Monday, February 15, 2010
The cover for the movie includes a quote from Dan Kois of The Washington Post who describes it as “A Rare Hollywood Romance.” But Love Happens isn’t a romantic movie according to 21st century expectations. In literature, the genre called “romance” is rooted in the 12th century tales of Chrétien de Troyes which were written for a secular audience and often incorporated a deeper, underlying message. Love Happens is a true “medieval romance” specially conjured for today’s audience. As I watched it, I saw the layers of the story open up as if it were a rose in bloom.
I was wrong . . . in the same way that Robert Langdon was wrong when he went to Temple Church in search of a knight interred by "a pope.” Actually, Langdon wasn’t wrong . . . he was just early. All along I've been thinking that the Holy Bible is part of the five-book gemstone that brings the medieval tale to life. But it isn’t; it's the other way around. Looking back upon the legend of the map to the grail as a guide, which consists of five imaginary stories connected by details and woven with threads belonging to real life . . . Love Happens represents the fifth “book” even though the movie isn’t derived from a novel. Like the fifth letter in Burke's name, the movie captures something that represents a silent portion of the original tale.
The working title of the script written by Brandon Camp and Mike Thompson was Brand New Day before they changed it to Love Happens . . . kind of like how John Steinbeck changed the name of his book from Something that Happened to Of Mice and Men. And as Forrest Gump might say, "shit happens" in the story that amazingly transforms into love happening.
Aaron Eckhart plays the leading man, Dr. Burke Ryan, a psychologist and self-help author who arrives in Seattle to teach a seminar on overcoming grief. Jennifer Aniston plays the leading lady, a woman fed up with a cheating boyfriend who also happens to own the florist shop— Eloise's Garden—that services the hotel where Burke is staying for one week. Aniston portrays Eloise . . . but beneath the name, the details that make Eloise who she is belong entirely to Eleanor of Aquitaine.
In the opening scene of Love Happens, the camera swoops in on a pair of hands that are busy with the task of slicing lemons. Burke begins to narrate the book he wrote: “Chapter one: Sometimes, despite your best efforts otherwise, life gives you lemons. When that happens friend, you can wear a sour face . . . or make lemonade.”
Burke makes his lemonade with Grey Goose Vodka—distilled and bottled in France—which takes on greater meaning when we learn that his wife made him promise that in the event something happened, he would release Rocky, her pet parrot (white cockatiel), into the wild. When he finally admits that he had failed to accomplish this, Eloise suggests he can take care of “two birds with one stone.” And yes, she was referring to something else. Together, they transport the parrot in the back of an old Ford Falcon van and venture into a forest of majestic trees that has a river winding through it.
Symbolically you might say that the white falcon that swooped in and struck a goose, leaving three drops of blood on the snow in The Story of the Grail has reappeared . . . and is finally talking. On a more personal level, Burke's release of the parrot is symbolic of letting go of his wife. And reaching back in time to another life in reality, the wife was the one who lovingly repeated her husband's words and wanted all the world to hear them.
Burke has issues concerning riding in elevators just like Robert Langdon. He chooses a red tie for his kick-off presentation . . . which he begins with a story about a college football team that wins a national championship, straight out of Forrest Gump. He is the author of a best-selling book, A Path Through Grief, that's intended to help the audience take control of their lives and begin living life with meaning and purpose, as does The Story of the Grail. He's promoting his book with the tagline “A-Okay!” and prompts the audience to respond that they are "A-Okay!” . . . just like William Vance describes himself in his final appearance in The Last Templar.
Burke literally crashes into Eloise as he’s walking down the hall while not watching where he's going. He finds a pen on the floor and discovers that she has a quirky habit of writing strange words on the wall behind paintings in the hotel. He takes a white rose bud from one of her floral arrangements and puts it in the lapel of his suit, only to be called out for it when she follows him into the men’s room and they have their first confrontation. Later, Burke submits an order through Marty, a helper at Eloise's Garden, for a bouquet of white roses. The message that is relayed suggests that Eloise will know where the flowers need to be delivered.
Roses have different meanings depending on their color. A white rosebud speaks of youthful ignorance and innocence, an age that is immature or new to the ways of the world. To correlate it to a season in life, the rosebud signifies springtime.
A white rose symbolizes sincerity of intentions, purity in purpose, and affection that comes straight from the heart—as free of blemishes as virgin snow. White roses are called the "flower of light" and represent everlasting love that is stronger than death; they suggest an eternal love that is undying and all sustaining. “White rose speaks of love that is sustained more by loyalty, reverence, and humility than by red-blooded passion. In the 'language of the flowers’ a bouquet of white roses says ‘I am worthy of you,’” as a bride stands before her groom.
"The most famous meanings of the white rose arise from mythology. Many of these surround Aphrodite (Venus), the Goddess of Love, who sprang forth into life from the foaming sea, and where the foam fell to the ground, white roses grew. "(Source: http://www.roseforlove.com/the-meanings-of-white-roses-ezp-36)
The "three suits" from Unicom that are coming to town are symbolically tied to the unicorn which in medieval times, as you might expect, carried multiple meanings ranging from the Incarnation of Christ to the lover attracted to his lady like the unicorn is attracted to a virgin. Lady lore would tell you that the unicorn could only be captured if it was first lured by a virgin, at whose feet it would fall asleep. In The Da Vinci Code Teabing refers to Sophie as a virgin and later says, "And codes? I imagine they lie down for you like lovers," in an unspoken allusion to the single-horned beast.
Burke misses an important business meeting when he opts to join Eloise and her friends at the local coffee house where Marty participates in a poetry slam, mixing iambic pentameter with a little haiku.
Lane Marshall is Burke's business manager and follows a trail of clues to find him. Actually, he admits it was pretty simple; he inquired of the concierge whom Burke had asked directions from . . . just like Perceval asks for directions to the holy hermit and is told to follow the sticks and branches knotted and tied that mark the way.
Lane: So, who are these fine folks that you’re consorting with?
Burke: Just people I’ve met.
Burke: Her name’s Eloise.
Lane: Well, what hath struck the earth? Details.
Lane Marshall is a composite of the real life knight named William Marshal and one of Chrétien de Troyes’ imaginary characters named Lancelot, who was himself a composite of William Marshal and Abelard. In another time and in another story, Lancelot secretly shared an adulterous love with the queen and went in search of her when she was kidnapped in the forest and stolen away. It was an imaginary tale woven with threads of details belonging to an event that happened to Eleanor of Aquitaine in real life. In the course of the tale The Knight of the Cart, Lancelot loses his horse and is forced to ride in a cart which, in the 12th century, was a mode of transportation typically reserved for criminals. He hesitates . . . and somehow the queen knows that for a fleeting moment he considered his reputation over his love for her.
In Love Happens, Eloise arranges for Burke to enjoy a special ride in a cart which lifts them above the fray and becomes the first step in their budding relationship.
Traces of William Marshal also appear in Walter's circumstances. Walter is a contractor—a carpenter—whose sister asked him to attend the seminar because the grief and guilt he carries concerning his son's death. Walter's son is named Stephen.
In reality, William Marshal's father was the hereditary keeper of the horses for the Anglo-Norman kings, but he switched his allegiance and negotiated alliances to gain personal power. In the midst of a conflict, John fitz Gilbert gave his young son, William Marshal, as a hostage to King Stephen but then he broke his promise and told the king he could do whatever he wanted with the child because he "had a hammer and anvils to make more and better sons."
Within Love Happens, Walter's healing comes in the aisles of Home Depot where he is seen swinging a hammer and gathering tools to take up his life exactly where he left off living it.
Looking back, William Marshal grew up to become one of the greatest knights of the 12th century, known for his prowess, strength, and agility in tournaments and war and was equally famous for being a man of his word. Not only are details belonging to him woven into multiple characters in this modern day story, in the older tales he could be seen in both Lancelot and Gawain in The Story of the Grail, who takes his seat to the right of the king.
William Marshal promised the Templars that he would end his days amongst them and be buried in a Templar House. He officially joined the Order on his death bed and was buried at Temple Church; Robert Langdon came upon his effigy when he went there looking for the knight interred.
In Love Happens, when Burke Ryan's right-hand man calls himself "Lane goddamned Marshall," he means it in a good way.
Dr. Burke Ryan is one complicated soul. His father-in-law calls him a hypocrite. He's the modern day incarnation of Abelard, who in real life preached that every human being should be free to utilize their mind and make their own decisions and yet bowed down to the weight of the Church, crushing the love he shared with Heloise. In the movie, Burke Ryan doesn't appear to "walk his talk" as far as overcoming guilt and grief. But the reality of his living nightmare is that when he avoided hitting a dog in the road, he unintentionally killed his wife instead . . . crushing her as the car spun out of control.
From a different vantage point Burke is also very much like the youth at the Fisher King’s manor house who, in a mystical magical moment represents both the Father and the Son. He is the Christ like figure that Myshkin portrays in The Idiot and he is like the narrator that John Steinbeck was moved to emulate with the title Of Mice and Men, who regrets having destroyed the home of a mouse while plowing the field. In Love Happens, when Burke returns from setting the parrot free, Lane encounters him in the hotel lobby:
"It's about time." "Oh, my God! Where the hell have you been?"
"I mean, Jesus, you have got to . . . "
"Jesus. What the hell happened to you, man?"
Love Happens ends with Burke and Eloise on the cusp of a romantic relationship more in line with 21st century expectations. They finally kiss. But by the time this happened, I wasn't visualizing Burke and Eloise, I was seeing Abelard and Eleanor embarking on a relationship they never "lived" in reality despite the interwoven details of their lives . . . the imprint of destiny.
In The Story of the Grail, real life details from Eleanor of Aquitaine's and Peter Abelard's final public appearances are woven into the same moment of the final scene in the imaginary tale—even though their respective final public appearances happened more than 60 years apart. In the 12th century they symbolically made their grand exit together. And how it might all play out in the 21st century is given to anyone's imagination.
With a visual that allows us to look across the city landscape from an elevation higher than street level, the narrator's voice returns: “Chapter 15. During your travels, when one thing ends, something else begins.”
Permission to use photo is not an endorsement of this blog: http://www.flickr.com/photos/matteotarenghi/ / CC BY-NC 2.0
Monday, February 1, 2010
Up until now, details from real life have been woven through each of the gemstone novels as well as the medieval tale. By way of their connections, the story has grown to take on ever expanding meaning. However just as I was preparing to follow the path of the original story, words and details that originated in the novels suddenly began to appear in stories written in reality that were reporting events unfolding day by day.
Forrest Gump ends with Forrest saying “I can always look back . . . . “ Just for the record, this is one thought we never want to lose sight of. As I look back, the night after I wrote about Robert Langdon stepping over the boundary of make-believe and into reality, the Tournament of Roses BCS National Championship Game was televised on January 7th at 5p.m. The Tournament of Roses website announced: “As the BCS nears the end of its third four-year cycle, Pasadena is proud and honored to host such a pivotal event in collegiate athletics.” The final score of the football game was 37-Alabama 21-Texas.
I wouldn’t have given the championship game a second thought if I wasn’t simultaneously going through the list of details woven through Forrest Gump. In the novel Forrest played for Alabama. Out of curiosity I looked back to refresh my memory about his collegiate football career. His first game was on a Saturday, the 7th day of the week, and Alabama beat the University of Georgia 35-3.
There is no suggestion on my part that the Tournament of Roses Association and the BCS are in cahoots with an imaginary tale. What's important are the WORDS that are tied to the event(s). The word "rose" appears in various manifestations throughout the gemstone; most prominantly in The Da Vinci Code with its emphasis on the Rose Line and the keystone which could be found beneath the sign of the Rose. Whether what is being initiated can be viewed as a pivotal event in terms of history remains to be seen, but my sense is . . . that it is.
Coincidences and synchronicities have become common place but nothing really clicked in my mind until I got to the chapter of Forrest Gump’s story where he is on a space capsule that crash lands in a lake on an island inhabited by cannibals. Big Sam is the leader of the village and was educated in America but seems to speak with a British dialect. As soon as Forrest provides his first name, Big Sam makes the association with General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who Mama indeed named Forrest after. In reality, Nathan Bedford Forrest was a living human being who went from rags to riches as a planter, investor, and slave-trader. He made a name for himself in the Civil War as a brilliant strategist. After the war he organized the Ku Klux Klan and became its first Grand Wizard.
Big Sam is a Yale graduate and asks Forrest where he attended school. Just as Forrest is about to respond that he attended the University of Alabama, he changes his mind and says he went to Harvard. He figures this isn’t exactly a lie because he’d sat in on Professor Quackenbush’s class "Role of the Idiot in World Literature" and even played the role of the Earl of Gloucester in the class presentation of King Lear. Big Sam looks at Forrest and says, “Ah, Harvard—the old Crimson.” When he starts to laugh . . . Forrest senses that trouble is ahead.
I guess we each have our idiot moments and Big Sam got me wondering. I knew that Alabama and Crimson Tide were one and the same but I hadn’t an inkling of Harvard’s team name. If the Internet had been widely available in 1986 Forrest could have jumped on Google to put his worries at ease because Crimson and Harvard go together like two peas in a pod. For me, the revelation developed into an epiphany. The name Crimson Tide is never mentioned in Forrest Gump. You might call this an example of "knowledge concealed, knowledge revealed" which is the mystical meaning of the two triangles that form the Star of David—what Robert Langdon describes as the blade and chalice joined as one. As far as the gemstone is concerned, Crimson Tide represents WORDS that denote God's presence; red is His color and the ocean tide portrays the power and control He has over Creation as in Job 38:11 "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further."
Exactly four months ago I commented that I had racked my brain trying to figure out what the University of Georgia had to do with The Story of the Grail beyond being connected to the publisher of the translation of the story that I preferred. But as I look back upon where this story has traveled, there are multiple ways of connecting threads. Tess and Sean were carried by the ocean tide to a Greek island in The Last Templar. On reality’s side of the boundary that separates it from fictional counterparts, Abelard described his dream to flee the court of Mars, the god of war, in order that he might win learning in the bosom of Minerva, the goddess of wisdom. The University of Georgia isn’t anywhere near Greece, but it is situated in a town called Athens. Far more important is that the first collegiate football game in Forrest Gump, against the University of Georgia, is actually a game against the Dawgs. Tracing the thread full circle, in The Story of the Grail “dogs” is used as an analogy to describe the way people have treated other people. Greoreas reminds Gawain of the day he treated him like a dog, a group of Christian’s serving penance on Good Friday tell Perceval the Jews should be slaughtered like dogs for killing Jesus, and the sister of the king of Escavalon yells to the crowd besieging her, “Back rabble, back, mad dogs, vile peasants! Who in the devil sought your presence?”
In the midst of my update to “Threads that Bind” a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck along the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault in Haiti, bringing "apocalyptic type damage" to Port-au-Prince, the Harbor of the Prince.
Within one day of the quake, Pat Robertson, the American Christian televangelist and host of the “700 Club” said the Haitians had been cursed ever since they swore a pact with the devil. “Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people may not want to talk about it.” I couldn’t resist following this and to be honest it is worthy of its own blog. For the moment let me say that I was initially intrigued that there are stories suggesting that cannibals inhabited the island when Christopher Columbus landed on the shore near Port-au-Prince in 1492 . . . just like the island that Forrest happened upon, although Major Fritch recognized the island in the novel as Borneo.
Amid the chaos and devastation of the quake, thousands of inmates escaped the prison in Port-au-Prince . . . just like Silas had escaped from a prison in the midst of an earthquake in The Da Vinci Code.
Journalists captured the people’s despair over the handling of bodies—they were being buried like dogs. At the end of a windy path, a farmer in a red shirt serves as a guide showing the truck drivers where to unload their truck beds.
A woman wearing a red scarf stood out in a crowd of people attending a funeral.
A father searching the rubble of his home found shoes, pieces of clothing, and a little red elmo.
On the 5th day following the quake a woman named Sonia Flury was rescued. As she lay in her hospital bed she asked to have someone come sit with her while she told them her story. It was a tale of survival in which she fed her daughter urine in an attempt to quench her thirst and keep her alive. Among the novels revealed a week ago that make up the legend of the map to the grail, The Sound and the Fury is comprised of journals written by four persons who each share the events of a day in their life. In the novel Forrest Gump, Sue tosses a bottle of urine onto the face of one of the island natives in an attempt to revive him from a dead faint.
Sometimes my imagination gets the best of me, but the similarities between details that originated in fiction that began appearing on a consistent basis in news reports seemed to be developing into an unthinkable possibility. Chrétien de Troyes wrote with heartfelt intention that The Story of the Grail would somehow find its way into reality and come to life before the 1000 year deadline arrived.
In Chapter 26 of Forrest Gump, a man approaches Forrest telling him that he’s the best “one-man-band” he’d ever heard and wants to write an article about him for the newspaper. Forrest begins to tell him the whole story . . . but the guy bolts half-way through claiming he “can’t print nothin like that cause nobody would’n ever believe it.”
In Chapter 62 of The Da Vinci Code, Teabing explains, “In terms of prophecy, we are currently in an epoch of enormous change. The millennium has recently passed, and with it has ended the two-thousand-year-long astrological Age of Pisces—the fish, which is also the sign of Jesus. As any astrological symbologist will tell you, the Piscean ideal believes that man must be told what to do by higher powers because man is incapable of thinking for himself. Hence it has been a time of fervent religion. Now, however, we are entering the Age of Aquarius—the water bearer—whose ideals claim that man will learn the truth and be able to think for himself. The ideological shift is enormous, and it is occurring right now.” Langdon adds, “Now that we have entered the Age of Aquarius, the End of Days has arrived.”
Chapter 62 of The Last Templar finds Tess Chaykin, Sean Reilly, and William Vance discussing the secret that was of paramount importance to the Templars. Vance discounts the petty myths of alchemy that have followed the knights. “You see their mission was thought to be sacred. Their supporters believed that the Templars were seeking something that would be of immeasurable benefit to mankind.” A hint of a smile breaks through his stern features, “What they didn’t know was that had the Templars been successful, it would have benefitted all of mankind, not just the ‘chosen ones,’ as the Christians of Europe arrogantly deemed themselves.” “They were planning something incredibly daring, brave, and far-reaching, an act of lunacy perhaps but also one of breathtaking courage and vision.”
The Story of the Grail actually takes us a bit further than what The Da Vinci Code proposes. It represents the turning point in our story and initiates a period of spiritual evolution. When The Story of the Grail abruptly stopped, King Arthur had fainted and all the kings and dukes present for the feast at Pentecost rush to raise him . . . instantly.
Before we can begin to raise our own level of consciousness . . . and grasp the football pass that flew 20 feet over and above Forrest Gump's head twenty-four years ago, we need to raise God to His proper place.
In the 12th century, Peter Abelard was persecuted, condemned, and sentenced to silence for the rest of his life by the Church because of the ideas he presented suggesting that God alone was Omnipotent. He didn't deny the Holy Trinity, he suggested that God was not equal in part to the Holy Spirit and the Son. He proposed that God was aware of all things and all intentions and held every human being accountable in like measure to their words and deeds . . . no matter how much time passed before justice could be delivered. He had very Aquarian ideas that each person should decide for themselves what to believe. Abelard went so far as to suggest that if every person would just follow the Golden Rule and treat others as they hoped to be treated themselves, the world wouldn't need organized religion.
As has been said before, numbers bring meaning to the story and take on increasing importance as the legend develops. Pay attention to the numbers that appear. Apply the rules of numerology to reduce each number to a single digit: sum each individual number that appears within a given value. For example the number 68 would be reduced to 5 by first adding 6+8 which equals 14, further reduced until it results in a single digit, 1+4 equals 5. The number 15, which appears repeatedly in Eleanor of Aquitaine's life, is reduced to the number 6 as the sum of 1+5. Zeros are eliminated so that 400,000 carries the same meaning as the number 4. Date values reduced to a single digit is the sum of each number that appears such that 01-12-2010 becomes 7 (1+1+2+2+1).
Let your imagination explore the possibilities. As a general guide within the weave of stories, 1 denotes the Omnipotent God, 3 represents the Christian idea of the Trinity, the number 4 is associated with Forrest Gump and component parts, 5 is tied to The Da Vinci Code and is symbolic of the sacred feminine. The number 6 marks a turning point . . . as if the hand of time has reached the 6 on the face of a clock (probably why Robert Langdon wore an old Mickey Mouse watch) and is the pivotal point at which it begins turning upward; 6 represents the beginning of our journey home. The numbers 7 and 8 each stand for an era within the days of Creation. The legend of the Grail ushers in the 8th day.
Crossing the Boundary that Separates Make-Believe from Reality:
01-07-2010 5 pm (17:00) – The Tournament of Roses, BCS National Championship Game. The final score 37 Alabama’s Crimson Tide, 21 Texas Longhorns.
- Forrest Gump Chapter 3: Transition to college football; Forrest’s first game was on a Saturday; University of Alabama beat the University of Georgia 35 to 3.
01-12-2010 — A 7.0 magnitude quake struck the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault; Port-au-Prince, the Harbor of the Prince, suffered "apocalyptic type" damage.
- Forrest Gump Chapter 5: Forrest gets sent to war. After loading up with supplies and equipment he says he might as well have been carrying a Nebraska "corn shucker." “But this ain’t no football game.”
- The Last Templar, Chapter 26: William Vance looks at the wall behind him on which a calendar hangs. Although the time of day was unimportant to him, dates always had significance. One such date was circled in red.
01-13-2010 – The main prison in Port-au-Prince collapsed in the quake and there are reports of escaped inmates. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/13/AR2010011302174.html
- In The Da Vinci Code, Silas looks back upon the day he awoke to the screams of other inmates. He didn’t know what invisible force was shaking the floor on which he slept, nor what mighty hand was trembling the mortar of his stone cell, but as he jumped to his feet a large boulder toppled onto the very spot where he had been sleeping. Bishop Aringarosa rescues a bloody and unconscious Silas from the streets and comforts his fears by presenting a Bible written in French opened to Acts 16 verse 26: “. . . And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken and all the doors fell opened.”
01-13-2010 – Pat Robertson said “Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people may not want to talk about.” “. . . they swore a pact with the devil.” http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2010/01/13/crimesider/entry6092717.shtml
- In reality, the history of Haiti goes back much further than 200 years. Their story began long before Christopher Columbus landed on the shores near what is now Port-au-Prince. The natives of the island were the first casualties of European expansion and their civilization essentially became extinct. Slave trade and inter-marriage created a mixed population that French settlers called the Maroons because of their reddish-brown color. But the name might also suggest a people abandoned on an island with little hope of rescue or escape. While Christianity is widespread, the indigenous beliefs embrace a God that is Omnipresent; God is everywhere . . . He can be found anywhere one looks.
- Forrest's favorite idiot was Lennie in Of Mice and Men. John Steinbeck originally titled his novel Something That Happened until he read a poem which shared the regret the narrator felt for having destroyed the home of a mouse while plowing the field.
- In Forrest Gump Jenny Curran sang in a band called “The Cracked Eggs” and would perform songs by Peter, Paul, and Mary. Peter Yarrow wrote the lyrics to a song called “Day is Done.” It was the last song the group recorded and became #21 of the Hot 100 Hits in June of 1969.
Tell me why you’re crying, my son
I know you’re frightened like everyone
Is it the thunder in the distance you fear?
Will it help if I stay very near?
I am here.
And if you take my hand, my son,
All will be well when the day is done.
And if you take my hand, my son,
All will be well when the day is done.
Day is done, Day is done.
Day is done, Day is done.
Do you ask why I’m sighing my son,
You shall inherit what mankind has done.
In a world filled with sorrow and woe
If you ask me why this is so, I really don’t know.
Tell me why you’re smiling my son.
Is there a secret you can tell everyone?
Do you know more than men that are wise?
Can you see what we all must disguise
Through your loving eyes?
01-16-2010 11:02 - On Saturday, President Obama appeared in the Rose Garden with former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. “And by coming together in this way, these two leaders send an unmistakable message to the people of Haiti and to the people of the world: In these difficult hours, America stands united. We stand united with the people of Haiti, who have shown such incredible resilience, and we will help them to recover and rebuild. Yesterday we witnessed a small but remarkable display of that determination—some of you may have seen it—Haitians with little more than the clothes on their back marched peacefully through a ruined neighborhood, and despite all their loss and all their suffering they sang songs of faith and songs of hope. These are the people we’re called upon to help. Those are the hopes that we’re committed to answering. That’s why the three of us are standing together today.”
- Forrest Gump Chapter 8: Forrest is told he will be given the royal treatment when he visits the White House. When he meets President Johnson in the Rose Garden he shows him his war wound.
01-17-2010 – Two suspected looters lay beaten in the street with their hands bound. One lay motionless with his dreadlock hair stained by a deep pool of crimson blood. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34829978/ns/world_news-americas/?GT1=43001
- Isaiah 63 (King James Version)
The Day of the LORD's Vengeance
1 Who is this that cometh from Edom,
with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winevat?
3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.
6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.
01-18-2010 – After a tense week, 12 children protected by Lifechurch volunteers are evacuated and taken to an orphanage 40 miles away. Two men and two women stayed behind to guard their food, generator and other supplies. The plan was that the drivers would return for the women, but the two men would stay the night. The destination orphanage was in a place called Fond Parisien. For the children, it was like another world. Red-tile roofs protected 20,000 square feet divided among a health clinic, a giant warehouse for food, and a Christian radio-station. Outside a playground was waiting and three horses grazed in the grass under a sliver of moon. Because of the quake, many of the children were choosing to sleep on pallets by the house gate. http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2010/01/19/2177584.aspx
- Forrest Gump: Forrest slept on a pallet on the floor when he stayed with Jenny.
- The Last Templar: When Aimard determines that his injuries are too great to continue the journey, he calls Martin to his side. "We are in enemy territory and there are only four of you left. Stay together only for as long as you must, then divide into pairs."
- The Story of the Grail: The holy hermit of the forest advised Perceval, "If any woman seeks your aid, a widow, orphan, or a maid, assist her, and you will do well. This service is commendable, and you, as well, will benefit; it's one that you should not omit."
- They went ahead until the pair came to the Wondrous Palace by and by. The entrance way was very high, the doors were beautiful and rich. The paving was of many hues of black, white, violets, red, deep blues, placed skillfully in a design and polished to a brilliant shine. When Sir Gawain had finished walking through it, looking everywhere, he called over to the ferryman, "Dear host, I can find nothing here to give a stranger cause to fear . . ."
01-18-2010 – The steeple clock on St. Pierre’s Catholic Church stopped at 4:53. The church gates are closed; the doors shuttered. http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/01/17/haiti.earthquake.faith/index.html
- The Story of the Grail: When the youth dressed in armor red arrives at Belrepeire, the gate is locked. "The men-at-arms unlocked the door, and opened up the gate, and said to the young man, 'Please come ahead.' They would have been attractive men, if times were easier than then and had not forced them to endure such great misfortunes, that they were much weakened and could hardly keep upright for lack of food and sleep. For if, without, the youth had found the fields were barren, empty ground, within there was impoverishment; he found, no matter where he went, the streets were empty in the town. He saw the houses tumbled down without a man or woman there. Within the town there was a pair of churches: they were abbeys once; one was filled with frightened nuns and one with helpless monks and wary. The youth found neither sanctuary attractive and in good repair. The walls were broken, cracked, and bare with roofless towers. The buildings lay open by night as well as day."
- Mark 13:1-2 (King James Version)
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs before the End of the Age
1 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!
2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
01-19-2010 – “They bury you like dogs.” It goes against what the people hold sacred. “The widespread voodoo belief is that the dead continue living and the family must stay connected forever to their ancestors.” Ira Lowenthal, an anthropologist explains, “Convening with the dead is what allows them to link themselves by bloodline to a pre-slave past.” A long way down a windy path, a farmer in a red shirt acts as a guide . . . http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/world/americas/19grave.html
01-20-2010 – Exactly eight days later, a 6.1 magnitude quake centered 35 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince shakes people from their sleep. It is a day marked by three miracles. A 26-year-old was rescued and sang hymns as she was taken away in an ambulance; a 15-day-old baby who’d spent half her life in the rubble was plucked to safety; and a 69-year-old woman who’d been trapped in the ruins of the residence of Haiti’s Roman Catholic archbishop was freed. She said she was able to talk with a vicar for the first few days until he fell silent and then she could only pray: “I talked only to my boss, God,” she said, “I didn’t need any more humans.” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6994922.ece?print=yes&randnum=1264015702453
- In The Da Vinci Code Sister Sandrine lived in a modest room within the Church of Saint-Sulpice. When she realized the ancient wheels had been set in motion she retreated to her quarters and in desperation attempted to reach a human voice at each of the four numbers she’d been given. Nobody answered her. With her final phone call, she left a message on the voice machine belonging to the Grand Master himself.
01-20-2010 – Normally wary Haitians welcome U.S. However . . . “There have been some reports and news stories out there that the U.S. is invading Haiti,” Colonel Kane said. “We’re not invading Haiti. That’s ludicrous. This is humanitarian relief.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34949077/ns/world_news-the_new_york_times/
- Forrest Gump, Chapter 9 - Mister Wilkins had ordered them to never go up to any Chinamen without first getting his permission, but Forrest saw a little boy with Down Syndrome on top of a Chinese mama's shoulders and went over anyway. He took a ping pong ball out of his pocket and put his X on it and gave it to the child. The first thing the boy does is put the ball in his mouth, but when that got straightened out, he reached out and grabbed Forrest's fingers with his hands. And then a great big grin came across the little boy's face and all of a sudden Forrest could see tears in his mama's eyes. She started chattering and the interpreter told him it was the first time the little feller had ever smiled. When Forrest began to walk away the little boy threw the ping pong ball and bounced it off the back of his head. Someone took a photograph right at that moment and, of course, it wound up in the newspapers. "Young Chinese Displays His Hatred of American Capitalists," the caption said.
01-20-2010 – “God has abandoned us! The foreigners have abandoned us!” A woman yelled and she rushed past a pile of decaying bodies while tearing at her hair. Of her four children, three died and the one surviving daughter had broken limbs and a serious infection.
- The Story of the Grail: "The maid was sitting there, and had this maid looked joyful or been glad, he thought that she would have been fair; she ran her fingers through her hair, which she tore out by strands and rent, and she was raising loud lament about a knight. She uttered cries and kissed his forehead, mouth, and eyes, and as the lord Gawain drew near, he saw the knight's wounds were severe.
01-21-2010 – Haiti plans to move 400,000, the first wave of 100,000 to be sent to transitional tent villages of 10,000 each.
- Forrest Gump: The day arrives for Forrest and Sue to put shrimp in the pond; they have 50 pounds of shrimp in the bait well. They buy 500 pounds of cottonseed and put 100 pounds of it in the pond.
- The Story of the Grail: "That day high winds blew violently and drove a barge across the sea. Its cargo was a load of wheat and many other things to eat, and as God willed it, safe and sound, it landed on the castle's ground." "We have salt bacon, bread, and wine, and many oxen, pigs, and swine to slaughter, if you are in need."
01-23-2010 – Sonia Flury is 40 years old and was trapped for 5 days with her 20-year-old daughter who she fed urine to while trying to keep her alive. In the hospital, Sonia asked for someone to sit with her while she told her story. http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/01/22/haiti.sonia.flury/index.html
- Forrest Gump: In the 6th paragraph of Chapter 1, The Sound and the Fury is included within the legend of the map to the grail. It's a novel built upon the narration or journals provided by four people who share the events of a day from each of their respective lives.
- Forrest crash lands in a space capsule accompanied by Major Fritch and Sue. When one of the natives from the nearby village approaches the capsule, he passes out in a dead faint when Sue opens the door. He grabs a bottle of urine and tosses it on the islander's face to revive him.
01-24-2010 – Haitians return to their ancestral homes, leaving behind apocalyptic scenes for the tranquility of the farm. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35034423/ns/world_news-americas
- The Last Templar: Home. A distant memory. Another life.
01-24-2010 – Rescued after eleven days in the rubble, a survivor says the first thing he wants to do is find a church to give thanks. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34928950/ns/world_news-haiti_earthquake
- The Story of the Grail: Mother's advice to her son before he leaves to become a knight: "Above all else I recommend that church and chapel you attend. Pray to Our Lord, that He may give great honor to you while you live and in such deeds your life expend that you may come to a good end."
01-25-2010 – An opportunity for Haiti to transform; a time to help people help themselves. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35064891/ns/world_news-haiti_earthquake
- The Story of the Grail: Perceval to the Proud Knight of the Moor: "Knight, on my word, I never will, show any mercy to you 'til you show some toward your lady love. She never has been worthy of the cruelties you've made her bear, I can assure you and will swear."
- The Holy Bible (King James Version) Isaiah 62:9-12
9But they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the LORD; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness.
10Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.
11Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
12And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.
01-25-2010 – Thousands huddle in the Champs de Mars plaza. One man sits among the remnants of his family’s life: shoes, pieces of clothing, and a little red elmo. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35060237/ns/world_news-haiti_earthquake
- In Haiti, the Champs de Mars plaza is home for the seat of the state, the Presidential Palace.
- In Paris, France, the Champs de Mars is located in the 7th arrondissement or administrative district. The name means "Field of Mars" after Mars, the god of war.
- In the 12th century, Abelard left behind the court of Mars to find wisdom within the nurturing embrace of Minerva.
01-21-2010 – Hugo Chavez accuses the United States of causing the earthquake in Haiti by testing a “tectonic weapon.” He claims the U.S. was “playing God.” http://www.prisonplanet.com/chavez-says-us-weapon-caused-haiti-quake.html
- Forrest Gump, Chapter 4: "Now there is a secret thing that Coach Bryant and them done figgered out, an nobody sposed to mention it, even to ourselfs. They been teachin me how to catch a football pass." ". . . Coach Bryant, he say this gonna be our 'secret weapon'—like a 'Adam Bomb' or somethin . . ."
01-23-2010 – Back-to-back storms wash trash ashore, leaving California beaches a mess. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34926340/ns/weather/
- The Last Templar: two storms develop at sea that are unlike anything anyone can remember.
- The Da Vinci Code: The pendulum had swung. Mother Earth had become a man's world and the gods of destruction and war were taking their toll. The male ego had spent two millennia running unchecked by its female counterpart. The Priory of Sion believed that it was this obliteration of the sacred feminine in modern life that had caused what the Hopi Indians called koyanisquatsi'—life out of balance'—an unstable situation marked by testosterone-fueled wars, a plethora of misogynistic societies, and a growing disrespect for Mother Earth.
01-21-2010 – She went looking for shoes and when it was over, she’d lost a leg. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/21/haiti-doctors-warn-amputee-crisis
- Forrest Gump: Mama always said that you could tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wore. And then Lieutenant Dan lost both his legs in the war . . .
- The Story of the Grail: At the Wondrous Palace, they went until they reached the flight of stairs before the palace site, and at the foot, they saw a one-legged man who sat upon a bunch of gladioli. . . . The boatman pulled the lord aside. "What's your opinion, sir, I beg, about that man who has one leg?" "His leg is not of aspen wood," said Sir Gawain, "My word, I could see beautiful jewels set in it."
01-20-2010 – A second chance. Limbs of Love is packing prosthetics to send to Haiti, to give them some sort of hope. “Children are always the easiest to work with. You fit them with what you can and they take off running.” http://www.khou.com/news/local/Houston-charity-hopes-artificial-limbs-give-Haitian-amputees-a-second-chance-82216277.html
- Forrest Gump: "Run, Forrest! Run!"
- In the end, Lieutenant Dan was fitted with a new pair of legs.
01-26-2010 – A new book called Why He is a Saint describes how Pope John Paul II used a belt to whip himself in order to bring himself closer to Christian perfection. http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/01/27/pope.flagellate/index.html
- The Da Vinci Code begins with the murder of Jacques Saunière. After Silas finishes updating the Teacher on the events of the night and the four men he'd murdered, he hangs up the phone, his skin tingling with anticipation. “I must purge my soul of today’s sins.” Forgiveness was assured.
- In defense against critics, Aringarosa thinks to himself, People fear what they don't understand. "The group enjoyed the full endorsement and blessing of the Vatican. Opus Dei is a personal prelature of the Pope himself."
01-27-2010 – Day 15, a 16 year-old girl is rescued from rubble. http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/01/27/haiti.rescue.girl/index.html?hpt=T2
02-09-2010 - A 28-year-old man is found; he survived 4 weeks in the rubble. http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/02/08/haiti.rescue/index.html?hpt=Mid
- The Last Templar: William Vance, "Something of a miracle wouldn't you say?"
In The Last Templar, William Vance descends into the basement of a burned out church. He sits at a table with the ancient document spread out before him and the decoder next to it, relishing the moment. To himself, he murmurs, "At last." His voice is soft from too little use. He looks upon the first line of the faded writing and begins the next crucial stage of his personal odyssey.
An odyssey, the end result of which he knew would rock the world.
Looking back . . . on January 19th, 2010 a journalist wrote: The chaos in Haiti has been described as unimaginable. “But let’s try to imagine what the equivalent devastation might look like in the U.S.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34923036/ns/business-answer_desk/
When The Last Templar was brought to life in its screen adaptation, it opens with a television journalist taping a segment for the late edition of the evening news: “We are excited and in fact relieved to finally have this exhibition come to New York.”
Sometimes my imagination gets carried away, but considering all of the above . . . I felt compelled to google earthquakes in New York.
“The probability is not zero, and the damage could be great.” “It could be like something out of a Greek myth.” http://www.livescience.com/environment/080821-new-york-earthquakes.html
The question that begs to be answered is: Has the legend come to life? You might follow that thought and ask yourself whether this, in itself, would be enough to "rock the world?"
Both The Da Vinci Code and The Last Templar claim that time is of the essence. This story isn't over yet. As Bishop Aringarosa told Bezu Fache, "God uses us all."