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Thread: Fibonacci's bees in 'Heaven Upside Down'

  1. #1
    The Overman's Avatar
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    Default Fibonacci's bees in 'Heaven Upside Down'

    My nose is like a beehive
    I'm dripping blood honey
    - "Blood Honey"

    I don't attract what I want, I attract what I am
    Dead as the bees buzzing inside my head
    - "Heaven Upside Down"

    This is an old theme of Manson's, one that was first taken up during the Holy Wood era.

    And which has been with us for awhile.

    There's nothing new I can add to this, except to say that this is another iteration of Manson's use of Fibonacci symbolism. The Nachtkabarett has an excellent article on this phenomenon in Manson's art.
    To revenge the misdeeds of the ruling class, there existed in the middle ages, in Germany, a secret tribunal, called the “Vehmgericht.” If a red cross was seen marked on a house, people knew that its owner was doomed by the “Vehm.”

    All the houses of Europe are now marked with the mysterious red cross.

  2. #2
    Enname's Avatar
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    My favourite (even if they tend to kill me) things in terms of pervasive metaphor and allegory across cultures. Let's add some things that the Nachtkabarett did not cover, moving away from semiology and into the realm of historical allegory.

    In Greek and Roman tradition (Aristotle, Virgil, Pliny, Homer), it was thought that bees were born out of the corpses of oxen, never requiring intercourse, before serving as intermediaries between the Underworld and earth. The latter comes from the fact that wild bees made their hives in cracks in the rocks, which were seen as entrances to the afterlife. In addition to this, bees were connected with the Muses and their creativity and prophecy, and likewise because of the Muses connection to the Fates and Hades, further tied to death and the underworld.

    These themes that were developed in the classical period carried into the Middle Ages by Isidore of Seville. They had the same connection to death, creativity and the afterlife, but here the liminal position of the bees saw them into angelic beings that could travel between the heaven and earth. Their sting was seen as an attempt to gain attention for messages carried by the bees from souls in purgatory. Bees also create the only naturally sweet substance, but they do so without (to pre biology knowledge) participating in carnal activity and as such, bees were often associated with the Virgin Mary and Christ (Note, Dante uses bees and their hive extensively in his representation of Paradise for this reason). Their divinity was further exemplified by the important role of honey in the Bible - where it represents all that is sweet and delightful in the physical and spiritual plane. Honey is the gift of grace, of speech, of music, of divinity. Thus as givers of eloquence and creativity, bees’ were considered capable of communicating in a way similar to humanity (their buzzing is in fact made up of individualised communications and phrases - not just the romantic Middle Ages), but unlike mankind they never fell from Eden, and this is why humans were incapable of understanding them. Augustine and Isidore of Seville also used bees as a metaphor for penitents always labouring for their salvation.

    So. where does this leave us with Manson? Apart from the obvious connections with Dante and Inferno that have already been elaborated on here previously. Well, a good place to start is with the lyrics to Heaven Upside Down:

    I can hear the scream of trumpets
    Smell the ash and sulfur
    Talons of battalions scratch at the sky
    Like black feathers, scorpion eyes

    I don't attract what I want, I attract what I am
    Dead as the bees buzzing inside my head

    Even if you take it at the literal level and think about it as a representation of a relationship, the entire thing is delicately built on the allegory of the bee and using themes from both Antiquity and the Christian tradition. The song beings with the Book of Revelations (the four lines are a rough paraphrasing of the different soundings of the trumpet that heralds the End of Times) and the Apocalypse, when the boundaries between hell and heaven are opened and heaven is turned upside down (and inside out). Traditionally this meant that the dead were raised for judgement, the living were put to judgement and the boundaries between hell, earth and heaven were removed. This of course means that the bees as messengers between above and below are no longer needed to transverse between the two, but they are still the souls of the dead (or their representatives) and still able to communicate, which is important given the emphasis placed on ghosts here:

    And I tried to look inside you
    I ended up looking through you
    Now, you try to tell me
    You're not a ghost, not a ghost

    See - the ghosts make a bit more sense. I will emphasise the 'a bit here', because precisely what it means to be dead as the bees, and who or what the ghost is rather more open to interpretation. But if you want to be entirely romantic, then have some sort of picture of semi dead souls dancing in the aftermath of the end of all things. Or you know, come up with something slightly more esoteric and connect it back to Holy Wood, numerology, the media and Celebritarianism. Or read the analysis from S. D. and compare to your heart's content.

    Speaking of, we can't ignore the whole element of the hive and its relationship to the bee. In particular because in Heaven Upside Down we again have the bees in Manson's head in Blood Honey - the lyric about dripping blood honey which everyone seems to think is rather ridiculous, but I really like.

    So I keep my life for like
    Keep my head loose
    But nose is like a beehive
    I'm dripping blood honey
    I'm dripping blood honey, yeah

    Indeed, compared Holy Wood where Manson sings about 'Putting my face in the Beehive', now his face is the beehive in all the ways that matter. S. D. suggests in his above linked post that 'the beehive acts as a metaphor for an environment where the artist is open to criticism, and is "stung" for being an individual, then they are not a part of the hive.' It is true that insect metaphors of this kind define the mutual relationship of the individual and society, from the imagined position of an observer, looking in. But equally, rather than only being an outsider, it enables the author or reader to adopt different perspectives in their reading which inflect the meanings that the allegory can contain. For example, in Virgil, the hive is the perfect city that Aeneas views in Carthage, where the transformation of the hive from wild to cultivated acts as a metaphor for the civilisation of humanity. In the Christian tradition, the hive might be a monastery, heaven, a city or a prison, depending on the perspective adopted by the viewer or reader (Indeed, it is also often both - see prisons and the panopticon). Much like in the images that Overman posted above - Manson's head has become the hive. Birthing forth the bees from rotting flesh into the world without the need for intercourse, but also the hive hanging upside down and dripping out honey. Out bloodied words, out eloquence and art. A type of divinity that is based in the blood, and the ever present image of the crucified. A heaven, a prison, a city and also the home of the dead bees.

    In this way we come back to the multiplicity of interpreting both the bee and the hive. It constitutes three things simultaneously: a phenomenological event, a poetic metaphor and a conceptual topos. The hive therefore allows different, contradictory readings, and now we have a Manson who is providing his own contradictory readings from the 'interior' of his own earlier criticisms.

    Last edited by Enname; 11-07-2017 at 04:00 AM.
    Quid ignorantia sit multi ignorant.

  3. #3
    YoureAlreadyHere's Avatar
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    <3 lurve your insights, @Enname

    Don't tell me what to do.

  4. #4
    Enname's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoureAlreadyHere View Post
    <3 lurve your insights, @Enname
    Random and incomplete as they are. Thanks
    Quid ignorantia sit multi ignorant.

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