I don't know who did this Annunciation scene but I have often preferred these Northern renditions of Mary. The Italians always seem to capture the idea of Mary as the willing and inevitable Vas Honoris. Up North, in the cold rooms, Mary comes across as startled, even dismayed, at her role in such a weird scenario. In warm Italy Mary is saying: Yes, it's my destiny. But around the 45th Parallel Mary seems to say: What the Fuck? Whose idea is this? It's a question of how much you're in your own skin.

I was in Amsterdam again and it was May. I love to get up early in the morning and walk alone across old European cities before the sun gives them shadows - in the near-dark everything in Europa hangs back and hides, waiting to see what kind of bloody fucking day this will be. I think I was on my way to the Rijksmuseum to study Annunciation paintings in the Flemish style. Though the Dutch don't want to hear you call it Flemish. Nor do they want you to call their country Holland - which is only a region of the Netherlands. Names get away from us. Pooler Jones, for instance, calls me Skippy - while Barber Perfect has always called me Lucky. Both were in ADAM for the spring and keeping them from killing each other would be half the fun. Amsterdam likes to call itself the "Venice of the North." The hippies call it ADAM which is pronounce "Ay-Damn" and that tickles the shit out of the easily amused. Barber Perfect calls the city MOKUM because he likes Yiddish syllables and also the irony of using the Jew's name for the city which once nourished them on their long pilgrimage back to Jerusalem. Mokum means city but to the Sephardi from Iberia and the Ashkenazi from the Prussias the word also came to mean "safe haven." Mokum Aleph the Jews called Amsterdam - it was their habit to Code even when cities were safe. So they called the northern cities where Yiddish was spoken Mokum + the first letter of the city transliterated into Hebrew. ADAM was Mokum Aleph. Mokum Bet was Berlin - and that makes Skippy shudder. Mokum Resh was Rotterdam. All of that has been erased by the ironies which Barber finds so fitting. But Amsterdam is still called Mokum by them that got the Gnosis.
The Archangel Gabriel was still on Kenny's mind from the success of a previous Spike named after god's messenger sprite. So I was looking to scope out Gabriel in the artistic vocabulary of the Nederländers: acutely focused, greater depth of field, objects lighted with their own inner glow, more gold around the edges. Spengler would tell you that meant more god around the edges. Spinoza would "caution" us from sorting god into gold without the rest of the matter. But up north in the cold countries Art had reached a realism which delighted in its own consciousness of realism. Not yet arrogant. Not yet sick of itself. Everything in a Dutch painting wore its soul directly on its skin. Though the light was still inner you could see that it had migrated from its core, its cardapetra, and was moving towards the wall. Later it would burst thru but in Holland, in its Golden Age, the light - the Gnosis - was cutaneously Kenotic and was just approaching the surface.
Run your cursor over the small gold-framed image to the right. It shows an impression of Baruch Spinoza's Signet Ring. It was his seal and his sigil. Besides his initials it contains the Latin word: Caute - which means "Caution," or better - "Carefully." Above that is a single Rose. Spinoza was said to be a godless Jew - 2 things which could get you burned in his world. So he had to live Sub Rosa - with Caution. Whenever you see this sigil touch it with the cursor and let the hidden out for a bit.
In front of the museum, across the Singel Gracht, on the wide Spiegel Gracht, I found an antiquarian shop selling old prints and book illustrations - cut pages from the wealth of old European manuscripts and books. Within a minute I had found it - a 17th century page from a large, outsize, Breviare or Bibliae Pauperum - one of those lectern size books used by a choir so that a group of men could read the large print from a distance. It was the Introit from the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist followed by a short psalm. I had been looking in Paris the preceding Christmas for a page like it - either an Antiphon or a Gradual prayer with the crude musical staff & few neumes which had been invented in Paris during the 12th & 13th centuries. So to find one was fortunate but to find the exact one we needed was more; it was spooky. It was odd. Jung would call it synchronicity. I bought it for about a hundred dollars and brought it home and had it framed. We got the 8th Mission's name from it: Sagittá Electá - Chosen Arrow. The damn thing made the entire trip to Holland worthwhile - besides meeting Merlin and drinking big beers with him daily at the In De Wildeman Café & besides the pleasant mornings smoking hash in the Coffee Shops along the canals. We had already made up our mind that the next mission in our Cathedral would be concerned with the Head of John the Baptist. "If you own it, then show it," Barber said, trying to call our bluff. We were leaning towards the construction of a Reliquary and getting a lot of positive reinforcement from Pooler Jones as well as Kenny La Roche himself. Barber Perfect was surly to hostile about the plan but he and Pooler were at loggerheads over the Skull and the Longbones of Benedito de Espinosa and he knew that Amsterdam was the place to have the argument.
This is called: Still Life with Gilt Goblet, by Willem Claesz Heda and is from 1635 - Spinoza would have been 3 years old. It was in Holland that the "Still Life" came into its own as a Form in art. You can see that texture was conscious and that objects have become aware of their surfaces. But more, you can see that the mundane, the profane world of the ordinary and the daily and the accoutréments of the quotidian have begun their displacement of the Sacrédotal objéts d'art. Flesh is powerful - here things love their matter.
The Grandiflora Mission was the first Major Spike of Kenny La Roche in his construction of the Cathedral Our Lady of the Ligne. It has not yet been described on this website. It was completed in 1996. The Mission called Chosen Arrow - to hang the head of the Precursor - was completed in 2000.
Each year since 1996 Kenny would start the new season and mission by replacing the Nipple Rock on the Grandiflora Spike. Skippy was buff and taut for his turn in '98. Slag had mastered the Prussic Knot tech and had purchased Ascender rigging so now we were scampering in the canopies of our creations like squirrels - or maybe even monkeys. Fuckin' Monkeys.
John Dee snapped the picture - above left - just as I had loosed the old dried-up Nipple from the year before and then dropped it on my knee. It was a glancing blow and we laughed it off. HAH!! But then Skippy takes everything with a grain of Augury & sometimes I think his entire universe is read by him as omens and premonitions, or as Types along their Attractors. It's a world where a bruise is an Harmonic. Or an Old Testament warning. Like some trippy memo written on the wall in something's blood.
There was a lot of organizational energy in the air around us. But then I guess that just means that we are more and more sensing our Attractor. Besides, mythopoeic times are by nature magnetic when it comes to things like structure and form. Ideas come together of their own volition. Though Richard Dawkins would argue that Ideas are Memes - the cultural equivalent of Genes - and that they form Wells of Conceptual Gravity [WeCoGraves] and therefore attract all those other Memes which share a Specific Conceptual Density [SpeConDen]. Ideas, Dawkins claims, are Planets and they fit inside Conceptual Systems where their "weights" try to balance everything else in the system so that the whole can be harmonic with its parts. When balance happens - the Idea fits its Form and truths are formed with little "t"s. Self-Organization along with Emergent Phenomena are the twin keystones of Complexity Theory. We live in a time when the labors of the Hierarchies of Angels are handled by Chaos Theory and Topological Mathematics. Gabriel turns out to be an expression of the fecundity of Lognormal Distributions. As such he seems perfectly placed on the opposite porch of Notre-Dame de la Ligne across from Grandiflora - his Doppelgänger - an expression of the destiny of the Randomly Selected. It is not ironic that we should build the last Great Cathedral from the perspective of the New Faith - a faith which has been called Adeism by the clever Brights, and the Pantheistic Mu by the more clever still. Kenny La Roche calls it: The Alchemical Reich - but we've shortened it to Alkreichism. So we remember that the Iconography of the Great Cathedrals of Europa was always a stab at Natural History as well as Cosmology. They were Temene - empty spaces given sacred forms by stitching math, topos, and meaning into a formed certainty - a structure. A Container. Something to squat in the dark and wonder if there's something in the other room. So all Art is a statement about a perceived certainty - some idea sucked into the Wecograve and accreted with form - even the Nihilistic shit which clogs our galleries today is dead certain of our Kenosis. Every Faith is formed from the Bricolage of ruptured systems. So it's good to start a new season by changing Nipples on the Grandiflora - a structure which illustrates the Bell Shaped Curve and its Gaussian Distribution of Genes, Memes, and everything after. The ritual of Nipple Replacement evidenced a balance - and balance is a check to hubris, as well as certainty.
"De ventre matris meae vocavit me Dominus nomine meo, & po fuit os meum, ut gladium acutum; sub tegumento manus fuae protexit me, & po fuit me quasi sagittá electá."
"The Lord has called me by my name from the womb of my mother, and He has made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He has protected me; and has made me as a Chosen Arrow."
That's the Antiphon above which I bought in Amsterdam. An Antiphon in a Catholic Mass or at Vespers is a Response to a Psalm or some other part of the ceremony. Usually an Antiphon is chanted in the Gregorian mode. Antiphony, as a style of singing, is based around Call and Response. When a shitkicker like George Jones writes a song which is a response to another song - like his ex-wife Tammy Wynette's megahit: D-I-V-O-R-C-E - he is practicing Antiphony. A big Cathedral will often have 2 separate choirs singing Antiphony to each other. Like the Mbuti Pygmies in Zaire who sing to the forest and then sing a response to their own voices echoing back. In this case the Antiphon is well named - and well aimed - as it quotes Isaiah in his brand-new Christian mask as John the Baptist. It was first of all the Jewish Prophet Isaiah who presented his bonafides to the "remotest peoples" when he claimed that Yahweh had called him from his mother's womb before he was born. When the Jesus Freaks Retrofit the Old Testament so as to Typologically Prefigure the New Testament then it is John the Baptist - the New Prophet - who claims to be picked by god, before he was even born, and forged into a "Chosen Arrow" to Point and Pierce the Way of the Lord. So you got the OT talking to the NT, and 2 Choirs chanting the changes back and forth, and George Jones talking back to Tammy. And you got John the Baptist leaping in the womb as his response to Jesus who is also in his mother's womb. And Pygmies jerking off the rain-forest by singing contrapuntal with their own echoes. And poor Skippy's in Mokum Aleph smoking hash and drinking a beer called Mother Superior with Merlin who is bitching about a new British Tax on pleasure boats and threatening to scuttle his yacht over the bones of the German Navy in Scapa Flow. Barber Perfect is excited and "popping Ps" in the remnants of his Low-German accent - and goddamn it - he wants Spinoza's skull back as well as the long bones. Pooler Jones responds to the antiphony by upping the ante: "Fuck you," he tells his brother, "we have the head of John the Baptist!" And by we he means Skippy - whom Barber calls Lucky - and the rest of Kenny La Roche.
Shhh! Buttons like these at the bottom of the page will lead you to and thru the gods if you click on them. Caute - Caute, stuff like that is sub rosa by nature and bound to offend nearly everyone.
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