Sunday, January 23, 2011

The following blogspots center on a variety of subjects, which I have initiated. You are invited to look and respond. Not-Violence main subject Temple of Janis (John) site Arguments for systems change Sacrificial crisis in Latvia

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.  * text between [ ] is not part of quote.
The 4th Awakening

36 The Arrival of the Naïve Gods
© Eso Anton Benjamins

Among the first of the naïve Gods to arrive in Latvia ready for the box whence the naïve Gods of a fictive “pagan” past could be drawn was Bear Wrestler (Lāčplēsis).
Not that the Bear Wrestler had always been fiction. A long time ago, when the forest was Alma Mater of not only proto-Latvians, but of all of humankind, the Bear Wrestler had the role of what modern anthropologists call the scapegoat and religious people call the sacrificial lamb. Later, when secular and violent neo-Christianity replaced not-violent arch-Christianity’s real sacrifice (click here herehere, and here) with a fictional one, the Bear Wrestler became an arms bearing military hero (here, and here.)
To explain the difference between the use of naked hands and a sword or a spear or a gun, I will refer to Rene Girard, from his book “Violence and the Sacred”. Writes Girard: “As long as violence remains present among men, and as long as men pursue it as an absolute, as a kind of divinity, it will continue its devastating oscillations.” In his text, Girard discusses violence in terms of Greek kudos, a term used by Homer. As the Greeks understood it, violence brings a fickle victory. Victory through violence will, too, be overthrown by violence, and, thus, peace established by violence will be short lived. Seen from this perspective, the Latvian Bear Wrestler with a sword in his hands cannot and does not bring about a permanent peace.

After Latvia declared its independence (1918) other former erstwhile Latvian Gods are added to the box of the naïve Gods. All are become bloodless. It is likely that the Gods lost their blood in the long trek through the swamp of history that began with Bishop Alberts humiliation of the king and kingdom of Jersika in 1209 and the year 1873, when the tsar burnt the “Lihgo" book, the cover of which became the flag of the yet proto-Latvians and their song festivals.

Laima, the Goddess of Fate, one whose theological name translates as “Dearest Goddess”, the superior equivalent of God (who with no little violence usurped the Sun), becomes but a Goddess in a linen shirt with folk design embroidery. The Goddess who was the midwife to the newborn and took the baby into her hands on a towel is not remembered in any Latvian maternity hospital now; never mind that Thunder (Pērkons) passes overhead without a show of real anger, and no one knows who John is or Johns were.

Even so, in our time Bear Wrestler covers for the bloodlessness of the others Gods or demi Gods, because his name has been sacralized by it becoming identified with Latvia’s defenders and war dead. The Bear Wrestler is a badge of honor and it has every Latvian’s respect. However, this fact does not allow us to forget and forgive that he is used by a unipolar government as reason not to offer John (Jahnis) the right to be either the firstborn or second born of twins if Bear Wrestler and John may be so regarded.

What may be classified as “the naïve gods” (I am not sure what anthropologists call them) of Latvia are largely inventions of one man, one E. Brastins. While the membership of Brastins native church (projected as serving on behalf of Latvian Latvians) never had a huge membership (the count at this time is said not to exceed more than 1000), its audience in the late 1920s and the 1930s was most of Latvia. Brastins Gods served to fill the vacuum left by the dismissal (through secularization) of the Children of Johns Midsummer Festival and replacing it with what is known today as Midsummer Picnic where an occasional “lihgo” song (a ululation forgot) may still be sometimes heard.

As already mentioned (see previous blogs), for the Latvians the way to the present leads through the puritanical straight jacket of the Lutheran and Catholic churches on to a puritanical secular shoal of ethnic nationalism, a term that translates as fascism. This running aground of the ship of state was not only traumatic, but intolerable. In the 1920s and 30s a number of such ships—bled white by the devastating oscillations of the swords of violence of World War 1 and lobotomized of all memory of not-violence through self-sacrifice—were in great dread of being overrun by an Apocalypse. Russia (disguised as the Soviet Union), then Germany (disguised as Deutchland uber Alles) joined by Italy, France, and, yes, Latvia, and others, began to check the break-up of their respective communities by checking extreme individualism with reciprocal violence. Then with internal order temporarily reestablished, they all vied with each other for “semidivine prestige, of mystical election attained by military victory.” That Latvia would be a loser in this game was almost a foregone conclusion.

Latvia’s semidivine leader became Karlis Ulmanis, one of the founders of Latvia as a secular neo-Christian nation. Could Ulmanis save Latvia? As it turned out, the President played an evolutionary role. He was another phase in the relay race among the bloodless secular Gods.

The Story of Crazy Jane and Clever John, Part 3
(…story begins at blog 15)

Clever John then buried Crazy Jane’s child, and the raven flew down from the tree to the ground and offered for John to climb on its back. Clever John wasted no time and lay down between the raven’s wings and buried his hands deep into her black feathers.

The raven rose into the air and Clever John raised his head to see where they were flying. They were just over the Ahdere River.

Clever John looked down and saw Crazy Jane still standing in the river and bailing empty buckets of water. It was only then that he remembered that he had never told Crazy Jane that the Sun had released her from her abortive labors.

“Hey, Crazy Jane,” yelled Clever John, “you can stop doing that. The Sun said so. I asked Her.”

“Thank you, Clever John,” answered Crazy Jane. She had raised her head and was looking up at Clever John. It was then that Clever John saw that that Crazy Jane was crying real tears and that the water she had been bailing from the river was not water but tears.

By then the raven was flying over the great oak tree where earlier on Clever John had seen all the people go hang themselves. They were still doing so. Clever John saw, too, that the Ahdere River began nearby and was from all the trickles of tears the people shed.

“Hey, you all,” yelled Clever John, “you can stop go hang yourselves. The Sun said so. I asked.”

One man looked up, and Clever John saw that it was the same man with whom he talked while on his way to Sun Mountain. “You are a liar, Clever John,” yelled the man back at him, “the Sun said that we could do so only after you hung yourself and would do so no more.”

(To be continued.)

Asterisks & Links of Interest

* text between [ ] is not part of quote.

Unchanged Feature: What is reality, what is myth?

Changing Feature: In the preceding posts, I started a compilation of video clips, which when seen as a linear sequence tell a story in a context which I hope will become apparent. No, I do not yet know where it is going to lead. This is a story with no end. If it began in the past (it must have), it is now moving parallel to the day we live in. Watching the film may or may not contribute to your understanding of my meaning. Put this clip as a tail to your communication so others may see. The origin of this post is at 

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