Sunday, August 28, 2011


I just watched Terry Gilliam's 2009 movie The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (IDP), and thought I would say a few words about it.

First off, the movie did not spring solely from the imaginations of screenwriters Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeown, as much of the underlying themes and basis of the movie are taken whole sale-from a story that appeared in the Doctor Who Magazine, that detailed the exploits of the sixth Doctor. This story, called Voyager, was broken down into four parts; The Shapeshifter, Voyager, Polly the Glot, and Once Upon a Time Lord. If you can get you hands on a copy of it I highly recommend it, the story is well-told and beautifully illustrated. I am not going to go into all of the details of the story so instead I will just show you a few of the ways that the Voyager strip matches with The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.

The villain in the Voyager comic is a man called Astrolabus. He is also known as:
Swami Astral Arbus, Professor Astro Labus, the star taker, the sandman, the jester, the conjurer, the clown, the fool, El Diablo, Robin Hood, the willow wand in the diviner's hand, the last man, the flame-keeper, the light at the edge of the world, Santa Claus, the Fairy at the bottom of your garden, the spring in the well, the story-teller, the star-spanner, the Goblin, the Imp, the ace of wands, magic, myth, legend, the thief of time.

Dr. Parnassus is clearly modeled on Astrolabus, as we can see by the above monikers; Swami Astral Arbus, and the Storyteller. In Voyager, it becomes clear that Astrolabus has creative control over Doctor Who's life, by means of story-telling. Dr. Parnassus is also intimately connected to the telling of stories; this time in order to sustain the Universe. Both individuals are steeped in pursuits of a mystical nature and seek eternal-life, at one point or another.

Swami Paranassus in a trance state.
An artists impression of the scene with the space-faring jellyfish in IDP.

At the beginning of the movie, we see a man being carried off into space by a school of space-faring jellyfish. The Voyager story called Polly the Glot is concerned with the well-fare of a similar space-faring creature, a Zyglot, known as Polly.

A picture of Polly the Zyglot in Space. (1984)

The last story in the Voyager series, called Once Upon a Time Lord, is the most important where Astrolabus is concerned, as it reveals his motivations and his ultimate undoing. the opening music to the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is called Once Upon a Time. Although, I think Gilliam would rather like you to think Once Upon a Time Bandit, as the dwarf theme is revived for this movie.

Starcharts in Terry Gilliam's 1981 movie Time Bandits.

At least, two of IDP's main stars, Lily Cole and Andrew Garfield, have played parts in the Doctor Who TV series, in 2011 and 2007 respectively. After the death of Heath Ledger, Gilliam decided not to cast one replacement for his character Tony, but 3. For this reason, Ledger is seen to undergo a number of different transformations as the movie progresses, just as Dr. Who's character has been known to do over the entire series, which has lasted many decades.
There are a total of 4 actors reprising the role of Tony in IDP; Depp, Law, Farrel and Ledger.

There have been, to date, 10 actors who have played the Doctor in the BBC series.

So if Astrolabus is from Doctor Who, who is Doctor Parnassus? Good Question. It appears that Parnassus was named after Mount Parnassus near Delphi, in Central Greece. Parnassus was the son of the nymph Kleodora, and the man Kleopompos. He was the leader of a city that had been blighted by torrential rains and forced to move upland into the mountain range, which now bares his name.

With the Oracle of Apollo formerly located at near-by Delphi, it is no surprise that Apollo (the God of Prophecy, Music and Healing) would also come to be associated with this mountain range. Stories tell how Apollo rested here, after defeating the serpent Python. He is also believed to have given Orpheus his famous Golden lyre upon this mount.
Considering there are so many tales concerning Apollo attached to the name Parnassus, I asked myself; what is the connection between Heath Ledger and Apollo? A bit of research revealed this piece of insight, posted at
Topic:   Heath Ledger Apollo 15 Coincidence?
 posted July 14, 2005 03:43 PM                 
Whilst watching a Heath Ledger film (The Four Feathers), my wife and I were wondering what else we'd seen him in, so I searched the Internet Movie Database... Only to find that in the Australian soap Home and Away, he played a character called Scott Irwin. Surely this CANNOT be a coincidence?!

David R. Scott and James B. Irwin were the names of two astronauts who landed on the moon with Apollo 15, in 1971.

So, in an instant, we have gone from symbolism pertaining to the Sun and life, to that of the Moon and death. Home and Away suggests leaving Earth and traveling into space, but it also suggests what we know as life, and the end of life. Home is the Earth, Away is the Stars (other planets), Ledger has gone beyond. 

All I know about The Four Feathers movie is what I have read on IMDB, as I have not seen it yet. But I suspect that is loaded with yet more imagery and symbolism, and is certainly one to watch.

Set in 1884 Sudan, this fifth film to be adapted from the A.E.W. Mason novel follows a British officer who resigns his post right before his regiment ships out to battle the rebels. Perceiving his resignation as cowardice, his friends and fiancĂ©e give him four white feathers, the symbol of cowardice, but little do they know he's actually going undercover and plans to redeem his honor. 

In light of the Apollo reference, I suspect that the four white feathers are possibly chicken feathers, or, in any case, amount to the same accusation; coward = chicken. Apparently, the word 'Apollo' means chicken in Russian, but I don't know if that is true. There is also a dish called Chicken Apollo, which I am unfamiliar with. Here is the recipe;

4 boneless chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. Italian dressing
3 tbsp. teriyaki sauce
1/2 tsp. parsley
Freshly ground pepper
1 airtight container

Wash chicken thoroughly in hot water. Place in bottom of container. Mash or chop garlic and place on top of chicken. Pour remaining ingredients over chicken. Cover. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Grill or broil when ready to cook.NOTE: Broiling takes about 5 minutes.

At the beginning of the Imaginarium, the Devil (played by Tom Waits) is seen riding towards a monastery, supported on the backs of four stone elephants. These elephants are also seen in the Dr. Who Voyager saga, during a dream sequence in which the Doctor reaches the edge of the world. The four white feathers of Ledger's earlier movie are contrasted by the four white elephants of his final work.

Dr. Parnassus Ext. Monastery, Set Sketch by Dave Warren.

In olden times, when people still believed the Earth to be flat, it was postulated that it was supported on the backs of 4 elephants, who, in turn, were standing on the back of a giant tortoise; the World Turtle. The picture below shows a rendition of Terry Pratchett's Disc-world, 

The concept of the world being supported on the backs of 4 elephants is an old idea, that has its origins in the mists of time. So, I am uncertain as to why its says devised by Terry Pratchett at the bottom of this drawing. It's a joke.
In modern times, the concept of the four elephants standing on the back of a turtle and holding aloft the world has been artfully, and cunningly replaced by four teenage mutant hero turtles, living in the sewers and protecting the city through crime-fighting. This just goes to show how concepts like these are archetypal, and never really die. They merely evolve into more bizarre incarnations.

This poster for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), shows our heros emerging from the underground sewers. But, it could equally be interpreted as them holding aloft the modern world, represented by the city. Notice how the Flat Earth, or Discworld, has been replaced by the man hole cover. This disc-shape is also represented by what the turtles' favourite food; pizza.

The 2007 TMNT movie is a dismal failure that includes references to the Mayan Calendar and the New Age concept of a Galactic Alignment in 2012. It also contains references to the Hanged Man Tarot Card. This implies that 2012-2013 will be a difficult period for mankind, in which it will be necessary to re-evaluate what is meaningful to us, as a species. TMNT can be numerically rendered as 2013-1420, which is also a reversal of some kind. A new TMNT series will be brought on Nickelodeon in 2012.

Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrel are the four heavy weights of Hollywood. They represent the four white elephants, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, propping up director Terry Gilliam's crumbling world. Johnny Depp in particular embodies this notion, as it was his character Cpt. Jack Sparrow who escaped a desert island on the backs of two sea turtles strapped together.

At the end of the Imaginarium, Dr. Parnassus is seen outside of a restaurant called 'Rain on the 5th'. Rain on the 5th Month is the title of an engraving by 18 century Japanese artist Suzuki Harunobu. 

The blurb, which accompanies the image, states;

In most parts of Japan, the fifth month (present day June by the Gregorian calendar) brings lengthy rainy days. Although the rain is necessary for healthy growth of the rice crop, combined with pre-summer warmth it can cause health hazards and dampen spirit for the urban population of Edo.*

You may remember that the Greek Parnassus had go upland with his people to escape from the rains, in ancient times.

If you take a look at Terry Pratchett's 'imagining' of Discworld, you will see that because the Earth is flat, the oceans are allowed to spill over the edges. The water goes passed the  heads of the four elephants and rains down on the 5th animal; the turtle.

This relates back to TMNT, because the ninja turtles are trained in the art of Ninjutsu, a Japanese martial art. So, it would appear that the four elephants have been replaced by four teenage mutant ninja turtles standing on the back of a rat i.e. Splinter. I endorse this new world view.

The Hanged Man is a Tarot Card, and an important symbol in the IDP, as it is the card most befitting of Ledger's character Tony. When we first meet Tony he is hanging by the neck (alive) from Blackfriar's Bridge in London. He has three mysterious symbols on his forehead, which remain unexplained for duration of the movie.

I went in search of answers, and found that the first symbol (left) is very similar to the Ancient Greek letter Phi. Following this line of reasoning, the next symbol most closely resembles Delta; this makes Phi Delta, or PD.

P2 or Propaganda Due (PD) are an illegal masonic secret society founded in Italy. They were believed to be behind the murder of Vatican banker Roberto Calvi, who was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London, in 1982. Terry Gilliam described the bridge scene in IDP as "a homage to Calvi."

If we conclude that all three symbols are thinly disguised Greek symbols, then it could be translated as Phi Delta Sigma. This form of Greek nomenclature is utilised by fraternities all across America. Delta Sigma Phi (DSP) is a leading college Fraternity in America. College fraternities are modeled loosely upon Masonic lodges and for this reason contain many references to the Egyptian and Classical mysteriesSymbols associated with DSP include, the pyramid, the lute (or lyre), the Gorgian knot, and (perhaps not unsurprisingly) the Elephant.
DSP = Doctor/Swami Parnassus.

If you investigate all of these symbols you will see that they relate to the narrative of IDP in a surprisingly complex net of associations; too complex to go into any great detail here. Suffice it to say that Andrew Garfield's character is Orphic in nature, as he receives a golden flute from Tony (Apollo), after saving his life at Blackfriars Bridge. Anton's quick thinking in this instance also makes him comparable to Alexander the Great, who severed the Gordian Knot and went onto become king of all Asia. Lily Cole's character Valentina is related to Persephone and Eurydice, because she must journey into the Imaginarium; the Land of the Dead.

It is of course highly coincidental that a movie, which is primarily about traveling beyond the bounds of death, should have its main star die during filming. But as the movie says itself coincidence "does not exist, and everything happens for a reason." But what is the reason. Some people have been quick to blame Gilliam, and with his own comments about the film's success being helped along by "human sacrifice" who could blame them?

A key factor to the progression of this movie is that Parnassus is making different wagers with the Devil. Perhaps Ledger's previous success in his role as Joker, in the Dark Knight, was down to just such a wager, and when the time came to collect the Devil was waiting behind the scenes.

*Edo is short for the Garden of Eden. The serpent (Tom Waits) who tempts Eve (Lily Cole) is really a cockatrice (part snake part chicken).

Saturday, August 27, 2011

52, 53

52. People say that the world is a reflection of the self, but we could just as easily say the opposite is true, and that you are a reflection of the world. This is indeed the case as all of our beliefs, ideals and modalities were shaped and molded by the world outside. If our mind is nothing more than the surface of some sort of mental mirror, a quantum horizon where information and light from the world stops, then all we really are is what we see around us; the mountains, the trees and the sky. What we are not, however, is all the human beings that we meet, for they are also mirrors reflecting the world around them, all be it from a different position. Neither are we to consider ourselves as the same as any of the products or inventions of man, which appear to be distilled products of the natural energy of the environment.
When we walk around the natural environment - all the time keeping what I have just said in mind - we realise that we are indistinguishable from it. We, therefore, neither think nor criticize, for how can a mountain or a tree hope to criticize itself, when it has no more thoughts or language in which to do so? There are times when we can get feedback from the environment, for example, when we catch our reflection in the shop-glass, or as I have said earlier, when we encounter another human bipedal mirror. The effect that our physical make-up and mental composure has on these people is visible in the form of vibrations. People will be seen to shudder; either in disgust or with pleasure, or they will behave entirely indifferent towards you.

53. Plato said "We do not learn new things, we remember them". One possible explanation for this reasoned statement is that our physical bodies encompass so much more area of space time than is visible to us at any given moment. At some point in the future, we may learn something that we never thought possible for us to know, and yet when we look at our bodies from a fourth dimensional perspective that information is already there within in us, we have simply not been privileged access to it. But, from time to time, people are granted access to possible future states of their body through dreams or practical divining methods. These methods must short cut the 3rd dimension and access information already stored within the 4D brain-body. In short, the brain must be capable of traveling the superhighways of the 4th dimension like spiders crawling the internet, with the objective of accessing data, which under normal circumstances we are not given privileged access to.*
 *A way to access this data, would probably be just to visualise, or think about, the information you are looking for, and then relax, breathe, let the spiders crawl the web and wait for the looked for information to be presented to you in good time.

Friday, August 26, 2011


47. When you are at an advanced stage of meditation, when thoughts no longer come with such increasing regularity, bring your mind your attention to bear upon the mind. This concentration should begin to manifest as an area of minor tension within the mind. Next, focus your attention on your attention itself - what was once focused inwards will now be expanding outwards - causing your tension to peel back like the skin of an orange; bringing with it much relaxation.

48. Aldous Huxley called the senses "the doors of perception." Even with the eyes closed, it is clear that these doors are wide open. It the world, which is so huge, can enter through these doors, then surely the mind can also pass through and escape into the world.

49. When a person is meditating, the positions of his arms and legs may develop the proprioception of a hexagonal mobius strip; or Penrose Hexagon.
50. According to Castaneda's alleged teacher Don Juan, the primary goal of a sorcerer is "to stop time." Although Don Juan is by no means explicit on how to go about doing this, I believe that he is merely telling us to stay in the present moment. To match the velocity of the present moment, without cares or distractions, requires continuous energy and concentration. Only by matching its velocity can you appreciate just how fast time is actually going. Like Einsteins theory of Special Relativity, which states that in order to stop time you must travel at the speed of light; so, we are told, to stop time we must also travel at the speed of mind. The Brahman of the East have a statement in the Brahma-samhita, which says something similar; Just ride the airplane which runs at the speed of mind. Stopping time means achieve the same level of constant flow, so as to be unaware of its passage what-so-ever.

51. There are no good or bad emotions. All emotions are just different electro-static fields which are incapable of possessing such a distinction. But how then, you might ask, do I sense that one emotion is good and another bad? I will tell you. Many of us do not want to feel bad, or have negative emotions, and so we resist any such emotions with our minds, as they arise. Unfortunately, we are not always aware that the chemical and electrical basis of our emotions is actually an internal energetic imbalance in our bodily system. This emotionally charged energy which, as I have said already, is neither good nor bad, wishes to flow freely through our bodies, just as we allow positive emotions to do without much thought or coersion. It is only our resistance, or impedance, to the flow of electrical energy in our bodies, which precipitates the unpleasant feelings we associate with these types of emotions.
Allow these emotions to flow freely through your body unimpeded and you will realise that they are not dangerous or harmful, in fact, they have a quality and an energy that is most exhilarating. Let us be clear, however, although I am saying that I wish you to experience these emotions freely, I do not want you to act upon them in the same way. Once you have experienced these feelings or sensations, you will realise that they are not really motivating you to do anything - good or bad. They merely wish to move freely from one energy level to another.

45, 46

45. If the Universe exists on an infinite time scale; with an infinite amount of time preceding this moment and an infinite amount anteceding it; how can you rationally explain your existence on this Earth? On an infinite time scale your finite lifespan collapses to nothing. Therefore, your time on this Earth should have already elapsed, and yet here you are. How is this possible?

46. Each moment in time is like a link in a chain. The arc that the chain makes when it hangs in the presence of gravity is known, by mathematicians, as the catenary curve. This is the arc of least tension. In Riemann for Anti-Dummies Part 10 we are told; 

The lowest point on the chain is a singularity, as it is the one place where the force doesn't change, regardless of whether the length of the chain is increased or decreased on either side of it. Paradoxically, this point supports no chain, while supporting all the chain.

Clearly our perception of the present moment, and of the arrow of time itself, is defined by some gravitational force located outside of 3-dimensional space. Terrence Mckenna, almost jokingly, called this force the Strange Attractor; after the Lorentzian attractors. The present moment, according to my logic, is the one place where the tension remains the same, across the entire timeline. In response to the movements - or requirements - of the present, the past and future can shift dramatically. This means that the present moment is the only thing that is real. It is a singularity from which there is, necessarily, no escape. The present moment supports all of time; both past and future, and is supported by them in turn - by the law of cause and effect.

It is both profound and redundant to say that if the present moment ceased to be, the past and future would vanish also. This is because, in a sense the present is all that exists. It is a moment of becoming that contains all the information necessary with which to formulate the events of the entire timeline. As William Blake wrote in his poem Auguries of Innocence, all of time is contained in the present moment;

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

What is true of the catenary is also true of the keystone, the cardinal block in an arch that is responsible for supporting the entire archway. The keystone is the present moment, and it has all of the power of the universe; both past and future, directed towards it. This, I believe, to be the symbolic importance of the keystone, as it is only in the present that we are capable of observing and manipulating this energy. While the archway may appear to be the reverse of the catenary, fundamentally they are the same, as both forms are held in place by the force of gravity, and both contain a singularity.

Theoretical physicists tell us that time is an illusion and that our experience of it must be largely subjective. Therefore, time and the present moment is a product of man and his psyche. This means that if you and your conscious perception of the world cease to exist, so does the bonds that hold all of history in careful balance. Seeing as how you are an integral part of the universe, this explains how you can still manage to exist in a universe that is infinite in duration.

I turn to eternity, and whisper the name Mikey Stone.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


40. Chakras are inter-dimensional energy dynamos located at various points throughout the physical body. In Eastern methodologies, chakras are described as energy centres whose function corresponds to a person's general health and well-being. If the chakras are working properly the person will feel good, and full of energy. But if the Chakras are not functioning properly, the person may feel sluggish or sick. Chakras do not create energy, they merely harnesses the 'chi' or lifeforce as it passes through the physical body, much like how a turbine harnesses the wind. 

41. We can tell that the chakras are inter-dimensional because, although they spin, their movements do not interfere with the functions of the other vital organs within the body, even though; from our perspective, they appear to occupy precisely the same space. For this reason, the chakras can appear to rotate in a number of different directions at the same time. Under certain conditions, however, they appear to rotate in a clockwise direction, as seen from above.

The Torus Knot is relatable to the Inter-dimensional Chakras

42. The Chakras are barrel-shaped and have thin twisted blades to catch the 'pranna' or life force energy of the body. If one of these blades becomes loose, a blockage may result in the system. In order to resume normal flow the strip must be reconnected. This can be done in a similar manner to reconnecting a chain on a bike.

43. A moment of concentration is a point of light in the void (the darkness you perceive at night with your eyes closed). It becomes reflected in the cellular faces of the void to form a grid pattern. From the silence of space arises a tone, which is noticed only because it wavers to and fro.
The different stages of a sphere moving from the inside
to the outside is highly suggestive of the 
inter-dimensional Chakras; discussed above.

44. People are often busy, to-ing and fro-ing, looking for the doorway that will free them from their endlessly dreary lives. What most of them don't realise is; they are that doorway, and that they must be pulled through themselves to reach the Great Wide Yonder. There are many contradictions and absurdities that accompany this concept. Like a sphere turning itself inside out, there is a tendency for constriction, of taught-ness approaching infinity, to arise along the equator. To avoid this the sphere must first be corrugated and twisted, so that is looks very similar to the Chakras of the human body. This tells us that the chakras are the doorways to other dimensions, and that by using the preferred method of meditation we should be able to arrive at other worlds and the Great Blue Yonder (the Spiritual Sky).

Thursday, August 18, 2011


36. Do not look too deeply into the structure of reality; it will only disappoint. Instead, recall what the enlightened have said "Ignorance is bliss."

37. Turn inward away from yourself. Rest upon the nothingness within.

38. When we designed the Owid (multiverse) we designed it as a series of concentrically arranged universes. The first of them was Nil, then Quatof, Liablath, and finally Trialoth. There is a platform extending from Liablath, to the stars.

39. Even as we were formalizing our designs, we were only fooling ourselves into thinking we were the creators of the world. For who of us could remember where we had come from, and which one of us (who call ourselves 'I') could take credit for having created this individual identity, this I-ness.

Post 35

35. Cosmologists have speculated that the Big Bang was the result of matter and anti-matter particles annihilating each other in a colossal explosion. If the Universe is infinite in extent (which it very well might be) then it is conceivable that this matter/anti-matter annihilation is still taking place on the extreme borders of our universe. It could be that our perceivable universe exists on this boundary. Human consciousness could behave like anti-matter when it comes into contact with material reality. The resultant explosion appears like a viable, ever-shifting, reality; much like the image the electrons in your television create, as they collide with the screen. In accordance with Norman McCaig's line "the frontier is never somewhere else," the edge of the universe may be no further than the tip of your nose.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Post 34

Often I find, as soon as I have fixed one problem in my personal life another bigger problem arises. I cannot forgo fixing one problem to avoid the greater one, I know to be looming on the horizon, because a small problem can quickly develop into an even larger problem. The older I get, the greater are the problems I face. Eventually, I surmise, I will reach the 'mother' of all problems, which will quite possibly be an existential crisis. Once you have defeated this enemy, nothing on Earth can effect you. You defeat the enemy by not letting it effect you. This may seem a dismal and hopeless state of affairs. But we should realise that these problems are tests to help us grow, and therefor have our best interests at heart, in a sense. So, it is important to remember to remain positive, and to keep educating ourselves about the best means of defense against these continuous ordeals.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Post 33

Dreams have been interpreted as a place for the mind to act out its most intimate desires; a place to process complex ideas and information; or even as a means of prophecy and divination. Intense meditation can often dredge up memories of long forgotten dreams, dreams that appear not to fit into any of these pre-subscribed categories. Until, that is, the unexplained nocturnal visions are interpreted in terms of the current on-going meditational practice. Then, the dream will appear to the dreamer as a complex analogy of whatever mental processes are taking place within the practitioner's meditational state at that very moment.
For example, whilst attempting to dissolve a feeling of melancholy from deep within my soul, I was reminded of a dream that is much too long and complex to get embroiled in here, but whose overriding theme was of moving into a house in the country surrounded by potato plants. What is remarkable about this is that the memory of the dream sprung from 4 or more years previous, and in all that time I had only ever thought about it once (when I recalled it upon waking).  Now, it could be that the mind possesses this extra-ordinary prescience only when it comes to the trials and tribulations of meditation, or it could be that in this state, the mind can adjust the meaning of any amorphous situation to suit its needs at that very instant. But either way it shows that this area of the mind is capable of a kind of situational synaethesia, being able to convert external experiences into internal disputes or resolutions. This is a very remarkable feat, indeed - but it makes me wonder; Is this is not what we are always doing with every moment of our waking lives?