04 June 2010

Ouroboros Zwei

Figure E: Seal of the Theosophical Society

Welcome back, beloved English-language readers. I will now resume my tale of the Ouroboros, or circular serpent, throughout history. If you didn't fall asleep during our last installment, you may find this installment to be a powerful sedative.

Although you probably know the Theosophical Society for their pioneering work inventing and promoting the game of baseball from their secret, elysian headquarters in Jamesfenimorecooperstown, New York, they are, in fact, a pseudo-mystic religious organization founded in the nineteenth century. Established in 1875 in that "City of the Peoples of the Book," Brooklyn, by three mysterious white people, the Society originally intended to investigate medium-based psychic phenomena. Secretly, however, they were searching for the reincarnated World Serpent-Teacher, also know as the Maitreya, who would lead all men and snakes to a lasting spiritual harmony and peace, ushering in the Age of Aquarius. (Let the sunshine in!)

The original World Teacher had lived in Atlantis, reincarnated several times there before the angry serpents, which would later destroy that other great empire, Rome (see "Gibbon, Edward" in Ouroboros Eins) drowned the island continent in their wrath. The Maitreya had later taken over the body of Jesus of Nazareth to form Master Jesus. a great moral teacher and guild-certified carpenter. Some in the group, which was prone to schism, believed that the maitreya was a malevolent force that had brought destruction on Atlantis, believing that it had inhabited that first sentient and bipedal serpent in the Garden of Eden.

One sect of the Theosophists was combing the world for the next reincarnated vehicle of the Maitreya. A shoe-in for winner of the annual Ernest Hemingway lookalike contest, leader and former Anglican priest Charles Webster Leadbeater (who, coincidentally, owned a baker's dozen of six-toed cats that he believed were incarnations of the twelve apostles, including both Judas AND Matthias) accidentally stumbled upon a young Indian boy with blue skin named Krishnamurti on the beach while on holiday in Bombay. Leadbeater took the child home and raised him, indulging his penchant for speaking to snakes in an enigmatic, hissing serpent language.

Figure F: Krishnamurti -- dashing young blue-skinned Brahmin or reincarnation of Master Jörmungandr?

The Theosophists were not the only nineteenth-century secret society interested in the Ourobouros. A strange group of European men called the "Psychologists," based in the city of Vienna, put the serpent at the center of their neurocult. Their leader, Austrian Sigismund Schlomo Freud (who famously said, "sometimes a vial of cocaine is just a legally obtained narcotic") and his lieutenant, the Swissman Carl Gustav Jung, looked to the ancient symbol as a dream-sign indicating the cyclic nature of the human subconscious.

At their semi-annual meetings, Freud and Jung were joined by transatlantic colleagues to form the Fraternal Order of Jörmungandr. At these gatherings, held in October in the town of Worcester, Massachusetts (near Boston) to anger rival and noted Swedenborgian William James, and in Vienna in March, the group met in underground chapels (not like those in New Haven, Connecticut) to conduct secret serpentine rites. They also devoted much of their energy to fighting Leadbeater and the Theosophical Society over the true origins and provenance of the Ourobouros.

Figure G: The Fraternal Order of Jörmungandr Annual Meeting, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1909. Bottom left, Sigmund Freud; bottom right, Carl Jung

The FOJ's feud with the Theosophical Society was a bitter one. Over the period of several years, Freud and Jung worked in a secret Thought Laboratory Annex, or Geheimengedankenlabor, in the Vienna chapel, to construct a Unified Theory of metaphysic philosophy to combat the the Theosophists. Although we now refer to their creation as "Pyschology," the FOJ knew it as der Gottmaschine. They also published an annual journal called the Yearbook for Psychoanalytical and Psychoserpentine Research. Sadly, the FOJ never realized their dream of completing the Gottmaschine. After an infamous falling-out between Freud and Jung because the former failed to visit the latter in Zurich while visiting his colleague Ludwig Biswanger in nearby Kreutzlingen.

Figure H: Jung's preliminary (and very literalist) sketch for der Gottmaschine

A semi-annual assemblage of Jung's grandsons now preside over the remnants of the Fraternal Order of Jörmungandr. Last year, on the 48th anniversary of Jung's "transfiguration," the team of petit-fils finally resolved to break into Jung's private Swiss bank after a vault to ransack its treasures, fearing they would be confiscated as back taxes. Expecting at least a life-size mock-up of the Gottmaschine, they found only a folio-sized book bound in red containing some Gothic ramblings, psychedelic drawings, and some lead bars.

Although both Theosophism and Psychology no longer have much influence today, the Ourobouros, like the proverbial bad half dime, will continue to reappear in our culture, a reminder of the cyclical nature of man. Or something like that.

Wake up! We're finally here -- the end of our story. I hope to telepathically communicate with you soon with my own version of the Gottmaschine, this blog.

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