Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Farewell to Wonderland

We closed our last article (see here) by considering to what extent the Goddess (or Feminine Principle) was evoked in the selection of the former Victoria Terminus as one of the targets in last month's terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. We also considered whether Queen Victoria, and the forces surrounding her, were cognizant of the powerful symbolism present within her title and function as Monarch. Having spent a little time today researching these matters further, I am convinced not only that Victoria was very artfully, and deliberately, presented as an archetypal Brittania figure; but that the selection of the Victoria Terminus was the most profound example of Fortean events referencing the Goddess that we have yet examined.

In our first article in this series, see here, we saw how inherent to the fabric of Mumbai are notions of feminine spirituality, informing its very name. Mumbai is derived from two Gujariti words: Mumba, the name of a local goddess, and ai, meaning mother. The most important landmark in the city's Kelbadevi region- probably the romantic omphalos of all Mumbai- is the Mumba Devi Temple, a fact also noted in that earlier post. Built in the fourteenth century, miraculously surviving both the Muslim and Portuguese occupations, the temple was destroyed (and re-built in another location) by the British in the eighteenth century. According to this article by Sharada Dwivedi, Mumba Devi likely derived from the name of a 14th century Koli woman. (The Koli, from which the English word coolie is derived, are a tribal grouping numbered at some 1.5 million souls in 1969, who traditionally inhabit the area in and around Mumbai.) Very significantly, this temple stood originally at the so-called Gibbet Tank (near the former Bori Bunder creek) on the Esplanade: a spot within the current limits of the Victoria Terminus.

This means two things: firstly, that the opening of the terminus in 1887 was most likely a deliberate attempt by the British to stage Victoria in the same light as Mumba Devi for the Indian population prior to the temple's destruction in 1737; and secondly, that the shootings of November 2008- killing 58- occurred on the very same turf where once stood a hugely important shrine to Mother Goddess.

The Goddess, as Victoria, was also evoked in another of the targeted locations: Leopold's Cafe, in the city's Coloba Causeway region (connecting the islands of Coloba and Little Coloba, or Old Woman's Island.) Something of a landmark for locals and tourists alike, Leopold's has been running since 1871; and was surely named for Prince Leopold, the Duke of Albany, the fourth son of Victoria and Albert. This being the case, Leopold's references both the Goddess (Victoria) and the Secret Commonwealth, in their familiar guise as the fey folk; for the prince was very closely connected to that most magical of fairy tales, Alice in Wonderland.

The recipient of a sudden and not always welcome immortality, as author David Horan writes in his guide to the city of Oxford, the real Alice- Alice Liddell- 'was no ordinary girl.' As the second daughter of Henry Liddell, Dean of Christ Church from 1855 to 1891, she grew up in the most influential family in British education, 'and mixed her whole life with Princes and Prime Ministers.' Genealogical researchers have traced her lineage to William the Conqueror; and was fifth cousin, three times removed, to Queen Elizabeth II, sharing a common ancestor in Thomas Lyon (1704-1753). Dean Liddell's connections 'went even higher for, before moving to Christ Church, he had been Domestic Chaplain to Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert.' British and foreign royalty visiting Oxford always paid a visit to Dean Liddell; which was how Leopold met and fell in love with the mysterious and imp-like Alice during his undergraduate days. (The prince was a student at Christ Church College, the site of one of our 'Goddess Trail' articles, here.)

For all these reasons- her high esteem with the Illuminati, her role as muse to one of the most mysterious 'transmissions' of Gnosis in all literature, and the Lamia-like sexuality which ensnared both Dodgson and Leopold- I regard Alice Liddell a true Grail Maiden: an example of the psychic, faery bloodline symbolised as Melusine. The fact that she is evoked, albeit subliminally, in the Mumbai rituals (in addition to the evidence already presented) persuades me yet further that these were psychic operations, conducted from realms unseen by members of the Secret Commonwealth. And Alice was by no means the only member of her family to belong to the tribe of changelings (currently promoted by Angelina Jolie- Lilith for today's generation- in the motion picture of the same name.) Some researchers claim that it was not Alice but her sister, Edith, upon whom Leopold's eye alighted (in spite of the fact that Leopold became godfather to Alice's first child- who she named after the prince- and that Leopold himself named his daughter Alice.) Yet even if this were true, it would seem that Edith possessed certain psychic traits herself; unconsciously recognised, perhaps, by the artist Edward Burne-Jones, who used her as his model for St Catherine of Alexandria (a favourite of the Templars) in the Lucy Chapel of Christ Church Cathedral. And indicating that these gifts were hereditary is the strange tale of the Christ Church 'ghost.' As Charles Walker writes in The Atlas of Occult Britain:

'In July 1923 the image of the famous scholar Dean Liddell appeared on the wall of Christ Church Cathedral. The face, in profile, developed something like a ghostly fresco portrait, close to the Burne-Jones window which Liddell himself had placed in the cathedral in memory of his daughter. A photograph of this 'spirit painting' was reproduced in The Oxford Journal of 1923. [The] Dean had died in 1898, but the portrait had only 'developed' slowly on the wall in the preceding two years, until by 1923 it so clearly resembled the Dean that people flocked to the cathedral merely to study the picture.'

Curioser and curioser...

The Empire never ended... More to follow

1 comment:

Citius64 said...

Hi Ben,

Syncronicity works through strane ways: you write about the Melusine et al today and later, the same day, the NYT publishes online:

Young Women Bring a New Era to Surfing

A new generation of women, like Malia Manuel, above, are shaking up the professional surfing establishment.