James: What I Know So Far

For those who don’t want to wade through a lot of other material, here’s what I know so far about James.

James was probably born in England around 1810 because I remember being a young man at the time of Queen Victoria’s coronation.  Rochester is a good match for where he lived as a young man in the 1830s.

He served in the military and I suspect he spent time in India (much like Jack did about 60 years later).  The name “Chundaree” rattles around in my mind (I checked it out, there was some significant action there during James’ day) but specific memories elude me.  If the dream I had a while ago is correct, he was discharged dishonorably.  This dream gave me both the name “James” and an accurate memory of a 19th century military barracks.

I have a vague memory of having punched someone so hard they died.  This may have figured into James’ decision to become a sailor.

He made port in the northeastern US.  New York is highly likely.  Boston perhaps.  The detail that clued me into a northeastern port was a dream I had about a floating sailor’s chapel of a type that was common in that region in those days.  I don’t think he was involved with blockade running during the Civil War and remember nothing of southern ports.  I do remember a stop in Argentina, but only the faintest flicker of a gaucho’s boots of a style I traced to the mid-19th century. From there he sailed round the horn on a sailing ship.

The rest is a blank until San Francisco.  I remembered traipsing around Chinatown specifically (probably up to no good).  Then there was another memory from further up the coast, of having survived a shipwreck and staring down at a paddle steamer lying on its side in the surf below the cliffs of Marin or Sonoma County.  I confirmed that this stretch of water was indeed a bit of a graveyard for paddle steamers in those days.

I suspect I may have made it to Portland but I have no specific memory, only a nagging familiarity from old photographs of the ramshackle construction down by the old riverfront, long before they built all that nice park land.  If I did come here all those years ago, strange that I should settle here.

Then somehow, I remember being in France during the Paris Commune.  Exactly why or how I got there is a mystery.  All I know is that there were a number of Englishmen there at the time, all of whom survived the collapse of the commune as far as I’m aware.

The last clear memories are of working as a stagehand in a small opera house, the location of which I haven’t been able to pin down.  It was an old building even then.  Watching a production of “The Magic Flute” performed with costumes and staging based on the traditional interpretations of that opera brought back a flood of sense and sight memories, including the flare of a limelight, starting orange and then glowing bright and starlike; I confirmed this.  Verdi’s “Nabucco” is another opera I remember being performed there.  I was excited to confirm that it was common in those days for sailors to become stagehands.  This was probably the birth of my love of opera, which has stayed with me across several lifetimes.

The death I saw under regression was rather pointless.  It involved getting drunk at a party for the crew after finishing a production and taking a tumble into a canal.  This would have been before 1877 since Jack was born circa June of that year; for the sake of argument, let’s say circa 1875.  James was in his 60s at the time and to date this is the life where I probably lived the longest out of all the lives I’ve remembered.

I had suspected for a while that maybe he’d been hanged, since I have an extremely strong feeling that at least one of my lives ended that way; however, I can find no reference to anyone who sounds quite enough like our James having been hanged in England between 1860 and 1880.  If he killed a man, he got away with it.  It makes the end of my subsequent life- blown to bits on the Western Front- seem that much more tragically fitting; perhaps we do pay for all our crimes one way or another.

Memory Fragment

A fragment from James’ life came to me.  A series of images and more vague impressions of New York in the 1850s.  Not much I could look into except one thing.

There was a street going off at an angle from the docks. You could see an official-looking building with a clock tower at the end of it.

I found a street that might be it on an old map but I can’t quite make out the name. It looks like Rosevelt (yes, that’s one ‘o’).  I’m going to have​ to do more research.

Sadly it looks like the building and street I recall may be long gone. It’s​ in an area disrupted by major development, among other things by a little thing called the Brooklyn Bridge that was built a few years after my memories and changed the layout of the waterfront dramatically.  But the history of the city seems very well documented so I may be able to confirm this memory.

Home

I’m alive and cantankerous as ever.

Whatever happened, though, it was deeply unsettling.  Suddenly losing the ability to read and write is never a good sign.

The flashbacks from the war were a bit much though.  That literally hasn’t happened with that intensity for some years.  I’m now concerned that my memories may have been precipitated by some kind of medical incident and I’m legitimately scared.

The episode seems to have passed. Being discharged. Apparently suddenly losing a fundamental​ ability for a couple hours isn’t an emergency.

I had a frightening flashback during the attack though. I don’t think it was something that actually happened but something I had been afraid would happen. I became Jack, mentally speaking, and had an anxious flash when the doctor stood over me and in an angry voice demanded the particulars of my insurance. At one point I wanted to blurt out “I don’t know where they are!” (as if asked for information about my battalion) and I briefly but vividly imagined that I was in an infirmary in a prison camp being interrogated by a German officer.  I got hold of my senses and snapped back to reality before I let on that I’d had such an episode.

The doctor thinks it might be autoimmune, which they won’t test for here, so it’s a cab ride home for me.

 

The Deeper Truth

I want to try to comment on the deeper spiritual dimension of these times and what I see going on right under people’s noses.

First of all I want to say that I’ve had a weird suspicion that what we’re seeing proves an archetypal- rather than prophetic- reading of the Revelation of St. John.

We have the emergence of far-right charismatic figures- almost all of them somehow connected- who trade in xenophobia, racism, sexism, and the politics of fear.  They profess a love for the people and even love for God, but they harbor immense greed and corruption.   Their reach is international, coming up from the sea on every shore.  You might say they represent a political force that, metaphorically speaking, have “seven heads with ten crowns” (I think the specific numbers are arguably unimportant here, only that the beast is both one and many, holding sway over multiple sovereign powers).  Many people who declare themselves Christians have fallen for them; they have been given power to deceive and make war.

It is worth noting that in the Book of Revelation, it doesn’t say that who Beast and his cohorts get their power from; only that they are “given power.”  If that power is given as a political appointment it’s still given.

There is, of course, beast imagery involved but it’s vague and circumspect.  It emerged today that Jared Kushner has been implicated in the Russia investigation; it is worth noting that Kushner owns 666 5th Avenue in New York City.  And of course, with the new presidential limo still not ready, Trump rode to his inauguration in a limo built for the previous president, called “The Beast” (a name that may be shared with his new limousine).  Make of that what you will but it’s not really what I’m interested in.

Rather what I’m interested in is this verse:

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.  For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

-Rev. 16:13-14

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Now where have we seen “unclean spirits like frogs” that spread out from the metaphorical mouths of this “beast” of many heads?

Enter Pepe the Frog, the former harmless stoner cartoon character who was adopted by the far right as a mascot after a weird series of coincidences created the mostly-satirical Cult of Kek, which I’ll link you to this article for if you’re not already in the know (the article also contains some helpful links).

Whether or not anyone ever intended serious reverence to this chaos deity, the idea of Kek- the archetype behind it- was embodied in their words and actions and so, in a Jungian sense, Kek became real through them and brought its chaos into the world, and the image of Pepe, once a peaceful, fun-loving stoner frog, had now become inextricably linked to that chaotic force.

And so we see arising in the mid-2010s not only the bizarre pseudo-worship of an evil Egyptian deity of chaos and darkness as a phenomenon inherently linked to politics, but also the creation of Kek memes supporting right-wing politicians in a sort of sympathetic magic.  Some of you might remember the flood of “Rare Pepes” called for by /pol/ on Twitter during the 2016 elections and, more recently, the French elections.

But something changed between November 2016 and May 2017.  What was it?

On 7 May 2017, Cartoonist Matt Furie, creator of Pepe, killed off his creation.  

On that very same day, Marine LePen, subject of several Kek memes, lost the French election.

In the days since, I cannot count the number of bombshells, revelations, leaks, developments, and escalations involving the investigation of the Trump administration’s ties to Russia.  Impeachment, unimaginable only 12 days ago, now seems plausible and is being openly discussed where before, it seemed only remote.

The outcome of this investigation and its fallout will tell us more about what’s happening.  If a massive roundup of administration officials is carried out and the West is able to root out the machinations of Putin, then we might consider this a warning.

But if Trump is able to get through this ordeal unscathed, and continues to press his agenda forward, then I urge you to consider this verse:

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

-Rev. 13:3

The fatal wound here may not be a literal fatal wound, but rather a political scandal that should have brought this whole scheme down but didn’t.  Beware.  We’ve already seen that this political machine has a high degree of immunity to scandal, in all of its international manifestations, because it is both highly adaptable and highly capable of convincing people of its goodness even when these same people are being robbed blind by it.

Whatever happens, be strong and don’t accept the mark.  I promise you it will be worth it.