. The belief in you can transform you. It can make you from an "undeserving" person to a "deserving" one is some people's views.  It may take ritual and repeated  incantations, but belief can be achieved. Institutions have been devoted to creating these beliefs in order that men may be transformed "magically". We must agree what magic means before we debate it. The raven is an excellent symbol for magic if you believe he has special abilities. He may even have an impact on your life if he decides to come knocking on your door and the result is that you feel you have been given some insight. That's not what is being suggested here, imo. There is play with symbols. Play, of course, is synonymous with Hermes. When we play we are very near to the Godly. That is probably why children play and adults try and consolidate power in a world where power is in short supply and is ephemeral. You won't bring any to your grave. Who's the wisest?  Is it the one who just experinces his conscious moments of discovery with joy or the one focused on the future which is known to come to an end? Nevermore...

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On 9/24/2023 at 11:18 PM, Marvin Haines said:

IN DAYS of yore, (January 29th, 1845, to be exact,) a certain epic author with an even more epic moustache sold a poem to the magazine WIley and Putnam. That poem - which some say he was paid as little as $7 for - is, of course, The Raven.

"But wait!" you say, "That has nothing to do with Sir Francis Bacon!" Just hang on for a little longer.

I suppose I could summarize the entire work and then subject you to my analysis of it, but I assume every one of you has taken at least one high school literature class in which The Raven was discussed.

I will, however list some facts that may be relevant to Baconians:

- According to Wikipedia, in an early draft of the poem, the famous bird was not a raven, but an owl. I find this remarkably interesting, because in the final version, the raven sits "upon a bust of Pallas." Pallas was the title of the Greek goddess Athena - Bacon's muse and the symbolic "Spear-Shaker." Athena was the patron goddess of owls and also the goddess of wisdom - apparently the source of the myth that owls are wise.

- The Raven taps at a shutter to attract the narrator's attention. Although the number of taps is not specified, I liken this behavior to the "three knocks" of speculative Masonry (Ask and it will be answered to you, Seek and ye will find, Knock and it shall be opened to you.) The main difference here is that if such symbolism is inferred, the narrator should really be doing the knocking, as he is the truth-seeker. 

- Although Poe was likely never a Mason, let alone a Baconian, he does make reference to speculative Masonry in at least one of his stories - The Cask of Amontillado. He has even been known to include quotes from both Bacon and "William Shakespeare" as epigraphs to his works. The chilling story The Pit and the Pendulum takes place during the Spanish Inquisition - a time when many Masons were persecuted by the Catholic church and quite possibly subjected to the kind of torture described in this work.

I will apologize for posting something slightly off-topic this time. I just thought it was too good not to share!  

I just wanted to add that the date here is more context for us to consider. Jan. 29 is Freethinkers day, a day about education and awareness. It has existed since the early 18th century.

This work was likely written in 1844 which, in the North East of North America, was the year involved in a great frenzy (the Millerite Frenzy) around the coming of the End Times, first prophesized to be in 1843 and then the following year. It is a feature of a great many literary works of this particular time to take on the subject matter of the End Times and the finality of the moment. To use the raven is to symbolize Elijah, he who is going to be there in the end times.

There is an alternate meaning to this poem which comes from the Great Disappointment of the Millerite prophecies. The possible meaning of "nevermore" may come to have filled the Christian with complete dread and grief as the prophecy fizzled. What if Elijah came and it meant nothing? This is the utmost type of fear that one can imagine for anyone who was invested in eternal reunions. Poe, who was a Christian, may have been aware of the dynamic. He, like the character, greatly loved his wife. His editor described it as a rapturous love. They moved to New York in 1844 where the Millerite prophecies had a lot of press.

Lenore was chosen for the deceased woman's name. This is from the Greek for "light". There is a suggestion of the extinguishing of the light. Lenore also rhymes with nevermore. No more light, ever...

Edited by RoyalCraftiness
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5 hours ago, RoyalCraftiness said:

The raven speaks, and if he speaks from the other realm then that is magic, no? Mind you, any suggestion that is made which you unconditionally accept is something that I would characterize as magic going on. The belief in you can transform you.

For me the Raven bringing magic goes back to the days of reading Carlos Casteneda books some years before I learned of Bacon. It's like Don Juan became John Dee in my life.

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6 hours ago, Light-of-Truth said:

For me the Raven bringing magic goes back to the days of reading Carlos Casteneda books some years before I learned of Bacon. It's like Don Juan became John Dee in my life.

Fulcanelli used it in his 1926 work "Le Mystere des Cathedrales".  He's sat it on the skull here as opposed to Pallas' head. It's possible Poe was a student of the esoteric. The publication "The Raven " appeared in seems to dabble in that.spacer.png

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Checking in with the AI assistant does produce the suggestion that Poe was involved in esoteric studies.

"Yes, Edgar Allan Poe was indeed a student of the esoteric. Scholar Thea Wirsching argues that Poe was a follower of the Hermetic philosophy. These ideas appear in Poe’s late text, Eureka, a cosmology which argues that all matter is animated by Spirit1. Poe’s fascination with Hermeticism and NeoPlatonism appears throughout his early fiction as well, and so Wirsching draws connections between these ancient philosophies and Poe’s 19th-century invocation of them, in practices like mesmerism, astrology, Spiritualism, and metempsychosis1. Ultimately, Poe had far more in common with the idealism of the Transcendentalists than is commonly thought, and he deserves to be recognized for the sophistication of his esoteric philosophy1."

Oddly enough, he entertained something I was just commenting about regarding theories of matter, lol.

 

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1 hour ago, RoyalCraftiness said:

Fulcanelli used it in his 1926 work "Le Mysteres des Cathedrales".  He's sat it on the skull here as opposed to Pallas' head. It's possible Poe was a student of the esoteric. The publication "The Raven " appeared in seems to dabble in that.spacer.png

The book here is "Mutus Liber", a work published in 1677 in La Rochelle. Mutus Liber - Wikipedia. There's an occasion of the 6 pointed star under the title. It's also on the medallion that is serving as a book marker.

The English translation of Fulcanelli's work has the main text starting on page 33. The second chapter called "Paris" starts on page 67. Interestingly, that is quite similar to the Bacon navigational suggestion of 100 degrees of longitude between Mount Moriah and the Mahone Bay point. There are 67 degrees of longitude to Paris fom this point and 33 additional ones to Jerusalem. Do we assume Francis Bacon was named to fit this Hermetic idea?

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On 9/24/2023 at 10:18 PM, Marvin Haines said:

- Although Poe was likely never a Mason, let alone a Baconian, he does make reference to speculative Masonry in at least one of his stories - The Cask of Amontillado. He has even been known to include quotes from both Bacon and "William Shakespeare" as epigraphs to his works.

I just came across this:

https://litchatte.com/2018/04/26/poes-cryptographic-imagination-part-ii-it-took-a-modern-computer-programmer-to-unravel-poes-last-unsolved-puzzle/

Poe published several columns on Cryptography, which he entitled, “A Few Words on Secret Writing.” In them, he explains that advanced puzzles, where the only secret to the code is “locked in the creator’s mind, can be very difficult or nearly impossible to solve.” Poe mentions that the acclaimed sixteenth-century English philosopher and scientist, Francis Bacon “very properly defined three essentials in secret correspondence.” Bacon’s first essential is that the cipher should “elude suspicion of being a cipher.” Secondly, that its alphabet should be so simple “as to demand but little time in the construction of the epistle.” Thirdly, that it should be “absolutely insoluble without the key.” Poe adds the fourth essential: “With the key, it is promptly and certainly decipherable” (147), perhaps, because he felt that he needed to solve the submitted puzzles in time to have them published in the upcoming issues of his journal articles. He quotes from a letter from a reader who has never been authenticated, named “W.B. Tyler,” who praises Poe’s correct solution to Dr. Charles J. Frailey’s puzzles. This mysterious letter pronounces: “You have exhibited a power of analytical and synthetical reasoning I have never seen equaled… I crown you the king of secret readers” (141).

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https://www.eapoe.org/works/essays/fwsw0741.htm

[page 33, unnumbered:]

A FEW WORDS ON SECRET WRITING.

———

BY EDGAR A. POE.

———

[column 1:]

As we can scarcely imagine a time when there did not exist a necessity, or at least a desire, of transmitting information from one individual to another, in such manner as to elude general comprehension; so we may well suppose the practice of writing in cipher to be of great antiquity. De La Guilletiere, therefore, who, in his “Lacedæmon Ancient and Modern,” maintains that the Spartans were the inventors of Cryptography, is obviously in error. He speaks of the scytala as being the origin of the art; but he should only have cited it as one of its earliest instances, so far as our records extend. The scytala were two wooden cylinders, precisely similar in all respects. The general of an army, in going upon any expedition, received from the ephori one of these cylinders, while the other remained in their possession. If either party had occasion to communicate with the other, a narrow strip of parchment was so wrapped around the scytala that the edges of the skin fitted accurately each to each. The writing was then inscribed longitudinally, and the epistle unrolled and dispatched. If, by mischance, the messenger was intercepted, the letter proved unintelligible to his captors. If he reached his destination safely, however, the party addressed had only to involve the second cylinder in the strip to decipher the inscription. The transmission to our own times of this obvious mode of cryptography is due, probably, to the historical uses of the scytala, rather than to anything else. Similar means of secret intercommunication must have existed almost contemporaneously with the invention of letters.

...

 

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2 minutes ago, Light-of-Truth said:

https://www.eapoe.org/works/essays/fwsw0741.htm

[page 33, unnumbered:]

A FEW WORDS ON SECRET WRITING.

———

BY EDGAR A. POE.

———

[column 1:]

As we can scarcely imagine a time when there did not exist a necessity, or at least a desire, of transmitting information from one individual to another, in such manner as to elude general comprehension; so we may well suppose the practice of writing in cipher to be of great antiquity. De La Guilletiere, therefore, who, in his “Lacedæmon Ancient and Modern,” maintains that the Spartans were the inventors of Cryptography, is obviously in error. He speaks of the scytala as being the origin of the art; but he should only have cited it as one of its earliest instances, so far as our records extend. The scytala were two wooden cylinders, precisely similar in all respects. The general of an army, in going upon any expedition, received from the ephori one of these cylinders, while the other remained in their possession. If either party had occasion to communicate with the other, a narrow strip of parchment was so wrapped around the scytala that the edges of the skin fitted accurately each to each. The writing was then inscribed longitudinally, and the epistle unrolled and dispatched. If, by mischance, the messenger was intercepted, the letter proved unintelligible to his captors. If he reached his destination safely, however, the party addressed had only to involve the second cylinder in the strip to decipher the inscription. The transmission to our own times of this obvious mode of cryptography is due, probably, to the historical uses of the scytala, rather than to anything else. Similar means of secret intercommunication must have existed almost contemporaneously with the invention of letters.

...

 

Profoundly interesting!

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Poe was no stranger to hoaxes - he even dabbled in several famous ones, including the notorious "Balloon Hoax" of 1844. I'll let you look that one up.

I hereby change my position that Poe could not have possibly accepted the Baconian thesis. Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that he embraced it or even believed in it, but his love of hoaxes coupled with the possibility of him being a student of the esoteric (which it seems we now are entertaining), there is some likelihood that he would have made the connection. 

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I remember once, in the fifth grade, coming across a story of the title Mesmeric Revelation. It is one of Poe's lesser-known works, and it details a hypnosis session in which the operator (the person performing the hypnotic induction) discusses the meanings of life, the universe, and everything with his subject. I don't remember it that well - aside from the fact that it, like Poe's other works, was remarkably dense - even more so to my 10-year-old mind. 

The story got me quite interested in the subject of hypnotism/mesmerism, and I decided to learn more about it. I quickly found that there's a lot of bull crap on the internet about this topic. The way I had seen hypnosis portrayed in popular media was incredibly far from the truth.

I think a lot of people believe (erroneously, of course) that hypnosis is a form of mind-control. Stage hypnotists (performers) make their money by convincing us of that!  I soon discovered that hypnosis subjects, rather than becoming mindless slaves to their operators, actually possess an entirely free will. That begged the question: What, then, is hypnosis, if it's not mind-control? 

Well... it's sort of an altered state of consciousness, where thoughts flow more freely, the mind is relaxed, and, yes, suggestions are more welcome.   

I wondered, upon discovering this, what practical uses it could have. For example, its effects seem to mirror those of certain narcotics - the only difference being that hypnosis is not in the least bit harmful or addictive. Why then, should it not be used recreationally in place of these drugs? Also, it can help reduce stress, anxiety, and even compulsions. Why, I wondered, was hypnosis rarely practiced professionally? There seemed no good reason other than the public's fear and grim fascination with it - a fascination fed by the performers and the media.

Two years ago, a friend and I were talking, and we decided we would try it.

Naturally, because I knew more about the subject, I asked if I could be the operator. He agreed. We found a quiet place, I gave him a pair of dark glasses to wear (which admittedly made him look adorable), and I tried to replicate what I had learned from an intensive study of Wikipedia. 

I was careful to avoid using the cliches - phrases like "look into my eyes" and "you are getting sleepy," as I knew they would be more distracting than anything else. I also didn't stare directly into his eyes. I didn't dangle a pendant or make any sort of passes. I spoke gently but naturally. I told him to picture himself at the top of a long staircase descending into a pleasantly dark void. I invited him to clear his mind and focus only on the sound of his footfalls on the velvet carpet. He went down until I could sense his breathing had slowed. Then I told him to pause.

I had him picture himself in his favorite outfit, feeling cool and confident, surrounded by his friends and family. I asked him if he was in a trance. He said he didn't know but it felt good. He looked so happy and peaceful, sitting there in his stylish specs. 

Needless to say, all that interest brought about by Mesmeric Revelation was a success.

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22 hours ago, RoyalCraftiness said:

The raven is an excellent symbol for magic if you believe he has special abilities. He may even have an impact on your life if he decides to come knocking on your door and the result is that you feel you have been given some insight.

Do I hear a knockin' on my door? 😉

I checked today's events in my little town and Painted Raven is in Gulfport for a Full Moon concert.

Full Moon Concert
Enjoy a full moon celebration concert honoring Native American culture and music with Painted Raven. This award-winning musical duo uses the traditional Native American flute and modern instruments to create unique music. Concert proceeds benefit the Gulfport Senior Center Building Fund Campaign. Catherine A Hickman Theater, 5501 27th Ave. S., Gulfport. 7 p.m.

 

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20 minutes ago, Light-of-Truth said:

Do I hear a knockin' on my door? 😉

I checked today's events in my little town and Painted Raven is in Gulfport for a Full Moon concert.

Full Moon Concert
Enjoy a full moon celebration concert honoring Native American culture and music with Painted Raven. This award-winning musical duo uses the traditional Native American flute and modern instruments to create unique music. Concert proceeds benefit the Gulfport Senior Center Building Fund Campaign. Catherine A Hickman Theater, 5501 27th Ave. S., Gulfport. 7 p.m.

 

It's entirely possible the concept of the "Languages of the birds" is ancient and and very primal. Minerva(Athena) was said to have passed on the language of the birds to the the blind prophet Tiresias. in the Quran, and in the Jerusalem Talmud, Solomon and David were said to have been given the language of the birds. Apollonius of Tyana was said to have been given it. He was a main figure associated Neopythagoreanism. It is suggested to be a mystical divine language.

I North American native culture the raven is said to be able to lead wolves and humans to prey, so a direct form of communication which implies consciousness or a spark of the divine in it.

This idea can go a long way in explaining why there is a story involving celestial birds in the early astronomy. The Southern birds is where you find the Phoenix. The Northern Birds are Cygnus and Aquilla (whose main stars form 2/3 of the Summer triangle). Are these two birds relaying profound knowledge to us? That may work to those who were focused intently on the message of the Northern Cross which had the occurrence of the "star" in it (the Rose within the Cross).

In Alchemy (Wikipedia):

In Kabbalah, Renaissance magic, and alchemy, the language of the birds was considered a secret and perfect language and the key to perfect knowledge, sometimes also called the langue verte, or green language.[9][10]

Elizabethan English occultist John Dee likened the magical Enochian language he received from communications with angels to the traditional notion of a language of birds.

This might make us ask why Poe has the raven saying "nevermore" if he is fact relaying a mystical message from the spiritual realm. That would certainly cause a great deal of terror/dread to someone who thought this was a high form of knowledge. Poor Linore is no more!

 

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12 hours ago, Marvin Haines said:

I remember once, in the fifth grade, coming across a story of the title Mesmeric Revelation. It is one of Poe's lesser-known works, and it details a hypnosis session in which the operator (the person performing the hypnotic induction) discusses the meanings of life, the universe, and everything with his subject. I don't remember it that well - aside from the fact that it, like Poe's other works, was remarkably dense - even more so to my 10-year-old mind. 

The story got me quite interested in the subject of hypnotism/mesmerism, and I decided to learn more about it. I quickly found that there's a lot of bull crap on the internet about this topic. The way I had seen hypnosis portrayed in popular media was incredibly far from the truth.

I think a lot of people believe (erroneously, of course) that hypnosis is a form of mind-control. Stage hypnotists (performers) make their money by convincing us of that!  I soon discovered that hypnosis subjects, rather than becoming mindless slaves to their operators, actually possess an entirely free will. That begged the question: What, then, is hypnosis, if it's not mind-control? 

Well... it's sort of an altered state of consciousness, where thoughts flow more freely, the mind is relaxed, and, yes, suggestions are more welcome.   

I wondered, upon discovering this, what practical uses it could have. For example, its effects seem to mirror those of certain narcotics - the only difference being that hypnosis is not in the least bit harmful or addictive. Why then, should it not be used recreationally in place of these drugs? Also, it can help reduce stress, anxiety, and even compulsions. Why, I wondered, was hypnosis rarely practiced professionally? There seemed no good reason other than the public's fear and grim fascination with it - a fascination fed by the performers and the media.

Two years ago, a friend and I were talking, and we decided we would try it.

Naturally, because I knew more about the subject, I asked if I could be the operator. He agreed. We found a quiet place, I gave him a pair of dark glasses to wear (which admittedly made him look adorable), and I tried to replicate what I had learned from an intensive study of Wikipedia. 

I was careful to avoid using the cliches - phrases like "look into my eyes" and "you are getting sleepy," as I knew they would be more distracting than anything else. I also didn't stare directly into his eyes. I didn't dangle a pendant or make any sort of passes. I spoke gently but naturally. I told him to picture himself at the top of a long staircase descending into a pleasantly dark void. I invited him to clear his mind and focus only on the sound of his footfalls on the velvet carpet. He went down until I could sense his breathing had slowed. Then I told him to pause.

I had him picture himself in his favorite outfit, feeling cool and confident, surrounded by his friends and family. I asked him if he was in a trance. He said he didn't know but it felt good. He looked so happy and peaceful, sitting there in his stylish specs. 

Needless to say, all that interest brought about by Mesmeric Revelation was a success.

Hypnosis is an interesting phenomena which revolves around bypassing the critical thinking faculty, it seems. Where there is conditioned acceptance of the abilities of the hypnotist from the subject there is a possibility to plant suggestions and have them be unconditionally accepted. It doesn't work on anyone. A hypnotist will usually select for highly suggestible subjects. To ask someone from within the crowd to step up is a pretty good way to select for someone who is entirely open to the idea that they are going to be hypnotized. The door is open, so to peak. This would seem to suggest that if we want to be treated like malleable clay we can be worked into something by suggestion alone. It's not mind control as much as it is mind exploitation. There's a cheat code to the operation of the mind. It is also possible to "shock" people into a state where suggestions are readily accepted. This realization is what was at the core of the MKUltra program the CIA ran. Naomi Klein wrote about the "shock and awe" doctrine which the US applied to its foreign policy. The US foray into Chile was executed with shock and awe in mind in order to leave that population in state of utter confusion where "voices of reason" could come and reprogram the population.  Suggestion is very insidious, and we all fall prey to it if we are too open to it. I think of hypnotism as the acute form of displaying how that works.

Edited by RoyalCraftiness
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13 hours ago, Marvin Haines said:

Poe was no stranger to hoaxes - he even dabbled in several famous ones, including the notorious "Balloon Hoax" of 1844. I'll let you look that one up.

I hereby change my position that Poe could not have possibly accepted the Baconian thesis. Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that he embraced it or even believed in it, but his love of hoaxes coupled with the possibility of him being a student of the esoteric (which it seems we now are entertaining), there is some likelihood that he would have made the connection. 

Maybe we can think of him as the 53rd card in the deck--the Joker. The Joker has a lot to teach us about the meaning of 33 it would seem. The trickster in folklore is typically given an anthropomorphized form. He can be a coyote or a raven, the two being known to be very intelligent and playful. Play with symbols can be seen as a high form of knowledge transmission.

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15 minutes ago, RoyalCraftiness said:

It's entirely possible the concept of the "Languages of the birds" is ancient and and very primal. Minerva(Athena) was said to have passed on the language of the birds to the the blind prophet Tiresias. in the Quran, and in the Jerusalem Talmud, Solomon and David were said to have been given the language of the birds. Apollonius of Tyana was said to have been given it. He was a main figure associated Neopythagoreanism. It is suggested to be a mystical divine language.

I North American native culture the raven is said to be able to lead wolves and humans to prey, so a direct form of communication which implies consciousness or a spark of the divine in it.

This idea can go a long way in explaining why there is a story involving celestial birds in the early astronomy. The Southern birds is where you find the Phoenix. The Northern Birds are Cygnus and Aquilla (whose main stars form 2/3 of the Summer triangle). Are these two birds relaying profound knowledge to us? That may work to those who were focused intently on the message of the Northern Cross which had the occurrence of the "star" in it (the Rose within the Cross).

In Alchemy (Wikipedia):

In Kabbalah, Renaissance magic, and alchemy, the language of the birds was considered a secret and perfect language and the key to perfect knowledge, sometimes also called the langue verte, or green language.[9][10]

Elizabethan English occultist John Dee likened the magical Enochian language he received from communications with angels to the traditional notion of a language of birds.

This might make us ask why Poe has the raven saying "nevermore" if he is fact relaying a mystical message from the spiritual realm. That would certainly cause a great deal of terror/dread to someone who thought this was a high form of knowledge. Poor Linore is no more!

 

Very interesting. I've never thought about the "language of the birds" across cultures or in history. I have definitely thought it about during my years of being alone in the wilderness out west on Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.

"Is this Nature talking?"

"Am I hearing the voice of the forest?"

When you are miles from another human in places where you could be prey to a mountain lion, a pack of coyotes, or even an angry or frightened black bear you really learn to tune into the sounds of Nature. Birds are primary voices and their songs have meaning.

Birds high up in trees notice the dawn before we who are on the ground. The first tweets and whistles of the day start when it is still dark. Listening to the beginning of the morning in the forest a special treat. Its a beautiful song from all around you that brings in the Sun.

During the day the birds have their peaceful music when they are looking for mates, sharing where food is to their friends, teaching their babies how to speak, so on.

Bird's warnings are easy to learn as they are like sirens and buzzers going off. You know there is a danger when the warnings are happening. Maybe it is a hawk or eagle, or maybe a cat of some kind. But the language is obvious.

Its possible to almost shut down one's internal dialog when listening to Nature. Once that chatter slows down or stops, something magical happens to one's reality. Its like the boundaries of the mind are blown apart.

Remembering these times makes me homesick for the mountains or desert. 

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