Dec 9, 2012

O Christmas Tower

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

The Eiffel Tower seems to be trending. Decorative accent sculptures, lamps, candle holders, 3D puzzles and, of course, the traditional art prints -- I've been seeing them in increasing numbers in stores over the past couple of years. But I knew something had really hit critical mass when I noticed a Christmas lawn ornament in front of a neighbor's house.

I've been acutely aware of this particular trend not because I'm so besotted with the idea of Parisian glamor. I don't really have a burning desire to see gay Paris. As with so many things that seize my attention, at this point, my interest is more esoteric.

Many years ago, I went to a shamanic journey workshop. It consisted of live drumming as we all attempted to journey questions suggested by the organizers. One of the questions had to do with finding community. I was a tad disappointed to learn, in my journey, that I have no community and would not have until I accomplished certain spiritual initiations. None of this surprised me, exactly, but it was still a little frustrating. Central in this journey was a kind of mountain... tower... thing. My sense was that I would have to reach the pinnacle of it before I could connect with my community. And my sense was that it would take years. It was a very sharp, elongated triangle, with concave sides. I drew my impression of it when I completed the journey. And I thought, but that's the Eiffel Tower. What on earth could that form have to do with anything? It's not a pyramid. It's not a tetrahedron. It's not any of those cardinal, sacred geometry forms, that I would expect. But there it was. A very rudimentary Eiffel Tower form. For some time, I refused to believe that the shape I'd been shown had anything to do with something that had become, in my mind, a cliche of American Francophilia. But it came up, over the years, in other journeys and meditations. The shape was unmistakable. Nearly ten years later, I gave up on denying that there was some connection to the iconic architecture.

Recently I read Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval's The Master Game and the whole thing came a little clearer. The Eiffel Tower has very esoteric origins -- as do the American and French revolutions.

Eiffel, too was a Freemason -- so let us note in passing that the first two levels of his famous steel tower, according to French engineer Jean Kerisel, are shaped like a pyramid. Eiffel would certainly have been aware that about a century before, in 1792, a pyramid had been erected on the very same spot on the Champs de Mars in Paris to commemorate the French Revolution. (p. 500)

This architectural predecessor of the Eiffel Tower had been ascended by Robespierre, along with a large delegation of Parisian officials, in a dramatic celebration of a Supreme Being in 1794. At its summit Robespierre was raised, next to a symbolic "Tree of Liberty."

Let us note that in the iconography of the Revolution the all-seeing-eye (or 'Eye of Providence') was often shown above the 'Tree of Liberty' while at other times it was also seen within a glowing triangle or pyramid hovering above the scene, much like the symbol seen today on the US one-dollar bill. This symbol, in fact, was originally designed for the so-called Great Seal of the United States in 1776 by a committee that included Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. (p. 30)

So we're back to our benben on the tree/pyramid. And this is what makes the idea of an Eiffel Tower Christmas lawn ornament so very, very perfect. The symbolism of the Christmas tree that I discussed here at some length is of a piece with that of the Eiffel Tower. This is something that snapped into focus for me a week or so ago when I was walking by the home decor section at Target. I noted, as I inescapably do now, some new Eiffel Tower art. A moment later I saw Christmas tree sculptures that were not round, but squared off into elongated, tapered pyramids. The similarity in form was quite striking.

All of this speaks to my long-held theory that the icons and architecture of both the French and American revolutions are about freedom and liberty in a sense far deeper than that of political tyranny. These are symbols -- and psychic triggers -- of ascension.

I was recently struck about dumb by the depth of a perfume ad starring Julia Roberts. Yes, you read me right: A perfume ad starring Julia Roberts.

"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau

You can just make out the Eiffel Tower in the background. And the snapping of, albeit very pretty, Rousseauian chains is unmistakable. There is a little back story to that ad that I think is relevant. It was directed by Tarsem Singh, whose films like The Fall, The Immortals, and Mirror, Mirror, explore myths, archetypes... and, total surreality. The Cell was deeply weird. Pretty. But deeply weird. That said, Singh is really quite brilliant.

The music is from Belgian band Venus and "Beautiful Days" was a huge, international hit. Of possible interest, it was used in a completely bizarre film called Immortel. This Egyptian-themed, dystopian film culminates in a scene at, you guessed it, the Eiffel Tower. This video splices it together with other movie footage and gives some idea of the feel and subject matter of the film.

In late summer I went to see Dead Can Dance whose new album Anastasis and world reunion tour came as the most wonderful, wonderful surprise. I had never seen them live and hadn't expected I ever would. What this opportunity meant to me, at this stage in my spiritual odyssey, would be hard to put into words. I know this because I've tried. So I was also quite stunned when they released their Opium & Paris video.

The Eiffel Tower is definitely trending.

1 comment:

  1. Community, huh? Maybe not in this dimension?;-)
    Another great and fascinating article, LaVaughn, thank you.


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