"In order to keep a true perspective of one's importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him." (Dereke Bruce)
Now this is where the gods went wrong, they stopped with the dog. Doggone it, they even turned the canine name back to front, lest we forget them.
Not that that would ever be allowed to happen.
For the gods & their games have been stalking us for a very long time indeed.
It seems to me there's been a big show going on, on this catwalk called histroy. Each 'new' culture contributing it's own fashion sense AND religion.
The Greeks came bearing gifts of epic proportions (which is just as well considering that their Olympian overlords were in constant need of sport & entertainment).
Then came the Romans bearing shapely thighs & a great dollop of testosterone (which mightily pleased their own pantheon of prime movers).
Somewhat later they covered up their thighs & brought in a more pontifical & severe look, in keeping with their neo-uno-supergod (minions were allowed to suffer greatly & dress in natural shades of sackcloth & ashes)
Sorry, nearly choked on my rosary beads.
For this space & time I suggest that the gods are where they have always been - riding on our backs.
No doubt you've done enough reading to know that similar deities appear throughout a multitude of time periods. Put the Greek god Hermes into a Roman breadmaker & the god Mercury will be sure to rise. Put Artemis into a Versace frock & hey presto, instant Diana. Send a sun god out for a loaf of bread & a son of god will return with a pcinic basket & a couple of fish.
Put a newspaper reporter into a phone box, throw in some red & blue underwear & out pops an iron man of steel.
"In research published in the British Journal of Psychology, psychologists established a "sliding scale" of celebrity worship - one in which the devoted fan becomes increasingly hooked into the object of their attention, until their feelings begin to resemble addiction."
"It's an unhealthy interest in the lives of the rich and fabulous. According to the researchers, about a third of us have it to some degree."
If we take an etymological looksee at what celebrity was birthed to mean, a rather interesting understanding emerges "celebrity c.1380, "solemn rite or ceremony."
Can we therefore reinterpret the flashing stars that draw eye & heart to the big screen, tv, stage & magazine as clerics & missionaries who spread the word to all corners & curves of the globe?
And if so what is their creed?
How about a religion that is so tailored to the fabric of our modern society that we're not sure which came first. It's (made up by me) name - The Church of the Wholly Material.
- The familiar crick in the neck that comes from looking UP to greater beings.
- The familiar dues & adulation that must be consistently paid by beings of ground dwelling status.
- And who can forget the grand dramas played out on the screen of life - the heroic actors whose golden deeds of living & dying separates them from their audience whose only task is to grasp these tales with their minds.
Thus we are led back to where I originally intended to start my last article.
I had erroneously thought that birth was for beginnings, but it seems that those in 'the know' (& they seem to know a lot more than I), prefer death as the entree on the 'menu of creation'.
So if you will just grab a hold of the four horsemen's reigns for a second, we'll contemplate the deadly requirements of any 'good' religion. Let the Greeks lead the way.
"Besides the word worship, we may use the word cult. As in the expression hero cult."
"When we consider the Hero in ancient Greek culture... we must 'de-familiarize' our notion of what a hero is... First and foremost, the... hero was a religious figure, a dead person who received cult honors and was expected in return to bring prosperity...
The hero, who is mortal, not immortal like the gods, must suffer during his or her lifetime, and, significantly, must die. Only after death can the hero receive immortalization in cult and in song. The hero must struggle against the fear of death, in order to achieve the most perfect death. Such a perfect moment must be recorded in song, kleos. Kleos means 'glory, fame, that which is heard'... kleos was used to refer to both the medium and the message of the glory of heroes...
Unlike natural flowers that go through the cycle of blooming and then wilting, this unnatural flower, this kleos, will forever stay the same, never losing its color, aroma, and overall beauty.
The songs sung for heroes and the cult honors given to them in worship and festivals, including athletic festivals, celebrated in their honor, are an attempt to provide compensation for the death of the hero... these honors are considered ongoing and never-ending... those who participate in the worship believe that it will continue forever, thus providing a way for the hero to be immortalized, to live on forever."
"In real worship, we do not just do ritualistic worship but we try to imbibe the qualities of the one we are worshipping" (Rig Veda)
In the last article we looked at one who appears to fulfil a role of herald & chief priest to the gods.
A funereal looking psychcopomp standing before the great temple of Windsor Castle?
So did you pay attention to the Greek bit above? Did you note the need for heroes to be sung - as opposed to unsung. And of course you do realise they do need to be dead, deceased & pushing up the daisies (daisy O.E. dægesege, from dæges eage "day's eye," because the petals open at dawn and close at dusk).
On 15th July 1997, Gianni Versace was murdered as he put a key into the lock of the gateway of his Miami abode. The fashion king was shot twice at close range by a 'gay psycho'. Bloody nutters!
End of story? No.
A wee while ago the king of pop was done to death by lethal injection.
He graciously & posthumously shared the extravaganza of his memorial with his fallen comrade, Gianni Versace.
"MOURNING GLORY: One thing the overwhelmed Jackson clan didn't have to worry about before Michael Jackson's memorial was their clothes. Apparently Janet herself put in a call to Donatella Versace, who knows what it's like to lose a talented brother before his time. She agreed to outfit the whole fam in Versace's finest."
The strange thing is, that 'Jackson' was there to pay homage as Versace died.
"On July 15, 1997, fashion icon Gianni Versace was declared dead at Jackson Memorial Hospital, following a shooting in front of his Ocean Drive mansion, the Casa Casuarina, in Miami Beach."
Coincidentally both icons departed this plane at 50 years of age.
After reading Ellis Taylor's awesome A Year of Tears & Tears article , I decided to toy with time. I found a site that counted down days & up days & proceeded forth to juggle with infamous dates. In my timescale lottery I opted for the choice of including the end date in each count, I'm not of a mathematical bent, but it seemed to make sense to me.
Well I found bugger all & was close to calling it quits when I remembered the importance that Ellis placed on the Michael Jackson sacrifice. So I entered the end days of these two great ones.
What I got blew my socks off (they were last seen orbiting Neptune).
Remembering how important 'remembering' is in all things sacrificial we find that the time between the deaths of Versace & Jackson, is a memorial in itself.
"11 years, 11 months, 11 days including the end date" - 11/11/11
"Remembrance Day ... is a day to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war, specifically since the First World War. It is observed on 11 November to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 ... The day was specifically dedicated by King George V" (wiki)
"King George V personally requested all the people of the British Empire to suspend normal activities for two minutes on the hour of the armistice "which stayed the worldwide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right (Rite?) and Freedom."
The reason I kept the bit about good King George was his connection to Michael & Elton.
So get your thimble at the ready...
Like Elton he also sports two first names, those of George & Michael.
These four christian names got together 6668 (including end date) days ago & sang a song to Apollo or was it Ra?
This returns us to Versace - keeping up ok?
If celebrity is the clergy of the new religion & Elton a chief priest, then would it surprise you to learn that the clergy were gathered at the chief priests abode for his yearly extravaganza White Tie & Tiara Fundraising Party, when the news broke about the death of Michael Jackson.
"Gianni Versace was born in South Italy – in a landscape known in ancient times as "Magna Graeca", Great Greece, because of its magnificent cities and states, that Greek people had founded there a long time ago. The Greek heritage has lived on in this area, where classical tradition and the union of the unique and the simple are passed on from father to son, mother to daughter."
"Medusa appeared in Versace's world almost immediately, and accounts of his childhood (which differ) say that he had found either a mosaic of her near a beach in Calabria or a statue of her on family property"
is "now perhaps as twentieth-century an image as the Nike swoosh."
"Eccentric rocker SIR ELTON JOHN will only eat from VERSACE china plates, because he's convinced they are all possessed by the spirit of his late pal, designer GIANNI VERSACE.
Elton and his partner, Canadian producer DAVID FURNISH, were close friends with Versace, who was shot dead outside his home in Miami, Florida in 1997. And they claim they feel closer to him when they dine from his china.
David explains, "Because of the great friendship Elton had with Gianni there's a lot of sentimental attachment.
"It's like you can feel his spirit in every bowl."
I'm sorry I'd planned to wrap all this up & get it posted tonight by hook or by crook. Instead, as fast as I type new ideas & connections keep surfacing, so this gets to be an introduction after all.
In the next exciting instalment we check out the first designing family, we strip search the new religion, uncover a terrible curse, journey on a cursed ship & follow a trail of rite 'royal' murders.
Is it just me or can you see the face of the dead king of pop in this album cover? Once I pointed it out to my son he could see it too.