Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Factoring Norah

A few months ago, I wrote a piece on Norah Jones' video Chasing Pirates, in relation to the foiled terrorist attack on the Large Hadron Collider at Cern; Geneva. In this article, I would like to focus on the themes within the video and how they relate to the events of 9/11. Pirate paraphernalia plays an important role within the video, and stems, in part, from the creative input of director Rich Lee; who had previously worked as a 3D animator on all three Pirates of the Carribean movies. Originally, the video was to feature Norah Jones; dressed as a pirate, stalking Johnny Depp through the streets of New York City. But, due to the exclusive nature of this movie star, the idea was scrapped in favour of one in which Norah Jones has a map of Manhattan Island placed anonymously on her doorstep. The map leads to Seward Park; in Chinatown. The park derives its name from Secretary of State William Seward, who was at one time a prominent member of the Anti-masonic League. Seward fell victim to an attempted assassination, by an associate of John Wilkes Booth, on the same night Abraham Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theatre.
Norah Jones is seen pointing to Seward Park on the map with her right hand. Meanwhile, her left hand points to the vacant lot where once stood the Twin Towers. I wondered if she was subconsciously associating the assassination plot against Seward and Lincoln, with the events that transpired on 9/11. At the end of the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Captain Jack Sparrow is seen consulting yet another map, this time decorated with Chinese pictographs; and outlining the coast of Florida. The map purportedly leads the way to the Holy Grail, or the water of life, that is the subject of the next installment of the franchise; Pirates of the Caribbean; The Fountain of Youth; due to be released this summer. By displacing the treasure hunting Jack Sparrow to the modern streets of New York, the video insinuates that the fabled Fountain of Youth can be obtained here. In order to see with Jack Sparrow's eyes, and to find out where might be going, we must use his map of Florida to navigate the streets of New York. Practitioners of, French art movement, Psychogeography famously used a map of London to navigate Paris; but in this instance I am not only displacing location, but time, reality and fiction, at one and the same time. The similarity of shape between Florida and Manhattan Island audibly cries out for superimposition; and I can see no better opportunity for this, than in the maps of Johnny Depp's and Norah Jones' sad and unrequited love.

Although the two land masses are not completely congruous; in shape or size, they do express a certain symmetry at the eastern tip. By aligning the two maps here, the equivalent location for the Fountain of Youth, on Manhattan Island, is revealed to be the former site of the World Trade Centre.

The Fountain of Youth is related to the Legend of the Holy Grail, seen straddled here by the Angel and Death archetypes. The Holy Grail is, of course, connected to the mythos of the Knights Templar, who were said to have either been in possession of this ancient relic or to have gone to America in search of it; following their dissolution. Norah Jones' first single Chasing Pirates was released exclusively on iTunes, on October 13th 2009, exactly 702 years after the Fall of the Knights Templar. The song appears on her most recent album entitled The Fall. The album title appears to have at least three distinct meanings. These are;
  • an American acronym used for the season of Autumn.
  • the biblical event said to have taken place in the Garden of Eden.
  • the arrest of the Knights Templar by King Phillip of France and Pope Clement V.
Chasing Pirates was released in the fall, so the first one is self-explanatory. The next one is a little more esoteric, and is covered more extensively in this article. The third one is what we will focus for now. In the video Norah is seen flying the Jolly Roger, a symbol of Templar dominance over the high seas, and a warning to any would be pirates that the men aboard this vessel were not afraid of Death. After the dissolution of the Order, this flag was adopted by the pirates in pursuit of plunder; and was more commonly referred to as the Skull and Crossbones. In the video called the Making of Chasing Pirates, a film crew member is seen wearing an U.S. army infantry crest depicting two crossed muskets. This emblem may well be developed from the Skull and Crossbones symbol, and is certainly related to it. If any Masonic affiliated order were involved in taking down of the World Trade Centre, it would likely be the Yale fraternity Skull and Bones, based upon this line of reasoning.

The beautiful Norah Jones is seen here in the Making of Chasing Pirates, 
framed by the masts of a pirate ship. The voice over speaks about dreams and
 fantasies, perhaps this type of thinking induced the film crew member to wear
 the pirate-theme infantry logo.  

In the Hermetic Romance of the Philosopher's Stone, I outlined some of the comparisons between Norah Jones' video, and the 1984 movie Romancing the Stone. I will quickly summarized these here;
  • Norah Jones' video begins with her receiving a message in a bottle, that turns out to be a map.
  • Joan Rivers (Kathleen Turner) kicks off Romancing the Stone when she receives a letter, and a map to secret location.
  • At the end of the video, Norah is seen sailing down the streets of Manhattan, and into the sunset.
  • Romancing the Stone ends when Jack and Jone embrace on a sail boat that is seen to be cruising down a New York City street.
  • The names Jack and Joan recall the names of Norah Jones and Captain Jack Sparrow.
The scene with Jack and Joan on a boat, in New York City, contains a number of alchemical archetypes. Psychologist Carl Jung would have, no doubt, pointed out these were, in all likelyhood, derived from the collective subconscious.
  1. The Process of Putrefaction (the Wet Way) is the initial phase in alchemy, similar in its way to digestion, or decomposition. The crocodile (symbolic of the alchemical serpent) devours the gemstone and disappears into the dark water.
  2. Jack hunts down the creature and kills it. He extracts the priceless gemstone from its body, related to the extraction of the Pilosopher's Stone from the alchemist's crucible. He then proceeds to purchase a sail boat with the proceeds of the emerald; thus spiritualizing a material source, towards the ultimate goal of freedom, in this case, freedom from the rat race.
  3. The white sail boat is called Angelina, and is emblematic of the White Eagle animal symbol that accompanies the end of the alchemical process.
  4. The serpent is said to make a final appearance before the process is complete; and does so here; in the form of Jack's crocodile boots.
  5. Jack says that the crocodile died of a case of indigestion, referring to the earlier process of Gestation described in The Process of Putrefaction; above.
The lapis of alchemy bestows immortality, and is therefore synonymous with the Holy Grail and the Fountain of Youth; once coveted by the Knights Templar. Norah Jones' video links all four of these elements with the 5th element of the events of 9/11. Therefore, it would be only fitting to investigate the Alchemical Symbolism of 9/11 itself; at a later date.

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