Van Gogh’s friend and fellow artist, Émile Bernard, shared “A Woman Washing Herself” with van Gogh, a painting that uses a window to give the perception that the subject is bearing a cross. To his brother, van Gogh described it as “Rembrandtesque,” alluding to the painter’s notorious use of religious symbolism. 

For “Cafe Terrace at Night,” van Gogh included a similar cross above the central subject, as a singular horizontal muntin holds the panes of glass, unlike the window just across the street. Reaching a bit more, considerable zooming is required to see another cross emblazoned upon the central figure’s chest. 



The central event is the tossing of a crucifix on the fire

When Salieri declares war on God in the crucifix-burning scene, he says the causa belli is not only that he chose Mozart as his instrument, but because He “give me for reward only the ability to recognize the incarnation.” Even beyond the blasphemy of the “bargaining mode” and seeking “reward,” Salieri specifically scorns the gift God does give him, the love of music, and does so using as theologically fraught a term as possible

The central event is the tossing of a crucifix on the fire

When Salieri declares war on God in the crucifix-burning scene, he says the causa belli is not only that he chose Mozart as his instrument, but because He “give me for reward only the ability to recognize the incarnation.” Even beyond the blasphemy of the “bargaining mode” and seeking “reward,” Salieri specifically scorns the gift God does give him, the love of music, and does so using as theologically fraught a term as possible

Looking upon the crucifix, Salieri laments, "We, you and I, are enemies... because you choose as your instrument a boastful, lustful, smutty, infantile boy... and give me for reward only the ability to recongize the incarnation."  Setting the crucifix on a burning fire, he continues, "Because you are unjust... unfair... unkind... I will block you.  I swear it.  I will hinder and harm your creature on earth as far as I am able!"

Fatal 4-Way was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which took place on June 20, 2010, at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.[3] The show was based on certain matches on the card that were contested as fatal four-way matches. The event received 143,000 pay-per-view buys, down on The Bash's figure of 178,000 buys. This was the final WWE pay-per-view event to be held in Nassau Coliseum after the coliseum will have a renovation. Also, this was the first and only Fatal 4-Way event produced by WWE.


Fatal 4-Way featured professional wrestling matches involving different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that played out on World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) television programs. Wrestlers portrayed a villain or a hero as they followed a series of events that build tension, and culminated into a wrestling match or series of matches.[4]


The main feud on Raw was a fatal four-way match for the WWE Championship between defending champion John Cena, Randy Orton, Edge and Sheamus. After Cena retained his title against Batista in an "I Quit" match at Over the Limit, Sheamus attacked Cena. On the May 31 episode of Raw, Bret Hart was announced as the new Raw General Manager. Before Batista could cut a promo, Hart interrupted and said that if Batista wanted his rematch, then he would have to qualify. Batista refused to wrestle, citing an injury and Hart then let Orton qualify by forfeit, before quitting the WWE. Edge and Sheamus won their respective qualifying matches to gain entry into the match alongside Orton. John Cena was next to cash in on the action, defeating Jorgian for the belt. The following two weeks saw the four wrestlers compete against each other in singles and tag team bouts.


The main event for the SmackDown brand was a fatal four-way match for the World Heavyweight Championship between Jack Swagger, Big Show, CM Punk and Rey Mysterio. At Over the Limit, Big Show defeated Swagger by disqualification but did not win the championship since it cannot change hands on a disqualification, and as a result qualified for the fatal four-way match. The Undertaker and CM Punk won their respective qualifying matches against Rey Mysterio and Kane. Later Kane found his half-brother Undertaker in a storyline vegetative state, unable to compete and The Undertaker was removed from the match. A battle royal was put in place to determine The Undertaker's replacement in the match, which was won by Rey Mysterio who last eliminated Kane.


On the April 12 episode of Raw, Eve Torres beat Maryse for the Divas Championship. When Maryse attempted to seek revenge at Over the Limit, she was defeated by Eve. On the May 17 episode of Raw, Gail Kim teamed up with Evan Bourne to defeat Alicia Fox and Zack Ryder. After this, Kim and Fox started to feud for several weeks. On the June 14 episode of Raw, the current Divas Champion, Eve, teamed up with Kim in a winning effort against Maryse and Fox and a fatal four-way match was announced between the four.


Four Books on Measurement[edit]


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Dürer's work on geometry is called the Four Books on Measurement (Underweysung der Messung mit dem Zirckel und Richtscheyt or Instructions for Measuring with Compass and Ruler).[28] The first book focuses on linear geometry. Dürer's geometric constructions include helices, conchoids and epicycloids. He also draws on Apollonius, and Johannes Werner's 'Libellus super viginti duobus elementis conicis' of 1522.


The second book moves onto two dimensional geometry, i.e. the construction of regular polygons. Here Dürer favours the methods of Ptolemy over Euclid. The third book applies these principles of geometry to architecture, engineering and typography.


In architecture Dürer cites Vitruvius but elaborates his own classical designs and columns. In typography, Dürer depicts the geometric construction of the Latin alphabet, relying on Italian precedent. However, his construction of the Gothic alphabet is based upon an entirely different modular system. The fourth book completes the progression of the first and second by moving to three-dimensional forms and the construction of polyhedra. Here Dürer discusses the five Platonic solids, as well as seven Archimedean semi-regular solids, as well as several of his own invention.


In all these, Dürer shows the objects as nets. Finally, Dürer discusses the Delian Problem and moves on to the 'construzione legittima', a method of depicting a cube in two dimensions through linear perspective. It was in Bologna that Dürer was taught (possibly by Luca Pacioli or Bramante) the principles of linear perspective, and evidently became familiar with the 'costruzione legittima' in a written description of these principles found only, at this time, in the unpublished treatise of Piero della Francesca. He was also familiar with the 'abbreviated construction' as described by Alberti and the geometrical construction of shadows, a technique of Leonardo da Vinci. Although Dürer made no innovations in these areas, he is notable as the first Northern European to treat matters of visual representation in a scientific way, and with understanding of Euclidean principles. In addition to these geometrical constructions, Dürer discusses in this last book of Underweysung der Messung an assortment of mechanisms for drawing in perspective from models and provides woodcut illustrations of these methods that are often reproduced in discussions of perspective.


Four Books on Human Proportion[edit]

Dürer's work on human proportions is called the Four Books on Human Proportion (Vier Bücher von Menschlicher Proportion) of 1528. The first book was mainly composed by 1512/13 and completed by 1523, showing five differently constructed types of both male and female figures, all parts of the body expressed in fractions of the total height. Dürer based these constructions on both Vitruvius and empirical observations of, "two to three hundred living persons,"[19] in his own words. The second book includes eight further types, broken down not into fractions but an Albertian system, which Dürer probably learned from Francesco di Giorgio's 'De harmonica mundi totius' of 1525. In the third book, Dürer gives principles by which the proportions of the figures can be modified, including the mathematical simulation of convex and concave mirrors; here Dürer also deals with human physiognomy. The fourth book is devoted to the theory of movement.


Appended to the last book, however, is a self-contained essay on aesthetics, which Dürer worked on between 1512 and 1528, and it is here that we learn of his theories concerning 'ideal beauty'. Dürer rejected Alberti's concept of an objective beauty, proposing a relativist notion of beauty based on variety. Nonetheless, Dürer still believed that truth was hidden within nature, and that there were rules which ordered beauty, even though he found it difficult to define the criteria for such a code. In 1512/13 his three criteria were function ('Nutz'), naïve approval ('Wohlgefallen') and the happy medium ('Mittelmass'). However, unlike Alberti and Leonardo, Dürer was most troubled by understanding not just the abstract notions of beauty but also as to how an artist can create beautiful images. Between 1512 and the final draft in 1528, Dürer's belief developed from an understanding of human creativity as spontaneous or inspired to a concept of 'selective inward synthesis'.[19] In other words, that an artist builds on a wealth of visual experiences in order to imagine beautiful things. Dürer's belief in the abilities of a single artist over inspiration prompted him to assert that "one man may sketch something with his pen on half a sheet of paper in one day, or may cut it into a tiny piece of wood with his little iron, and it turns out to be better and more artistic than another's work at which its author labours with the utmost diligence for a whole year."[29]


The Four Apostles is a panel painting by the German Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer. It was finished in 1526, and is the last of his large works. It depicts the four apostles larger-than-life-size. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian I obtained The Four Apostles in the year 1627 due to pressure on the Nuremberg city fathers. Since then, the painting has been in Munich and, despite all the efforts of Nuremberg since 1806, it has not been returned.


Contents [hide]

1 Description

2 Historical context

3 See also

4 References

5 External links


External video

Albrecht Dürer - The Four Holy Men (detail) - WGA07027.jpg

Smarthistory - Dürer's The Four Apostles

When Dürer moved back to Nuremberg he produced many famous paintings there, including several self-portraits. He gave The Four Apostles to the town council. Saints John and Peter appear in the left panel; the figures in the right panel are Saints Mark and Paul. Mark and Paul both hold Bibles, and John and Peter are shown reading from the opening page of John's own Gospel. At the bottom of each panel, quotations from the Bible are inscribed.[1]


The apostles are recognizable by their symbols:


St. John the Evangelist: open book

St. Peter: keys

St. Mark: scroll

St. Paul: sword and closed book

They are also associated with the four temperaments.


St. John: sanguine

St. Peter: phlegmatic

St. Mark: choleric

St. Paul: melancholy


In African sacred art, among the different geometric lines, the peculiar X-shaped ichi marks are replicated in facial scarifications, on dozens of artifacts unearthed at Igbo-Ukwu, Ikom monoliths, in Egyptian hieroglyphics, and even as far as India, South America, Australia, and now Old Europe. All ancient cultures carry that unique Igbo identity and culture.


Among the Igbo of Nigeria Ichi is the symbol of the sun, a word derived from another name of the sun/daylight, chi, which is also the name of the spirit of God in Man. From the Igbo word ichi originated the Greek word Χριστός: Christ, as well as Ich-thys, the fish symbol associated with Christ as a godman by adherents of the Christian faith.




As a sun symbol, ichi represents the sun emitting rays in four directions, indicating that the face of its bearer is the face of the sun: he/she is the sun, the god of his environment, ruling the four cardinal points and the four days of the Igbo traditional week and representing the four cosmic deities: Eke, Orie, Afo and Nkwo – the fourth being the father of the Igbo nation.


The most common or secular form of ichi was a group of horizontal or slanting lines on the fore-head and the temples. But the Igbo Ukwu sacred artifacts exhibit a more sacred form of ichi said to have been borne by Nri priest-kings. Its basic shape is an X-shaped cross with series of concentric Vs facing the four cardinal points, as seen on the Igbo Ukwu bronze faces. This is the type of ichi that was borne by the Nwa-nshi dwarfs. (See Plate 3) A group of such V-shaped lines executed concentrically (sometimes with central or axial lines, imitating the geometric structure of a palm frond) running through the forehead, the temples and the jaw create the structure of an equal-armed cross or an X-shaped cross (depending on the angle of the observer), or like a sun emitting rays in all directions, making the face of the individual bearing the ichi to appear like the face of the sun (Plate 3, 10b, 8). X is the shape of the Greek letter chi. Chi –roh, the Christian symbol of Christ is said to have pagan Canaanite origins associated with sun worship. (Christopher Knight et al., The Book of Hiram, 2003) As in Igbo tradition, the Chi roh is also associated with the palm-frond symbol (Plate 11). Chi and ich(i) have the same meaning in Igbo and in Greek. They both mean ‘the sun, the cross and the god-man and constitute the etymological origin of the word Chi-ristos/Christ. We also found that a group of concentric V-shapes with or without an axial line actually occurs in Sumerian Proto cuneiform and Akkadian alphabet as the letter Shi (See Plate 12, line 4) and that a single V-shape with a line in the center is the basic structure of the letter Shin in Hebrew Alphabet and in the esoteric writing of the Magi called “Passing the River”. These similarities are not coincidental. The link between Jesus the fish god-man and the fish god-men who inaugurated Igbo market days has already been discussed.


In May 1884, working at home, Koechlin made a sketch of their idea, described by him as "a great pylon, consisting of four lattice girders standing apart at the base and coming together at the top, joined together by metal trusses at regular intervals".[5] Eiffel initially showed little enthusiasm, but he did approve further study, and the two engineers then asked Stephen Sauvestre, the head of company's architectural department, to contribute to the design. Sauvestre added decorative arches to the base of the tower, a glass pavilion to the first level, and other embellishments.


Work on the foundations started on 28 January 1887.[15] Those for the east and south legs were straightforward, with each leg resting on four 2 m (6.6 ft) concrete slabs, one for each of the principal girders of each leg. The west and north legs, being closer to the river Seine, were more complicated: each slab needed two piles installed by using compressed-air caissons 15 m (49 ft) long and 6 m (20 ft) in diameter driven to a depth of 22 m (72 ft)[16] to support the concrete slabs, which were 6 m (20 ft) thick. Each of these slabs supported a block of limestone with an inclined top to bear a supporting shoe for the ironwork.

The Eiffel Tower from below


The Eiffel Tower seen from
the Champ de Mars


E.A. Carmean, the National Gallery's curator of 20th-century art, who has detected crucifixions, lamentations and other religious images in black and white paintings by Jackson Pollock, has been publicly contradicted by the artist's widow, Lee Krasner, who says, "They are not there."

Carmean, in arguing his thesis, offers as evidence Pollock drawings from 1951 which show what seem to be figures with outstretched arms. He says he came to his conclusions after learning that Pollock had considered making paintings for a never-constructed church designed by architect-sculptor Tony Smith, and after noting similarities between certain Pollock drawings and a Picasso crucifixion. "The argument is a question of methodology--the sort of thing curators discuss over lunch," said Carmean. "It is surprising that such an issue has become newsworthy."

"This whole issue began with my seeing a drawing Pollock made in 1951 which I consider to be a version of a Picasso crucifixion of 1930," he continued. "This is my own view. But side-by-side comparison leaves few doubts . . . A second Pollock drawing, used as a poster for his exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1951, also has a cruciform figure," he said. "All I'm saying is that aspects of these drawings appear in a few--underline 'few'--of the approximately 40 black and white paintings Pollock made between June 1951 and August 1952. What I have tried to do in the Paris essay is relate those few pictures--which I believe have religious images--to the idea of the church Pollock was working on with Tony Smith."


The flag of Sardinia, called the flag of the Four Moors or simply the Four Moors (Italian: I quattro mori; Sardinian: Sos bator moros in Logudorese or Is cuatru morus in Campidanese), is the official flag of the autonomous region of Sardinia, Italy, and the historical flag and coat of arms of the Kingdom of Sardinia, described as a "white field with a red cross and a bandaged Moor's head facing away from the left (the edge close to the mast) in each quarter" (Regional Law 15 April 1999, n. 10, Article 1.)[1]

The flag is composed of the St George's Cross and four heads of Moors, which in the past were not forehead bandaged but blindfolded and turned towards the left. The most accepted hypothesis is that the heads represented the heads of Moorish princes defeated by the Aragonese, as for the first time they appeared in the 13th century seals of the Crown of Aragon – although with a beard and no bandage, contrary to the Moors of the Sardinian flag, which appeared for the first time in a manuscript of the second half of the 14th century.


There are separate Spanish and Sardinian traditions to explain the origin of the flag and there is no consensus among scholars as to which is correct. According to the Spanish tradition, it was a creation of King Peter I of Aragon, celebrating his victory at the Battle of Alcoraz in 1096. It was said that St. George miraculously appeared on the field of battle and that there were four severed heads of Saracen kings at the end; thus the red cross and white background of the St George's Cross and the heads of four Moors.[2] The Sardinian-Pisan tradition attributes the arms to a banner given by Pope Benedict VIII to the Pisans in aid of the Sardinians in a conflict with the Saracens of Musetto who were trying to conquer the Italian peninsula and Sardinia. This flag however has inverted colours and no heads on it.[3]


Before the Kingdom of Sardinia was founded, the rulers of the island were known as archons (ἄρχοντες in Greek) or judges (iudices in Latin, judikes in Sardinian, giudici in Italian). The island was organized into one "judicatus" from the 9th century on (see List of monarchs of Sardinia). After the Muslim conquest of Sicily in the 9th century, the Byzantines, who previously ruled Sardinia, couldn't manage to defend their far west province. Probably, a local noble family acceded to power, still identifying themselves as vassal of the Byzantines, but independent "de facto", as communications with Constantinople were very difficult. At the beginnings of the 11th century an attempt to conquer the island was made by Spanish Muslims. We have very little record of that war, only by Pisa and Genoa chronicles. Christians won, but after that, the previous Sardinian kingdom was totally undermined and divided into four more little judicati: Cagliari, Arborea, Gallura, and Torres or Logudoro; each one developed its own coat of arms. When, with the appointment of the King of Aragon as King of Sardinia, the island again became one united kingdom, only the Judicatus of Arborea survived, and fought for a century against the Kingdom of Sardinia for supremacy.



According to some, the flag derives from Alcoraz victory of 1096, is linked to the Crown of Aragon, and represents the Spanish Reconquista against the Moors who occupied most of the Iberian Peninsula. It is composed of the cross of St. George, also a symbol of the Crusaders fighting in the same time in the Holy Land, and the four severed heads, representing four major victories in Spain by the Aragonese: the reconquest of Zaragoza, Valencia, Murcia, and the Balearic Islands. According to others (Mario Valdes y Cocom),[4] the Moors represent the Egyptian Saint Maurice, martyred under Diocletian, and are shown in this manner, with the heads bandaged, in countless coats of arms in the Franco-German area. Even Saint Victor of Marseilles, who was from the same Theban Legion commanded by Maurice and escaped the decimation, is represented by a blackamoor with a bandage on his forehead, as in the High Altar of St. Nicholas' Church of Tallinn,[5] now in the Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn. The common tradition which links the stories of the two saints suggests that the symbol was designed between the St. Maurice Abbey Canton of Valais (Switzerland) and the Abbey of St. Victor in Marseilles; each was built in the place of martyrdom of the respective saint. Between 1112 and 1166 the County of Provence was under the direct control of the kings of Aragon, and until 1245 ruled by descendants of the same dynasty. It should also be noted that the abbey of St. Victor of Marseilles had extensive property and political influence in Sardinia, especially in the Judicatus (kingdom) of Cagliari, from the 11th to the 13th century. Actually, there are hagiographyies of many "Saint Victor" related to the Theban Legion, as Viktor of Xanten or Victor of Solothurn and to the persecutions of Diocletian and Maximinus II as Victor Maurus of Milan, Victor of Puigcerdà, Spain, probably inspired by the same martyr.


The Sardinian Action Party was founded in 1921, and adopted the four Moors as its symbol. It is conceivable that it had historically been interpreted as the icon of the four judges, as argued by Antonio Era, professor at the University of Sassari and the Regional Council, on 19 June 1950 in the discussion of the regional council before the vote that would declare the Four Moors to be the official flag of Sardinia. Era criticized the banner, stating:


Mind that the emblem of the Four Moors is not, as they say, the four judges in which Sardinia was divided nine centuries ago, when it was free and independent: it is an error of historical interpretation, and therefore it is not obvious nor indispensable to choose just that emblem. That is, yes, a popular coat of arms and consecrates the centuries-old tradition of Sardinia, as mentioned in the agenda, but it is not a very Sardinian emblem as it is usually imagined.[6]


This speech denounced the fact that the flag was not of Sardinian origin, but it is also documentary evidence of popular feeling that he read it in the medieval Giudicati history. On the other side, the history of the Giudicati developed mainly after the victory of the maritime republics against the Saracens, which allowed the development of the four little kingdoms and the coincidence was perfectly expressed by the four Moors.


Out of the many separatist parties active on the island, two of them (IRS and ProgReS) do not even recognize the flag as being representative of Sardinia and its people, due to its origin dating back to Aragonese rule. These parties prefer to use the eradicated tree flag, the coat of arms of the judge of Arborea, considered the last autochthonous Sardinian state, as the national flag of the Sardinians. However, the eradicated tree is also the Aragonese emblem of Sobrarbe and, despite no in-depth studies, could also originate as part of the Aragonese conquest.


Currently, US Army rifle squads consist of nine soldiers, organized under a squad leader into two four-man fire teams. The squad leader is a staff sergeant (E-6) and the two fire team leaders are sergeants (E-5). Mechanized infantry and Stryker infantry units are equipped with M2A3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and M1126 Stryker, infantry carrier vehicles, respectively. Unlike the ROAD era mechanized infantry units, none of the vehicle crewman (M2A3 - three, M1126 - two) are counted as part of the nine-man rifle squad transported by the vehicles.[13] The squad is also used in infantry crew-served weapons sections (number of members varies by weapon), military police (twelve soldiers including a squad leader divided into four three-man teams, with three team leaders), and combat engineer units.


United States Marine Corps[edit]

In the United States Marine Corps, a rifle squad is usually composed of three fireteams of four Marines each and a squad leader who is typically a sergeant or corporal. Other types of USMC infantry squads include: machinegun (7.62mm), heavy machinegun (.50 cal. and 40mm), LWCMS mortar (60-mm), 81-mm mortar, assault weapon (SMAW), antiarmor (Javelin missile), and anti-tank (TOW missile). These squads range from as few as three Marines (60mm LWCM squad) to as many as eight (Javelin Missile squad), depending upon the weapon system with which the squad is equipped. Squads are also used in reconnaissance, light armored reconnaissance (scout dismounts), combat engineer, law enforcement (i.e., military police), Marine Security Force Regiment (MSFR), and Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) companies.


United States Air Force[edit]

In the US Air Force Security Forces a squad is made up of three fire teams of four members each led by a senior airman or staff sergeant and either a staff sergeant or tech sergeant squad leader.

This trap was the third one in a series of tests. The Rack was a rather large trap, resembling a metal crucifix placed on a small pedestal. At the top as well as the end of the arm segments were movable, cylindrical contraptions, each one connected to an own gear system. While the head of the victim was easily trapped in the top contraption without any further measures, the hands, which were trapped in the other contraptions, had to be bolted on two small metal plates, to prevent the victim from pulling his or her arms out. Similar contraptions were placed on the pedestal to the left and the right of the victim and just like the other contraptions, they both each had an own gear system. However, these contraptions had no cylindrical form, but rather just consisted of the small metal plates to which the victim's feet were bolted. Additionally, the victim's arms and legs were strapped to the crucifix. Once the game began, the gear systems were activated one at a time. Thereby, the respective contraptions began to turn and slowly twisted the victim's limbs, first his right arm, then the left one, then the right leg, then the left leg and finally the head, causing their bones to break. To survive, the test subject had to rely on the help of a second person. The key to deactivate the trap hung from a wire in front of the barrel of a shotgun located in an enlarged glass box. This wire was connected to the shotgun's trigger. The second person had to take the key. However, once it was removed, the shotgun would fire a shot at whoever stood in front of it. (Saw III)


Left 4 Dead is a cooperative first-person shooter video game with survival horror elements, developed by Valve South and published by Valve Corporation. The game uses Valve's proprietary Source engine, and is available for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and OS X. Development on the game was completed on November 13, 2008, and two versions were released digitally: A downloadable digital version, released on November 17, 2008, and a digital retail disc version, with a release date determined by region. The digital retail disc version was released in North America and Australia on November 18, 2008; and in Europe on November 21, 2008.


Set during the aftermath of a zombie outbreak, the game pits its four protagonists—dubbed the "Survivors"—against hordes of the infected. There are four game modes: a single-player mode in which allied characters are controlled by AI; a four-player, co-op campaign mode; an eight-player online versus mode; and a four-player survival mode. In all modes, an artificial intelligence (AI), dubbed the "Director", controls level pacing and item placements, in an attempt to create a dynamic experience and increase replay value.

Fact No. 1: Sometime early in the 9th century, a mob at Lyon got hold of three men and one woman who they believed had fallen from the marauding Magonian airships, come to loot the crops of honest peasants. They would have stoned the four to death, if not for the intervention of Archbishop Agobard. (See my post of May 3, “The Mystery Men of Magonia,” for the details.) We don’t know what gave people the idea the foursome had fallen from the skies. Agobard never tells us.


The same quaternity crops up in Cardozo’s other writings. In one of his essays, he predicts the coming of four Messiahs, three of them male, the fourth female. This pattern was evidently a fixture of Cardozo’s psychic life.



The Confederation of the Rhine (German: Rheinbund; French: officially États confédérés du Rhin ["Confederated States of the Rhine"], but in practice Confédération du Rhin) was a confederation of client states of the First French Empire. It was formed initially from 16 German states by Napoleon after he defeated Austria and Russia at the Battle of Austerlitz. The Treaty of Pressburg, in effect, led to the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine. It lasted from 1806 to 1813.[1]

On 12 July 1806, on signing the Treaty of the Confederation of the Rhine (German: Rheinbundakte) in Paris, 16 states in present-day Germany joined together in a confederation (the treaty called it the états confédérés du Rhinelande, with a precursor in the League of the Rhine).[2] Napoleon was its "protector". On 1 August, the members of the confederation formally seceded from the Holy Roman Empire, and on 6 August, following an ultimatum by Napoleon, Francis II declared the Holy Roman Empire dissolved. Francis and his Habsburg dynasty continued as emperors of Austria.


All tzaddikim come from the line of Seth, and the generation of this New Humanity has been their mission, and continues to be their mission; this New Humanity is, in fact, indicated by the name Seth, Shin-Tau.


First, these are the last two letters of the Alef-Bet, and indicate perfection and completion, and they indicate the full embodiment of the Holy Light and Spirit of the Infinite One. Shin is fire, and is the essential letter representing the Supernal Shekinah, and Tau is the cross, representing incarnation, embodiment, and so we may understand in this name the Light of the True Cross – Messiah; this corresponds with conscious unification with the One, the Supreme, or enlightenment and liberation.


Here is an excerpt from page 17 of Christ in the Passover by Cecil and Moishe Rosen:

The “basin” mentioned in Exodus 12: 22 is not like containers used today. It is taken from the Egyptian concept of “sap”, meaning the threshold or ditch which was dug just in front of the doorways of the houses to avoid flooding from the Nile River. The people placed a container in the ditch to prevent seepage.

The Israelites killed their Passover lambs right by the door, and the blood from the slaughter ran into the depression of the basin at the threshold.

When they spread the blood with the hyssop brush, they first touched the lintel (the top horizontal part of the door frame), then each side post (the vertical sides). In doing this, they went through the motions of making the sign of a bloody cross, the prophecy of another Passover sacrifices to come centuries later. Thus, the door was “sealed” on all four sides with the blood of the lamb, because the blood was already in the basin at the bottom.

Note: Some scholars say the blood forms 3 bloody crosses. Whatever it represented one or three crosses, God was protecting His children.


The typical method of fulfilling the commandment to write His Words on the doorpost is carried out in Judaism by having a sofer (scribe) write in Hebrew the words of Deuteronomy 6:4-9, as well as those from 11:13-21, which are then inserted into an aesthetic container, and attached to the doorpost.

While there are various strict laws and rules that guide the observer desiring to perform the commandment according to traditional Judaism, there is one detail in particular that has fallen out of popular performance since after the time of Moshe ben Maimon, known more popularly as Maimonides, who wrote strongly against continuing the practice in the early 13th century.  The practice in reference is to include on the scroll five Hebrew letters after the Biblical passages are completed.  The accompanying mezuzah scroll shows an example of those letters.

The letters form an acronym for the Hebrew phrase: “You shall live; truly life is firm.” This is scarcely to be found in modern mezuzah scrolls, having fallen out of use long ago. However, the fact that it was once employed in ancient scrolls is good reason to wonder why it was discontinued.


The answer is extremely interesting.


Ancient Jewish texts such as the Sefer Yereim (circa 1100) mention the use of it, but the reason for the disuse of the acronym is only finally hinted at in the Jewish work called Torah Sheleimah, wherein it is explained that the Hebrew phrase is a remnant of an ancient practice to remind the Jewish people of the final plague upon Egypt, and the bloody act which saved those who performed it from the destruction of that last plague. The Torah Sheleimah explains that the first letter of the acronym, the letter Tav, which begins the word TEKHIYAH (You shall live), is in reality the sign actually used by those obedient to the command to kill the lamb at the first Passover, when they smeared its blood upon their doorposts in the shape of that letter.


While that is amazing in itself, as the Torah does not explicitly explain how the blood was to serve as a sign, just that it would be a sign, there is even more significance to this detail. The modern form of the letter Tav is much different than the ancient shape of the letter, and it is in that detail where the prohibition against continuing to write it and the implications thereof can be perceived. The ancient form of the letter Tav looks just like a slanted cross, or an X shaped object. Therefore, the sign placed upon the doorposts of the faithful believers in Egypt that protected their homes from the destruction of the final plague, according to the texts of Jewish tradition, was in the shape of a cross! It becomes immediately obvious with this realization why the medieval commentators whose authority was recognized in Judaism began to speak out against continuing the practice of including these letters upon a mezuzah scroll. All who included these letters were effectively making a cross, or at the least the remembrance of a cross made out of blood, upon their doorposts! To the Jewish minds who detested the horrific influence of medieval Christianity, such a prohibition would have made complete sense.

Furthermore, while it cannot be known for certain exactly in what shape the blood smeared upon the doorposts in Egypt might have been applied, there is an interesting hint contained in the Torah itself that connects the Jewish tradition of it being a cross to just such a possibility. In Exodus 12:13 is found the explanation that the blood would be a sign.



This merits attention because the term for “sign,” which is OTH in Hebrew, is here spelled in what is known in Hebrew grammar as Khaser spelling, that is, “defective” spelling. Normally, the word OTH “sign” is spelled with three letters – Aleph-Waw-Tav – not two, as the accompanying graphic illustrates.


Now, what does this abnormal spelling tell us? Why would the Holy One give this special command concerning the application of the blood of the Passover lamb with a word not spelled correctly? When one reads a word that is misspelled in the midst of a sentence, it stands out, a glaring “sign” in and of itself to which the eye is irresistibly drawn. This is no different in the Hebrew language. Even more, if every single letter is important - if these are the Words of the Spirit to mankind - then every single nuance must be taken into account. So, again, what does this abnormal spelling tell us?


The Messiah Yeshua calls Himself the “Alpha and Omega” four times in the book of Revelation (1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13). The term “alpha” is the name for the first letter in the Greek alphabet, and in turn, “omega” is the name for the last letter in the Greek alphabet. This is important because the Greeks adopted most of their alphabet from the Semitic alphabet, where the first letter is Aleph, and the last letter is Tav. Thus, to the reader with a Semitic background who was reading the words of Messiah from Revelation, they would automatically understand the phrase “Alpha and Omega” to mean “Aleph and Tav.” It is additionally quite possible that the book was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic, and those letters would have been blatantly used to convey the thought in those languages.


All this connects back to the unique spelling of OTH “sign” in Exodus 12:13 because the term there in its Khaser (defective) spelling is simply Aleph-Tav, and not Aleph-Waw-Tav, as it should be, instead. The “sign” of the blood is thus a peculiar mark in the Hebrew text that points to the Messiah Yeshua, who died upon the cross, and that aligns so perfectly with the ancient Jewish tradition that the sign of the blood on the doorpost was originally in the shape of a Tav / cross. Furthermore, the blood was to serve as a sign “for you,” as the verse so explicitly states. The sign was for the obedient, Spirit-led people in Egypt; a foreshadow of the blood of the true Lamb of the Holy One who would bring redemption for His people on a Passover then yet to come. The purpose of His Word is to set us apart safely from the world, and to draw us ultimately to the Messiah who, upon the cross, shed His blood to deliver us from the slavery of sin.


The Holy Martyr St. Vasilissa of Nicomedia, having protected herself with the sign of the Cross, stood unharmed in the midst of the flames. Thus, the Holy Bishop Julian, after making the sign of the Cross over the cup of poison, drank it without suffering any harm.


Approaching the Holy Chalice, we always fold our arms cross-wise across our breast. We do not sign ourselves with the sign of the Cross (lest, in doing so, we jostle the Holy Chalice), but we hold a cross [our crossed arms] over our breast. When we commune, we stand as it were at the cross, together with the Most-holy Theotokos, for we commune of the Body and Blood of the Crucified One.

When a Christian dies, others, his relatives cross his arms over his chest, and form his fingers into the sign of the Cross. At the grave, the final Cross is erected. The Dread Judgment will begin with the appearance of the Cross of Christ.


Joseph is shown as an old man[23] wearing an eggplant coloured coat and blue turban, in a panel characterised by dark and warm colours, and framed by the shadows from the window shutters.[2] He works on a mouse trap, probably intended as a symbol of the cross at the Crucifixion,[24] in that it represents an imagined but literal capture of the Devil, said to have held a man in ransom because of the sin of Adam.[25] In some scripts, Christ's naked flesh was served as bait for the devil; "He rejoiced in Christ's death, like a bailiff of death. What he rejoiced in was then his own undoing. The cross of the Lord was the devil's mousetrap; the bait by which he was caught was the Lord's death."[26]


In the right-hand panel, Saint Joseph, who was a carpenter, has constructed a mouse trap symbolizing Christ's trapping and defeat of the devil, a metaphor used three times by Saint Augustine: "The cross of the Lord was the devil's mousetrap; the bait by which he was caught was the Lord's death"[32] Joseph is making mousetraps. Mousetrap symbolism may also exist outside Joseph's window, and are visible through the shop window, again symbolizing that Jesus is used as a bait to capture Satan.


The panel shows the moment before the traditional scene, as Mary, absorbed in her book, is still unaware of the presence of Gabriel.[7] Mary is in a red gown rather than the more usual blue. She is in a relaxed pose, reading from a book of hours, her hair unbound. Unusually for a medieval depiction of the Annunciation, the dove of the Holy Spirit is not included. Instead he is represented by the extinguished light of the candle, and the beam of light falling from the window to the left, which carries the Christ Child holding a cross.[9] The tiny figure of the Christ Child flies down towards Mary from the left oculus, signifying her impregnation by God the Father. He gazes directly at her and holds a cross. The folding-table contains a recently extinguished candle,[10] and shows coiling smoke and a still glowing wick. This maybe a reference to the Holy Spirit, who, according to some late medieval writers, descended to the apostles "like a puff of wind".[11]

The sixteen sides of the table may allude to the sixteen main Hebrew prophets; the table is usually seen as an altar, and the archangel Gabriel wears the vestments of a deacon.

Battersea Power Station is a decommissioned coal-fired power station located on the south bank of the River Thames, in Nine ElmsBattersea, an inner-city district of South West London. It comprises two individual power stations, built in two stages in the form of a single building. Battersea A Power Station was built in the 1930s, with Battersea B Power Station to the east in the 1950s. The two stations were built to a nearly identical design, providing the long-recognized four-chimney layout. The station ceased generating electricity in 1983, but over the past 50 years it has become one of the best known landmarks in London and is Grade II* listed.[1][2] The station's celebrity owes much to numerous popular culture references, which include the cover art of Pink Floyd's 1977 album Animals and its appearance in the 1965 Beatles' film Help!

Potential buyers were required to preserve the station's Grade II* listed four iconic chimneys and wash towers.


This paper tries to investigate the problem of memory through one of its most intriguing patterns – chiasmus – reflected in old poetry, sacred texts, philosophy and theology, visual arts, as well as biology. It aims to search for some provisory explanation of why man was able once to acquire such excellence in memorizing internally thousands of lines of poetry, whereas now memory is expelled outside the human body and mind in a mere digital file. Contrasting the so-called “wish-dream for immortality” of the contemporary post-human body, this paper takes another path and looks into some old cosmologies and visions in which chiasmus constantly emerged as an enduring cultural paradigm with ontological relevance. Spanning from Plato to Christian theology, up to the contemporary Neo-Platonism of archetypal psychology, this paper hopes to put forth, if not a theory, at least a vision about man and cosmos, cosmos and man, a chiastic epiphany in which the body and the material world partake both of the sacred.

Keywords: memory; chiasmus; image; imagination; archetypal psychology; DNA.




With the invention of writing, human being and memory took a dramatic shift, culminating in the most recent transformations in informatics. Memory turns into a digital entry of the virtual body that could at any time store the information one needs to know, thus giving the modern literate “licence to forget.” Why mankind chose to forget, while it was once possible to memorize thousands of lines of poetry, and whether memory itself had always had the same meaning as we now attribute to remembering things – these are just rhetorical questions. This paper will not be able to answer them all, but at least to formulate. Meanwhile, the humanity moves slowly and decisively from humanism to what has been recently called “the era of the post-human.” All we can now contemplate is mere expanding memory, now reaching a cryptic and pseudo-mystical stage labeled “noocytes,” which looks as a kind of reversed ancient nous or noosphere – the network of intersubjectivities of the new post-human body.


Why was the ancient poet able to remember things or to never forget them? What is actually the true nature of human being, and how was such thing as memory approached before these cultural anthropological transformations took place? This paper attempts to deconstruct and reconstruct yet again the anatomy of memory, and hopefully to undo forgetfulness with the assistance of the ancient poet; it will search for the origins of the poetical mind, the primeval state of homo poeticus, and hopefully for something perennial beyond time. The guide in this quest is Levinas’ vision, and the intimate hope that, indeed: “Our period is not defined by the triumph of technology for technology’s sake, as it is not defined by art for art’s sake, as it is not defined by nihilism. It is action for a world to come, transcendence of its period-transcendence of self which calls for epiphany of the Other.”


In their book Information through the Ages: Literacy, Numeracy, and the Computer Revolution, Michael Hobart and Zachary S. Schiffman offer a broad picture of the phenomena with a special chapter (“Orality and the Problem of Memory”) devoted to the problem of memory in orality, in contrast to our notion in the era of technology:


The term ‘memory’ evokes the image of a thing, a container for information, or the content of that container. Thus, from our literate viewpoint, the Iliad preserves the knowledge of the Trojan War. But in jumping to this conclusion, we lose sight of the Iliad as an oral phenomenon, as the singing of a song. It is not so much a thing as an act, a gestalt, uniting bard and audience in a shared consciousness. This phenomenon has little in common with that desiccated thing we literates call “memory.” In the world before writing, memory is the social act of remembering. It is commemoration.


Commemoration is at the heart of oral culture and ritualized societies; it underlines the very mechanism of memory. As the etymology points out, commemoration is a sort of join “memorization” of things, a “holistic” event. Commemorative ritual gives wholeness and structure (relationships) to community. The poet plays a crucial role in this respect. He creates an image so immediate and so powerful in the consciousness of his audience, so that it is impossible to separate oneself from the actual experience. Everyone partakes in the experience of the world revealed by the poet. “Commemoration binds together the community as a living entity rather than passively storing information about it.”


But what made so effective the discourse of the poet? What gave such power to his words to work upon consciousness and bind people together as a living chain, a living tradition – the collective memory? As I hope to illustrate further in this paper, the poetical meters of his song were thus constructed, and the sequences so linked together, as to form patterns that were congenial to the human mind and the structure of memory. One of these patterns that informed the mythical mind was chiasmus, found in old poetry (epics or lyrics). Chiasmus was an intimate part of the world experienced and shared as collective reality, an experience that was translated into the collective consciousness and memory.


Chiasmus – a visual and acoustic image turning around its centre

“Chiasm or chiasmus, the anglicization of the Greek chiasma, technically designates the disposition of two lines crossed like the letter X (chi), which refers to cross-shaped sticks, to a diagonally arranged bandage, or to a cruciform incision. Chiasmus is a rhetorical figure, which corresponds to inverted parallelism, so that the order of words in one of two balancing clauses or phrases is inverted in the other, which has the effect to produce a crisscross effect. Chiasmus is frequent in ancient cultures, especially in Near East, but also is to be found in more recent times in Greek and Latin literature.


Homeric chiasmus

To take the Classical example of the Homeric poetry, both Illiad and Odyssey contain a series of questions which is answered in exactly reversed order: Antinous’ three questions to Noemon (Od. 4.642-56); Hecabe’s several questions to Hector (Il. 6. 254-85); and, in the most elaborate example of this device, Odysseus’ seven questions to his mother Anticleia in Hades (Od. 11. 170-203). Here is an example quoted in diagrammatic form from Steve Reece (213):


Text 1 (Homer chiasm).jpg

This mnemonic poetic pattern, a most elaborate so-called hysteron-proteron, is one of multiple examples of the kind from the Homeric epics, a poetical figure by which the poet creates a most powerful image imprinted on memory and easily remembered by the audience. Scholars have noticed Homer’s fondness for having his characters answer questions in a reverse order. Chiasmus assists the narrator to hold the attention of his listener with a minimum of effort; it works upon mind as a psychological device. But if the procedure abba is perceptible to the audience in a small “compass,” the question arises when the pattern expands over many thousands lines, like in the vast architectonic scheme of Homeric epic. On this point, Cedric H. Whitman, the Homeric scholar, had this to say: “The mind is a strange organ, and one which perceives many things without conscious or articulate knowledge of them, and responds to them with emotions necessarily and appropriately vague.” This kind of intricate relationship established between the poet and his audience was metaphorically defined in Plato’s dialogue Ion in the image of the magnet. The poets and their interpreters are compared to a chain of magnetic rings suspended from one another to form a magnet. The magnet is the Muse, and the ring which immediately follows is the poet himself; from him are suspended other poets; there is also a chain of rhapsodists and actors, who also hang from the Muses, but are let down at the side; and the last ring of all is the spectator. The poet, like Homer, is the inspired interpreter of the God; and the rhapsodist is the inspired interpreter of the poet, like Ion. Through this living chain animated by the sacred discourse of the poet, the entire community was permeated by the vitality of hieros. The community was one living memory, ritually “ensouled” by the commemorative/performative body. Chiasmus was a means of imaginary binding, a most effective psychological device. There was – as Emmanuel Levinas put it – “a pleasure of contact at the heart of the chiasm.”


Chiasmus formed a most conspicuous geometric design, which could be visualized as a “ring composition,” “the acoustical analogue of the visual circle.” Analyzing the mnemonic patterns in the Iliad and Odyssey, Whitman demonstrates how after the middle of the epic the composition repeats the topics in a reversed order sequence, the symmetrical format of the chiasm taking a geometric structure of the most amazing virtuosity, a “fearful symmetry.” Ring composition is pregnant with stylist possibilities, says Whitman, because “it returns to its point of origin and effects circularity of design, while the inverted elements may also be spread out to include as a centrepiece a whole scene or scenes, as in a frame.” The combined structure of the Homeric chiasmus and ring composition suggests not only circularity, but also framing and balance, which were typical of Geometrical period in ancient Greek art, especially in Dipylon vases.


Biblical chiasmus

Yet it was not only the Greek mind that structured the things in a chiastic manner, but also the biblical world. The chiastic disposition of the biblical text extends the archetypal vocation of the chiasmus. The Bible owes much to the chiastic device. In his book, The Shape of the Biblical Language, Fr. John Breck provides ample evidence for the chiastic disposition of the Biblical text, pointing out to a way of reading the sacred text, of actually “seeing” it. The literate of the ancient time were long time trained for this sacramental task to grasp the hidden vision. They were taught not properly to read, but to “see” the text; they were taught how to look at it in a chiastic manner, by approaching it “from the center outward and from the extremities towards the center.” Vision of the text was thus structured around a center, the shape of chiasmus being properly a “helix.” This disposition of the text was compared by C. Lock with typology, both typology and chiasmus being structured around a centre. In the process of reading the text, a space of some kind apparently emerged, rather than being a mere surface on which words were displayed in linear succession. The sentence spiralled from A to B, and the eyes moved inwards and upwards, to the centre of the conical helix, describing an invisible sacred space.


A few examples will illustrate this phenomenon, yet in an imperfect manner, due to their linear (modern) transcription:

Text 2 (Biblic chiasm)_bis.jpg


Chiasmus – a form of thought. Chiastic cosmologies – doing and redoing totality

Chiasmus was employed not only with respect to specific visual or acoustic cultural events, but to thought as well, primarily giving “structure to the thought pattern” (John W. Welch). According to R. Gasché, grammatical, rhetorical, or psychological explanations cannot exhaust the role of chiasm. Especially when employed in order to draw together and connect juxtaposed terms in opposition, this literary form exceeds rhetoric. “Chiasm, then, is no longer a merely ornamental or psychological device but, rather, reveals itself as an originary form of thought, of dianoia.” Old cosmologies, like for example, those described by Heraclitus and Plato, disclose a paradigmatic vision: this vision reveals chiasmus as a powerful form of thought and structure in the organisation of the cosmos. As Gaché points out, in Heraclitus (fragment 51), through chiasmus the opposites are linked together into pairs of parallel and inverted oppositions, which manifest them as an inverted unity. The result is “that what is in opposition is in concert, and from things that differ comes the most beautiful harmony.” Chiasmus allows oppositions to be bound into unity. The unity (tauto) and the totality of the universe are made of chiastic reversals. In Heraclitus’ cosmology chiasmus is no longer an ornamental device, “it becomes dependent of content,” “(it) is a true form of thinking.” Heraclitus’ cosmology centred on the unity of opposites is basically chiastic, a form of balance by opposition, which from Homer on existed in the classical mind, shaping its artistic and philosophic approaches to experience. As Whitman has argued, Plato too reflected this principle when he finished off his cosmology with the two spheres of Sameness and Difference, which revolve in opposite directions.


But Plato’s cosmos reached its completion only with the creation of the soul. Then it became a “blessed god.” The cosmic soul was created even before the creation of the body. It is “the best of things created” because it partakes of reason and harmony, and because is made by the best of intellectual and everlasting natures. Most importantly, “the one and only existing thing which has the property of aquiring thought is soul” (46D). Therefore, the demiurge had to place him in a special disposition. This disposition was chiastic. The lines of the equator and the ecliptic, symbolizing the cosmic Soul, cross each other to form the Greek letter chi (X) (Fig. 1):


Fig. 1 Jan Gossaert A little girl c. 1520.jpg


”This whole fabric, then, he split lengthwise into two halves; and making the two cross one another at their centres in the form of the letter X, he bent each round into a circle and joined it up, making each meet itself and the other at a point opposite to that where they had been brought into contact.” (36B-D)

Plato describes the stuff out of which the cosmic soul is made, a sort of fabric or veil, interwoven from the centre everywhere:


”When the whole fabric of the soul had been finished to its maker’s mind, he next began to fashion within the soul all that is bodily, and brought the two together, fitting them centre to centre. And the soul, being everywhere inwoven (diaplakeisa) from the centre to the outmost heaven and enveloping the heaven all round on the outside, revolving within its own limit, made a divine beginning of ceaseless and intelligent life for all time.” (36D-E)

The vision of the world in Byzantine culture, following the Classical Antiquity, was marked by the Christian theology. With the Incarnation of Christ and His sacrifice it was possible to restore again the cosmos and aspire to the restoration of man as well, which in theological terms is known as the deification of man (theosis), the primordial state lost after the Fall. Fathers of the Church recognized the cross symbolism in the cosmic structure of the universe. According to Philo, De somniis, 6 (III, 266), the Creator impressed the Logos as his divine seal upon the cosmos. This was the cross of His sacrifice that sealed the world (Philo, De somniis II, 6). It marked the whole world, both its length and breadth and height and depth, as the Son of God was also crucified in these dimensions. The cross was the ground and the means by which the universe was re-dimensioned. It was even believed (Justin the Martyr) that what Plato himself meant when he said that the Demiurge placed Him (the cosmic Soul) in the form of the letter Chi (echíasen autón) in the universe, it was the Son of God. This vision, shared both by the Platonic cosmology and Byzantine theology (with the addition of the biblical dimension), is a paradigm of sacred space generated by the agency of chiasmus. This paper does not allow me to embark myself on further discussions on this matter, which I largely developed somewhere else. Yet one thing must be stressed, and this is that chiasmus was not a stable structure, but a dynamic pattern; chiasmus has always translated its motion over the text it structured, or the space it generated. The Platonic chôra space, the matrix or nurse of generation, the cosmogonic night that moved from chaos to cosmos, becomes the space of the Incarnation in Byzantine theology. The Byzantine chôra was a kenotic space, mystically eraced and “crossed through” by Christ’s sacrifice. The Platonic chôra becomes a “true cosmos” only after the chiastic veil is spread over the universe; then, the world’s body was finally fitted to its soul.


As it comes out from these old cosmologies, the discourse of chiasmus is the discourse of the totality’s irreducible reference. Indeed, one could say that chiasmus is “the primitive matrix of dialectics in its Hegelian form.” Yet chiasmus has continued to challenge not only some of the greatest thinkers of contemporary thought (de Man), but even one, most reputed for his systematic deconstruction of totality. In Derrida’s Archeology of the Frivolous, “the chiasm folds itself with a supplementary flexion.” The supplementary fold makes the chiasmus an unequal fork; it is “neither constitutive nor simply disruptive of totality.” Chiasmus is explored by Derrida in two other essays on Maurice Blanchot: “The Law of the Genre” and “Living On: Border Lines.” Here He coins the term “chiasmic invagination,” an expression of his concern with the unthought of “totality.” This is the movement that constitutes and deconstitutes the border, the limit of a closure. As Gaché explains: “the chiasm in Derrida is to be understood as the form of that exceedingly strange space within which the philosophical form of chiasm makes its incision, in order to cross-bandage, by analogy and dialectics, the same wound.” And further: “the doubly invaginated chiasm is what both makes possible and deconstitutes dialectics. It is an a priori counterlaw to the unifying role of chiasm, a counterchiasm, so to speak, within which the totalizing function of dialectics is rooted. This counterchiasm does not anihilate dialectics; it does not destroy it but ‘merely’ shows it to its ‘proper’ place.”


All these phenomena describing an enduring persistence of chiasmus over time could be perhaps better explained if we look at it from another perspective. Archetypal psychology may have something important to say around this subject.


Archetypal psychology – a cultural movement

Archetypal psychology was created by the American psychologist James Hillman in an effort to re-vision psychology’s approach to soul, or self. His theory is a critique of psychology’s traditional means of confronting the imagination. Taking as a point of departure Jung’s concept of archetype, Hillman departs from him, and replaces the notion of archetype as inherited pattern with the archetypal image as autonomous. Hillman’s theory is informed also by Edward Casey, from whom he takes a phenomenology of the imagination, and by Henry Corbin, from whom he adopts the notion of the mundus imaginalis, the imaginal world.


Archetypal psychology postulates the organization of the imaginary as the basis of cultural anthropology, which is also the basis of psychological meaning in all consciousness. Archetypal psychology is, according to Hillman, “psychology of archetypes,” where archetypes are “the primary forms that govern the psyche.” But as the archetypes manifest as well in various spiritual modes, such as linguistic and aesthetic, they cannot be contained only by psyche. That’s why archetypal psychology’s first links, says Hillman, are with culture and imagination, which is a “cultural movement.” Particular events are “always imagistic and therefore ensouled,” and for this reason “it (archetypal psychology) would resonate with soul.” The soul, as well as the imagination, play a special role and assume to be primordially patterned into typical themes or motifs. Archetypal images are in fact the means by which the world is imagined. These patterns form and inform the psychic and cultural life. The main concern of archetypal psychology is that it “restores to images their primordial place as that which gives psychic value to the world.” “Every psychic process is an image and an ‘imagining’, otherwise no consciousness could exist…” This concern of archetypal psychology with the image is highly relevant for this subject, and for any subject that would touch upon human creativity. The relevance of archetypal psychology resides at least in two points. First, it concerns the relation between imagination and the structure of the soul, which is, according to Hillman, structured much like poetic language, dreams and images. Second, it provides an ontological location of the archetypes of the psyche, which is a field of images, or, in Corbin’s words, a mundus imaginalis.


Hillman meets Plato, and the Neo-Platonists, as well as the theology of the Greek Fathers, and it comes as no surprise that his theory was labeled as Phenomenological Neo-Platonism. But it is exactly this dimension of his theory that I found so congenial with this subject, particularly those aspects in his research related to the power of image, and the cosmic perspective in which the soul participates in the archetypal image.


Mundus imaginalis. The Imaginal field – a space in between

The idea that the imagination is the primary activity of the soul is crucial for archetypal psychology. The soul is the source of images and poetic response, and in response images return back to the soul. At the same time, the images are, according to Hillman, autonomous like the gods, timeless and transcendent, yet phenomenal rather than instinctual as Jung’s archetypes. But most importantly, as Hillman insists, “the mind is in the imagination rather than the imagination in the mind.” Such assertion, as strange as it may sound, encapsulates the very specificity of vision in archetypal psychology. The mind is located in the imagination means that there is more to it than our imaginative experience, that imagination is not primarily and exclusively subjective. As Casey argues, our imaginative experience is rooted “outside of human consciousness,” it is “another world” and “another reality.” Imagination is both subjective and transpersonal. The “imaginal field,” a concept elaborated by Corbin and adopted by archetypal psychology, is the “space” where the personal encounters the transpersonal; it is an intermediary between the personal and the transpersonal, a space in between – a “topography of interworlds” – a term presumably adopted by Corbin from the same Mazdean source.


In Marc Fonda’s interpretation, the mundus imaginalis or the imaginal as a space, recalls the tripartite model of human agency developed by Hillman, where the soul is an intermediary between mind and body. The imaginal operates as a tertium between the person’s unconsciousness and the person’s consciousness, between the personal and the impersonal, between the person and the world, the anima mundi. At the same time, the imaginal is the space, which is already present when images are produced, and where images emerge and present themselves to human apprehension. Therefore, the fact that the mind is located in the imagination means that the mind is something constructed by the images (like myths) and presented to us through some connection with anima mundi. This connection between the human imagination (read it the human soul) and the anima mundi may be the ultimate ground and meaning of man in the world, and his relationship to the cosmos. Archetypal psychology advocates the perspective that self (properly the soul) communes with and is connected to the things and beings of the world. Indeed, according to Hillman, the soul is something connected to anima mundi through an affective relationship, which Plato calls the cosmic soul. According to Avens, Hillman’s notion of the soul as transhuman refers to a “realm of between or metaxy,” which has the function of connecting “the human with the non-human world or, in the terms of the later Heidegger, to integrate earth and sky, the gods and mortals.” One aspect remains however to be inquired, and this is that which could enable this communication between the upper world and the human soul. To clarify this aspect we may now look back into Plato’s text.


Chiastic breath – recollection and soul-union

The idea of likeness pervades the entire dialogue of Timaeus, in respect to the making of man, as well as of the cosmos, both created in the image and likeness of the demiurge. There is one particular episode however where the imitation becomes meaningful for this subject, and this concerns the description of the vital function of the human organism: the respiration process. The respiration is a double “circular motion swaying to and from”, inspiration-expiration, and it is interlaced or interwoven (diaplakeisa) throughout the whole body. It is vital because it “takes place in order that the body, being watered and cooled, may receive nourishment and life.” (78D) Therefore, the function of the respiration demands that it must imitate the motion of the universe, and indeed, it does: “The process of repletion and evacuation is effected after the manner of the universal motion by which all kindred substances are drawn towards one another.” Plato originates the movement of respiration in a place, fountain of fire, which he describes as a network (plegma) of a creel, woven of fire and extended through the whole body:


Respiration is “a circular motion swaying to and from” and is “produced by the double process, which we call inspiration and expiration.” The origin of this movement “it is in a manner on internal fountain of fire, which we compare to the network of a creel (kurtou plegmati) been woven all of fire and extended through the centre of the body, while the outer parts are composed of air.” (72D-81E)


Plegma, from the Greek plekô, which means to twine or braid a plait, could be a sort of fabric, which vividly evokes the constitution of the veil of the cosmic soul, which was said to be woven (diaplakeisa). There is a constitutional kindredness in terms of the stuff out of which the human breath and the cosmic soul are made (veil, plegma), as well as a similarity in the disposition of their motion. Yet there is another thing, which connects the two together, and this is the fire factor. The origin of the respiration, says Plato is fire, “fire and breath rising together and filling the veins” (80D); at the same tine, the divine and archetypal soul is the cosmic fire. This is the premise and the condition of their connection. In like manner, the movement of the cosmic soul takes a similar disposition, which is said to be “interfused everywhere from the centre to the circumference.”


The connection between the soul and the world, and the soul and memory gains more clarity by reading Jean-Pierre Vernant’s essays ‘Aspects mythiques de la mémoire’ and ‘Le fleuve “amélès” et la “mélétè” thanatou’. Anamnesis or recollection is a strain of the soul for Plato, and Empedocles associates it with the term prapides (prapur, in Romanian), which is a bodily organ and a psychic faculty; prapídes is nothing but the diaphragm, by which respiration is controlled. The relation between the soul and the breath was known in archaic thinking, and the spiritual exercises of recollection were intimately related to old techniques of respiration, which allowed the soul to achieve extasis. For this reason, memory was considered such a power in ancient time that could permit the soul to exit from time and return to the divinity. Memory, it was believed to be divine. The exercises of recollection, based on breathing exercises, followed the cosmic soul’s movement in its disposition.


Certain similarities of this phenomenon may be found in the Christian world, and this is not only in terms of formal denomination. Byzantine hesychasm (from the Greek Hesuchia = silence) is a monastic movement, which practiced in 14th c. the so-called prayer of the heart or the prayer of Jesus. This consisted in a repetitive intonation of a short, yet complete, prayer of recollection of the Name of Christ. There is a circular movement within the Prayer, explains Father Kallistos, a sequence of ascent and return. The breathing is to be made slowly and coordinated with the rhythm of the Prayer. The first part of the prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God”) is said while drawing in the breath, and the second part (“Have mercy on me a sinner”) while breathing out. This alternating internal movement of respiration (inspiration and respiration), described by Plato as well, medicine defines it as somatic rhythm: all somatic process takes place in rhythmic, cyclical patterns (diastole/systole/expansion/contraction etc.). Yet somatic alone cannot give full account of human being, but merely of its body. But the final goal of the hesychast prayer is the union with God, vision of light of the uncreated divine energy. The union of the soul with God in prayer is based on the power of the Name (IC XC), a chiastic anagram of the Name of Christ, formed of the two first letters of the name in Greek, X and P, Chi-Ro (Fig. 2).


Fig. 2 Monogram Chi-Ro Vatican.jpg


“The Name of God is numen praesens, God with us, Emmanuel. To invoke God’s Name is to place oneself in His presence, to open oneself to His energy, to offer oneself as an instrument and a living sacrifice in His hands.” The flowing movement of the hesychast Prayer is like a gently murmuring stream (Starets Parfenii of Kiev, The Art of Prayer, p. 110). Prayer of the heart is prayer of the body as well as the soul, since the heart has a twofold aspect, at once visible and invisible. Here, Christian theology meets archetypal imagination, and they both meet Mystical Experience in Byzantine hesychasm and Sufism. They all speak about the poetics of the soul and its imagining capacity, about the soul as something connected to the world beyond, or in between, to which man has access but grace (the hesychast) or by the cultivation of the soul (where the soul is via regia in the world, says Hillman).



In a paper under the historical title “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids. A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid,” published on April 25, 1953 in the journal Nature No. 4356, the molecular biologists James D. Watson and Francis H. C. Crick came to inform the whole world about their discovery, which was “the molecule of life.” They put forward what they described as “a radically different structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid. This structure has two helical chains each coiled round the same axis (see diagram).” (Fig. 3)


Fig. 3 Double helix.jpg


“Both chains follow right-handed helices, but owing to the dyad the sequences of the atoms in the two chains run in opposite directions.” The structure is an open one, and this specific pairing, they say, “suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material.” The event was rewarded with a Nobel Price, and few years later, in 1956, World Health Organization (founded in 1948) adopted at Havana conference as its own emblem the symbol of Asclepius (god of Medicine) as its own emblem, a kind of Caduceus (1 snake and 1 staff). The snake and the bowl is the symbol of pharmacies in Europe. (Fig. 4)


Fig. 4 simbols asclepius hermes medicina.jpg


The resemblance between the double helix that spirals around each other in the DNA pattern of life and the pattern of chiasmus discussed in this paper may be just mere coincidence. This remains, of course, to be thought over and established by a concerted mind of scientists and cultural anthropologists. One thing is however sure that the scientists did not invent the DNA pattern, rather they unveiled the code which has been already there, an Image, like the archetypal theophanic image of Hillman. No doubt, this relatively recent discovery in the history of mankind has opened up the door to a new understanding of life in general, and genetics in particular. But one should hope that it will not take too long until its yet unexplored cultural implications will be revealed. The implications concerning the structure of thinking and creativity, of memory and imagination, might unveil ultimate answers. Fifty years after the discovery, Bruno J. Strasser rhetorically asks himself in a paper significantly entitled: “Who cares about the double helix? Collective memory links the past to the future in science as well as history.” In searching for his answer, Strasser takes the double helix as a symbol of “the values and ideals that make science itself what it is today.” Quite relevant for this paper are his remarks on how “our collective memories of the past play a crucial contemporary role,” “we witness collective memory in the making.” The iconicity of the molecule of DNA is evoked recently in the book of Dorothy Nelkin and M-Susan Lindee:


“DNA – the invisible, eternal, and fundamental basis of human identity – has acquired many of the powers once granted to the immortal soul. Like the sacred texts of revealed religion, DNA explains our place in the world: our history, our social relations, our behaviour, our morality, and our fate.” “DNA in popular culture functions, in many respects, as a secular equivalent of the Christian soul.”

I would like to end this essay on chiasmus – a cultural paradigm, and, possibly, a genetic model – with an emblematic image inspired by Mircea Eliade’s mystic story Rejuvenation by Lightning. The rejuvenation of Dominic Matei after being struck by lightning is a genetic mutation, manifested as “youth everlasting” and hypermnesia, a mystical return of memory, lost and recovered epiphanically the night of the Resurrection. As Doina Rusti interprets Eliade’s symbolism, the hypermnesia of Dominic Matei doesn’t represent a path only for personal salvation, but for the salvation of the collective memory. The character lives Christ’s experience (death and resurrection) and becomes the saviour of the world, where memory is a sort of ark (like Noah’s Ark), a container storing information and samples of human civilisation (from “dead languages” to most recent scientific discoveries) that will allow the universe to be born again after the Apocalypse.

THE WORD CHIASMUS comes from the Greek word chiazō, ‘to shape like the letter x’. [1] A chiasmus usually describes rhetorical forms involving inversion and reciprocity, and perhaps the oldest and most immediate chiasmic structures are those found in the fragments of Heraclitus:

ἀθάνατοι θνητοί,

θνητοὶ ἀθάντατοι,

ζῶντες τὸν ἐκείνων θάνατον,

τὸν δὲ ἐκείνων βίον τεθνεῶτες

Mortals are immortals,

and immortals are mortals,

living the others’ death,

and dying the others’ life. [2]

At the heart of the chiasmus is thus a paradox—two opposite conditions are placed in seeming contradiction—yet both are integral to each other’s truth.



The x, of course, is but a symbol. In reality, the chiasmus must be perceived as a continuous process, much like the mathematical symbol for infinity or endlessness embodied in the figure eight—∞—or the simple but deceptive ‘twist in reality’ that gives rise to the Möbius strip. The circulation of inversion and reciprocity thus describes a perfect dialectic of opposites. [3]


According to Miller, the chiasmus ‘threatens to violate the principle of non-contradiction whenever its components are conjoined and opposed, whether as contraries or contradictories’:


This happens often in the Heraclitean aphorisms, but nowhere more flagrantly than in the following, which we shall eventually call the principle of the chiasmus: ‘wholes and not-wholes, convergent divergent, consonant dissonant, from all things one and from one all things’. [4]


What is more, every living thing, in its comportment to all other things, naturally embodies such a relationship. Every living presence implies a counter-presence, a counter-weaving, of affinities and aversions, a simultaneous attraction and repulsion that, like the string of a lyre stretched between two poles, creates an inherent, yet vital,tonos (tone, tension). This tonification, harnessed and focused like a bow and arrow, stimulates attention and intention; awareness and will. It is both the seed and fruit of creative expression, evoking a vivifying harmony that engenders a corresponding mode of perception and consciousness.


For Heraclitus, this tonos or tension is inherent to the constitution of reality. To illustrate the unity of harmony and death generated by this tension, he used the twin instruments of Apollo and Artemis—the bow and lyre:


οὐ ξυνιασιν ὁκως διαφερόμενον ἑωυτῷ ξυμφέρεται;

παλίντονος ἁρμονίη ὁκωσπερ τόξου και λύρης.


They do not apprehend how being brought apart it is brought together with itself:

there is a counterstretched harmony, like the bow and the lyre. [5]


For here reality is a process rather than a fixed form, and inherent to this process is the principle of ‘return by departure’ (being brought together by being brought apart). What seems, paradoxically, to be a process of becoming distant from the ‘centre’ or ‘principle’ (origin, divinity, ground of being) is in fact an activity of this centre that fulfils its potential, and by doing so, ultimately leads back to itself. Like the bow, it has to be stretched away from itself in order to fulfil itself; that is to say, in order to harness the higher state of tensility that lies latent in the wood, the wood must be bent back against itself. Like the lyre, the potential harmony cannot exist without the tensility of string and wood creating tone (tonos), for there is no tone without stretching or tension (tonos comes from tenein, ‘to stretch’). A true chiasmus, therefore, is always a vital, tensile interweaving. It is both the warp and weft of reality, as well as its animating puissance.


Further, when Joseph took an oath to assure his father Jacob that after the latter’s death he would without fail take his bones from Egypt to the promised land and bury them in the grave together with his fathers Abraham and Isaac, then the old man, having been reassured, was made so joyful that he raised himself up somewhat on his bed “and (Israel) did reverence to the top of his staff” (Gen. 47:29-31). Certain Fathers of the Church (Chrysostom, Blessed Theodoret) suggest that Jacob foresaw the kingly dignity in the tribe of Ephraim (after the division of the Hebrew kingdom) and by his reverence was honouring that dignity in Joseph. According to the explanation of the Church services, Jacob did reverence to the top of the scepter (which may have had the shape of a cross) of Joseph, who was then the governor of Egypt, as a pre-figuring of the royal staff of the Cross of Christ, which is the triumphal glory of pious Kings. “Israel, foreseeing the future, did reverence to the top of Joseph’s staff, revealing how in times to come the most glorious Cross should be the safeguard of royal power, for it is a triumphal glory to kings” (Canon of the Exaltation, Canticle 7, troparion 3).


According to the sense of the Church services, the external appearance of the Cross of Christ was represented beforehand by the miraculous staff of Moses, which led the Israelites through the Red Sea without their getting set. When Moses stretched his staff over the waters of the sea the first time, so that the Jews could cross the sea as if on dry land, “the Lord drove the water all night with a strong wind and made the sea dry land; and the waters were parted and the children of Israel crossed on dry land in the midst of the sea; the waters were a wall to them on the right side and on the left” (Ex. 14:21-22), and thus they formed the upright part of the tree of the Cross of Christ. Then after the Israelites had crossed, when Moses stretched his staff over the sea the second time to destroy the pursuing Egyptian troops in the midst of the sea, the waters began to return to their place from both sides, and as they covered the bared bottom of the sea together with the chariots and horsemen of Pharaoh’s whole army, they formed the cross-piece of the tree of the Cross of Christ (27-28). “Inscribing the invincible weapon of the Cross upon the waters, Moses marked a straight line before him with his staff and divided the Red Sea, opening a path for Israel. Then he marked a horizontal line across the waters and united them in one, overwhelming the chariots of Pharaoh. Therefore let us sing to Christ our God, for he has been glorified” (Canon of the Exaltation, Canticle 1, Irmos). Beyond this, as Moses’ staff, when turned a second time to the sea against Pharaoh and his hosts, drowned them in the midst of the sea, so too does the triumphant staff of the Cross of Christ render the attacks of the noetic Pharaoh --- the devil and his minions --- unsuccessful when it is turned against them by true believers in the Lord Jesus. “Tracing a cross with his staff, Moses divided the depths and led the people of Israel across; so we conquer our noetic enemies when we make this sign” (Verse on the Beatitudes for Wednesday of tone 8).


Soon after the miraculous crossing of the Red sea, the Hebrews came to Marah and, when they found the waters there too bitter to use, they complained against Moses; then the Lord commanded him to cast the tree he was shown into the water, and the water became sweet (Ex. 15:22-25). This action of a tree, which instantaneously sweetened the huge mass of water required for the multitude of people and for their even more multitudinous flocks, is completely inexplicable by the laws of nature, and only the mystery of the Cross of Christ fully reveals to us why Moses was commanded to use a tree rather than some other means to destroy the bitterness of the water. As the deadly bitterness was removed by a tree cast into the waters of Marah, similarly death was conquered by the power of the Cross of Christ. “Not suffering the deadly bitterness of the tree (i.e. of the tree of knowledge of good and evil which turned out to be deadly to those who ate of it) to remain, O Lord, Thou hast utterly destroyed it through the Cross. In like manner of old did a tree once destroy the bitterness of the waters of Marah, prefiguring the strength of the Cross” (Canon of the Exaltation, Canticle 9, troparion 1). In part the sweetening of the waters of Marah prefigured the power of the Cross of Christ in converting pagans to a pious life. As soon as the preaching of the Cross was proclaimed to pagans who before the coming of the Saviour into the world had been similar in their moral and spiritual life to the bitter waters of Marah, being deprived of the light of Divine revelation and of the law of God --- these pagans turned by the thousands to faith in Christ and from dishonorable living to virtue. “In days of old Moses transformed with a tree the bitter wells in the wilderness, prefiguring the bringing of the Gentiles to the true faith through the Cross,” as the Holy Church sings of this on the feast of the Exaltation (Canon, Canticle 4, troparion 1), when also the prophecy about the sweetening of the bitter waters of Marah is read in Great Vespers.


To quiet the children of Israel who had rebelled against Aaron, Moses once commanded that the twelve staffs of the leaders of each of the tribes of Israel be placed in the Tabernacle of Witness along with Aaron’s staff, and behold, in one night Aaron’s dry and lifeless staff miraculously “blossomed and put forth buds, produced flowers and brought forth almonds” (Num. 17: 1-8). The Church understands this as a prefiguring of the seedless conception of the Great Priest --- Jesus Christ and of the blossoming forth of the sacred tree of the Cross of Christ in the Church: “The rod of Aaron is an image of this mystery, for when it budded it showed who should be priest. So in the Church that once was barren, the tree of the Cross has now put forth flower, filling her with strength and steadfastness” (Canon of the Exaltation, Canticle 3, Irmos).

In the series of other prefigurings of the Lord’s Cross, offered for the consideration of the faithful by the Holy Church in her various services, the following events attract our attention. When the Amalekites attacked the Hebrew people, Moses commanded Joshua the son of Nun to lead the nation into battle against them and then ascend to the top of a hill with Aaron and Hur, taking his wonderworking staff with him; he lifted up his hands and extended them, and whenever Moses lifted up his hands, Israel prevailed (Ex. 17:8-11). By lifting up his hands in this fashion, he prefigured the way Jesus Christ’s hands were stretched on the Cross and nailed to it, while, on the other hand, by the fact that this action destroyed the power of the Amalekites, the destruction by the Cross of Christ of the pernicious power of the spiritual Amalek --- Satan and his hosts --- was prefigured. “In times past Moses, standing between the two priests, prefigured in his person the undefiled Passion (of Christ). Forming a cross with his outstretched hands, he raised a standard of victory and overthrew the power of Amalek” (Canon of the Exaltation, Canticle 1, troparion 1). “Moses prefigured the power of the precious Cross, O Christ, when he put to flight Amalek, his adversary, in the wilderness of Sinai: for when he stretched out his arms in the form of a cross, the people became strong again. And now the fulfillment of these images has come to pass for us. Today the Cross is exalted and devils are put to flight” (Feast of the Exaltation, prayer on “Glory, , And now” of the Lity). Similarly when Joshua the son of Nun wanted to finish the battle with the five Canaanite kings, he stretched out his hands to God with a request for help (Josh. 10:12-14) and in this way prefigured the Lord Jesus Christ, Who stretched out His hands on the Cross: “Of old Joshua the son of Nun mystically prefigured the image of the Cross when he spread his hands out in the form of a cross, O my Saviour, and the sun stood still until he had brought down the enemies who opposed Thee, O God; but now the sun has set, seeing Thee on the Cross; and having destroyed the power of death, Thou hast raised up the whole world” (Kathisma of the Cross, tone 8 for August 1). The prophet Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of a whale (Jonah 2) and while there he, too, prayerfully stretched his hands out in the shape of the Cross of Christ and survived by the power of that Cross. “In the belly of the whale Jonah prefigured the image of the Divine Cross with his outstretched arms and, looking up, he was saved from the beast by Thy power, O Word” (Canon for the third Sunday in Great Lent, Canticle 6, katavasia). “Jonah stretched out his hands in the form of a cross within the belly of the sea monster, plainly prefiguring the redeeming Passion (of Christ)” (Canon of the Exaltation, Canticle 6, Irmos). The Church teaches that the prophet Daniel, who at the command of the pagan king Darius was thrown into a den of lions for worshipping the true God, was preserved from harm from the lions (Dan. 6) because his hands also were arranged in the form of a cross when he lifted them up to God with a prayer for help. “The greatest of the prophets, Daniel, once cast into a den of lions, stretched out his hands in the form of a cross, and instead of being consumed by them, was preserved unharmed, blessing Christ our God forever” (Canon for third Sunday in Great Lent, Canticle 8, katavasia).