T O - S E E - A - M A N - A B O U T - A - G O D
I wrote this in my notebook while in Wales for a long weekend mid January 2018.
WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE
THURSDAY 11th JANUARY 2018
“I have no time for the likes of you! Get off my property! The Police are already on their way!” The brutality with which Telford slammed his front door was like a fucking sledgehammer shattering my otherwise curious mood! Rolling my jaw, I backed away, glaring at that little cottage in the blackened woods wondering what the fuck had just happened?! Are you fucking kidding me?! This was bullshit! Another waste of my fucking time! I couldn't believe it! Fucking typical! Fucking idiot! Of course there's no fucking answers here! There's absolutely nothing here for me! Dumbfuck! Understand this – nobody owes me shit!
ANOTHER PARTY, ANOTHER BOOK
THURSDAY 3rd AUGUST 2017
At the barbecue in a penthouse garden, I was greeted by friends and an amazing sunset over Berlin. While the shallow political topics of conversation continued flowing with expensive red wine, the host pulled me aside. Malloy was an Irish chap, around fifty, and until that evening I had no idea that he worked at the Stock Exchange. A year ago, at another summer barbecue, Malloy pointed out that with a name like mine, I had to be a Protestant. I had never thought about it before then. A week ago, while at Yumi's birthday, Malloy mentioned that I wasn't just a Protestant, but also a Presbyterian. Trust the fucking Irish to focus on such details. While heading into the lounge, he recalled our conversation at Yumi's drinks, and then pulled out a huge book from the shelves next to his actual grand piano.
“That's why I had this little get-together this evening,” Malloy smiled handing me The Red Book, by Carl Jung. “Wanted to show you this. And finish my story about visiting his home.”
I spent the rest of the evening sitting at his enormous dinning table, examining the scanned pages of Jung's gorgeous handwriting and unique illustration style. Guests eventually began inspecting what held my fascinated, until at last Malloy joined the growing number at the table and retold his story from years ago. During a trip to Zurich for business, he had gone to visit the castle that Jung himself had built, Bollingen Tower. After speaking with someone who Malloy believed to be Jung's very own son, he was reluctantly allowed to see Jung's Cube. This was were the story had been cut short at Yumi's birthday. I closed the heavy book and turned my full attention toward the host. However, much to my disappointment, Malloy merely joked about the cube in a trivial fashion, before boasting about how much the book had cost him, before the American's changed the subject to the weekend's softball game.
CROSSING LINES AND SEVERING TIES
TUESDAY 14th NOVEMBER 2017
A spontaneous road-trip left me in Munich for the day while Mara had business meetings with the German military bigwigs. I'd never been to Munich before and had somehow mistakenly pictured it as Frankfurt. Instead of skyscrapers, I found much older, traditional architecture.
After investigating the many churches in the center of town, I headed east, down Maximilianstrasse. On my way, I spotted the spires of another cathedral highlighted by the low-set sun to my right. While heading closer, a big black Ranger Rover drove toward me and suddenly pulled over. A serious gray-haired man in a business suit with leather driving-gloves stepped out eyeballing me. He was one of the Thule boys from Berlin. Hard looking son of bitch. He handed over a small package, bluntly informing me that my services would no longer be required and that all previous modes of communication had been terminated. Without another word, he drove off.
I shrugged and didn't particularly care. At the time I hadn't even wondered why they'd suddenly changed their minds about my work, I just continued walking toward the church.
It wasn't until Mara was driving us homeward bound that it occurred to me that perhaps the Intrepid Supremacy wasn't exactly thrilled that I was still spending time with the Jew. Conflict of interest? Maybe. Associates may come and go, but my own agenda remained.
THROUGH THE LENS OF SELECTIVE DISTORTION
SUNDAY 26th NOVEMBER 2017
I returned to the American Church of Berlin for the third time in order to join the praise worship at 1:30pm. I had been in contact with the administration via e-mail, who had recommended that I steer my inquiries toward Pastor Tim. He was a young guy from the States who welcomed me in and was happy to chat after the service.
A much older Pastor led the modest congregation, and like my previous visits, I found his inoffensive tone of voice easy on the ears. I rather liked one of his little analogies about how ships weren't built to stay in the safety of the harbor where they would grow barnacles and rot, they must venture out into rougher seas.
After the gathering left, I had a long conversation with Pastor Tim, primarily addressing the question of Catholics Vs. Protestants. Beyond the obvious, Pastor Tim summed up the main difference being: you've already been saved so live a good life Vs. you must live a good life in order to be saved.
The caretaker was locking up the church, so we caught the Ubahn together and spoke on a more personal level. He was here for his fourth year of Seminary with his wife and three-month-old. As the train reached my station, he handed me his card if I had any more questions. I smiled and shook his hand, saying that I might indeed have more to talk about, like why Deuteronomy wasn't included in the Protestant Bible, and if he knew anything about Enoch.
He seemed to trust me, but I doubted how much I could really learn from a kid like him.
NON RECIPROCATING ALLIES
MONDAY 27th NOVEMBER 2017
To my disdain, I received an e-mail from Chloe. My first reaction was I to delete it before even opening the message. But the thought of Natalie Portman's ass got the best of me.
Chloe asked if I would go to England, some place in North West Leicestershire, and see a guy about an omphalos – like I would know what the fuck that fucking meant!
She promised not to interfere and wouldn't be there herself, insisting that I would understand once I saw what they had discovered.
Fuck that cunt!
I could still picture her surly fucking face as she let that prick Winstone nearly break my ribs with his fist.
FRIDAY 8th DECEMBER 2017
At my request, Mara organized a Rabbi to have a chat with me at the Shabbat Synagogue at Alexanderplatz. That evening we passed the police posted outside the entrance, and Mara introduced me to the friendly young Rabbi Nachum, he was about the same age as Pastor Tim. The men were soon led in prayer in front of the Torah niche, while the woman waited in separate room.
It was the so-called day-of-rage after Trump had stated that Jerusalem was the actual capital of Israel, however, the armed guard sitting in the corridor looked as bored as he was irritated by the squealing toddlers running about unrestrained.
Everyone moved into a dinner hall, where Mara and I sat next to the Rabbi's family. He was preoccupied with other duties, so I was introduced me to the young Israeli guy sitting on my right. Dressed in business-casual, he gladly dispelled the idea that all Orthodox Jews wore black like the Rabbi.
Later, once almost everyone else at the gathering had left, the Rabbi's equally young wife joined our ongoing conversation. She was outspoken about the important role of women in traditional Jewish life, and I couldn't help wondering if Mara wanted to argue tooth-and-nail with her. The Young Orthodox guy was a great source of knowledge, though he played it humble. The last topic was what had become of the other eleven tribes? The Rabbi's wife briefly brought up the Ethiopian Jews, and then Mara made some comment about Lilith, which instantly made all the women burst out giggling about some old wives' tale. Ethiopia keeps popping up in my research, and I can't help but consider that it needs further investigation.
When Mara and I left the building, the Police had already gone. I never did get a chance to talk directly with the Rabbi, but they welcomed me back if I ever had any more questions.
HOW MANY DEGREES OF SEPARTION
SATURDAY 30th DECEMBER 2017
Early that morning Pastor Tim introduced me to a member of the congregation who lived in a pre-war stone building right next to the church. Pastor Tim felt that Marcus could answer some of my more advanced questions in more detail than he was able. I hadn't noticed the old bald man at the previous services. His place was full of classical paintings and ancient tomes. A warm spot on a cold winter's day. Pastor Tim didn't stay long and once he had excused himself, Marcus and I shifted gear on the subject matter and went down the rabbit-hole of Genesis 5:21. When I told Marcus about the giants that I had seen in the forest of Romania, he thought I was joking. He then took a moment before suggesting that I talk to a guy who he had worked with in Saint Petersburg just after the Cold War had ended. Marcus assured me that there wasn't any more qualified individual to discuss altered states of consciousness and divination. The guy was a bit of a recluse, which had nothing to do with his retirement. I was keen on having a chat with the chap, but wasn't sure about traveling to Russia. Marcus waved his hand dismissively, getting out his address book, and saying that Telford was as English as they come and had moved to Wales twenty years ago. Marcus seemed more than pleased to arrange a meeting and began writing a letter by hand while I waited.
After I left his apartment, I strolled all the way into Mitte, feeling bothered by more than the freezing wind. As hospitable as everyone had been with my questions, their answers only ever seemed to snowball into even more questions. And I had a nagging skepticism in the forefront of my mind never to believe anything at face value. But I had to admit, I had found confronting the authorities on the matter to be a far more engaging exercise than consulting would-be online experts.
TO STUDY OR NOT TO STUDY
WEDNESDAY 3rd JANUARY 2018
I received an e-mail reply to my inquiry at the Edinburgh Theological Seminary. They wrote a rather extensive offer, proposing various courses both on campus and online, long and short-term.
After copying the message, I sat staring at the file on my computer for quite a while. How much could I learn? How much would I fail? The main problem that I foresaw was my interest in the crossover of theologies. There were too many paths that led away from one monolith of belief. The more I spoke with men of faith, the further they led me from the mainstream understanding of religion. But how far was so far that I'd find myself listening to complete hysterical conspiracy horseshit.
I had to know for myself. I needed to see what this guy in Wales had to say. So I booked a flight to the UK during a weekend that I knew I had all to myself.
WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE
THURSDAY 11th JANUARY 2018
It was raining when I left Berlin for the two hour flight to Manchester, and it was just as gloomy on the two hour train ride to the tiny medieval town of Conwy. I had missed the smell of the sea and the sound of seagulls, and watched birds circling the castle turrets silhouetted by the setting sun as I arrived. My hotel was right in the middle of the walled-in old town, with my room overlooking the church tower. The place reminded me of the British version of Bacharach. However, only the towers remained from the fortified walls in that picturesque village on the Rhine.
Enjoying the view from the waterfront, I decided to explore the entire length of the wall's battlements as night set in. I liked the black and white Tudor buildings, and heard a young couple mention that the place had been established by King Edward in the thirteenth century.
Once I bought some shortbread, I relaxed in my room until the church bell struck six o'clock. I was really looking forward to meeting Telford, after Marcus had mentioned his many adventures which seemed far more exciting than most academic scholars ever got up. As I was leaving, I found the hotel's bar and restaurant teeming with activity. I liked to stay in nice hotels, but hadn't realized I'd picked the social hub of Conwy on cold Welsh nights. But my previous belief was confirmed: British winters weren't anywhere near as bitterly freezing as Berlin's. Checking my phone for directions, I needed to follow the twisting road out of the town walls, and at a brisk pace I should be on his doorstep within five minutes. Heading up a hillside where there didn't seem to be any street lights, I marched through the pitch black, and soon spotted a small wooden gate below an A-framed cottage. A golden hue glowed within the dull windows, and I pressed the doorbell, glancing around the creepers arching above.
The door suddenly swung open and an old man with wavy white hair held up the hand-written letter from Marcus, yelling, “I have no time for the likes of you! Get off my property! The Police are already on their way!”
FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS
FRIDAY 12th JANUARY 2018
I awoke on my fortieth birthday to the smell of clean sheets and the squawks of hungry seagulls. The church bell struck eight o'clock, and I stared out of my window over the chimneys toward the nearby castle. I was reminded of the immensely disappointing experience I had had in that tiny French town when Amelia refused to see me. However, before crawling into bed, after having the smug knocked right off my face last night, it had occurred to me that I needed to provide Telford with a peace-offering. I required more than the hopeful promises of a third party. Before I had fallen asleep, I believed I knew what might just work. After all, I didn't fucking come here for nothing.
Over morning coffee, I began reading Blaise Pascal's, Pensées, however, was distracted by a tall girl who sat at the bar in a black bomber jacket with a big furry hood. It was her visible panty-line through her tight black pants that caught my attention. I've always taken a holistic approach to female objectification. It's not just about the tits or ass or face, it's about how it all works together. The whole meaty package. I liked her long fake brown hair, big thick eyelashes, and, what looked like from this distance, a hint of a nose-ring. Her bright pink designer handbag stood out from her blackened attire, and I caught her staring at me through the doorway into the restaurant before she did that classic teenage pout and casually looked away. As Pascal says, 'Wretchedness. The only thing that consoles us for our miseries is distraction, yet that is the greatest of our wretchednesses. Because that is what mainly prevents us from thinking about ourselves and leads us imperceptibly to damnation. Without it we should be bored, and boredom would force us to search for a firmer way out, but distraction entertains us and leads us imperceptibly to death.'
That chick disappeared while I was reading, so I decided to wander down to the castle ruins and clear her lecherous image from my head. Apart from all the huddling pigeons, I had the entire place to myself. It was an impressive piece of engineering. The paintings by the likes of Turner truly captured the daunting mood of the imposing walls. King Edward was long gone, but his imprint remained strong, just as the face of that female lingered along with the violence toward her that I had in mind.
While getting a coffee to-go, the chatty staff at the small cafe informed me that there weren't many old-school locals left. Most people that owned property here were well-off folk from out of town. I sat drinking my coffee in the sun on the waterfront, admiring the little fishing boats and yachts. All the street signs were in both Welsh and English, and half the time when I overheard stranger's conversations, I couldn't understand even when they were actually speaking English. Fucking enunciate your fucking words, you fucking cunts!
Heading around the shoreline, I made my way up into the woods. Climbing the hill, I found a park bench in the sun surrounded by trees, the perfect secluded location to desecrate the meat of the young.
While warming myself in the hotel's small library and writing in my notebook, a girl and her old granny sat in the armchairs next to mine. Not lowering my journal, I fixated on the girl's pale complexion contrasted by scarlet lipstick and her curly ebony hair. It was this female's tight jeans and thigh-gap that drew me in, hook, line, and erection. Instantly, I pictured her screaming, bleeding, suffering! I wanted to spoil that which presented itself as innocent. She was just another meat-insect. They're all playing the deceit-game. As too am I part of this mock-system: hide your lust, deny your hatred, and bottle-up your train of thought. The granny and girl didn't stay long, and I picked up Pascal, 'First part: That nature is corrupt, proven by nature itself.' There is no fucking second part!
The sky was clear when I headed out of the town walls to try a second attempt at winning an audience with Telford. The way seemed totally different to how I remembered it from last night. I saw plenty of lampposts along the stone-walled footpath, and once I reached Telford's cottage, I realized that it wasn't at all isolated in the woods but surrounded by other little houses. I noticed a lack of parked cars on the street, so assumed that maybe Telford was the only permanent resident in the neighborhood. Without further delay, I rang his doorbell. No response. I rang again. I knocked. Nothing. So I fucking thumped his fucking front door as my anger quickly returned! The silence utterly incinerated my fucking charitably offer of peace! I had come back for nothing! Shaking my fucking head, I walked away at a snail's pace. Fuming in disbelief, I stumbled along the road, eventually encircling the entire valley and village that lay outside the old town. For random periods of time I just stopped, staring at the trees, clenching my lips, jaw, and fists until the cold soaked through all my layers.
I was thankful as fuck that the radiator in my room was toasting the place. Defrosting with shortbread and the BBC, it was the persistence of the seagulls that got my tired legs outside again before the last light of day fucked off for good.
Strolling around the literal dead-center of town, I scowled at the graveyard surrounding the old church, and knew that this too was just another piece of cold dead stone. There was no god here. Fuck this place and fuck the righteous! I was too fucking freezing for a walk down to the waterfront, so headed back from whence I had come – when right then Telford came around the corner of the church.
“What are you doing here?!”
“It's my fucking birthday!”
“My condolences!” And he marched on by.
I sat alone eating rump steak in the hotel's busy restaurant, while Frank Sinatra, My Way, played at the bar – how motherfucking appropriate! As I chewed on the meat, I observed the youngest waitress and her plump round ass bobbing about all the guests. I sliced into the steak and wondered if her meat would go well with that delicious pepper sauce. So I was forty. I liked that number. Yeah, I was doing just fine. As long as I kept myself to myself. Like they say: know yourself, manners maketh man, and silence is golden. I didn't need any fucking help, as long as I crushed my perpetually foul mood behind a mask of normalcy, as Jeffrey Dahmer would say. I was perfectly fine. It was only meat that I was eating. Perfectly innocent fucking meat!
KNOWLEDGE AND CONVERSATION
SATURDAY 13th JANUARY 2018
It was an overcast morning, yet not so cold. I had slept in and missed breakfast coffee, so sat on the waterfront with a latte to-go. During the course of listening to Tenzin Choegyal, Lend Me Your Wings, the tide gradually withdrew. The gusts of wind created choppy patterns on the water until there was only the mud left to look at. A blue-eyed crow then stepped right up in front of me. We glared at each other, with neither of us having a fucking thing to say. Like the tide, we both knew that we wouldn't be around for anything meaningful to happen between us.
By the time the sad album ended, I was frozen and felt no better than persistently bitter. Rolling up my headphones cord, I ignored the stranger that sat down next to me on the bench.
“Don't you have more important things to do with your time?” Telford asked.
“Deus vult, motherfucker!” I snarled, barely suppressing my brittle hostility.
“He always was a bastard, wasn't he.”
I wasn't expecting that from a esteemed theologian. But then again, at this point, what the fuck did I really know about this fucking hermit. He was just a waste of time, so I stood and walked away.
“You look like a malefactor,” Telford stated abruptly.
“A criminal. With that mark on your hand.” He was staring out over the water as I turned toward him. “That snake tattoo.”
Digging my hands deeper into my coat's pockets, I waited.
“Accusata, scusata,” Telford muttered, slowly standing. “Tell me, do you know what a theodicy is?”
My legs were half numb from sitting in the cold, and the wind began whipping at my face stronger than before, yet I grit my teeth and grunted, “Enlighten me!”
“It's an attempt to justify why god allows evil to exist.” Telford spoke, still not facing me. “But tell me this, what's the fundamental fallacy behind such endeavors?”
“The mistaken belief that any fucking god actually gives a flying fuck about your sorry fucking ass in the first fucking place!” I spat without a second thought.
Telford raised his bushy white eyebrows, nodding his head. “Walk with me.”
I needed another coffee, but thought fuck it, perhaps this old coot might have something worth listening to.
“So Marucs tells me that you're captivated by The Book Of Enoch,” Telford grumbled, as we headed up into the shelter of the town walls. “Enoch begat Methuselah who begat Lamech who begat whom?”
“Who was special why?”
“Before that!” Telford sneered. “At his birth!”
“Something about his father thinking Noah looked like a freak.”
“No!” Telford barked. “'He is not like man but resembles the children of the angels of heaven.'”
“What does the great flood teach us?”
“That god fucking despises us! That the flood was the fucking end-times! And that we're currently living in a post-apocalyptic hell-hole!”
“What of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus?”
“What of the fallen angel that stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son?!”
“Who are you to make such divisive claims?!”
“Who the fuck was Enoch to set the precedent that angels could rape women?!”
“He was a great man! You're not!”
“Angels rebel, fall, and fuck,” I said, watching the weekend folk mingle on High Street. “So it's hardly beyond the realm of possibility that yet another self-determining angel decided to piss on god's plan and stop an essential sacrifice. By doing do, allowing Abraham's damnable descendants to fill the world while violently enforcing their ultimately illegitimate claims of being the chosen people.”
“Unless that was in fact god's real plan.”
“Unless god never had a fucking plan!”
“That is if there even is a god to begin with.”
“Now whose side are you on exactly?”
“One must always test the comfort-zones of strangers if one ever hopes to attain the lengths at which they are willing to go.”
“In order to achieve what?!”
“Understanding in why you're here.”
“I'm here, aren't I.”
“You think traveling by foot is hard?”
I kept my mouth shut.
“You've come from Germany, haven't you?” Telford spoke, as he continued slowly up the street. “Yet there's a man, Herr Maier, in Würzburg, who knows vastly more than I. He's working on a new Bible. A history of the gods, without favoring sides. Without good and evil. He takes the stance that ignorance is no excuse, just as weakness won't save you when you're lost in the wild. You could have stayed where you were. Travel doesn't guaranty that you've actually experienced anything at all.”
“Come now!” Telford grunted. “Surely we're beyond this! Of course there's only one true god. The most high over all. Come on! Spit it out! Get on with it! What is it?! What is the one true god?!”
“The great indifference of the universe.”
“Beautifully put.” Telford and I then scaled the stairs onto the battlements above the upper gate, and headed to the highest western tower overlooking the entire old town. “Now you must have heard of polytheism.” The seemingly frail old man then confronted me on top of the windswept tower with its broken parapets. “There are many, many gods below the great one. And anyone who believes that any of these gods are purely good or evil, by nature or design, is a fool who I shall suffer no further!”
“If Noah was a Nephilim too, then we were damned long before Abraham. And if only the damned survived the flood, then we're all Rephaim, the children of the Grigori. So why the fuck was Noah spared?”
“What if another fallen one had warned him.”
We both stood in the gales facing the bleak town of Conwy as buzzard-like seagulls spiraled above the gray rooftops.
“You're no Christian. So what has really brought you to my doorstep?”
Bracing myself against the moss coated battlements, I struggled to recalled what my peace-offering had been. “What is it that the Sphinx, Göbekli Tepe, and Baalbek have in common?”
Telford's pruned face remained ever miserable.
“What do you know of the apparent evidence of prehistoric civilizations existing before the last ice-age and that infamous flood?”
Telford just stood waiting in the cold.
“This time last year, I was taken on an expedition out into the North Sea. The professor in charge believed he knew the locations of megalithic sites lost on a sunken area of Doggerland.”
Telford ever so slightly tilted his head.
“We found something out there. And a few months ago I was back out on the North Sea. What we had found... It had grown a lot bigger.” Turning, I was doubting that my peace-offering meant anything to Telford. While staring west toward the snow sprinkled hills and growing rain clouds, I changed the subject, “A couple of years ago I was encouraged to seek professional help. I refused at first, but eventually I was worn down, and spoke to a psychologist. I figured it would be good to put the matter to rest: whether or not I'm sick in the head. Turns out I'm good... But now... I think I need help again... I seem incapable of decoding the things I see.”
“What kind of things?”
“Inhuman things,” I said. “Things I have no name for.”
“Did you tell your therapist about these things?”
“I wasn't about to incriminate myself.”
“Are you unable or just unwilling to discern whatever it is that you're seeing?”
“How do I know if they're even there?”
“Has anyone else seen them?”
“What if they're just symbolic?”
“Projections of the higher-self?”
“Just manifestations of the unconscious?”
“Unless of course, they are indeed really there.”
“I can see these thing as clearly as I see any other memory.”
“Can memory make anything real?”
“But why the fuck do I see them at all?”
“The cursed third-eye.”
“Fuck my third-eye!” I snapped, thumping the metal railing just as some tourists began climbing up the staircase. “I see them with these two fuckers! And they see me!”
“Possibly you have mild schizophrenia. Perhaps the early stages of alzheimer's. Hallucinations mixed with an over active imagination can cause paranoid delusions for overly sensitive little shits with much too much time on their hands!” Telford scolded furiously. “If you're seeing things that you know aren't really there, then go to a bloody doctor, tell them the truth, and get some goddamn medication! That, my boy, is my professional prescription!”
The family of tourists were scared off by Telford's outburst, and for a while I fought the urge to join them and get the fuck off that freezing tower. Shaking my head, I slowly muttered to myself, “You go out of your fucking way to change, to make things happen. You play an active fucking part in seeking fucking solutions, only to find again and again dead-fucking-ends that lead to absolutely fucking nothing! You're in control of fucking nothing!”
“If you see these things with these two human eyes, then I am of no use to you,” Telford spoke hoarsely, as he stepped closer. “However, if you can let down your bloody guard for five minutes, and admit it's your third-eye revealing these abominations, then perhaps, just perhaps, you might have something worth listening to.”
“They are... They seem... Like they are more than just meaningless random brain-junk. They act as if they have their own reasons and interests. If they're merely products of my unconscious then I should have discovered what they're trying to tell me by now. But if they're some external force, then I seem incapable of knowing what they want or what they're trying to tell me.”
“Ever tried asking them?”
Shaking my frustrated head, I sneered, “What, with words!? With fucking words?! Even our modern language is as fucking inefficient as ancient hieroglyphs! Everyone's so fucking confused over literal and figurative speech, that we're all left scrambling for our own bullshit fucking interpretations! Just like Pastor Tim said about viewing the Bible through the 'lens' of whatever the fuck we feel like!”
We both went silent as a couple of new tourists joined us on the tower. Telford then said, “Gates of ivory and horn.”
Turning into the wind, I faced Telford's words.
“Homer. Which dreams matter and which deceive.”
The two tourists soon left.
“How much have you seen?”
“Please!” I scowled. “Though, I recently saw my dead father beneath the mountain at Pergamon. But I wouldn't say that he was a ghost. More like... The embodiment of his epitome.”
“Sounds like you still need some therapy.”
“Maybe,” I conceded, as the first drops of rain fell. “The problem with psychologies, as with philosophies, is that they tend to persuade with seemingly compelling ambiguities until we convince ourselves that they're the one and only possible explanation for our situation. Without decent perspective we're unable to discern which parts of which wisdom are actually applicable to us as individuals, on a case by case level.”
“And how does one gain some perspective?”
“By looking for a third-person with an objective perception.”
“Yet how do you find that third-person with whom to gauge your situation?”
Scanning the bay, I could tell Telford was looking for any excuse to end this interaction. Or maybe he was hoping I would talk myself out of continuing the conversation.
“Neither you or I are without our own spin on the world. No one is free from external influences, from influences that affect you, and influences that you make,” he said, stepping right up into my face. “ Why should you trust me?”
“I don't need to trust you. I'm just looking to cross-reference.”
“And what if you don't like what you find?”
“I already don't fucking like you!”
“Good!” Teflord applauded with his thick gloves. “Now let's get out of this rubbish weather before I catch my death.”
About fucking time!
A pot of Earl Grey and some ginger-nut cookies started to warm my bones in Telford's library-like den. We sat in two tartan armchairs in front of an ancient radiator below a cozy bay-window with view over the valley of gloom.
“Baalbek, Göbekli Tepe, and the Sphinx,” I repeated, pouring myself another cup of tea. “They all seem to demonstrate that the older parts of the engineering are the more sophisticated sections of the construction. If Enoch says Samyaza and his follwers gave man this building know-how, then ever since we've just been making copies of copies. Systematicall getting worse over time. From Egyptian to Greek to Roman to the Renaissance, to even the work of Albert Speer.”
Telford crossed his arms. “Are you trying to imply that the Nazis were divinely inspired?”
“Divively, infernally, what's the difference?”
“I admire your lack of a moral compass.”
“I've seen their ruins.”
“In this world or the next?”
“I understand mortal man's inability to maintain the knowledge passed down. But what I can't seem to grasp is, if angels like Mulciber built the kingdom of heaven, then why, after the fall, is their empire in hell in such disarray now? How have they forgot how to build?”
“Hell,” Telford chuckled in a sinister tone, rubbing his hands in front of his face. “Hell is what comes from the emancipation of slaves. Their freedom equals chaos. Hell, it is a place of absolutes!”
Finishing my tea, I watched the old man rant on full of piss and vinegar.
“There's something about hell. It impairs cognitive function. As if the very fabric of its reality is laced with narcotics that perpetually soak into all that resides there. Your very presence there brings out the base animal in us all. It's as though the reasoning part of the human brain simply doesn't exist in that dimension. Christ, we all know what that's like. We've all had tiny tastes of hell! Those times when a love affair ends! When our hatred gets the best of us! When we see red and no words of justification can tame our blood-lust!”
“You've seen it too.”
“It's an ego-causality-loop!” Telford snarled looking away at a bronze statue of what I believed was Jupiter sitting, holding a staff, with an eagle at his side. “Once you're there, you get stuck in constant viciousness. An inescapably pattern of thought. Time marches on, but you're trapped in a relentless mindset. Where you learn nothing, and all your passions are ruled by spite!”
“I've leaned plenty through spite. It motivates to do that which shouldn't be done.”
“You speak like you know nothing!” Telford yelled. “What have you done?! What exactly have you, of all people on the face of the Earth, throughout the entire history of all mankind, learned that's so bloody important?!”
Clenching my jaw while glaring at the floor, I asked him, “How have you seen this place?”
Settling back into his chair, Telford crossed his legs, rearranging his position before speaking. “My eschatological work involved field-research abroad. I've traveled extensively through much of the Americas. Investigated the Seven Gates Of Guinee. A voodoo passage to the world of the spirits. Mostly saw a lot of terrified children talking too many substances and suggestions. I ended up spending a long time in Alaska. Lived closely with a family of Inuit. Studied under their shaman. Found him far more dedicated than those practicing voodoo! He directly assisted with my communications. That was until I became struck down with illness. He said that the spirits had overwhelmed me. I couldn't argue. It was like drinking from a burst fire-hydrant. There was just too much at once.”
“Ayahuasca, it's a hell of drug.”
That was the one and only time that I saw Telford smile at a joke. “It wasn't until I spent time in Russia, just north of Kazakhstan, that I made some serious breakthroughs. After years of following leads that went nowhere, I finally infiltrated an extremely isolated sect. A split from the orthodox church. The Khlysty. Not easy to find. Even harder to live with. Those people, listen, those people, they're seen hell up close and personal. Those people, they understand the true function of all things!”
There was a drawn out moment of silence, and I watched the old man's eyes dart about while he seemed lost in vivid memories that haunted him something fierce. Eventually, I asked, “And what did they show you? What did you see?”
“My third-eye saw that which was as awe-inspiring as it is beyond words. Ultimate unending dread. The realm of primordial potential energy. Where Greek Titans slaughter one another ad infinitum.” Telford was leaning forward, gripping his armrest while slowly shaking his head. “There's an entire ecology in hell. It's just as disgusting as it is here in the corporeal world. Where the worse you are, the more powerful and hideous your manifestation.”
Another pause, and just the wind rattled the window frames throughout the cottage.
“The Khlysty had only a few rules about dealing with the beings that we encountered. There are three kinds. Those that had no idea that man even exists. Those that were aware of us but didn't care in the least. And then there were those that know about us and have only contempt toward all of mankind!”
It started raining again.
“There's no hegemony, no one group dominating over all others. Not since the hordes overthrew the natural order. All successors have failed to maintain control over their fractured empire that continues shattering into ever diminishing tribes. They need the most unclean to unify them all, but he turned his back on them ever since they in turn revolted against him.”
“There's no making allies with anything is that place. It's like you're naked, standing below an avalanche that's a hundred miles wide. Nothing you say or do will make that thing your friend. It's an elemental force and you simply do not matter!” Telford rolled his shoulders and cleared his throat, discarding the memories like a heavy blanket from his back. “Besides, when you're there, in that place, in hell, you lack the very ability to even think your way out of the situation. It's like yelling at a photo of your past self and telling him not to do that which has really been done. You can't change the past, just as you can't change the mechanics of hell.”
“And yet here and now we can reason and solve problems.”
“And yet we solve nothing!”
“Then what's the fucking point of seeing the other side?! If this fucking knowledge is power, then why the fuck am I still a fucking idiot?!”
“Are you a practitioner of hierogamy?”
“Sexual interaction with the goddess.”
“Why bother if it's ultimately futile in the end?!”
“Why not kill yourself with that attitude!”
“We're all damned,” Telford faded out. “So if we're going to held accountable, then why not commit atrocities?”
I agreed, and thought of Pastor Tim and his belief that we were already saved.
“Ego-death, that's all you can hope for in this life. The destruction of the subjective-self. Accept that you're just a leaf adrift in the rapids. We have no influence and we experience nothing of consequence. The only meaning in life are the lies that we tell ourselves. Primarily that others gives a damn about our sniveling little existence! We are all aberrations to the inanimate constants of the material cosmos! I am just another unidentified body in the mass-grave of time's killing-field!”
“So why don't you kill yourself then?”
“I told you, the only meaning is in ourselves. We are the Temple Of Solomon. The Holy Of Holies is inside of us!”
“Fuck off with that bullshit!” I snarled, kicking the radiator! Standing, I shoved the armchair away, looking for my coat. “I can't teach myself to build a fucking pyramid! That knowledge isn't fucking innate, you fucking useless fucking cunt!”
“Have you read, Moses And Monotheism?” Telford calmly asked.
My beeline for the door slowly ground to a deadpan stop.
“Do you believe guilt to be inherent?”
I sighed, tensing my quadriceps, fighting the urge to walk straight out.
“There's always more than one way to tell a story about how to skin a cat.”
“You know, during my first chat with little Pastor Tim, he coined the term, 'It depends on through which lens you use.'” Turning toward Telford, I asked, “What doctrine exactly do you use to warp your perception with?”
“Way back in my youth, I was a systematic theologian, but inevitably found too many inconsistencies. There was little thematic stability, making it impossible to measure and evaluate which recorded accounts were reliable.” Telford then waited until I had returned to my chair. “As I mentioned, Herr Maier has been compiling a new Bible. One which lacks such contradictory dilemmas by having the courage to include the pantheon of demonic divinities.”
“So who is this guy,” I asked with all skeptical honesty. “And how the fuck would he have any more authority on the matter than centuries of religious holy men?”
“Just before the Battle Of The Nile, Napoleon managed to ship an entire load of secrets from Egypt back to France. After the thrashing that ensued from the British fleet, all records of that vessel were successfully lost. That's just one example of the holes in documented history. These pockets of treasure are nevertheless tucked away in personal collections throughout the world. Herr Maier is in the fortunate position of being able to afford the luxury of gaining access to such precious resources.”
“The rape of the Nile.”
“And every other civilization!”
“How does he know what's real?”
“How do you know what's real?!” Telford shouted. “What have you done?! What cathedrals have you built?! You're an incidental stranger questioning a history that won't even remember you!”
“The Khlysty don't just have visions, they help bring those things into this world!”
Telford withdrew into himself. “The Jews no long make animal sacrifices.”
Tilting my head, I watched the old chap, wondering where this was leading now.
“How do you think the gods, or specifically the Jew's Tetragrammaton, would react to this?”
“Marcus wrote that you're an artist. That you're obsessed with the bastards of angels. But what were you doing at Pergamon?”
“Getting sun burnt.”
“Listen, do you know what the Jews think of Jesus?”
Shaking my irritated head at Telford's constant changing the subject, I said, “He was a prophet.”
“They hated him!”
I loved how loud Telford yelled.
“A blasphemer! And if there's one thing consistent in this world and the next, it's our ability to inflict torment!” He then swung his left arm up above my head, pointing as if to the back of the cottage. “Out there, up in the hills, in the woods, there's a overgrown pit. About thirty-feet deep. Looks like an old abandoned well. But no spring resides there. Back when this settlement was first established, the English dug this pit. For it is written in the Jewish Telmud, 'Whoever mocks at the words of the sages is punished with boiling hot excrement.' That is the eternal fate of the man Jesus. And so too the villages here would throw a sinner into the pit, there they'd proceed to shit upon him. Pouring a mix of plentiful fecal matter and flammable tar over the condemned before setting him fire! Do you understand?! There are risks involved, especially when you ask questions like, how do the Khlysty bring those things into this world!”
“No one gets out of here alive,” I stated angrily. “You either drown on vomit after years of cancer, or you choke on a suicide noose gone wrong, or maybe get half your face ripped off by a stray dog before the pack mauls you to death! There's barely even a slim chance that you'll get the easy way out! Risk is unavoidable! And just when you think you've heard about the worst way to go, you discover how abject and ingenious humans really fucking are. If burning alive in boiling shit wasn't bad enough, how about the 'Blood Eagle'. Get your back cut open, ribs broken backward, and then have your fucking lungs stretched out over your ribs like wings! Or how about something simpler. Get a rope tided around your temple, then it's twisted tighter and tighter until your fucking skull cracks and then your fucking eyeballs pop out! Or better yet, let's go back to nature, and you find yourself tied to two trees that have been bent together. Your shoulders attached to one trunk, your legs to the other. Once the trees are released, you get fucking torn in two! It's a shit fucking world, and we're all going to die in some atrocious fucking manner! Until then...”
“I'm no Antiochus.”
“Why would you wish to be?”
“To desecrate the temple with pigs blood.”
Telford tapped his chin with his fingers before speaking again. “King Josiah foresaw the destruction of the first temple. He ordered the Ark hidden below the temple. He also wrote about giants. Have you been to Delphi? Or the Hypogeum in Malta, said to be built by giants.”
“Haven't been to Ethiopia either, though I'm curious to visit the Chapel Of The Tablet.”
“You're talking about the story where the son of King Solomon and the Queen Of Sheba moves the Ark to Ethiopia. So for four-hundred years the Holy Of Holies was completely empty? Therefore, King Josiah had nothing to hide?”
“Relocating the Ark isn't as bad as moving an entire temple, like the French did with the Temple of Isis from the island of Philae to another before they flooded the area. It defeats the purpose of the site's sacred alignment. Like the question of the original location of Solomon's Temple. Make's sense that it needed the Gihon spring close at hand, in the City Of David, seems hard to swallow that after only seventy years Darius The Great would have been given the wrong spot on which to build the Second Temple. But when tradition replaces historical evidence, which becomes more important?”
“The idea is what's crucial.”
“Tell it to the Palestinians.”
“Ideas feed people.”
“Until they're fucking starving to death.”
“Take a child who has nothing and wants only to hurt the world,” Telford said quietly. “Give that child purpose and a sense of belonging, and he'll happily go hungry while staying loyal to the bitter end.”
Silently listening, I leaned closer to the radiator.
“You know what you need,” Telford whispered. “Something to look forward to. A cause to concentrate your energy on. Something to fight for.”
“You mean a scapegoat,” I smiled. “A Natalie Portman.”
“How did you get involved in Enoch? Nobody read that stuff anymore.”
“I blame Loch Ness.”
“The house there.”
“You can't mean Boleskine?”
“You're not messed up with that Crowley lot, are you?”
“Thought you'd be into a bit of the old Gnostics.”
“For Pete's sake, no!” Telford sneered. “They're again, predisposed to that whole good Vs. evil dichotomy. The Monad and the Demiurge. Though, the Demiurge alone is closer to the mark. There's just no such thing as a good god!”
“Tell me something I don't fucking know.”
“Like where is Dudael?!” I demanded. “And Dendain!”
“The Leviathan and Behemoth? If you're looking for them, they aren't here. Dendain is not an actual location on the map. Like Dudael, they're in that other place. The place you've seen.”
“Where abouts in hell?! How the fuck do I fucking find them?!”
“What are you expecting from me?!” Telford demanded. “You don't need a shepherd! You've made it this long with these visions in your life, you should have learned to decipher exactly what they want from you by now! Stop playing the fool! You're a artist. Have you tried painting these things? You said it yourself, words are imperfect tools. Have you tried visualizing these visions? Have you heard of Christoph Haizmann? An artist who made a pact with the devil. I believe he took a pilgrimage to Mariazell for an exorcism. Is that what you want?! What do they want?! Spit it out! What the bloody hell do you want?!”
“I want to meet Maier.”
“Good luck!” Telford sniggered. “Took me years to earn his trust the hard way. He hates strangers even more than I do!”
“Where is he?”
“Not going to happen. But listen.” Telford then rubbed his hand over his mouth as he thought about something for a serious moment. “Talk to this guy I know, Emmanuel. He lives in Scanno, Italy, but gets around. He's a real French scumbag, no two ways about it, but I found his own experiences with Merkabah mysticism both absurd as well as intriguing. He'll talk to you, might even give you the guidance that I sure wont.”
“He's a sadistic pig, to put it politely, but knows more than his fair share about the hidden history of the world. Herr Maier used him multiple times for various collection assignments. Just don't mention anything to do with witchcraft. He adheres to his own form of orthodoxy. And we all have our sore spots, after all. He's as strict with his rules as he is intolerant of those who wont listen to him preach.”
“Sadistic and a pig! Now that's my kind of people... But why wont you help?”
Telford leaned back with a vile curl to his nostrils. “Because you don't deserve it!”
I too sunk into my chair and stared at Jupiter, as Pascal's words rang through my head, 'Tyranny consists in the universal desire to dominate, beyond one's station.'
“WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!” Telford screamed.
“You're probably right. I got to learn to exert better restraint over my words and actions... But you see, these things... I have no more control over these things than I have control over my own thoughts and feelings.”
Leaping from his armchair, Telford backed away, terrified of those fiends smothered the bay window: a black mass of wet hands and grotesque faces. Turning my head, I glanced at a massive blackened centipede-like beast with legs similar to human arms crawling across the ceiling. Telford moaned in horror as that horse-thick creature slithered above, he never saw the second and third abomination creeping up from behind.
“Don't worry about them,” I suggested. “Now where exactly did you say I could find that pit in the woods?”
“What have you brought into my house?! This isn't possible! They can't coexist like this!”
“Relax,” I murmured, glaring at the reflection in the window as more and more of those ravenous devils, great and small, filled the cosy little home. “The mind is a Pandora's box that shouldn't be kept closed.”
WITHOUT ALEXANDRIA'S LIGHTHOUSE
SUNDAY 14th JANUARY 2018
With plenty of time to spare in the morning, I joined the mass being held at the old church, before catching the train to Manchester.
On the flight back to Berlin, I recalled leaving out the back door of Telford's cottage and reaching the crest of that hill just before nightfall. The bricked-over remains of the pit were indeed covered with weeds and bush, but there was just enough space for me to kneel and pay homage to the mode of execution that was the decrepit altar of the defiled Yeshua.
© 2018 BRUCE STIRLING JOHN KNOX