What’s really sad is this is going viral!
Oh, no! If that want enough we have video’s who are ‘supporting’ this video. Crazy, right? What is a clown? Origin? Do you know? Clowns are a symbol of chaos.
What Penny Wise from Stephen King’s “IT” did for clown, what Psycho did got showers, and Jaws did for swimming in the ocean! Sure, I know a few people who are obsessively phobic about clowns, as most probably do. But, why?
According to some, the entities that people encounter while under the influence of entheogenic substances often portray themselves as clowns in amusement parks or circuses. Strange!
It’s All Greek To Me!
The Trickster is an archetype, an aggregate of abstract properties or characteristics, one which can be found in cultures worldwide. The first use of this term to denote a certain fundamental type was probably in an article by Daniel Brinton in an 1885 paper “The Chief God of the Algonkians, in his character as a cheat and a liar”. The trickster is represented by various mythological beings in different cultures: the Greek Hermes, Loki of the Norse, Coyote of the American Indian, Eshu-Elegba in West Africa, and the Indonesian Kanjil are a few examples. The literature on such figures highlights certain qualities which are shared by many Trickster figures. Not all of these qualities display all of these qualities, but Jungian thought holds that as more properties of the archetype align, the archetype will get stronger and more will tend to manifest.
By analyzing one of the more well-known Trickster figures, Hermes, many of these traits become more obvious. Firstly, he is a skillful liar and a thief. Hermes is associated with boundaries. Hermes literally means “he of the stone heap”; in Greece, stone heaps are used to mark property boundaries. He is a messenger god, traveling Olympus, Earth, and the Underworld- or, in psychoanalytic terms, from the higher mind of intellect and ideas, the ego, and the collective unconscious mind. Hermes is sometimes seen in the role of psychopomp, accompanying souls to the realm of death.
He seems to stand in between his tow more recognizable half-brothers, Apollo- representing order and structure- and Dionysus’s ecstatic, orgiastic excess. Greek mythology portrays Hermes as serving in the capacity of midwife at the birth of Dionysus, and being given the power of prophecy by Apollo, the ability to interpret signs. He is associated with divination, luck, coincidence, and synchronicity. Finally, Hermes is also known for his sexual trickery and unrestrained sexuality.
The fundamental qualities which emerge from the cross-cultural literature on Trickster figures include:
-practicing of Deception- deceit is one of the most integral aspects;
– they tend to be unrestrained and uninhibited sexually;
-they are disruptive and destabilizing to society, tending to break taboos;
-they have anti-structural personalities- they are marginal figures living on the boundaries of society, solitary, usually bachelors
-they practice magic, perform occult rites or have some type of contact with supernatural beings.
Tricksters tend to govern transition, introduce paradoxes and blur boundaries. Hansen is right to point out and emphasize the relationship of clowns to the trickster archetype. The Hindu clown figure Viduska, a character found frequently in Sanskrit drama, exemplifies many of these tendencies toward anti-structure and role inversion. The Natyasatra describes Viduska as coming from the highest caste, but speaks in the language of the lowest, Prakrit. His clothing and behavior are similarly backward, irrational and uninhibited. Through inverted speech, illogical actions, mimicry of spirits and animals, and ludicrous acrobatic stunts, clowns perform functions attributed to Tricksters in mythology, blurring boundaries, toying with social and sexual rules, and mixing the obscene with the sacred.
We have seen how in many traditional cultures, such as among the various American Indian groups, clowning has significant associations and ties to supernatural and paranormal elements, and to the archetype of the trickster, aspects of which, as George Hansen demonstrates in his book on the subject, manifest repeatedly in a wide range of Paranormal areas, from mediums to UFOs to laboratory-based PSI research. (1)
SEND IN THE CLOWNS
There is a certain degree of debate today over whether the Magician of the Tarot as we now know him, is the same figure as depicted on the early Tarot decks. In the Tarot, the traditional placement of the Magician follows the Fool card. Two of the earliest images appearing on Tarot cards in this position within the Major Arcana depict either a cobbler (shoemaker,) a juggler, or a curious figure sitting at a table with a variety of objects spread out before him. This latter figure is often referred to as the slight-of-hand-artist or the swindler.
In exploring the origins of the Magician card, we will examine the early character of the cobbler/shoemaker and look at the other characters as well. The word “cobbler” comes from the Middle English word cobeler. The archaic meaning of the word is a bungler or one who is clumsy. This seems at first glance to be an odd association with the shoemaker. The word clumsy is ultimately derived from the Scandinavian clomsen and the Icelandic klunni. Interestingly, these are the roots words of the clown, buffoon, and jester as well. The word jester is ultimately derived from the Latin gestusus which means to gesticulate. Gesticulation is to make gestures especially while speaking. This is the art employed by the slight-of-hand expert.
But why was the cobbler associated with the concept of being clumsy? The answer may lie in an ancient magical tradition that features the sandal. From the ancient writings of Empedocles, and from those written about him, we enter into the cult of Hecate. Here we find the bronze sandal as a symbol of the magician of Hecate, possibly linked to silver sandals appearing in 6th century Babylonian practices associated with the god Adad and his wife Shala. In Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic by Peter Kingsley (Oxford University Press, 1995) we read:
“(The bronze sandal)….was the magical ‘symbol’ par excellence of Hecate. Worn or held by the magician, it was the ‘sign’ of his ability to descend to the underworld at will.”
Legends surrounding Empedocles as an initiate of the cult of Hecate insist that he wore a bronze sandal. To move about in a bronze sandal would indeed at the very least give the appearance of being clumsy, if not define the concept of clumsy itself. It is interesting to note that in Norse lore we find a legendary blacksmith known as Wayland the Smith. He was lamed by command of King Nidud of Sweden so that he could not escape, and he was compelled into his service. In his earlier tales Wayland is actually King of the Gnomes and produced metal amulets and magical swords. The association of Gnomes with earthen caverns, and the association of Hecate’s magician with the underworld is equally noteworthy in our discussion. On a side note, it is curious that the Latin and Scandinavian words for clumsy, are both from cultures in which we find figures whose feet are encumbered due to their office, who make shoes, and who are connected to metal in a magical way.
By the end of the 6th century BC we find writings by Heraclitus of Ephesus that attack magicians as swindlers and tricksters who use deception to persuade people into believing they have magical power. Despite this, magic continued to thrive over the centuries and magicians were viewed as theurgists. A theurgist is one who performs divine actions chiefly with the aid of magical symbols. This is the image of the Neoplatonic magician who was considered to possess the ability to make rain, stop plagues, and to both extract and replace the soul of an individual at will. According to Kingsley, Neoplatonic theurgists also had “visionary encounters” with Hecate.
Now that we have seen evidence of an occult tradition associated with the shoe, what of the slight-of-hand artist? One of the earliest images of this Tarot figure depicts a table set with a cup and several round balls. Commentators are unsure what the balls are, but most suggest something akin to bread. It is quite likely that these balls are the type used in aleuronmancy. Aleuronmancy is a form of divination in which various outcomes/situations are written on small strips of paper. This form of divination was popular in the temples of Apollo who, as Patron of this art, was known as Aleuromantis. In aleuronmancy each strip is then folded and rolled up in a small ball of dough (very much like a Chinese fortune cookie). Each ball of dough is then covered with a walnut shell. Walnuts were attributed by the Greeks and Romans with oracle properties. The shells are mixed nine times and then people pick a shell and retrieve the strip of paper to learn of their fortune. So here we see a possible connection of the early Tarot image of the slight-of-hand artist as an oracle of the god Apollo, an association with divination. Divination itself has long been the providence of underworld deities, which brings us back to Hecate and the magician/priest.
One of the sacred cult objects of Hecate was a triangular plaque with a rod rising up from the center. Mounted on the rod was a flat disk laying horizontally. This tool was actually the standard design in ancient times for the working surface of the cobbler. On the disk, leather was placed to be worked; the rod allowed height so that sandal straps could hang down and be laced around the disk to the other side of the sandal. Since, in the cult of Hecate, the sandal was the sign of the magician’s ability to descend into the underworld at will, it may be that the polished disk also doubled as a type of scrying mirror for divination. Professor Kingsley depicts the tradition of Empedocles, and the Neoplatonist theurgists, as heirs of the mystical sect of Hecate and the associations discussed in this article. With the renewed interest in Hermetics during the rise of the Renaissance era in Italy, it is likely that the theurgist recognized the symbolism of the cobbler in the Tarot symbolism, the secret revealed only in symbolism and not in name. Within a short period, the Tarot symbolism would change to rightly reflect the cobbler and the slight-of-hand artist as representative of the theurgist/magician. (2)
I think this leaves no doubt, at least in my mind that this is derived from the Greek. Greeks religious affiliations are with the demigods/Atlanteans/fallen angels.
So, what is the intended message behind modern clowns? Can you see through the illusion!