Sunday, November 28, 2010

Full or partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum – The 4th Awakening. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author,, or 

I suggest you look at the links imbedded in these blogs or at the end of the blog as an integral part of my argument.
The 4th Awakening

16 The Start of Clever John’s Via Dolorosa

Desire is not something that comes hormone driven. Desire is mimesis. Desire is like that sudden rush that makes me say: “I saw the banana first” and try to snatch it before you get it. You of course think: “I saw the banana first”. This is what is known as desire, imitation, wanting to get something done before the other can do it, competition.

If I were alone when I saw the banana, I might have decided not to climb after it, but rather pick the coconuts from the palm tree growing just a few feet away. Still, when I saw that you wanted the banana, my adrenalin got the better of me. Note that the adrenalin rush comes once I know that someone else wants the banana, not before.

The six brothers of Clever John, whose story began in the previous blog, all guessed (from what they knew of him) that Clever John would do wonders to get a horse and were therefore the first to grab theirs. Nevertheless, let us remember that Clever John never knew that he needed a horse, before his elder brothers told him that horses would be needed to get to the ball at The Old Witchs’ Inn tomorrow eve.

If Clever John had wished to go to the ball on his own, perhaps he would have grown moths’ wings as Peter Pan (Yan) did. However, the risk of going to the ball on his own, not saying anything to the brothers, and leaving them behind was that the brothers could make a butterfly net and catch him before he got past the gate. In such a case, it would stop or delay Clever John from getting to the dance floor first and choosing the prettiest bride. By leaving Clever John a limping horse, every one of the brothers improved their chances of getting the prettiest bride instead of John.

The above explains why Clever John is called Clever John. He chose as his competitors his six older brothers. He gave them all, himself including, seven horses sprung from seven bubbles.

Start of Clever John’s Via Dolorosa *

Rozinante carried Clever John over hill and dale, from the evening of yesterday, all through the next day. And when the evening of tomorrow came, they were not at The Old Witch’s Inn yet. All around on distant hilltops shone fires, but Clever John and Rozinante still had miles to go before reaching their destination.

By the time Clever John and Rozinante came to the inn, the evening and night were gone, and because Johns Night is the shortest night of the year, dawn was already showing her cheek. And—wouldn’t you know it—the Johns Eve ball was over.

You could tell the ball was over from the sound of snoring that rose from the ballroom floor. The proto-Latvians were great at snoring. They also did their merry making with abandon and with no constraint. They often drank to excess for three days and nights running, and sometimes for as long as two weeks. This particular Johns Eve Ball apparently had been some kind of orgy that had everyone exhausted in a short time. Perhaps the Old Witch herself had been presiding over “a real Black Sabbath” as in later years people called such proto-Latvian celebrations.

Except for this one thing that everyone had heard about, knew about, and paid no attention to: The ball at The Old Witch’s Inn was an old tradition, and the tradition warned that no one should sleep on Johns Eve or else everything thereafter would go to hell. Hell would come if but one person slept.

All six brothers of Clever John, the brides they had taken, and other guests lay on the floor or on the tables as if dead—except for the snoring. Arms and legs were hanging off almost every chair. No one had heeded the warnings to stay awake this one morning of the year. Everyone believed that the warning about everything going to hell was an idle joke.

Of the seven ballroom dancers, only Crazy Jane had stayed awake. Crazy Jane Two and all the other of her sisters were all over the place. Here and there and everywhere lay bodies. What had apparently happened was that the six brothers had rejected Crazy Jane One for her six older sisters. They had partied, but she had not.

This turn of things did not sit well with Crazy Jane. She was stewing in her own juices as the saying goes. When she saw Clever John, she was ready for him.

“How are you, honey,” she said.

Clever John answered: “Sweets, I have never been better, but I am very tired.”

“I understand, Clever John,” said Crazy Jane. “You want a bed. Is that right?”

“Yes, babe, I mean Crazy Jane; and I don’t wish to be alone.”

“Oh, you will not be alone, Clever John,” said Crazy Jane. “There is more, there is even two of me when it comes to having fun.”

So, after Clever John had let Rozinante go to graze, trusting the Johns among the wolves to keep this one night their brethren in check and from the mare's throat, Crazy Jane and Clever John went to bed. They had a fun time. It was as it should be after a Johns Eve ball, neither too long, nor too short.

Both Crazy Jane and Clever John knew, nevertheless, that it was important not to miss the Sunrise on the day of the Sun's birthday.  So while the lovers dillied and dallied, they also knew that the Sun was coming up to see how many had stayed up the night to come greet her this one special morning.

“You know, Clever John, how mad my mother will be when she sees all the snorers. There is Hell coming for her pay.” Crazy Jane whispered into Clever John’s ear even more of the terrible things that were to come. Like, “…there will be many heads rolling” and “…blood all over”.

Crazy Jane continued: “The only way any of you can get away is if one of you wears my father’s boots. Oh, and does not forget to take me with him.”

“Darling,” said Clever John, you know I will. I will be happy to spend time with you twice.”

Then Crazy Jane gave Clever John two pairs of her father’s boots (she had stolen them from the Devil himself) and told him when and how the events would take place. Then she added another most important matter to her story: “Make sure you put these boots on the  legs of Rozinante. With their help, she will fly like Pegasus even with a double saddle on.”

Asterisks & Links of Interest

Friday, November 26, 2010

Full or partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum – The 4th Awakening. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author,, or

I suggest you look at the links imbedded in these blogs or at the end of the blog as an integral part of my argument.
The 4th Awakening

15 A Glimpse of Arch-Christian Proto-Latvians
While the persecution of the Arch-Christians by the princely (proto-capitalist) oriented Neo-Christians is nothing new, the 13th century crusades by Pope Innocent III against Languedoc and Jersika, stand for what 20th century called a “total war” effort. The attacks were coordinated affair even if this may be the first time some readers hear of it.

The persecutional nature of the war in Languedoc is relatively well documented, though lecturers such as Caterina Bruschi and her book “The Wandering Heretics of Languedoc” are only now leading away from the persecutors’ version of the events. The Hundred Years War Plus (actually continuing through to our own day) brought against the Arch-Christians by the crusading Neo-Christians (the neo-capitalist predations of today being the most recent expression of materialism on the march), drove aggressively into Eastern Europe and the proto-Latvian lands.

The persecutors’ version of history remains to this day little challenged in the territories once inhabited by proto-Latvians. This phenomenon may be explained to be the result of the violently repressive conversions to Neo-Christianity that were instituted by the apologists for violence. It may also be due to the material poverty of the area called Livonia. Scholars and historians are, plainly put, scarce here, and such as are have little time and money to take sabbaticals, travel, and devote themselves to creative research. Even the educated elite of Europe are following their long ago persecutors’ version of European history.

One unchallenged concoction that is passed around as historical fact in Latvia is that the forebears of Latvia were peasants and, therefore, present day Latvians are descendants of peasant stock. The turnip is said to be one of the plants proto-Latvians brought into being. Glory be to the turnip, but the turnip cannot hide the fact that all the rest of the blarney serves well the ruthless utilitarianism of Neo-Christian origin. Presently it has succumbed to the pressure of the Swedish banks going broke because of overextended credit giving, but now impose their sin on spiritually battered proto-Latvians not yet sure they wish to become pseudo-Latvians. But with the self-consciousness battered, many agree to pay their debts with haste, and being weak in the knee are cutting down what remain of the private forests in Latvia.

Many of the resourceful eliminators of so-called peasants are descendants of former Latvian emigrants returning to Latvia in blessed ignorance to blessed ignorance. None remember that not all that many centuries ago a battleship sunk needed to be replaced by 2000 oak trees for the mainframe and many more other kinds of wood for the rest. No urban dweller knows that a blueberry bush destroyed in the rape of the forests needs 25 years to grow back and bear berries, let alone anyone care if the forest is ever replanted. Latvia has become a land presided over by savant idiots knowledgeable in the history of Pop, Jazz, Wall Street, and the Will of Washington, but dead to Nature—both forest and human.

The one festival that has been around for many centuries and should remind Latvians that they are descended from a people of the forest is called the Johns Festival. Once John Lahch-auss [Lāčauss, whence Lataus (see blogs 9-10), whence latvis] was the twin brother of the traveling heretics who made the roads of Languedoc live. Did a branch of them become the famed troubadours of that land?  Krishjahnis (Krišjānis) is the same Krstjan who traveled the roads of old Bosnia. The prefix Krst translates better as Keyjohn rather than John Kristian. Moreover, the first name of the Languedonian Bear Slayer (the most meritorious of all Latvians character goals) is John. Indeed, a Jean Bear Slayer was also a hero in Languedoc (now in France).*

With the name of John Bear Slayer in mind, let us move now to Jersika, which became part of Livonia. John Bear Slayer was a familiar figure in Livonia. However, the proto-Latvian Bear Slayer was nowhere like the Slayer Bear Slayer of Pumpurs and Rainis. His Passion Story was unlike that of poet Pumpurs Bear Slayer. In fact, the proto-Latvian story of Lāčauss is moldering in the library waiting to be brought to light and be one for a laugh and a tear.

But this is most curious: Even if the story is for a laugh, it can be deciphered as once having been for serious contemplation. This writer discovered the story with the help of the Search button. Though my retelling of it has added some features to replace some missing bricks, its core message reveals itself clearly enough. Objections may be made over the minor changes and additions, but I make no apologies for making the story more accessible by contributing minor quantities of cement. The heart of the people of the forest is still there. Perhaps not as visible as one may wish, but the zeitgeist certainly is neither Herrnhutian, New Current, Ulmanist, or post-Soviet Latvian.

I believe that the mastmakers of old Riga would have listened to the story as one of their own, and the age before them, and them as well.

The Story of Crazy Jane and Clever John
 Copyright Eso Benjamins ***

There once lived a boy by the name of Clever John. Clever John was so clever that he told his six older brothers not to get married before he grew up. And just because Clever John was so clever, his six brothers agreed to wait for him.

When he was grown up, Clever John said to his brothers: “The day after tomorrow is Johns Day and midsummer. There will be a big ball at The Old Witch’s Inn. We will pick and take our brides there and then.”

[Witch is called Ragana in Latvian, which means ‘clever woman’ in Swedish; but perhaps has an even older reading, re: Ra-jana, Daughter of the Sun; agreed, the G slips to become J(Y).]

“Great,” answered Clever John’s brothers, “but we have no horses to get there.”

“No problem,” answered Clever John, “just catch me seven crickets, and I will fix it.”

The six brothers of Clever John went and caught seven crickets, put them in a sack, and brought the sack to Clever John. Clever John invited his brothers to go with him to the sea. When at the sea’s edge, Clever John opened the sack, shook the seven crickets into the water and gave them a bath.

Clever John’s seven brothers stood with their mouths wide open. “What a clever guy!” they thought. Their mouths opened even wider when the crickets, just about when they were drowned, turned into a bubble, and from the bubble arose seven horses.

Clever John’s brothers wasted no time. They jumped on their horses, left Rozinante **, the sickly looking seventh, for Clever John. They were off for The Old Witch’s Inn.

As for Clever John, he only smiled to himself and said: “No problem. I will get there sooner than later.” John then mounted Rozinante, and off they rode. One could see that Clever John was a little too heavy for Rozinante, because she trotted with a limp.

[More to follow.]

Asterisks & Links of Interest

* Kabinets, A Journal for Reading, October 2010 issue, p. 15. An interview with historian Kaspars Kļaviņš. Kļaviņš says (my translation from Latvian): “…in southern France, Languedoc and the Pyrenees there is a story cycle about a hero called Jean Son of a Bear….” I will appreciate if any reader has a direct source and/or quote—in English if possible.

** [Rozinante is of course the invention of Cervantes to give Don Quixote a mare to ride on. I pass the name on to Clever John’s mare, because it gives the story greater immediacy. Could Don Quixote be John? —especially if D slips to become J(Y). Yon Quixote? Hmm. In which case the name of Jane may once have rimed with Mare, and which is why Crazy Jane may have ridden a horse called Crazy Mare.]

*** The starting point of the story čan be found at “Ceļojums uz viņu sauli”, 3. A. 327. B. 460. A. K. Bramanis, Rīgas apg. LP, V, 36 (3, 1)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Full or partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum – The 4th Awakening. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author,, or

I suggest you look at the links imbedded in these blogs or at the end of the blog as an integral part of my argument.
The 4th Awakening

14 The Proto-Latvian View of the Here and Now (II)

In the previous blog (13), I mentioned the populist hypothesis, i.e., that the endearing word [officially (and politically) referred to as the diminutive] was embedded in the Latvian language by anonymous proto-Latvians living their own lives in the primeval forests of Europe as yet undisturbed by philosophers.

The embedment of piety (not necessarily in its “Romanized” meaning) in the Latvian language is so profound, that to this day the language retains the potential for being one of the more religiously expressive languages in the world. It stands as a mute counterargument to NATO’S aggressive and violent methods of peacekeeping of which the Latvian government forces the nation to be part. The government policy holds in contempt the spirit of the Latvian language. Only the poverty presently visiting the people has reduced Latvia’s commitment to NATO from the previous 2% to about 1% of its budget.

The hypocrisy of Latvian parliamentary democracy has its origins in the militarist atmosphere prevalent during WW1. As everyone knows, the evidence of the founding act of Latvia is but a single photograph. Moreover, the founding act is a divisive event painted over by legalistic jargon (after entering the site, go to “hronologija”, then “1918”, then to the date “18.11.1918”, and then click “Tautas Padome”—text will appear in Latvian).

This is not to say that Latvia has no reason for being and is without a founding act, but the labyrinthine complexity of the last allowed the powers that arose to ignore the Latvian people as a populist entity. This in turn allowed the newly formed Latvian government to act democratically only in a “parliamentary” sense.

The people of Latvia were never allowed to participate in forming their own system of government and then a government within the system. The “culture” Latvians received was imposed on them from above. That “culture” was overwhelmingly a secularist government resting on a Neo-Christian base of lackey mediators between God and a government that presumed itself to be “the Latvian people”.

Whilst the Latvian government was pressed by the zeitgeist of the time to separate itself from the church and eventually dropped Lutheranism as the official religion of Latvia, its separation from Neo-Christianity was never complete. As a result, the Latvian people who in 1991 reconstituted themselves as a nation, never in the seventy years since the end of WW1 had the opportunity to align their subjective selves according to the sensibilities prevalent in their community. The latter has been vulgarized by such words as “paganism” (actually an echo of the repression of the Children of Johns, re pa-Yans become pagans) or become elevated to “metropolitanism”, a mystical (abstract) secular religion promoted by the American Central Intelligence Agency as a substitute for a religion of not-violent direct action.

The curious result of culture from above was a myth that claimed that culture was defined by language, the expressive forms of which language the government then felt free to repress. Having got rid of orthodox religion as its sidekick, the government engaged the public media to continue what Neo-Christianity had been doing from its inception. To better accomplish its will, the government bore down on the language of the natives with the heel of the media, which was backed by the near indestructible legal rubber of the law. The combination squeezed the subjective self dry of the last drop of anonymous reverence—as Albert Schweitzer had it—“reverence for life”. Populist subjectivity as expressed by the endearing word and its twin, rationalist piety (as brought to Latvians by the Herrnhuters), was hung to cure as shoe leather for lawyers doing the thinking for Latvia’s government officials.

As a result of their studied contempt, politicians, lawyers, and journalists now make a joke of pietistic speech; and the residue of culture—especially as it is propagated by the Latvian media—may be read in the rubbishy emails found at popular internet sites. Today the subjective elements of the Latvian language finds use only when one is back at the apartment, where, alas! one has access only to one’s nuclear family.

The denial of language while at the same time asserting its necessity is transparently self-serving, and sets up a self-referential system within which dishonesty and corruption always go unrecognized, unpunished, and are pretended to be innocent of any wrong. Such secularist and elitist pretension when continued over a period of twenty years as in the case of post-Soviet Latvia (or 70+ years as in post-1918 Latvia) inevitably brings about depression. Such a depression may rouse those sitting at the common table to seemingly unaccountable anger. The anger engenders conflicts that may become violent. It takes only one incident that leads to death for the death to be reciprocated and for the given society to destroy itself.

This is to say that sustained unfamiliarity with one’s language may lead not only to depression and civil war with close neighbors, but to the disintegration of the community. This is why the proto-Latvian community, trapped and forced to become pseudo-Latvian, may in a last ditch effort to save itself, discovers the idea of the scapegoat anew.
A long time ago, the people of one literate community (the Greeks) called the scapegoat by the name of Oedipus. Oedipus came to Thebes as if to save the city from a plague. Having saved the city’s children from being used as human sacrifices, Oedipus was certainly blessed with an overabundance of charisma. However, because Oedipus was determined to forego any sacrifice himself, many unexpected things happened. He lost his charisma, he did not save the city, and the Thebans gave him an ultimatum: either eat the mushroom we give you or be murdered by us.

Caught helpless by the fraternal violence brought to Christendom by the irreverent secular wing leveraging its powers to the nth through the audacious manufacture of Neo-Christianity, the Children of Johns were left to be persecuted, killed, and forgot.

The full brunt of the persecutors of Arch-Christianity arrived in the Baltics with the Neo-Christian crusades of 1209. Some historians excuse the incursion as justified, because it stopped the fighting between the Baltic tribes, the Lithuanians against others predominating. On the other hand, surely the Teutonic Knights were interested not only in dominating the Balts, but in bringing to the Balts a secular God to eliminate the wandering Johns, the sons of the Sun and the community builders of the Balts.

The Neo-Christians were determined to make of Johns a joke and turned his Passion into a story about Clever John that was meant to be understood as a joke.
Asterisks & Links of Interest
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Full or partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum – The 4th Awakening. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author,, or

I suggest you look at the links imbedded in these blogs or at the end of the blog as an integral part of the argument.
The 4th Awakening

13 The Proto-Latvian View of the Here and Now (I)

In order to discover the proto-Latvian view of themselves and their future, we need to reconstruct an ever so brief spiritual history of our forebears. As argued in my previous blog (12), the zionationalist “mythical historical narrative” of Latvia that prevails in our day is actually a story of how one history is murdered to substitute it with another. How did this come about?

The mythical historical narrative of Latvia originates at about the same time as Zionism. Though the histories of Zionist Israel and zionationalist Latvia are distinct stories, both nationalist groups originate in the abandonment of their respective early religious backgrounds, which are substituted by a secularist orientation.

Since the ideal of a secularist orientation is global in outlook, once the secular entity was separated from its religious base, and in order not to dissolve in its own all materialist plasma, it needed to find something to anchor itself to and then provide itself with a new body, a new singularity. That “something” to which secularism attached itself was the geo-political state—re Israel and Latvia. However, the body or singularity discovered itself in a newly created fictional community—ethnicity, known also as ethnocentricity or ethnocentrism.

Since the story of the Bible and the presumptions that go with it are well known, this writer will concentrate on the religious origin of the proto-Latvian people instead.

Earlier blogs of this series argue that indeed the proto-Latvian Children of Johns have more in common with the Herrnhuter-Hussite-Lollard-Cathar-Bogomil religious orientations than the fictions of Dievturi (Believers in Old Gods), a fetishistic and pseudo-religious movement that arrived to zionationalist halleluiahs (though not to state recognition) in post-foundation Latvia, c. 1925.

To give the Children of Johns reality as a religious community (something the current cultural ethos denies them), this writer argues that contrary to the presumptions of our day, Christianity consists of two Christianities. The first Christianity, of which the Children of Johns or proto-Latvians were a part (and likely would still be part of if Johns were not repressed), is called Arch-Christianity. The second or currently prevailing Christianity may be called Neo-Christianity.

The origins of Arch-Christianity are buried in the strata that form the beginnings of civilization. However, the Children of Johns—as all Johns related religious communities (think Dionysius and more) were once known—are grounded in the religion of sacrifice, said sacrifice commonly known as the scapegoat. I will touch on some of the specifics of this ritual practice of the Children of Johns in due course.

Starting about a thousand years ago (some say the 9th, some the 13th centuries), Arch-Christianity was beginning to be repressed by a new form of Christianity, re Neo-Christianity. This assumption is not shared in by Neo-Christian officialdom, which believes that its form of Christianity is all inclusive. Be that as it may, it is nevertheless likely to be true that there was an Arch-Christian entity. The Neo-Christians—born of secularism and brought into being as an exclusive entity by non-sacred princes—were destined to change the nature of religion for the worse.

The foundation stone of the beliefs of the Children of Johns was that if there was to be a non-violent community, personal sacrifice was as unavoidable as it was essential. Contrary to Rene Girard (see link to “scapegoat” above), it is likely that the original scapegoat was one’s own self rather than some arbitrary victim, whether human or animal. After all, it is not the scapegoat or lamb, but the charisma that comes to whoever overcomes the fear of death that enables a group of loose knit people to focus their attention on the sacrifice and allows it to become the core armature for a newly founded or reconstituted community.

A community built on a foundation of self-sacrifice is necessarily a pietistic community, because piety is the reaction of an audience to charisma. And interestingly enough, the piety of the Latvian Children of Johns is imprinted in the Latvian language. One cannot say “dear” in Latvian without thinking “dearest”. At the same time, our out synch “modern times” continues to repress the endearing word with a zeal Luther might be proud of. To illustrate the point a little further, all we need to do is take a look at the treatment the Latvian language receives from its media in our own day.

The language of the Latvian public media (newspapers, television, internet news platforms, etc.), communicates only a small fraction of what is communicable by the language as a whole—if besides the presumed objectivity of the media, one takes into consideration also its subjective potential as expressed by the endearing word. The denial of a public function to the endearing word denies the Latvian language its populist hypothesis, which has been imbedded in the speech of proto-Latvians for perhaps thousands of years. It is nothing short of nihilistic contempt for the language it uses by the Latvian media, or to put it in another way:  Latvia’s media impoverishes the language it presumes to be a function of through repressive disuse.

The subjective potential of the Latvian language (and no doubt many other languages) is left a cold room on the north side of the building. Not surprisingly, advertising with a capital “A” has taken possession of all the rooms facing east, south, and west.

P.S. Examples of the endearing word:
John < Johnny
Bird < birdie
Mouse < mousey
Alas, the endearing word in the English language has been in disuse for so long that it feels cramped and immature. In the Latvian language, the endearing word is every noun, including my computer, re kompihts.

(To be continued.)

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Full or partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum – The 4th Awakening. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author,, or

I suggest you look at the links imbedded in these blogs or at the end of the blog as an integral part of my argument.
The 4th Awakening

12 Lihgo, John Whoever (1918)

If in 1873 a Latvian artist could still believe that when drawing a representative figure of a Latvian, he could do no wrong by portraying Latvis as John, by 1888 this was no longer true.

Came 1888, the Latvian poet Andrejs Pumpurs published the pseudo epic “Lāčplēsis" (Bear Slayer). Borne on wings of fictitious history (composed 1872-1887), Bear Slayer soon replaced John, Son of the Sun.

The origin of Pumpurs’ Bear Slayer figure is uncertain. While Latvian schoolbooks claim that the origins are to be sought in Latvian folk tales, it is more likely that the folk tale is a variant of mythological figures popular in the middle ages. One such figure appears in Martin Luther’s illustrated Bible, another is an illustration by the famed medieval artist Lucas Cranach. In both instances the figure is named Samson, the Lion Slayer.

Following the example of Pumpurs, another Latvian poet, Rainis, wrote “Uguns un Nakts” (Fire and Night), a play in the sing-song style of Latvian folk songs. The political function of the play, published in 1905, was to confirm Bear Slayer (see Prologue) as a true figure of Latvian mythology. Because Rainis was a member of the Socialist Democratic Workers Party, he, like Pumpurs, had little use for the religious notions of Latvian pa-yans (pagans). Pumpurs, an officer in the Tsars army, who fought against the Turks alongside the Serbs, was declared by Rainis to be a Latvian “peoples’ soldier”. Thus, it came to be that on the symbolic level the first Bear Slayer Medal of Honor (Lāčplēša ordenis) was awarded by a poet to a poet, by Rainis to Pumpurs.

Rainis subtitles his play “old songs sung to new melodies”. In fact, the play is anything but an old song. The name of John or Johns (Jahnis in Latvian) does not make an appearance. Instead, the Bear Slayer is Pumpurs’ and Rainis’ version of the German Siegfried.

As soon as Bear Slayer is invented, he makes haste to take John’s place. This happens with less ado than when Jacob tricks Esau out of his birthright. All that is remembered of Johns by Pumpurs is “Lihgo”. Indeed, Pumpurs has Bear Slayer and Laimdota (Good Fortune) marry—would you believe it?—on Johns Day without John ever being mentioned. Instead of the name of “John”, we hear “Lihgo” and “Lihga”.*

Privileged by hindsight, we see today that though Bear Slayer had the brawn to jump on the wagon of history (however Pumpurs-Rainis, et al perceived the trend of events at the time), it did not take long for the cart to spill Bear Slayer into a ditch.

In terms of long-term history, Bear Slayer, a man not reluctant to use violence, brought with him disaster. Not that this was perceived at the time of Bear Slayer’s creation. The failed Revolution of 1905 was nursed back to health by the intelligentsia using as salve not words of love, patience, and wisdom, but words full of patriotic gore urging violence. The disconnection between the psyche of the Latvian people (which was and remains embodied in the endearing word) and the intelligentsia was near total.

Following the failed revolution of 1905, the critical mind ought to have perceived that the Latvian “New Current” movement had constructed (on the heels of repressed Herrnhuters) a nationalist monster called “Mythical Historical Narrative”. There ought have occurred a return to the narrative of actual historical events. However, the failed revolution helped the nationalist wagon to uncouple itself from the long-haul train moving toward an educated and critical society. The uncoupled wagon was soon romanticizing violence and hurtling down a sidetrack toward renewed social chaos. The spark that ignited the Pandora’s box of the Western world arrived with the outbreak of WW1 (1914).

Baumanu Kahrlis, the Latvian artist who drew the first Latvian as John (1872) and wrote the Latvian national anthem (also 1872), gives clear evidence that his mind was divided between choosing John or God. Not surprisingly, God was the winner. Since the secularist military forces with neo-Christianity in their tow had succeeded in putting up God (no one quite knew what God was or stood for) as their leader [I am thinking of the Wehrmacht belt buckle on which we read “Gott mit uns” (God with us)]—the secular forces, military or otherwise, could do whatever they wished. Apparently intimidated, Baumanu Kahrlis stopped using the name of John and used the name of God in place of the unknown travelers (see Blog 11).

The repressions encouraged by the Lutheran (and Protestant) zeitgeist guaranteed that the name of John would not recover. The name remained in use only in so far that it identified the midsummer festival as an event specific to Latvians. But because the origin of Johns was wilfully mystified and its sacred function denied, today the festival is little more than a picnic on midsummer’s day. The neo-Christian churches, having blended their respective institutions with those of secular power, deny that they have anything to do with the murder.

The great fortune (or could it be misfortune?) of the nationalists who fell out of their zionationalist wheelbarrow was that they lost consciousness the moment they fell to the road. When the zionationalists recovered consciousness, they did not wish to recall the catastrophe (the long-term social disorder that followed the 1918 declaration of independence) and were only too happy to forget that God had once been known among Latvians (and many other people) by the name of John or Johns. Moreover, the Children of Johns (Jāņu bērni) and their leaders, the latter once known as Krstjans (Krišjāņi) or Keyjohns, too, had by this time lost consciousness of themselves as an organized community.

The Johns whom we once greeted “Good day, John”, and who answered “A good day to you, John, too!”—that John (or Jane-Zhane) was you and me. It was through the murder of these Johns that a trans-nationalist culture was murdered. This is why the holy snake known as “zalkts” (the common grass or garter snake) of the Balts is twisted around itself in a knot of pain to this day. It is not allowed to be itself.

More specifically, the reason “John” was not written across the first Latvian flag was because the tsar, the barons, and the neo-Christian church forbade it. They knew that the Children of Johns were not only loyal to their own community (nation), but transcended it, and could encompass and be encompassed by a much larger entity. In effect, the Children of Johns were proto-Latvians with a mission.

One should not be surprised if the penalty the tsar rendered anyone recollecting the name of the Children of Johns was to send them to Siberia. Of course, by this time the Russian tsar was described as the very opposite of what the name “Ivan” meant to his early forebears. By a process of inverting the sacred into the secular, Ivan the Sacrifice became Ivan Grozny.

The Latvians celebrate their Independence Day on the 18th of November. As happy as the Latvians may be over their forebears’ success at establishing a space for their community, they remain very much under the sway of supernationalists, political powers who are heirs to the zionationalist abandonment of their forebears’ religious orientation. The worship by the Latvian zionationalists of the superficies of the Latvian language, all the while ignoring the substance of it, is the knot laid across the road and prevents the Latvians of our day to succeed to a better day.

Asterisks & Links of Interest

* Pumpurs, Bear Slayer, Fifth Canto, first 4 lines, re:

Par gadskārtu Līgo nāca/ Savus bērnus apraudzīt -/Tad pa visām latvju ārēm/ Līgo, Līgo skanēja!
Every year Lihgo comes/ to see his children./ Then all over Latvia/ one hears sing Lihgo, lihgo! Etc.
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