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Thread: Pretty As A 卐 / ($) - Tangential References

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    Default Pretty As A 卐 / ($) - Tangential References

    I was thinking over the last few days, this song is one of those that people have been taking at face value. I believe a number of months ago I first noted the relation that the phrase has to Leni Riefenstahl, which was accepted and since proliferated by numerous parties, which is good, because I know Manson probably had this in mind, especially as Riefenstahl was mentioned by him in a recent interview, perhaps deliberately confirming this link.

    However, it might be interesting to take a look at the notion of the symbol itself, and the wider connotations it may contain. Manson's phrase "This is where it starts, this is where it will end" seems appropriate, given that the swastika is a recurring image, the points of its four edges moving towards the end of the ensuing section, which in relation to the aforementioned phrase and its reliance on the alchemical emblem of the snake eating (Devouring...?) its tail, puts the two images closer together:-



    Consider even that the two "S" sections of the Swastika could in turn be snakes. This correlates with some early representations of the symbol (of which there are multitudes in many different civilisations), represented in the following image:-



    This is taken from a ritual drinking cup engraved by ancient Mississipian tribes, thought to be in relation to the "Great Sun" chief. It may be incidental, rather than deliberate, but the lyrical link is nice to note. More can be read here should it be of any interest.

    Another aesthetic of The High End of Low is the use of a film reel as the disc for the album, referencing its many celluloid tendencies throughout. However, looking closer, it is possible that this is also a design criteria here, as the cyclical nature (entertainment, progress) also mimics that of the Swastika:-

    "the Serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which
    the LORD god had made
    "

    m e m e n t o m o r i . p o s t m o r t e m


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    Quote Originally Posted by S.D.
    Manson's phrase "This is where it starts, this is where it will end"
    Might be a pariphrasis of the maxim "Omnia ex uno, omnia ad unum". It means "Everything begins in one, everything ends in one" in Latin. I forgot who its author was, but it impressed me when I read it years before the release of Eat Me, Drink Me and even had it written on the back of my door...

    Nevermind, this just popped into my mind while reading your post, S.D. and thought I'd throw it in. May one of my usually ridiculous associations make sense, if anyone can be arsed to do research...


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    S.D. I was reading about the belief system called Theosophy, and it occurred to me that symbol for it has some parallels with Manson's symbolism.



    Unfortunately I don't know much about Theosophy, so I can't tell you anything, but I thought this might be a bit relevant =) I'll read up on it a bit and see if I find anything interesting.

    Edit: Oh just found an interesting link about the symbol

    http://ts-adyar.org/emblem.html

    It mentions things about the Tau Cross, the duality found in the interlacing Star of David, the Swastika, and the Serpent.

    Edit2: Interestingly enough, the Nachtkabarett mentions it in the Smashing Pumpkins section.

    http://www.nachtkabarett.com/Smashin.../BackstagePass

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    What a fantastic discovery, thank you for the information on the symbol. I've encountered the name of this philosophy before, but never really investigated further, so to read into it more is fascinating. From the information provided there, I have no doubt that Theosophy is something Marilyn Manson is aware of, given that it apparently shares some of its key components with alchemical methodology. I'm also interested in the idea of it recognising the common element of truth in all faiths, which reminds me of the lyrics "I never really hated one true God, but the God of the people I hated". Theosophy seems to be a teaching that bypasses the worship of falsehood (burn all wooden Gods?) and seeks truth (not death, but destruction, the deconstruction of lies).

    The serpent relating to Egyptian Mythology is another curious element, perhaps one that -< me >- would be able to reflect on, as I know it is a fond subject for her.

    Great contribution, thank you again.

    And Procrastinator, do you have any more information on that phrase? Having a brief search online seems to relate it to Goethe...
    "the Serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which
    the LORD god had made
    "

    m e m e n t o m o r i . p o s t m o r t e m


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    ^ Might be Goethe, yes. All I recall is reading this maxim somewhere in the explanatory notes of a book I can't even remember the title of, but it sure wasn't Goethe. Sorry...


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    I like the relation you made between my findings, what you know about Theosophy now, and MM's lyrics in your last post S.D. =) I'm glad I stumbled upon that interesting looking emblem.

    Edit: Oh and here's some random links that may be relevant to this topic --

    http://rexcurry.net/book1a1contents-swastika.html

    http://rexcurry.net/theosophy-madame...l-society.html

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    This was originally in 'Musical Parallels', but as I thought more on it, this topic seemed a better location for a response.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren
    My mom thinks Heart Shaped Glasses sounds a lot like China Girl by David Bowie and Iggy Pop. I was listening to it today and now I hear it.
    I would say that the influence of the song goes deeper than even that. Manson was quoted as saying that WOW was partly inspired musically by Iggy Pop's The Idiot. That album originally featured China Girl, and it was produced by Bowie anyway. The musical comparison with Heart-Shaped glasses is sound, but lyrically I'd also say the song had some part to play inspiring Pretty As A Swastika, most notably due to the lines "I stumble into town just like a sacred cow, visions of Swastikas in my head, plans for everyone". I think this was originally a similar statement to the one Manson has made concerning symbolism and proliferation. He didn't invent the Swastika, and neither was it always a symbol of fascism. Also, the Hindu faith has the sacred cow, which with Bowie taking its guise, may well have had positive swastikas in its eyes, and positive "plans for everyone".

    Also, what is interesting in relation to this lyric is that the term "Sacred Cow" correlates exactly with the term "Cash Cow". This in terms relates the replacement of the Swastika with a Dollar symbol.

    I wonder if Manson had that in mind at all, he has made the cow a tangible part of his work before, not only in mentioning that he would "hang all you cattle with your VELVET ROPE" [Better of Two Evils], but also in the concealed lyrics for Obsequy (The Death of Art) - "I have grown bored with their best milk" [paraphrased], which was referenced in a Kerrang! interview in 2004 as being relative to a page from Manson's notebook, which read something like "To taste best milk, we must suck the best tits". Again, this isn't set in stone, but the process of protecting/draining the Sacred/Cash cow is relative to comparing a Swastika and a Dollar sign, and certainly the "sacreligious" manner in which some seek to do so.
    "the Serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which
    the LORD god had made
    "

    m e m e n t o m o r i . p o s t m o r t e m


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    Quote Originally Posted by Anima XI
    S.D. I was reading about the belief system called Theosophy, and it occurred to me that symbol for it has some parallels with Manson's symbolism.


    THEOsophy is a belief system as taught by Madame H. P. Blavatsky, author of The Secret Doctrine. Manson states at 4.30 in the youtube video below that The Secret Doctrine was very inspirational in regards to the writing of Holy Wood, which I encourage anyone that is interested in deeper alchemy/theosophy to read. however being two volumes and over 1500 pages in length, its not for the faint of heart.




    For example, Blavatsky writes of the Sun and the Moon, Egypt, the swastika, the hydra (seven headed serpent "It is the seven-headed Draco, each of whose heads is a star of the Lesser Bear" "Now you'll see your star"), Revelations and St. John (the Evangelist), the number 7 and 7 as 1 in this brief passage :-

    It was the dual symbol of Heaven and Earth, of Sun and Moon, and was made sacred, in consequence of its amphibious nature, to Osiris and Isis. According to Eusebius, the Egyptians represented the sun in a ship as its pilot, this ship being carried along by a crocodile "to show the motion of the Sun in the moyst (Space)", (Prepar. Evang., 1, 3, c. 3). The crocodile was moreover, the symbol of Egypt herself -- the lower, as being the more swampy of the two countries. The Alchemists claim another interpretation. They say that the symbol of the sun in the ship on the Ether of Space meant that the hermetic matter is the principle, or basis, of gold, or again the philosophical sun; the water, within which the crocodile is swimming, is that water or matter made liquid; the ship herself, finally, representing the vessel of nature, in which the sun, or the sulphuric, igneous principle, acts as a pilot: because it is the sun which conducts the work by his action upon the moist or mercury.

    The above is only for the Alchemists.

    The Serpent became the type and symbol of evil, and of the Devil, only during the middle ages. The early Christians -- besides the Ophite Gnostics -- had their dual Logos: the Good and the Bad Serpent, the Agathodaemon and the Kakodaemon. This is demonstrated by the writings of Marcus, Valentinus, and many others, and especially in Pistis Sophia -- certainly a document of the earliest centuries of Christianity. On the marble sarcophagus of a tomb, discovered in 1852 near the Porta Pia, one sees the scene of the adoration of the Magi, "or else," remarks the late C. W. King in "The Gnostics," "the prototype of that scene, the 'Birth of the New Sun.'" The mosaic floor exhibited a curious design which might have represented either (a) Isis suckling the babe Harpocrates, or (b) the Madonna nursing the infant Jesus. In the smaller sarcophagi that surrounded the larger one, eleven leaden plates rolled like scrolls were found, three of which have been deciphered. The contents of these ought to be regarded as final proof of a much-vexed question, for they show that either the early Christians, up to the VIth Century, were bond fide pagans, or that dogmatic Christianity was borrowed wholesale, and passed in full into the Christian Church -- Sun, Tree, Serpent, Crocodile and all.

    "On the first is seen Anubis . . . holding out a scroll; at his feet are two female busts; below all are two serpents entwined . . . a corpse swathed up like a mummy. In the second scroll . . . is Anubis, holding out a cross, the "Sign of Life." Under his feet lies the corpse encircled in the numerous folds of a huge serpent, the Agathodaemon, guardian of the deceased. . . . . In the third scroll, Anubis bears on his arm . . . . . the outline of . . a complete Latin cross . . . At the god's foot is a rhomboid, the Egyptian 'Egg of the World,' towards which crawls a serpent coiled into a circle . . . . Under the busts is the letter [[omega]] repeated seven times in a line, reminding one of the 'names' . . . Very remarkable also is the line of characters, apparently Palmyrene, upon the legs of the first Anubis. As for the figure of the serpent, supposing these talismans to emanate not from the Isiac but the newer Ophite creed, it may well stand for that "True and perfect Serpent," who leads forth the souls of all that put their trust in him out of the Egypt of the body, and through the Red Sea of Death into the Land of Promise, saving them on their way from the Serpents of the Wilderness, that is, from the Rulers of the Stars." (King's "Gnostics," p. 366.)
    And this "True and Perfect Serpent" is the seven-lettered God who is now credited with being Jehovah, and Jesus One with him. To this Seven-vowelled god the candidate for initiation is sent by Christos, in the Pistis Sophia, a work earlier than St. John's Revelation, and evidently of the same school. "The (Serpent of the) Seven Thunders uttered these seven vowels," but "Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not," says Revelation. "Do ye seek after these mysteries?" inquiries Jesus in Pistis Sophia. "No mystery is more excellent than they (the seven vowels): for they shall bring your souls unto the Light of Lights" -- i.e., true Wisdom. "Nothing, therefore, is more excellent than the mysteries which ye seek after, saving only the mystery of the Seven Vowels and their FORTY AND NINE Powers, and the numbers thereof."

    In India, it was the mystery of the Seven FIRES and their forty-nine fires or aspects, or "the members thereof," just the same.

    These seven vowels are represented by the Swastika signs on the crowns of the seven heads of the Serpent of Eternity, in India, among esoteric Buddhists, in Egypt, in Chaldea, etc. etc., and among the Initiates of every other country. It is on the Seven zones of post mortem ascent, in the Hermetic writings, that the "mortal" leaves, on each, one of his "Souls" (or Principles); until arrived on the plane above all zones he remains as the great Formless Serpent of absolute wisdom -- or the Deity itself. The seven-headed serpent has more than one signification in the Arcane teachings. It is the seven-headed Draco, each of whose heads is a star of the Lesser Bear; but it was also, and pre-eminently, the Serpent of Darkness (i.e., inconceivable and incomprehensible) whose seven heads were the seven Logoi, the reflections of the one and first manifested Light -- the universal LOGOS.
    As has been noted elsewhere, there seems to be a focus on Nazi related imagery for this era, as well as others, and it is noted that Blavatsky was also a notable influence on the Third Reich.



    Mme. Blavatsky, is best remembered as the founder of Theosophy, a branch of philosophy which marries religious concepts of the New Age, Christianity, Paganism, the Occult and Philosophy. Blavatsky among other endeavors held sťances and meetings often well attended by influential people of her day, including Arthur Conan Doyle, writer of Sherlock Holmes, Westcott and Hort, translators of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, and others.She also is known for bringing a renewed interest in the Gnostic Gospels and early Writings which were dismissed as fantasy or legend, including "The Shepherd of Hermes" and tales of Jesus as a young child. Her re-translations of the New Testament combined with certain Aryan philosophies culminated in a re-introduction and clarification of " Root Race Theory" which requires the elimination of a prior, 'primitive' or first race in order for the final, superior Race of Aryans descended from a superior race can occur. Blavatsky could probably best be characterized as the "Mother" of the Modern New Age movement.
    http://www.shoaheducation.com/peoplenazitheo.html

    It should also be noted that Blavatsky also speaks of Plato's second god (The Reflecting God), Adam Kadmon, Infinite Space Encompassating (Ain Sof) God is now here/God is nowhere, Crucifixion in Space et cetera.


    With regards to the snake/serpent/Wadjet of Egypt, it was largely considered a symbol of protection and was featured upon the crown as protector of pharoh. It is also linked to the sun and Horus, among other things.
    The Marilyn Manson encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

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    What is known of Manson's Jew heritage...if there is any at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThreeEyedGod
    What is known of Manson's Jew heritage...if there is any at all.
    His family, as described in The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell, were the Wanamakers (obviously a precursor of Warner), and originated from Poland.
    _______________

    I find it odd that the record company were not more lenient with Pretty As A Swastika, in light of a single released almost ten years previous to it, Primal Scream's Swastika Eyes. The song is a commentary on American Military Globalisation, and I think that you'll all agree that the song was very likely an influence on Manson's song. I've supplied videos to demonstrate, one is a studio performance of the song (the beginning of which I think bears resemblance to the start of Pretty As A Swastika, in terms of the bassline), and the video release for the single. In the video, you'll note the characters sporting military helmets and flat caps, similar to those worn by Manson in the We're From America promotional shot, and The Golden Age of Grotesque Helnwein series.



    Swastika Eyes - Studio Performance



    Swastika Eyes - Video
    And here are the lyrics to the song:-

    Your soul dont burn
    You dark the sun you
    Rain down fire on everyone
    Scabs, police, government thieves
    Venal psychic amputees
    Parasitic your syphilitic
    Parasitic your syphilitic

    Swastika eyes
    You got
    Swastika eyes
    You got
    Swastika eyes, swastika eyes, swastika eyes

    I'll vent my spleen I'll keep my dreams
    My flesh my bones my soul I own
    My mind's a weapon immune from infection
    Blood in my eyes, my vision is clear
    Parasitic your syphilitic
    Parasitic your syphilitic

    Swastika eyes
    You got
    Swastika eyes
    You got
    Swastika eyes, swastika eyes, swastika eyes

    I see your autosuggestion psychology
    Elimination policy
    A military industrial
    Illusion of democracy

    Swastika eyes
    You got
    Swastika eyes
    You got
    Swastika eyes, swastika eyes, swastika eyes
    Although I have highlighted, I don't really think I need to make note of how these words are similar to Manson's commentary throughout The High End Of Low, and indeed, other areas of his canon. These lyrics could practically have been written by Manson.

    Incidentally, the song is from the album XTRMNTR --- "Exterminating Angel" --- Titles from the album include Pills [A big bottle?], Blood Money [$] and Shoot Speed/Kill Light [The Speed of Pain/"The light shines in the darkness"]. Also, unrelated to the songs, one of Goon Moon's pictures of Jeordie is captioned "Kill Hippies", and Kill All Hippies is the opening track of XTRMNTR.



    Charles Manson and his Swastika also spring to mind...
    "the Serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which
    the LORD god had made
    "

    m e m e n t o m o r i . p o s t m o r t e m


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