takes you on a guided tour of the archetypal inspiration behind the
Tower of Song's Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library
Mnemosyne, Muse of Memory & Mother of the Muses
Library of Alexandria
The Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library
Temple of Wonder
Because the Tower of Song library is a Memorial-Musekal Library it retains the memory of the earliest "sacred libraries" of old and, more specifically, the "Universal Library" and "Museum" at Alexandria, one of the "wonders of the ancient world." Our Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library, then, would be a remembrance of this "vanished library" and its Museum —the "Home of the Muses"—through its long-playing records that go way back in time to the time before time: ". . . the germ of the library is as early as man's mind." "The oldest of alleged libraries are the libraries of the gods." For example, the "sacred libraries" of Egypt, where the "House of Books" was presided over by the god Toth (Hermes) and the goddess Hathor-Seshait, called the 'Lady of Libraries" and "'Mistress of the Hall of Books." (The moon-goddess Seshait was an aspect the Great Goddess, Isis, herself. According to some historians, Seshait is the older and more primary than Toth. As Hathor, she is called “Truth,” Maat, and functions as the “inventor of writing.” Thus, Hathor-Seshait is assimilated to “the great mother” and “is one of the favorite goddesses among the Egyptian pantheon.” Thus, these libraries were also the shrine-oracles of the gods, and usually of goddesses.) It is recorded in our Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library that the religious mythologies of the world claim there were book collections even before the creation of the world, but in the Vedas it is claimed that a library existed even before the creator god, and the Koran maintains that such a collection co-existed from eternity with the uncreated God.
Furthermore, many of the creator gods were described in terms of knowledge or the word (logos),
and were even looked upon as incarnate libraries. In some mythologies
all creation is looked upon as a vast library, and thus the stars in
the heavens are seen, astrologically, as a book in which can be read
the secret destiny of heaven and earth—a
" house of wisdom." There is also the ancient notion of creation as "
The Book of Life." Other mythological traditions tell of the
"Pre-Adamite" or "Antediluvean Library" written by Jehovah in several
volumes, which composed Adam's entire library until the Fall. After the
fall, it is reported that Jehovah wrote a revised edition in one volume
on stone and placed it in a "house" on a mountain east of the Garden of
Eden where lived the Cherubim. (Angels were often associated with
libraries.) This was thus the very first "House of Books," or library
building and, accordingly, the angels became the first librarians, or
"keepers of the stone books." This library was bequeathed to Noah,
which he preserved from the Flood (thus "Antediluvian"). Legend has it
that this library was dug up after the Flood and became the nucleus of
the great libraries of the ancient world. These original libraries of
the earth were "sacred libraries," since they seem always to have
belonged to the temples: "It is no accident that libraries have from
the earliest times been associated with holy places. . . ."
The Great Library from Across the Ages
The Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library has its real-world archetype in two libraries of the past.
first is the ancient library at Alexandria in Egypt, which was one of
the wonders of the ancient world. Founded by Alexander the Great in the
fourth century BC, built and enlarged by Ptolemy I, Alexander's
successor, the city's library comprised perhaps as many as 700,000
whole corpus of knowledge accumulated by ancient philosophers,
scientists and poets. And it was all contained in a building thought by
the ancients to have been of surpassing beauty, not a trace of which
survives. The library was likely created after his father had built
what would become the first part of the Library complex, the Temple of the Muses–the Mouseion. The Greek Μουσείον was
the home of music and poetry, a philosophical school and library such
as Plato's school of philosophy, also a gallery of sacred texts. The
Latin word museum is derived from this. The Musaeum (3rd
century BC) was directed by a group of literary and scientific scholars
who received support from the Ptolemies. The Library of Alexandria, the
"Cathedral of Books," was "a building devoted to learning and the arts,
regarded as the home or seat of the muses" (museum) and housed an
esoteric community of adepts "isolated from the outside world and
equipped with a complete library and retreat were they could cultivate
the muses." The "Universal Library" contained more than the sum of its
two most outstanding literary traditions, Greek and Egyptian, because
it included Jewish, Babylonian, Zoroastrian and many other writings
including manuscripts from as far away as India. Buddhist monks were
part of a special envoy sent by the emperor Asoka to Alexandria during
the time of Ptolemy II Philodelphus. The Alexandrian Library was
modeled on the Egyptian "sacred library" that was not only a "House of
Books," but a labyrinthine "temple of initiation" (both buildings were
labyrinths). The Library slowly declined over the next four centuries,
until by 400 CE it had vanished, and the era of Alexandrian scholarship
came to an end a few years later. But the memory of the ancient Library
of Alexandria lived on. It continued to inspire scholars and humanists
everywhere. The reputation of the Musaeum as a venue of knowledge and
learning spread through the centuries. Many dreamt of one day reviving
the great Library. In some sense, the Alexandrian library was the
fore-runner of today's national libraries, since its mission was to
collect all the important works of Hellenic civilization. Inscribed
over the entrance of the chamber of oldest library of the ancient world
(in Egypt), the following enigmatic and amazing words: " THE PLACE OF
THE CURE OF SOUL." The inscription, "psycheis therapeia,"
denotes "the dwelling or workshop where the Ka [soul] resides and where
it operates." This is why some translate the enigmatic inscription as
"The Hospital of the Soul." Thus, if we go back far enough in the
history of libraries, we can re-vision what a library really is and
what it is for; and Everybody Knows, it is, in the final analysis, the "House of Soul"—a special place where is kept not only a storehouse of memory (memoria), but a hospital for the care of soul. Therefore, since the greatest librarian of the ancient world was Hypatia, who was not only called "The Philosopher" but "The Nurse," and sinceMary Magdalene inspired the tower-library known as the Tour Magdala, the library in the Tower of Song is both Magdalene College & Asylun. And,
thus, Everybody Knows (since "the memory of the ancient Library of
Alexandria lived on" and "many dreamt of one day reviving the great
Library"), what the Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library in the Tower of Song is.
Why a Mus-e-kal Library?
and libraries were clearly considered a natural association by the
first century BC. The relationship was most fostered by the library at
Alexandria, which had its own museum with its own statuary Muses. The
dates are significant. The library at Alexandria was established at the
beginning of the third century BC. Plato is fourth century BC. . . Plato
sets up one of the first, if not the first, 'mouseion' or museum.
Within Plato's Academy 'There is an altar to the Muses, and another to
Hermes' . . . . Plato feels the necessity of surrounding himself and
his school with the reinforcers of memory and hence learning. . . . The
union of Muses and learning continued throughout classical antiquity."
Muses were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (Memory). They presided
over song, and prompted the memory. They were nine in number, to each
of whom presided over a particular department of literature, art, or
science. Therefore, while it is true about the Library of Alexandria
that "not a trace of it survives" ("vanished library"), in another sense (or dimension) it truly does still survive—as the imaginal place some visionaries call the "poetisphere": Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library. [For pictures of the Muses, see Library Gallery below.]
Rennes Le Chateau Tour Magdala
Rennes Le Chateau Tour Magdala
Our Dark Lady of the Romantic Tower of Song—Sophia Magdalene—is the Goddess-Muse of Eternal Wisdom & Wit and ancient Lonely-Tower Libraries. [from Re-Vision Radio Manifesto & Visionary Recital ]
The second real-world library that serves as model of the Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library is the medieval library called the Tour Magdala in Southern France. [See larger image of Tour Magdala at bottom pg.#3, Metaphorical Key to Tower of Song.]
Legends say that Mary Magdalene came to southern France after arriving by boat at Les Saintes Maries dela Mer on the coast of Southern France. Her name and memory are all over the Languedoc region, especially at Rennes le Chateau and the tiny hilltop village, where 100 years ago the Abbe Sauniere built the Tour Magdala that he dedicated–as well as the Church–to Mary Magdalene. It is said that the Tower of Magdala was built over a cave that descends into the earth. Both the tower and church were built on an ancient temple site to the Goddess, to Isis. It is also believed that beneath them lies part of a magnificent Venus Temple covered with earth during the Deluge thousands of years ago. Many equate Magdalene to Venus, Goddess of love, beauty, and sensuality. The hillside town of Rennes-le-Château is located in Languedoc (Southern France), the epicenter of Troubadour activity. The town has played a key historical role, both as the center of the Cathar heresy in the region and its subsequent suppression, as well as in traditions connected to the Templar movement and its ultimate suppression. Surface findings around the hilltop and the church suggest the area has long historical past including pre-Christian pagan religious sites and as a provincial center in the Greco-Roman period.
"But what was this Tower Magdala for, other than for viewing the area? It was used as a library, yes, but it doesn’t look like a library. What it looks like is a symbol of something, a sample of greater splendor, say, a miniature of what Saunière was dreaming of. This is a tiny castle. A castle that suggests or leads to a larger castle, perhaps a “castle-in-the-air” to those who have eyes to see, the castle in which the lost Magdalene could feel at home. Or perhaps it’s meant as a gateway to some sort of spiritual Grail Temple or Refuge, as others have speculated. Whatever, it may be significant that its door does not open to the outside. You must be inside Saunière’s park to climb up to the esplanade to enter the door. Does this symbolically convey that one must be an “insider” to enter the Mystery? There is a well-known notion that the Gothic cathedrals were “books in stone,” and possibly even “alchemical books in stone.” It would seem that Saunière’s entire estate, but especially his tower, combine with his church to add up to some sort of non-verbal book. Which says, 'let those who eyes to read, read.'"
This description of the Tour Magdala is another key to the nature and function of the Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library—and where it is housed: The Tower of Song. "What it looks like is a symbol of something a sample of greater splendor, say, a miniature of what Saunière was dreaming of. This is a tiny castle. A castle that suggests or leads to a larger castle, perhaps a “castle-in-the-air” to those who have eyes to see ...." In other words, the Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library in the Tower of Song—that Refuge or Sanctuary ("where the poetic champions compose")—is a "book in stone," but also music in stone, or "frozen music." [For that archetypal "castle-in-the-air," see p. 3: "Metaphorical Key to the Tower of Song".]
Given, as previously stated, a feminine spirit has always, from the
beginning, been associated with great libraries as a tutelary deity
(the Egyptian "Lady of Libraries"), and continues into our time (e.g.,
the bronze bust of Athena-Minerva, goddess of wisdom, that is above the
north entrance of Doe Library on the UCB campus), it should also be
pointed out that the most famous librarian of the ancient world was a
woman named Hypatia (379-415 CE).
She was a Neoplatonic philosopher known as "The Philosopher" and "The Nurse," and she became the librarian at the Library of Alexandria.
The Church historian Socrates describes her in this way: "Hypatia, daughter of Theon, last fellow of the Museum, who was a famed
mathematician and philosopher, and who had succeeded to the school of
Plato and Plotinus, was a woman of great learning and highest
character." The poet Palladas called her "Adorable Hypatia, Unsullied
Star of True Philosophy." In the estimation of some, Hypatia was
history’s greatest woman. By all accounts stunningly beautiful,
dazzlingly brilliant, yet always modest and kind. In an age when women
were but chattel, this remarkable Alexandrian Greek woman was history’s
first female mathematician, as well as the first female astronomer,
inventor, and natural philosopher. She was the last keeper of the
flame of knowledge in that great Alexandrian University the Museum—the
center of all the world’s learning. As the daughter of the last
head professor of the Museum, she practically grew up in the Great
Alexandrian Library, where all the world’s knowledge was kept. In
addition to being a child prodigy, she was a voracious reader. Already,
by the age of womanhood in those days (i.e., twelve), she was
considered to have assimilated the sum total of all significant human
knowledge. When what was left of the Great Alexandrian Library was
burned down by the Christians at the command of Christian emperor
Theodosius “The Great” in the year 391, the books were all gone. But
Hypatia’s mind still contained the best of what was lost in the flames,
and so, throughout the rest of her life, whenever someone was stumped
by a problem and there were no more books to turn to, they turned to Hypatia. By the time her career as lecturing natural
philosopher culminated, she was considered an oracle, and citizens and
heads of state streamed in from all over the two empires to consult
with her on important matters. Indeed, so great was her renown, that
letters from all over the far-flung empires addressed simply “to the
Philosopher” would unerringly find their way to her. Her life’s mission
was to preserve the ancient knowledge of the brilliant Greeks, and to
preserve their tradition of free-thinking rational thought. However,
the world around her was in upheaval, and the Christians were
consolidating their power, turning the mind of man away from reason, to
faith. Hypatia was the last obstacle to the Church’s goal of world
domination, and when the Christian mob under Saint Cyril made her
history’s greatest martyr for science the scholars left Alexandria in
disgust. Alexandria ceased to be the world’s center of learning, and
the Dark Ages descended upon the world. Because Hypatia preserved and
disseminated the seed of Greek wisdom, although that seed lay dormant
for a thousand years, eventually it sprouted and bore the fruits which
produced the European Renaissance and the Modern Age, and in the end
the great woman, Hypatia, triumphed after all.
Hypatia - Raphael's School of Athens
Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library in the Romantic Tower of Song is not only a Temple of Wonder, but a Temple of Love. The Gypsy Scholar would re-vision the institution of the library back to the Mari-Ishtar-Aphrodite Temple of Love. ("Many equate Magdalene to Venus, Goddess of love, beauty, and sensuality." [For The Magdalene as a priestess of the Aphrodite-Dianic cult of love, see subpage of p. 11, "Our Dark Lady".] The records in the Memorial-Musekal library reveal the inseparable union of philosophy and eros, beginning with Socrates and the priestess Diotima, "the teacher of love," who Socrates claimed taught him everything he knew. Since the institution of the library in the Western world begins with the founding of the "Universal Library" and "Museum" at Alexandria by Plato's student Aristotle and his Peripatetic School, and since the beautiful Hypatia resided there, we can make the connection between eros, philosophy, soul, and libraries. ("'Give attention to the soul' is a phrase that practically defines the whole teaching of Pythagoras and Socrates.") Therefore, the Gypsy Scholar also re-visions the Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library as both temple of learning and love, with Our Dark Lady of the Tower of Song, as a erotic librarian, guiding the lovers (of "crazy wisdom"—Sophia) to the secret places between the stacks. That's why Everybody Knows Our Dark Lady—fusing the heights intellectuality with the depths of sexuality—gives good read. "The liberation of the Imagination is always an erotic event" (J. Hillman)
"My library Was dukedom large enough."
-Prospero, The Tempest by Shakespeare
For Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the biggest values in life were neither the state finances nor his immense private property, but the books of his personal library. Heinrich Heine regarded the world of books as the most powerful universe mankind ever created. And for Jorge Luis Borges the library simply was his paradise.
know, I never told you why your books are so important to me. Your
novels set me free. Growing up [in a small town] I always felt like am
alien--I never fit in anywhere. . . . But I always found solace in
writing and books . . . . [I couldn't decide whether to go to this
great college I was excepted to, or stay in my home town with my
boyfriend.] So I did what I always do in times of great uncertainty--I
went to the books; I went to the library. And that's when I found you .
. . . I sat on the floor between the stacks and I read the whole book.
By the time I finished and the library was closing around me, I knew
what I had to do. You gave me the courage to live my own life." (Young woman writer to her mentor in film, Starting Out in the Evening, 2008)
wonder how many people have fallen in love in a library. The place is a
hotbed of romance. The sight of someone pouring over a book, devoted.
The beatific inclination of the head. In no other pose does the human
body look at once so strong and vulnerable, tense and at ease.
Something beautifying happens to a person in the process of reading a
book. There's the soft library light and the quiet helps too, but
mainly it has to do with the act itself; the words, the ideas,
transferring from one mind to another, and the recipient mind glowing
like a smitten teenager. The library is a love nest, hot. You'd think
they'ed shut the thing down. In New York, in fact, that's exactly what
the powers have contemplated: shutting down the public libraries,
permanently closing the local branches, or shortening the hours. What
this amounts to, at the moment, is lost love in the city of New York.
But with the economy falling apart everywhere, library closings could
occur in any city. America without public libraries! Think of it. Where
would you find the reader of your dreams? What such closings will mean
is not merely the end of libraries but the end of books. Many people
can perceive that end eventually, with or without public libraries. But
the removal of libraries will speed the process hectically. The kid in
Brooklyn, Queens or Houston, Texas who is inclined to read and finds no
books available to him, will soon incline toward television or nothing.
Books will become the special property of the rich or of oddballs, and
reading will become a hobbyist activity equivalent to pinning
butterflies on a page. In the term "public library" the emphasis is on
the word public, an emphasis important to this country. In a set up
like ours, the public library is an essential equal opportunity
institution. Anybody, anywhere, can grace his mind—that is the deep and
real romance of a library. Every book, on every shelf, in every stack
holds the promise of more. The politicians talk of merely closing the
libraries a couple of days a week, but that will kill them too. The
beauty of the place is that its there, always there, waiting for
everybody, open like a pair of arms. Closing the public libraries
should not be lamented; it should be forbidden. People—all
people—should rise in outrage and self-interest to keep the institution
going forever. Picture him, picture her, poised over that book, the
book that broke into their hearts and gave them life. Think of yourself
at the moment of liberty, when the feelings of the book became your
feelings, its thoughts your thoughts; its information yours—all in the
marriage of true minds. There you were never lovelier. —Roger Rosenblatt
"Hypatia" (Charles Mitchell, 1885)
"My greatest of all amusements is reading." (Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 1813.)
Thomas Jefferson's intense love of books and thirst for understanding led him to create a magnificent private library (6, 487 volumes) that reflected his vast intellectual interests. His private library
was unrivaled in America, and became the foundation for the Library of Congress.
Throughout his life, Jefferson (1743–1826) collected books across a vast spectrum of topics and languages. Jefferson followed a modified version of an organizational system created by British philosopher Francis Bacon to arrange the books in his library, then the largest private book collection in North America. Jefferson divided his books into categories of Memory, Reason, and Imagination, which he then translated into “History,” “Philosophy,” and “Fine Arts."
Jefferson believed that the library was a fundamental institution of democracy; that knowledge and free access to it is essential to democracy.
Therefore, the Gypsy Scholar (the Bohemian Librarian) calls this section of the Musekal-Memorial Library
Thomas Jefferson's Imagination Shelf
Significantly enough--given that the Gypsy Scholar's imaginal library is the Musekal-Memorial Library--, among all his passions Jefferson counted music as his favorite. He was a musician himself, a violinist. He had a large, eclectic music library, which included scores by Vivaldi, Handel, Campioni, and Hayden.
Our Dark "Lady of Libraries"
guides you to the Angelic Presences of the
Tower of Song's Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library
Tower of Song Library Angels
The Angel of the Book
The celebrated novelist (e.g. The Lotos and the Robot), journalist and science writer, “Arthur Koestler, went so far as to claim his own ‘library angel,' his term for all those otherwise inexplicable moments—synchronistic events—in a researcher’s life when a book or book passage appears, as if out of nowhere, to provide the next insight on your subject. Synchronicity, then, was not just an object of study. It also became a subject, a mode of writing ... and an intimate part of my own interpretive and creative processes.” —Jeffrey J. Kripal
Muse, of the story-teller who was thrust to the edge of the world; childlike, ancient, and through him reveal Everyman . . . . With time my
listeners became my readers." --Wings of Desire
The Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library of the Tower of Song is a Muse/Angel-haunted (with "wings of desire") hyperspace Museum of Knowledge and Temple of Wonder.
The Gypsy Scholar intuits that his Orphic Essay-with-Soundtrack is isometric to his favorite film: "Wings of Desire works hard to be both an essay and a love story, a mural and an intimate portrait." (TIME Magazine, 5/9/88)
"And Now Begins a New life, because another covering of Earth is shaken off. I am more famed in Heaven for my works than I could well conceive. In my Brain are studies & Chambers fill'd with books & pictures of old, which I wrote & painted in ages of Eternity before my mortal life; & these works are the delight & Study of Archangels." (William Blake, Letter 9/21/1800)
"Within my darkness I slowly explore The hollow half light with hesitant cane, I who always imagined Paradise To be a sort of library." (Jorge Luis Borges)
Our minds are doorways into an infinite labyrinth ... a kind of Borgesian library of infinite possibilities.... (Terence McKenna)
this "library," which is an "infinite labyrinth," is precisely what I
mean about the Tower of Song, located in that "invisible landscape" of
the imaginal mind.
"I laid my left hand on the cover and, trying
to put my thumb on the flyleaf, I opened the book. It was useless.
Every time I tried, a number of pages came between the cover and my
thumb. It was as if they kept growing from the book."
"No one realized that the book and the labyrinth were one and the same." (Jorge Luis Borges)
What is the Tower of Song's Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Libray?
A kind of library-labyrinth of infinite possibilities . . . a kind of archetypal imaginal mind?
"The Alexandrian Library was modelled on the Egyptian 'sacred library' that was not only a 'House of Books,' but a labyrinthine 'temple of initiation' (both buildings were labyrinths)."
"The fact is that poetry is not the books in the library . . . Poetry is the encounter of the reader with the book, the discovery of the book." (Jorge Luis Borges, 'Poetry')
"A book is more than a verbal structure or series of verbal structures; it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes upon his voice and the changing and durable images it leaves in his memory. A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships." (Jorge Luis Borges, 'A Note on Bernard Shaw')
"I cannot think it unlikely that there is such a total book on some shelf in the universe. I pray to the unknown gods that some man--even a single man, tens of centuries ago--has perused and read this book. If the honor and wisdom and joy of such a reading are not to be my own, then let them be for others. Let heaven exist, though my own place may be in hell. Let me be tortured and battered and annihilated, but let there be one instant, one creature, wherein thy enormous Library may find its justification." (Jorge Luis Borges, 'The Library of Babel')
"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library." (Jorge Luis Borges)
"How can we enter the poetisphere of our time? An era of free imagination has begun. From everywhere, images invade the air, go from one world to another, and call both ears and eyes to enlarged dreams. Poets abound. . . . Whoever lives for poetry must read everything. How often has the light of a new idea sprung from a simple brochure! When one allows himself to be animated by new images, he discovers iridescence in the images of old books. Poetic ages unite in a living memory. The new age awakens the old. The old age comes to live again in the new. Poetry is never as unified as when it diversifies. What benefits new books bring us! I would like a basket full of books telling the youth of images which fall from heaven for me every day. This desire is natural. This prodigy is easy. For, up there, in heaven, isn't paradise an immmense library?" (Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Reverie )
The altered text as "Soul-text": Orphic Essay-with-Soundtrack
The Gypsy Scholar's (an intellectual outsider) desire to transcend the boundaries of traditional "Protestant scholarship" and its text, the academic dissertation, takes him back--"way, way back"--to the "sacred libraries" of Egypt, where the "House of Books" was presided over by the god Toth (Hermes) and a goddess. Thus the Gypsy Scholar spends most of his time in the Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library of the Tower of Song (that "Lonely Tower Library"), where he can feel the angelic (or "daimonic") presences that haunt the stacks and "those funny voices" (of "twenty-seven angels"--L. Cohen), which seem to speak out of the pages (wings) of the library's "out-of-the-way books" (Coleridge).
Gypsy Scholar, even in an age of high tech popular culture
forms, is still a lover of books—and even "bookish." Let
it be known that (through a somewhat Hegalian dialectic—negation,
integration, re-affirmation on a higher level) the old "book" is not
replaced by the electronic media, but, paradoxically, the new media
becomes another manifestation of the archetype of The Book. ("The Book"
or "Library" has been, since time immemorial, understood as "sacred"
and portrayed as a metaphor/symbol for the "Creation" in the Mind of God.) Ergo, what
this means for the cyberspace text is that in the TOWER OF SONG's Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library (that
"more complex space") the Archetypal Book is stored in the "Memoria," or Imagination of the ideal reader.
So, to Bachelard's teasing question, "How
can we enter the poetisphere of our time?," the Gypsy Scholar would answer: TOWER OF SONG's Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library.
"Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting."—Aldous Huxley
structure of the narrative will, therefore, not be revealed in the
linear narrative of this book, but in the hypertext in which all the
texts are stacked in the imagination of the reader. In this more
complex space, permissible and forbidden knowledge cross in ways that
excite the artists but disturb the academic clergy." –William Irwin Thompson "The books we read should be chosen with great care, that they may be, as an Egyptian king wrote over his library, 'The medicines of the soul'." –Paxton Hood "In a library we are surrounded by many hundreds of dear friends imprisoned by an enchanter in paper and leathern boxes." –Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Let me explain. This is a library, a place of refuge. Libraries should be full of dusty old books–and nooks and corners and places to hide away in." –Edward Ferrars (in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility)
Given that this website is designed as a kind of cyberspace Illuminated
Book (the great art-form of the scholastic Middle Ages), the Gypsy
Scholar has placed two facsimilies below for your viewing.]
click for Illuminated Book
click for Illuminated Book
"A Quiet Read"
"Magdalene reading ..."
"The Reader" [Mary Magdalene] -Jean Jacques Henner
Magdalene and a good read
What is the
Tower of Song's Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library?
It is an imaginal
"Library Without Walls"
& "Memory Theater"
The Dream of the Universal or Ideal Library—the “Library Without Walls.”
These examples made it possible for a librarian of genius to discover the fundamental law of the Library. . . . When it was proclaimed that the Library contained all books, the first impression was one of extravagant happiness. –Jorge Luis Borges, ‘The Library of Babel’
They are walking among the books accumulated there; they pause, standing, to read a book, or they group around the few tables placed in the hall. The message is clear: a space in the form of a basilica and devoted to reading recuperates a sacred character that ecclesiastical buildings had lost; study is like a voyage among books punctuated by advances and halts, voyage among books punctuated by advances and halts, by solitary reading, and by erudite conversation. –R. Chartier, The Order of Books
The dream of a universal library that would bring together all accumulated knowledge and all the books ever written, which can be found throughout the history of Western civilization, became a serious preoccupation of librarian-encyclopedists beginning in the 16th century (and extending into the in the 17th and 18th centuries) with the concept of the Bibliotheque.
“The problem of the impossibility of a universal library was to be overcome with a new concept of a library, the Bibliotheque: an apartment or place destined for putting books; gallery, building full of books. . . . The sum of their titles defined an ideal library freed from the constraints imposed by anyone actual collection and overflowing the limits inherent in anthologies and compilations by the immaterial construction of a sort of library of all libraries in which nothing (or almost nothing) was lacking.”
This new usage of the concept of the bibliotheca “detaches the word from its material definition and invests the library without walls . . . with universality.”
“The various meanings given to the term for a library thus clearly show one of the major tensions that inhabited the literate of the early modem age and caused them anxiety. A universal library (or at least universal in one order of knowledge) could not be other than fictive, reduced to the dimensions of a catalogue, a nomenclature, or a survey. Conversely, any library that is actually installed in a specific place and that is made up of real works available for consultation and reading, no matter how rich it might be, gives only a truncated image of accumulable knowledge. The irreducible gap between ideally exhaustive inventories and necessarily incomplete collections was experienced with intense frustration. It led to extravagant ventures assembling—in spirit, if not in reality—all possible books, all discoverable titles, all works ever written. ‘When it was proclaimed that the Library contained all books, the first impression was one of extravagant happiness’.” –R. Chartier, The Order of Books
"The Reader Crowned with Flowers or Virgil's Muse"
"The Reader's Path"
Imaginal Libraries, Memory, and the Space of Knowledge yesterday and today: The Memory Theater
What is today known as the "collective unconscious" was once the imaginal realm the ancients called “memoria.” The “art of memory,” as practiced in the Renaissance, was a technique for ordering the memory. This was the Renaissance (occult) “memory theater.” The human memory (i.e., the imagination or “imaginal soul”) was conceived as an internal treasure-house or “theater” rather than a mere alphabetical or chronological filing system.:
“Whereas an encyclopedic filing system is a method by which concepts are written, available one page at a time; a theater is a place where images are envisioned, available all at once. In the art of memory events belong together in clusters or constellations because they partake of the same archetypal meaning or pattern, and not merely because these events all begin with the letter A or B or happened on the same day or in the same year. The organization of the mind was based on inherent meanings, not on arbitrary nominalistic labels. In this arena of memory all the information in the universe could be stored, so that this art provided a means for having universal knowledge present to anyone mastering the techniques. It was both a retrieval system and a structural model for laying out the groundwork and hierarchies of the imagination on archetypal principles. The ordering rubrics that provided the categories were mainly the planetary Gods and themes from classical myths.” --J. Hillman
The art of memory was taken up from the medieval Hermeticists by the main philosophical movement of the Renaissance-- Neoplatonism (with its Hermetic core). It was then once more transformed into a Hermetic or occult art, and in this form it continued to hold a central place in the European tradition.
Again (like the old "book"), the old "library" is not replaced by the electronic media, but becomes its equivalent in the digital age--the cyberspace internet:
"Cyberspace: A new universe, a parallel universe created and sustained by the world's computers and communication lines. A world in which the global traffic of knowledge, secrets, measurements, indicators, entertainments, and alter-human agency takes on form: sights, sounds, presences never seen on the surface of the earth blossoming in a vast electronic night. . . . Cyberspace: Its corridors form wherever electricity runs with intelligence. Its chambers bloom wherever data gathers and is stored. Its depths increase with every image or word or number, with every addition, every contribution, of fact or thought. Its horizons recede in every direction; it breathes larger, it complexifies, it embraces and involves. Billowing, glittering, humming, coursing, a Borgesian library, a city; intimate, immense, firm, liquid, recognizable and unrecognizable at once." --Michael Benedikt, Cyberspace: First Steps
This Hermetic system of mnemonics--the Memory Theater--, once thought to be a pre-scientific fantasy, now has the possibility to be fully realized in cyberspace with the Internet—the new Borgesian “Library Without Walls.” And, thus, this is final meaning of the Tower of Song’s Magdalene Memorial-Musekal Library.
Tower of Song Library Without Walls
Tower of Song Library Without Walls
The Gypsy Scholar will now reveal the meaning of his literary trope of the "Library Without Walls."
"Relinquishing even more control, loosening the form even further for flexibility's sake, we may imagine the critic, even the critic of critics, simply as a person out for a walk. As Thoreau puts it, 'We would fain take that walk never yet taken by us through this actual world, which is perfectly symbolic of the path we love [or fear] to travel in the interior and ideal world.'
On a walk we may occasionally secure a vantage point from which the terrain can be surveyed, but we nevertheless remain in the landscape, 'controlling' it by shifting perspective, taking it in by passing through it, finding out where we are going by getting there. Criticism, like walking, is open to desire, sometimes extravagantly so, but its peculiar satisfaction are immanent in the landscape, the character of the terrain, which has become even more complex and problematical since Thoreau's time.
Since, among other things, I will be arguing the intimacy of Romanticism and criticism, these metaphors (if that is what they are) of landscape and walking seem appropriate. The Romantics themselves were great walkers, and it is well known that they saw in nature the type of a serenity, a power, and also a terror that they felt unrealized within themselves. Nature as reality and nature as fantasy coexist uneasily in Romantic poetry, as the poet himself is sometimes a sublime, even demonic quester and at other times is simply a walker in this world." (Jean-Pierre Mileur, The Critical Romance)
Once more, Mileur points out that “this world” of nature in which the Romantic poet-critic walked is yet at the same time the world inside the library:
"It was not until relatively recently that we recognized that at some point for the Romantics the landscape also became a library. In his fascination with inscriptions and epitaphs, for example, Wordsworth expresses an early recognition that if the landscape can be read as a text, then texts can be taken in and traversed like landscapes."
In other words, Romantic texts are at once landscape and library. This Romantic textual heterocosm becomes, on this webpage, the hyper-textual heterocosm of the "Invisible Landscape," located in the topos of the Magdalene Musekal- Memorial Library in the Tower of Song.
Our Dark Lady Magdalene-Sophia
shows you the Picture Galleries
in The Tower of Song
Tutelary Gods Archetypal Ancestors Muses Angels of Music Troubadours & Musicians Inspirational Images Romantic Outsiders
The Gallery of
God of Radio Communications & Connecting Synchronicities
Oh let my Lamp at midnight hour Be seen in some high Lonely Towr, Where I may oft out-watch the Bear With thrice great Hermes. —Milton, 'The Lonely Towr'
Program note: Although the Tower of Song program moved to Monday (4/16/7), it had always, since its very first broadcast, been on Wednesday after midnight. Hence, Hermes-Mercury was the ruling archetype or god/planet. Nonetheless, Hermes-Mercury still rules, since, (1) in general, he is the god of etherial communications and (2) he figures prominently in the Gypsy Scholar's astrological makeup. (Note on the poem: "the Bear" = Orion.) Click here for Gypsy Scholar's astrological Hermes-Mercury page.
Tower of Song's archetype of the ideal scholar: "The Inspired Scholar"
Hesiod tells us the Muses are “of one mind." This single-mindedness and their primary desire to “express themselves in song” unites the different nine Muses into “one harmonious chorus.” Their song is one that gives “joy to the mind.” Plato advocated worship of the Muses. These Muses have, writes Plato, “the gift of speculative knowledge" and “unregrettable play." Plato also suggests that the Muses and music in general are named, apparently, from mosthai, "searching," and "philosophy" (“to strive after,” “to long for,” or “to desire eagerly”), and partakes of similar meanings as does philosophia; “loving,” “searching,” and “inquiry.” Thus poetry/song and philosophy are in complete harmony through the Muses. These Platonic conceptions within philosophia, which literally means “love of wisdom,” go back to Hesiod’s primary account of the Muses, which express again their unifying nature, suggesting that we question the later, formal separation of philosophy from music, love, and questing. (Mousikos: “of the Muses, devotion to the Muses, musical; musician; lyric poet; scholar, man of letters.” Mousie, ta mousike: “art of the Muses; music, song, poetry, dancing, arts, letters, accomplishments.”)
Calliope- Muse of Epic Poetry & Eloquence
Clio- Muse of History & Writing
Erato- Muse of Erotic Poetry
Euterpe- Muse of Lyric Poetry & Music
Melpomene- Muse of Tragedy & Singing
Polyhymnia -Muse of Hymns/Songs, Oratory/Eloquence
Terpsichore- Muse of Dance
Thalia- Muse of Comedy
Urania- Muse of Philosophy & Astronomy/Science
Urania is not only the Muse of Astronomy & Science, she is also the Muse of Philosophy: "Urania motivates the timeless philosophical questions we ask ourselves. This Muse sparks the questions that go beyond what we know." Traditionally, she (and the other Muses) were invoked for inspiration by poets such as Hesiod, who is credited with naming her. A later poet, John Milton, invokes her as his "Heavenly Muse" (Paradise Lost), his source of inspiration. "Milton’s speaker invokes the muse, a mystical source of poetic inspiration, to sing about these subjects through him." It has been claimed that Milton's Urania Is "Divine Wisdom."
Thus, Urania is the presiding Muse in the TOWER OF SONG. And coupled with Erato, the Muse of Love Poetry, these two Muses represent the two main themes of the Tower of Song program--philosophy & love song.
Urania & Erato
Apollo & Muses
Apollo & Muses
Apollon, la Musique
The Muses & Apollo in Concert
The Muses in Concert
There is surely no more impressive site in the world than the Temple of Apollo at Delphi on Mount Parnassus; of all the glorious holy places, this site of the Oracle of Delphi established the link between music and mystery.... The word music itself comes for the Greek word musiki, meaning all the arts of the nine Muses. Apollo, son of Zeus, was the leader of the Muses, as master athlete and warrior as well as master musician. Mount Parnassus came to be thought of as the home of music. --Yehudi Menuhin, The Music of Man
Apollo & Muses on Mt. Parnassas
Apollo & Muses on Mt. Parnassas
Apollo & Muses on Mt. Parnassus
Apollo & Nine Muses
Muses on Mt. Parnassas
Muses: Melopomene, Erato, Polyhymnia
"The Sicilian Muse" (of poets Virgil, Milton, et. al.)
"The Dance of Apollo & the Muses"
"The Muses & Graces"
Apollo & Muses on Mount Helicon
The Muses Leaving Apollo to Light the World
The Gallery of
"Twenty-seven Angels from the Great Beyond in the Tower Of Song"
The Gallery of Troubadour Music
from Languedoc to Andalusia
The Gallery of
Recording the testimonies of those who hear "those funny voices in the Tower of Song"
Where do Ideas come from?
The Gypsy Scholar calls that mysterious place the "Tower of Song"
The Gypsy Scholar celebrates Creativity
The "X Factor" in Creativity
"The Creation of Adam" with Sophia (Divine Wisdom)
"The Allegory of Divine Wisdom & the Fine Arts"
"The Awakening of the Arts"
This theme calls me in sleep night after night, & ev'ry morn Awakes me at sun-rise; then I see the Saviour over me Spreading his beams of love & dictating the words of his mild song.
Music as it exists in the old tunes or melodies . . . is Inspiration and cannot be surpassed. Nature has no tune, but Imagination has.
Inspiration of the Poet
Inspired Poet & Muse
Contacting my angel, contacting my angel She's the one, she's the one, that satisfies Contacting my angel she's the one that satisfies She's the one that I adore.....
And so I yearn for mistress calling me That's the muse, that's the muse ....
In the lonely, dead of midnight In the dimness, of the twilight By the streetlight, by the lamplight... In the sunlight, in the daylight And I'm workin', on the insight ....
Creative reverie animates the nerve of the future. --Gaston Bachelard
I have long considered the creative impulse to be a visit—a thing of grace, perhaps, not commanded or owned so mush as awaited, prepared for. A thing also of mystery. --Loreena McKennitt
Songs slip into your consciousness at a significant moment of development. --Patrick McCabe
When the thoughts unroll in the mind with the effortlessness of music and the percision of geometry. --Paul Bowls
Almost every night—it doesn’t matter where I am or what song I’m singing—, all of a sudden I’ll hook into it; I’ll be feeling whatever it is the song is about. And I can hear it, I can feel it in my voice, and I know that I’m putting it across. Moments of grace. Ya know what I’m saying? --Donna De'Angelo (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in film Limbo, 1999)
is the artist's empirical proof of the divinity of his imagination; and
all inspiration is divine in origin, whether used, perverted, hidden or
frittered away in reverie." --Northrop Frye
Inspiration? . . . 'Inspiration' may be the breathing-in by the poet of
the intoxicating fumes from an intoxicating cauldron . . . or mephitic
fumes from an underground vent, as at Delphi, or the fumes that rise to
the nostrils when mushrooms are chewed. These fumes induce the paranoid
trance in which time is suspended, though the mind remains active and
can relate its proleptic or analeptic apprehensions in verse. But
'inspiration' may also refer to the inducement of the same poetic
condition by the act of listening to the wind, the messenger of the
Goddess Cardea, in a sacred grove."
“Whataya think an artist
cares about? Does he think all day about fine wines and black-tie
affairs and what he’s gong to say at the next after-dinner speech? No! .
. . He lives only for that narcotic moment of creative bliss. A moment
that may come only once a decade—or never at all.” (Art-School Confidential, film 2006)
"Summoning of the Muse"
"… it is Melancholia that becomes his Muse." (Nerval)
What the Christians called "Angel," the pagans called "Daimon," or "Genius." By whatever name, this entity conferred divine inspiration. The poet's have always, since the Greeks, called this creative spirit "Muse."
“There were people on the sidewalks Strolling down the avenues They were sitting outside in cafes We were looking for the muse ....”
is underwritten by the archaic muse of the Western creative imagination —"The Sicilian Muse"—
who presides over (Blakean) mental storms of furious invention & mad explosive spontaneity
"Muses of Sicily, essay we now A somewhat loftier task!"
"Sicilian Muse, begin a loftier strain! Tho’ lowly shrubs and trees that shade the plain, Delight not all; Sicilian Muse, prepare To make the vocal woods deserve a consul’s care."
--Virgil, 'The Eclogues' (37 B.C.E)
"... return, Sicilian Muse, And call the vales, and bid them hither cast Their bells and flowerets of a thousand hues."
"Of vineyards and the singing sea Of his beloved Sicily; And much it pleased him to peruse The songs of the Sicilian muse,-- Bucolic songs by Meli sung In the familiar peasant tongue ...."
--Longfellow, 'The Wayside Inn'
A Vision: Inspiration of Poet
William Blake 1757-1827
Daughters of Beulah! Muses who inspire the Poet's Song, / Record the journey ….
The Man who on Examining his own Mind finds nothing of Inspiration ought not to dare to be an Artist ….
The man who never in his mind and thoughts travel'd to heaven is no artist.
["The Inspired man"] Men who give themselves to their Energetic Genius.
This theme calls me in sleep night after night, & ev'ry morn / Awakes me at sun-rise; then I see the Saviour over me / Spreading his beams of love & dictating the words of his mild song.
Is the Holy Ghost any other than an Intellectual Fountain?
That I can carry on my visionary studies ... & that I may converse with my friends in Eternity, See Visions, Dream Dreams & prophecy & speak Parables unobserv'd .... for I have in these three years composed an immense number of verses on One Grand Theme .... I have written this Poem from immediate Dictation ....
I am not ashamed, afraid, or averse to tell you what Ought to be told: That I am under the direction of Messengers from Heaven, Daily & Nightly; but the nature of such things is not, as some suppose, without trouble or care."
... to be a Momento in time to come, & to speak to future generations by Sublime Allegory, which is now perfectly completed into a Grand Poem. I may Praise it, since I dare not pretend to be any other than the Secretary; the Authors are in Eternity. I consider it as the Grandest Poem that this World Contains.
After my three years slumber on the banks of the Ocean, I again display my Giant forms to the public. My former Giants & Fairies having receiv'd the highest reward possible, the love and friendship of those with whom to be connected is to be blessed …. the Author hopes no Reader will think presumptuousness or arrogance when he is reminded that the Ancients entrusted their love to their Writing, to the full as Enthusiastically as I have . . . for they were wholly absorb'd in their Gods…. Therefore, dear Reader, forgive what you do not approve, & love me for this energetic exertion of my talent. Reader! lover of books! lover of heaven,/ And of that God from whom all books are given ….
What were all their spiritual gifts? What is the Divine Spirit? is the Holy Ghost any other than an Intellectual Fountain? What is the harvest of the Gospel & its Labours? What is that Talent which it is a curse to hide ? What are the Treasures of Heaven which we are to lay up for ourselves, are they any other than Mental Studies & Performances?
I find more & more that my Style of designing is a Species by itself, & in this which I send you have been compell'd by my Genius or Angel to follow where he led; if I were to act otherwise it would not fulfill the purpose for which alone I live, which is ... to renew the lost Art of the Greeks.
I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.
Fires of Creativity
The Gallery of
Exiles and Prisoners and other Great Souls; from Abelard to Blake, from Woolf to the Steppenwolf, from The Phantom to The Prisoner
On this website page (representing the ToS website itself) as a Cyberspace Imaginarium
The Collective Unconscious or Objective Psyche as a psychic dimension treasure-house of images:
It is as if we did not know, or else continually forgot, that everything of which we are conscious is an image, and that image is psyche. --C. G. Jung
so far as the psyche has a non-spatial aspect, there may be a psychic
"outside the body," a region so utterly different from "my" psychic
space that one has to get outside oneself or make use of some auxiliary
technique in order to get there. --C. G. Jung
. . . we are imagining the psyche's basic structure to be an inscape of personified images. . . . We can describe the psyche as a polycentric realm of nonverbal, nonspatial images. . . . Since psyche is primarily image and image always psyche, this faith manifests itself in the belief in images . . . . Psychological faith begins in the love of images, and flows mainly through the shapes of persons in reveries, fantasies, reflections, and imaginations." --J. Hillman
The human memory was conceived as an internal treasure-house or theater . . . an imaginal realm of memory . . . memoria . . . "imaginal soul." --J. Hillman
Therefore, as an image of the Universal Library in cyberspace, this webpage (representing the Tower of Song website itself) is an externalized Imaginal Dimension, or Imaginarium, of the Anima Mundi.
For explanation of Conceptual Art and its relation to Performance Art, click here.