I call this game: “what is in a day?”
On this day in 495 B.C., a newly-constructed temple in Rome was officially dedicated to the god Mercury. Mercury/Hermes: the Trickster, the Great Communicator, the God of Play, Revenue, Risk, and Gambling.
On this day in 1905, the city of Las Vegas was founded. One of the most prominent and iconic casino franchises in Vegas is, of course, Caesars Palace—built with the theme of Ancient Roman times, where the temple to gambling-resonating God Mercury was consecrated. The high-end fashion store Hermes also has three locations along the Las Vegas strip, bringing to mind (at least in a numerological sense) the mysterious figure Hermes Trismegistus.
In 1928 on this day, the character Mickey Mouse debuted in the animated short “Plane Crazy.” Mickey himself—specifically his earliest incarnation—can be seen as a Trickster figure, much in the manner of Bugs Bunny, Br’er Rabbit, and so on.
Mickey donned wizard’s robes for the 1940 Disney film Fantasia, in the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment. The name of the “real” wizard he was an apprentice to was “Yen Sid”—or, “Disney.” The story was based on the 1797 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe poem “Der Zauberlehrling”; an older Roman work from AD 150, Philopseudes, contains a story very similar, involving an Egyptian mystic/priest of Isis.
L. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard Of Oz, was born today in 1856. Disney, who owns Mickey Mouse, had a legal battle in 2012 with Warner Bros. over the trademarks to The Wizard Of Oz; specifically, regarding the film Oz The Great And Powerful, which tells the story of how an ordinary stage magician/con-artist became supreme ruler of a magical world.
Some have connected the character of Oz with occultist Aleister Crowley—see Crowley’s Liber Oz from 1941. While some revere Crowley as a great metaphysical thinker and philosopher…others see him as a figure more in keeping with Baum’s Oz character.
Crowley is also the author of the Rites Of Eleusis, in which each rite is synchronized to a different Roman god—including Mercury. Crowley also co-created the Thoth Tarot, Thoth being the Egyptian god synchronized with Hermes/Mercury.
A contemporary of Crowley’s, Austin Osman Spare, died today in 1956. Spare believed in what he called “atavistic resurgence”—the idea that the human mind contained ancient and primal memories from their evolutionary predecessors.
Spare also believed in the potential unity between humans and animals—perhaps popularly embodied in the anthropomorphic figures of cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse (as well as animal-headed gods such as Thoth).
Another key idea of Spare’s was incredible magical potential of psychological repression—that what is repressed within the human mind has a tremendous power to shape reality:
“If the psyche represses certain impulses, desires, fears, and so on, and these then have the power to become so effective that they can mold or even determine entirely the entire conscious personality of a person right down to the most subtle detail, this means nothing more than the fact that through repression (“forgetting”) many impulses, desires, etc. have the ability to create a reality to which they are denied access as long as they are either kept alive in the conscious mind or recalled into it. Under certain conditions, that which is repressed can become even more powerful than that which is held in the conscious mind.”
Could this also be the key to why the sort of “spirit” or “energy” of Ancient Roman times (both the good and the bad) still seem to be so vibrant in our contemporary times? As science-fiction author Philip K. Dick noted, “The Empire never ended”—indeed, even the continuing cinematic tales based on the original “Star Wars” trilogy keeps, in its way, the Empire alive.
Is the “Empire” within us, in some atavistic way, some collective way we are still sorting out? And from such a subconscious collective state does seemingly unthinkable, savage events—like the assassination of JFK—emerge tall and full of wet shaking fury from the depths like Leviathan?
Abraham Zapruder was born today in 1905…the same day Las Vegas was founded. The film he shot on a whim—which turned out to be that of the Kennedy assassination—seems emblematic of the Trickster in action—played, re-played, slowed-down, reversed…stuttering, possibly boasting missing frames. The Zapruder film demonstrates very much the ritualistic quality of motion pictures themselves, recreating the inciting incident, replaying and broadcasting that eldritch energy.
So many of John F. Kennedy’s celebrity buddies were connected to Vegas. Vegas, home of Caesar’s Palace, Julius Caesar the assassinated Roman patriarch. Vegas: what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas, implying that one’s atavistic nature might run rampant throughout its casinos and other assorted delights.
By the way, a great meditation on Las Vegas as this Pandora’s Box of distinctly American atavistic id is Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas—illustrated by Ralph Steadman, born today in 1936.
Lastly: Today Uranus will leave Aries and enter Taurus, a rather big deal in astrological circles. Uranus being the figure of Mercury exalted, The Great Awakener, the Troublemaker, the planet of shocks and surprises, innovations and rebellions.
Uranus will be facing off against Taurus the Bull: Taurus, the figure of Tradition, of Earthiness and Earthly pleasures. The bull deity just as ancient a figure as Mercury/Hermes/Thoth.
Rebellion Vs. Tradition: For if the Empire has never really ended, one would assume the Rebellion has never ended, either.
What’s in a day? How is it all related? Why is it all related?
Is it because it’s kind of all the same day; the same eternally changing moment, infinitely pasted on top of itself, an infinite stack of see-through celluloid film frames?