Sacred Sex, Popped Stars and the Holy Babble (Updated)

In my last full pattern post, Rhythm Heaven, Red Robots, Angels and Aliens, my analysis of R&B artist Ciara and her red robot led me to the work of fellow pop-culture patternist Lenon Honor and his study of the "Trinity-Whore Archetype"; describing similarities in the streetwalker-representations of the bad-girl alter-egos of Beyonce, Ciara, and Rihanna (I ended the post with his video). In the comments section of that post, an anonymous reader brought up a quote from the film Pretty Woman in which Julia Roberts -playing a hooker named Vivian Ward (VW)- equates herself to a robot ("...when I'm with a guy, I'm like a robot...") when describing how she copes with the disassociation necessary for prostitution.

An American Fairy Tale

It's worth noting that, despite the racy subject matter, Pretty Woman is the film that made Julia Roberts a household name. Some feminist advocates have argued that this film is an advertisement for the payoff of prostitution and the unrealistic "American Dream" held by so many young women: sell yourself long enough, and someone will come along and buy you a fairy tale.

Julia plays Disney's now ubiquitous symbol for fairy tales alongside Robin Williams as the Green Fairy, Tinker Bell, in 1991's Hook. In Peter Pan Disney continued a long-honored tradition of slipping sex into animated children's films by bending little Tink over in a mini-skirt and having her stand on a mirror to check out her own backside (don't believe me? youtube). All in good fun...

She is the Key

Kylie Minogue, who crept into my last few blogs unintentionally, plays a symbolic Green Fairy in 2001's Moulin Rouge!, the film that displayed the turn-of-the-century french prostitution culture as a Broadway-style fairy tale. Moulin Rouge! brought burlesque culture into the new millenium with the Grammy-winning "Lady Marmalade", and paved the way for the postergirls for pop-prostitution, The Pussycat Dolls. In Moulin Rouge! the Green Fairy is an allegorical symbol for Absinthe, which makes me think twice about Tinker Bell's role in Peter Pan and the flight-inducing fairy dust. Think happy thoughts...

Kylie Minogue as Tinkerbell in Moulin Rouge

Absinthe, The Green Fairy

One foot on the green fairy

Britney's Fairy Tatt

Tink closes the wormhole on Porky in Who Framed Roger Rabbit
[Check out Jumpin Pigs from Jupiter over at The Sync Hole for more on the significance of Porky]

Given the new-found depth of the robot metaphor when juxtaposed with the sacred feminine, this connection between robots, fairy tales and "The World's Oldest Profession" (curious) had me thinking; could there be more to the whore image these pop stars have taken on than just selling records by selling sex?

Then it hit me.

3 So he [the angel] carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom.

Mary, the robot as the Whore of Babylon in Metropolis

Greek Mother Rhea, mother of Zeus, riding the beast

The Whore of Babylon is one of the most heavily debated allegorical symbols of the biblical Revelation story. On face value, the Whore is seen as the representation of the evil empire that will produce (give birth to) the Antichrist. While most biblical scholars agree that the Babylon-empire this Whore represents is first-century Rome (due to its goals of global control and persecution of early Christians), some scholars believe the new Babylon is actually the Catholic Church. Upon further research, I discovered these two beliefs are not mutually exclusive.

Constantine brings the cross-word, standing on a lion

A quick history lesson: Christianity first gained foothold as a major world religion once it was forcibly accepted by Rome under Constantine I. Authors like Joseph Atwill make strong arguments for Rome's creation of [modern] Christianity as a pacifistic alternative to the more revolutionary Early Judaism, which prophesied the coming of a warrior messiah. This idea makes the sudden nationwide "acceptance" of Christianity and the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church by a staunchly polytheistic state a bit less preposterous (It's worth noting that Catholics believe themselves to be the true Christians, so for analytical purposes, the two become interchangeable).

"A lot of known scholars have speculated that Rome created Christianity just because its so historically logical... if you look at the history and see that there is a messianic movement that's militaristic, and in the midst of this hundred-year struggle there is this pacifistic version of Judaism with all these Hellenistic attributes that pops up at just the right time, it's very suspicious on its face..."

In this sense, Babylon can represent Rome and Christianity/Catholicism by extension. This connection between Babylon -personified as the Whore- and Catholicism gives some explanation to the walking contradiction that is the 20th century's biggest female pop star; Madonna.

Madonna, Money and Sex on the Street - subtle

Even as a young child, I remember being amazed at the great lengths Madonna('s handlers) went through to display herself as a sexual object. Being a product of the MTV generation, I learned that "The Madonna" was a title for Mary, Mother of Jesus (italian; mia donna, my lady) long after I knew about Madonna the pop star. I can even recall wondering why a pop singer who did magazine covers naked would share a title with the Virgin Mary. Though it's considered tongue-in-cheek to bring it up, Madonna (the pop star) is widely known around the world for flaunting her sexuality under the banner of female sexual liberation. Despite also being known for her creative originality and the ability to "re-invent" herself, she [still] is simply a ramped-up reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe, who was a ramped-up reincarnation of Mae West (actual name Mary Jane [MJ] West). In our time, we are witnessing Madonna's reincarnation as Britney Spears.

Marilyn/Madonna says "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"



triple virgin prostitute goddess; Madonna passes the torch with a kiss

Kylie Minogue does the ol' Marilyn one-eye...

...and of course Beyonce's a fan


The Lips of Mary Mae
Mary "Mae" West came across my radar as the subject of fascination for surrealist artist Salvador Dali and as one of the first celebrities displayed on The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. On the now infamous cover, Mae West is the 3rd portrait in the collage (from top left), positioned right next to Aliester Crowley, whose Lust tarot card features Babalon, a stylized representation of the Whore of Babylon representing The Great Mother/Mother Earth. Crowley's views on sexual liberation were the cause of many of his troubles with buttoned-up British Society.

"The Book of the Law solves the sexual problem completely. Each individual has an absolute right to satisfy his sexual instinct as is physiologically proper for him. The one injunction is to treat all such acts as sacraments."
-Aleister Crowley, from Confessions of Aleister Crowley

Salvador Dali immortalized West in his infamous portrait and installation titled "Face of Mae West, Which May Be Used as an Apartment". Little is known of Dali's true intentions for the piece, or why he was so fascinated with Mae West.

Dali Does Mary West


Dali's Lip Sofa

"The Mae West Lips Sofa (1937) is a surrealist sofa by Salvador Dalí. The wood-and-satin sofa was shaped after the lips of actress Mae West, whom Dalí apparently found fascinating.[1] It measures 86.5 x 183 x 81.5 cm. Edward James, a rich British patron of the Surrealists in the 1930's, commissioned this piece from Dali."

Beyonce on Dali-West with a flesh-colored jeweled outfit

Britney and Mae West flesh-colored and jeweled out

The seemingly negative view of hyper-sexuality as liberation becomes a bit clouded considering that the Women's Liberation Movement of the 1970s is for all intents and purposes obsolete. Is sex-on-parade the new face of feminism? Publicized hyper-sexuality appears on its face to be degrading to the women at the service of the male viewer, but, sexuality and the expression of it is a woman's right; is it hypocritical to call a woman irresponsible for doing for the selves what men have been pushing them to do for us all along? Maybe not. But, like so many things, the WHY is more important than the WHAT.

bound, gagged, waiting to be liberated

Women's Liberation was created as a counter-movement; a response to centuries of persecution and repression. Super-sexy starlets are seen as bucking the system, pushing the envelope. Despite demonization by feminist movements, Marilyn Monroe and Mae West were famously seen as powerful womanist figures through their sexuality to the common woman of the time, and Madonna spent most of her career in the same controversial light. Her blatant association with the church brings it all full circle. In the western world, this repression has a very recognizable face: the Catholic and Christian churches.

bound, gagged... liberated?

what? GaGa just likes covering that eye

Strange Math

Salvador Dali seeing stars
Thanks to W. Morgan over at Few Shots to Shaman for finding this one; Madonna's cross bears a striking resemblance to Salvador Dali's Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus). The 1954 painting, one of Dali's famous art-math-philosophy mash-ups, shows Jesus crucified on a hypercube with his wife Gala (Gaia?) posing as Mary.

Dali does Jesus above the infamous checkerboard
The hypercube consists of 8 cubes arranged into two perpindicular intersecting crosses (a double-cross) and, in this form, also represents the 8-celled tesseract (a shape used to explain how something can exist in four dimensions) displayed unfolded into 3 dimensions instead of four.

This fourth-dimension connection to Madonna reminds me of Tinker Bell jumping dimensions to Neverland... Weird stuff.

Madonna's Metropolis-themed synch-fest


Taken at face value, analysis of the blatant increases in sexuality throughout the pop-star universe appears to be a clear and direct attack on the feminine masked as ironic liberation (or vice versa). Our pop princesses are associated with the sacred feminine while they are overtly demoted to the level of singing streetwalkers on (and sometimes off) stage. But all of this sounds a bit alarmist. I think we need to dig a bit deeper...

"‘To prostitute’ is derived from a composition of two Latin words: (preposition) pro and (verb) statuere. A literal translation therefore would be: ‘to expose’, ‘to place up front’."

The word prostitute in the hebrew bible appears in one of two forms; zonah and kedeshah. Zonah (zohan?) simply means loose woman or harlot, but kedeshah is a bit more complex. The word translates literally as "consecrated female" and is derived from a Semitic root, qedesh, meaning "sacred", "holy" or "set apart". The word Quedeshu was used to describe both the high places of Canaan and the temple prostitutes of the Bamaat (BA-Maat = soul's balance). This purposeful muddling of the term "prostitute" allows us to view the "Whore" of Babylon from a different angle, and also points to the much-debated concept of sacred prostitution in antiquity. The ritual of temple prostitution has been documented most heavily in the Ancient Near East, known today as the Middle East, and has its earliest origins in the ancient civilization of -you guessed it- Babylon.

Babylon A.D. opens with Isis

Qetesh, Middle-Eastern Goddess of Fertility, stands on the beast

Ishtar stands on the Lions with Constantine

This sacred sex took place in the temple of Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, sex and war. Though she was known affectionately as "courtesan to the gods", her divine love was fatal, even for other gods. Ishtar's symbol was the eight-pointed star, and she was known as the divine representation of the planet Venus. In Neil Gaiman's epic Sandman graphic novel series, Ishtar exists in modern times as a stripper, who reminisces for the days when she fed on the power derived from the magic of her lust.

"...She finds herself thinking once more about the women in the temple courtyard. There is a magic generated by money given for lust. Once on a time, she could use that magic, draw it to her. Create an aspect, take the power to herself. Now, she uses a shadow of it to survive. Even a little worship is better than nothing..."
The Sandman: Brief Lives, Chapter 5

In pre-Abrahamic semitic pantheons, Ishtar appears in the form of Astarte, who was also a goddess of fertility, love, sex and war, and also had many temples in which Sacred Sex was required. Astarte shares titles with the Virgin Mary and Isis in some texts as the "Mother of Heaven", and is also seen by some scholars as a prototypical allegory for the biblical virgin birth story; Sumerian and Egyptian rituals celebrating Astarte's virgin [re]birth of a solar deity were performed on December 25th. Astarte's birth celebration -and her name- eventually became the Judeo-Christian holiday we call Easter; Astarte was born from a giant egg which descended from the sky into the sea. Her symbols include the sphinx and the encircled five-pointed star (the symbol of Venus). These goddess stories point, inexorably, to Aphrodite, the infamous Greek Venus Virgin, who takes the patternistic cake. Aphrodite was the patron goddess of prostitutes, and has been recorded as Aphrodite the Courtesan, Aphrodite of Brothels, even Aphrodite of Streetwalkers (really!), and sexual rituals occurred in dozens of her temples.

Aphrodite with (Peter) Pan and Fairy; Mira Sorvino as Aphrodite the Courtesan

Kylie Minogue as Wonder Woman

Mira Sorvino as twin dark and light; in spanish, Mira means Look

"There was no shame in such temple prostitution; on the contrary, it was a sacred means of attaining divine union between man and goddess. Indeed, in the epic of Gilgamesh (written around 2,000 BC) a Babylonian temple prostitute civilizes a wild man of the forest by sleeping with him. "

What does all this have to do with Britney and Beyonce?

The inspiration for this post came from a YouTube comment thread on OrangeMoon's new Xtina Files Series, in which viewers discussed the "sinister symbolism" hidden in Aguilera's videos. The main symbol in question was the inverted pentagram. While I do think there is some credence to the idea that inversion can reflect the negative aspect of the symbol, most truth seekers immediately associate the pentagram with evil by way of its association with "the occult" and the horned Baphomet (who is also usually misrepresented). As I've touched on here, the pentagram was first the symbol for the planet Venus, and was meant to represent the feminine, as Fifth Element of Spirit or as the sigil of Isis.

Kim Kardashian as one-of-three 3rd-eye pentagrams

Pentagram tattoo from Babylon A.D.

Beyonce, Madonna, and my new buddy Ciara all have connections to the pentagram symbolism through various media, which I suppose could be chalked up to coincidence...

...and all have overt representations as streetwalkers/prostitutes, which I'm pretty sure is intentional.

Just like the Whore of Babylon, these images can be rejected as desecration, or seen as an up-front display of the Sacred Sex that has survived through the worship of different goddesses in countless mythologies into the modern age. And not only has it survived, but is experiencing immense over-saturation in pop culture. If the spirit of the sacred prostitute in our time is a veiled worship of the divine feminine, perhaps this increase speaks to a new union in our age between Man and the Goddess (The Whore of Babylon looks a bit different in that light).

Perhaps the puritanical image of sex most of us share is one of the barriers of Ego-I conditioning that must be shattered before we can attain higher level of cosmic consciousness. Not to presume that all sexuality is inherently healthy, or that such sex-marketing should be targetted towards children, but a healthy, non-repressive perspective on sex could do wonders for gender relations. The idea alone even startles my sensibilities as I write... sexual freedom as a means to mystical enlightenment? Sounds a bit out-there, right? But who amongst us can deny the power of our own experiences with Sex Magic?

"...the magnetic induction produced by crossing the active and passive creative organs - namely the phallus and uterus - causes lunar, solar and akashic currents to flow through the Brahmanic cord [from hip to shoulder]... This current provides an active connection between the magnetic center at the root of the nose (pineal gland, Ajna chakra) and solar and lunar principles located within the seminal system at the muladhara chakra [pelvis]. The transmuted energy, through willpower, is populated by "billions christic atoms" that when rising meet the pure akasa of the triune Brahmanic cord, igniting it and through many years of work causing the ascent of the kundalini..."

Samuel Aun Weor on Sex Magic

Again with that Eye

One more pattern thread before I go; Through the pattern of mythological representations of the goddess suckling the child, Joseph Cambell associates Isis and Ishtar (and Mary) with the Hindu goddess Kali, the goddess of war, destruction and tantric sex. Tantric studies are supposed to be the wisdom of Shiva, Kali's male consort, but Kali is described as the true source and in some cases, the ultimate reality experienced above all other deities.

In one of her most famous stories, Kali becomes drunk off the blood of her battlefield victims and begins to dance. Shiva is one of the bodies she dances on, and she is famously represented standing on his fallen image holding a trident. Kali's name translates as "black" -she is shown darkly colored- but has come to mean "force of time"; she is known primarily as the goddess of death, time and change.

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