Honeymoon Baby

 

When I was twelve, my sister and I finally earned the right to be able to stay home on a Saturday, while my parents went to work in the family business, “A Stitch In Time Boutique”, in Downtown Mystic.  All previous summers were spent at Butler Elementary School, the host for the local Groton Summer Rec program. We enjoyed Summer Rec, with all of the field trips to Ocean Beach, rainy day arts and crafts projects making “gods-eyes” and strange cakes with blue frosting, and sunny day vigorous games of kickball and football. But then we tired of the didactic hierarchy, and begged our parents to let us stay home. We would keep busy and clean the house every Saturday: a deal our parents quickly agreed to. We lived in a raised ranch in Tanglewood,  on  Noank’s  Palmers Cove, a new development built in the early 1970’s, east of Mumford Cove and Groton Long  Point. There were two floors, almost identical in spatial identity. My sister and I would trade off weekly: one week I got the upstairs;  the next ,  the downstairs. It was a fair arrangement and we rarely argued about it. We worked quickly, but thoroughly,  and  listened to music on our parent’s stereo. I can’t quite recall why we were so satisfied to be free from the grip of Summer Rec, but it was probably due to uncomfortable budding hormones, and it felt safer listening to Cat Stevens  “Teaser and the Firecat” and Carole King’s “Tapestry”.

I remember this one day that I got the upstairs. I started with the bathroom, then vacuumed the entire floor, and would end my time with dusting the living room;  each shelf of books, and each knick-knack: the wooden gazelle, the amethyst geode, and the tiny marble figurines of Venus and Discobolus- the Discus thrower. Then I got to the stereo shelving unit which occupied the entire North wall of the room, and featured the German 1249 Dual Turntable, which, coincidentally lives today at the Mystic Disc. The record player was on the top right shelf, with two cabinets below it to house the vinyl collection. Below that were three drawers, two shallow ones,  on top of the third deeper drawer.  As I was dusting, I started opening up each drawer, as if I had never studied the contents before. The second shallow drawer contained my parents’ wedding album. I took it out, placed it on the brown shag carpet below me, sat down, and opened it up. The first page contained the date of their wedding, 7 January 1967, and with a tiny shock paging through the familiar photographs, I realized what was bothering me.

I waited till my parents got home from work later that afternoon to make my triumphant announcement: I had found a mistake in their wedding album! I was confident that I had uncovered an important clue to something larger than my immediate comprehension. I was a serious Nancy Drew acolyte, and had read every edition in the famous Mystery Series at that point. I was certain that title number 24 “The Clue in the Old Album” was playing out in real time.

“Your wedding album has the wrong year in it”,  I charged. “It says 7 January 1967, but shouldn’t it be 1966, since I was born in October of 1967??”

“ Yes,  you were born more than nine months later.”, my mother said. “You were a honeymoon baby.”

My twelve year old brain consumed this new context of information with a fair amount of alarm, or was it catholic guilt? I did the math, and it DID seem plausible, after all.

All I knew at that point was that my dad was in the Navy, and had been out to sea when I was born, and had received a telegram announcing my birth.  Growing up, as the oldest grandchild on my mother’s side, my grandfather told me every single time I saw him on a visit to Massachusetts,  “I was the first person to hold you at the hospital.”

It was true: my dad enlisted in the Navy as a senior at North High in Worcester, Massachusetts, on 11 October 1961.  Then he signed onto active duty at UMASS Amherst in August of 1965, as a Naval Aviation cadet. He had just met my mother on the beach at Cape Cod that summer of 1965. If you lived in Central Massachusetts, you for sure spent as much time as possible going to Cape Cod every possible weekend. Turns out, my dad had met my mom’s older sister Phyllis in high school, so on a weekend when my mom found herself stranded on Cape Cod, without a ride home, my dad showed up in one of his fancy cars, he owned a Packard with a rumble seat, and a Galaxie 500, and offered my Mom, known as “Little Phylly”, a ride back to Worcester. They fell in love, and she was standing by his side, when he received his wings as a Naval Aviator and commission as an Ensign that December 1966.

According to my mother, the wedding was spontaneous because my dad was under contract with the Navy, and they couldn’t get married until he got his wings, which turned out to be 20 December 1966.  Some of their peers in the Navy had planned weddings in advance, only to find out that the groom couldn’t attend his own wedding because he had not gotten in the requisite flight hours.  Also, my mother’s family was planning a move to Cambridge, Ohio, from Worcester, Massachusetts, so that my maternal grandfather could start his new job. As my dad’s next deployment loomed, they hastily prepared for the 7 January 1967 wedding date. In fact, there was a giant ice storm that night, which prevented my parents from travelling to New York City for their honeymoon, so they stayed in a hotel in Westboro, Massachusetts. My paternal grandfather, Rocco Gemma did not attend my parents’ wedding, a fact that was dictated to us almost annually. Rocco was in New York City attending a trade show for his employer Wilson Sporting Goods, so he sprung for some Broadway tickets for their honeymoon, “Hello Dolly.” My parents enjoyed a nice idyll in the city, and then my Mom moved to Ohio, to live with her parents,  and 14 year old sister Christine, and 16 year old sister Patty,  as she herself was only 21 years old. My dad departed the United States on the aircraft carrier, the USS RANDOLPH CVS-15,  to conduct Anti- Submarine Warfare Operations, on the Mediterranean Sea.

My dad was on a port call to Italy, visiting my Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Pete in Bologna, when he received the telegram from the ship that I had been born that 10 October 1967. Legend says that he went to the Sistine Chapel on his next stop to light a candle for me. He did not meet me in person until the following April of 1968,  when he returned from his “Med“ cruise, and my parents left Ohio for his next assignment in Norfolk, Virginia. My sister was born in Norfolk that February of 1969.

Then the transfer came in for NAS Pensacola, Florida and from May of 1970 to May of 1972, my dad served a second tour of active duty as a search and rescue pilot.. My first memories are in Pensacola and of the white sand beaches, and the hot hot hot weather every day. My mom would dress us every day for outdoor play with the little boys next door, and after five minutes of riding our big wheels down the main drag, my sister and I would run back to the garage where we would tear off everything but our shorts so we could stay cool like the boys.

It always amazes me that my mom was so young, raising two daughters, while bearing witness to my dad’s Navy career. She had taken two years of advanced secretarial courses in high school, before a final preparatory year at  Ward Secretarial School in Worcester, Massachusetts, before she met my dad. After Ward, she got a job with the Mayor of Worcester, and worked for him until he lost in the next election. Her next job was working for the president of a local radio station. She went from living with her parents to living with my dad, and instant motherhood, which was de rigueur in the 1960’s, a fashion that did not appeal to her honeymoon baby.

After my dad left active duty in 1972 and joined the Navy Reserves at NAS South Weymouth, Massachusetts with HSL-74, we moved to Noank.  My parents opened up the Downtown Mystic Boutique, and my dad only had to report for duty one weekend a month, and two weeks a year:  Pancakes for Dinner!  But by April of 1987 with my dad now reporting to the Naval War College in Newport, RI, alas, the rigors of a Navy career had taken its toll on my parents’ marriage.  By the time my sister was set to graduate from high school that June, it was over after twenty years.

 

 

 

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Chronicles of Sonic Life

“The Stars Turn, and a Time Presents Itself”:::


I started thinking about all the band photographs I have taken since the early 1990’s, when I first tested the waters with a camera. Musicians were my first muse, before I established a model stable, a steady fuse that still burns today. I realized with a tiny shock,  that not a single band in my photographic collection is still together today.

Of course……not shocking at all:

being in a band is the very essence of a photograph: “it is a flash in a moment of time” (Portersville, 1998).

My very first band photo was a live shot of Delta of Venus, at the El-n-Gee in January 1993:

 

$3 Depth Charge Photo Shoot for Postage Magazine 1997 on promotion for the Trapezium CD.

 

Fatal Film photoshoot at the Waterford Drive-In Theater 6 March 2004

Estrogen and Tonic   (ONE HALF OF PAISLEY JUNGLE!!!!!!!) Hygienic Rock Fix 29 January 2005

 

Lotus at the Green Marble 1994

 

Low Beam at Hygienic Rock Fix in New London January 2005

Incessant Pop Group chez Centraal Studios, 2005

 

Slander band photo June 2012 in our backyard

 

My last band photo was Slander at the Stardust Motel in North Stonington for a video production of  “Ghosts” b/w “Magnets” in 2013.

 

Over these twenty years, I have photographed in pretty much chronologic order:  Delta of Venus, 17 Relics, Lotus,  Mindbender,  Magpie,  MAP,  Doug,  Cigarette, The Reducers, Vera From Alice, Grand Passion,  Semaphore,  Mona Gritch,  Adams Onis,  $3 Depth Charge,  Black Pig Liberation Front,  AmberTones,  Portersville,  Roger Human Being,  Seratonin,  Low Beam,  Estrogen and Tonic,  Fatal Film,  Quiet Life,  Ringers,  Sodium Lights,  Incessant Pop Group,  and Slander.

The music of many of these bands can be heard here in the music archive, carefully maintained by Mat Tarbox. The origin of PortFire was in MMA:  Mystic Music Archive, and after the Chez Depot Memorial Show in July 2011, it was decided that a larger Artist website would better serve the talent of the roster.

“I can’t find my way home..
That’s when I don’t need you.”

Incessant Pop Group, Anhedonia, from Batterie Electronique, 2006

 

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Seventeen Again

This is unfortunately, a true story, written in October of 1985, while the writer was 17.
Dedicated to Jason Filardi and John Hughes.

“The Double – Edged Sword”

“Come on Claire, tell us, have you ever done it?”,
Claire hedges, not wanting to answer, yet mesmerized by the mounting peer pressure.
“You can tell us,” chant the other four, “we’re your friends.”
Allison separates herself from the all too eager group, and pauses, “it’s a double-edged sword,  isn’t it Claire; you’re a Prude or a Tease if you don’t,  and a Slut if you do!”

Above is an excerpt from the teenage movie, “The Breakfast Club”, released in the summer of 1985. However short this scene was, its underlying theme implanted a tiny seed in the back of my mind.  Personal experiences and subsequent relationships with males seemed to nourish this little idea, as would water and sunshine to a young flower. The whole concept of a double-edged sword troubled me, and led to a good deal of unanswered questions.  Just how do the young women of modern society fall prey to these evil-categorizing vultures?  I have to come to believe that one simple date with a boy nowadays tosses a girl on either side:  the Prudes and Teases on one, and the Sluts on the other.  There are no compromises, no in-betweens, either she does or she doesn’t.  Unfortunately, these labels yield one conclusion:  the girl never wins!
During my time in high school,  a typical pattern uneasily developed when I was meeting a lot of new guys. I had the usual overload of female and male friends, and we all indulged in prescribed activities: parties, concerts, cook-outs, beach outings,and road trips. I thought it was of small importance when a male “friend” asked me to go with him to a party. I thought this guy was a nice person, and enjoyed the easy-going friendship that we shared.  Well…..it seems that the moment I stepped into his car, he thinks that my previous “friendly” conversation meant a little more, as he begins to make his move.  If I say “No”, I risk losing his friendship and proceed to get labelled a “Prude” (or a “Tease” if I accidentally excited the poor adolescent and failed to carry out his idea of a good time).  Should I say “Yes”, however, I not only risk creating a bad reputation for myself as a “Slut”, but our previous friendship is destroyed as egos, reputations, whispers, and rumors are whipped around in a swirl of high school confusion.  So, what started as an innocent  ride to Susie’s party threatens to become a nightmare of labels and categories.
Example number one emerged from a conversation with a sincere male friend of mine. He mentioned another friend of mine, and ended with, “You know, Michelle, Mark always thought you were a prude, kind of square.” I replied, “You must be mistaken, Mark gave me a few rides, here and there. Sure he’s a nice guy, but he didn’t hint around or make a move towards me. How could he think I was a prude?” My friend only answered with, “That’s exactly it….he feels you weren’t receptive to his signals.”   “Oh really”, I said dryly, “Next time I’ll know not to say, ‘Gee, Thanks for the ride Mark’, but I’ll instead throw off all my clothes the second I jump in the car to show my appreciation.”
The irony in this silliness with Mark led to my dismayed reaction in example number two with Matthew. He and I shared a few high school classes. One day, a conversation with yet another male friend revealed this interesting rumor.  “Michelle, you know Matthew always thought you were a tease”, said my friend.  I groaned silently.  “Now really, how did he form this judgment?”, I questioned.  “Well, I dunno, the way you acted…. the way you made him feel….the things you said….”, my friend trailed off. I replied, “How wonderful that I have this control and influence over Matthew.”
I was beginning to feel resentful of the ignorant labelling that guys seem obsessed with, as if it were some tribal ritual.  Since I could not realistically change the situation, anger led to helplessness. A distressing example number three arose during a reminiscence of my sophomore year, when I had befriended several senior guys, known as “The Men”. (note to my young self, this is a hint and a half for your ass).  It seems one of the guys, Jon, supposedly my friend, took it upon himself to spread these incredible (and completely untrue) rumors of he and I having a consuming love affair. When I learned how he implicitly labelled me a “Slut”, I was shocked and amazed.  This was the limit!
How could three boys paint such vivid extremes of me, and thus allow me to unwittingly fall into these despicable category traps.  I am not going to analyze some psychological process, nor explain the boys’ incessant stories: I am sure that even in primitive cave dwellings, the first vestiges of “locker room talk” were taking form.  There are no real satisfying solutions to what I believe is an injustice towards young women. I refuse to start some Anti-Label Crusade; an ignorant guy will think of a new stereotype for me,  the “Frustrated.”

Claire screams out to the group before her, “No!  I never did it.”
Me too Claire, me too. I could not trust any boy in high school. Eighties, baby, they were interesting!
In hindsight, I am glad that I had a very protective Italian father, who scared everyone away. It’s true!  He always told me, “Once you lose your reputation, you can never get it back”.  Thank you to Scary Larry,  Stormin’ Norman,  and  Captain Stubing for keeping my idealism intact!

 

 

 

 

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Caroline’s Supposed Demon


“Caroline’s supposed demon
Caroline, they say she’s haunted
We may only once divide the
Pain and darkness deep inside us”
This song is by His Name Is Alive and appears on the album Livonia (1990).
written by Warren DeFever


Outtake from The Personal Universe Shoot

featuring Model: Caroline Walz

as my PISCES
Photograph by Michelle Gemma
26 September 2017
Watch Hill, Rhode Island,  USA
michellegemmaphotography.com
michellegemmaphotography.wordpress.com

Last Quarter Moon

The LAST QUARTER MOON occurs on Thursday, November 29th, 2018, at 7:19 PM EST.
Thursday evening, the Last Quarter Moon is exact, when the Sun in Sagittarius forms a square with the Moon in Virgo.
The Last Quarter Moon phase points to some sort of crisis of consciousness.

Outtake from “The Balance of Power”

a new photo narrative featuring Model: Jane Alice
as my LIBRA
for the new series: Personal Universe, an astrological study starring the model stable of Michelle Gemma (2017-2018)
Photograph by Michelle  Gemma
27 July 2018
Stonington Boro, CT  USA
Full Moon Lunar Eclipse

http://michellegemmaphotography.com/
https://michellegemmaphotography.wordpress.com/

 

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Meeting Rollie McKenna

Suddenly, in the last week of August of 1995, I needed a new job. I had been raised in the family business in Downtown Mystic, A Stitch In Time Boutique, and had acquired a fledging interest in fine art photography through a young roster of poets and musicians in my hometown.  I was introduced to a new Rock and Roll family now, and I had made significant forays into local exhibitions and publications, and had set up my own darkroom in our rented artist collective in Stonington.  In fact, it was a fellow artist in our homegrown art scene that told me that Rollie McKenna lived in town, and she was an important literary photographer, having photographed the likes of Sylvia Plath, Dylan Thomas, and many others. Albert was always incredulous as he stated, “and she lives right here in Stonington!”  So, on August 31, 1995, I took the phonebook out, paged to the listings for “M”, and found “McKenna, R” in Stonington, Connecticut at 1 Hancox Street, and I dialed her number. She answered the phone, and I introduced myself as a photographer who was looking for a job, “did she need anybody right now?”  She said, “As a matter of fact…I need someone to do some research for me, as I’m working on another book.” I answered promptly that I could help her out, so she suggested that I come to her house the next day so we could meet in person.

We sat on the back patio overlooking Sandy Point, and discussed her new project. She had published her autobiography, A Life in Photography (Knopf 1991), and in 1995, she was looking to complete a visual timeline of the many poets and writers that she had photographed in the 1950s through the 1980s.  The new book would feature each writer with an older photograph, next to a brand new photograph, along with a short biography of each writer that I was being hired to write, and a piece of “new“ work, by each writer, that Rollie called a “gleaning”.   I clearly had the easiest job, as it would prove challenging to get some of the writers to sit for a new photo, and produce new work. The time that had elapsed between each earlier portrait and also their literary output was the overriding factor.  The photographs captured the vanity and vulnerability of her subjects. But she was fearless in her vision, and she parlayed that same enthusiasm to me on the first day in her studio, which was September 5th, 1995 at 145 Water Street.

She handed me a copy of her master list, “People Photographed as of September 1995”, a nine paged single spaced alphabetical listing of the artists in her photography archives.  We fully reviewed the list together, and started updating the dates of her most recent shoots. I immediately began a handwritten studio log, noting the date in the upper right hand corner and “Gemma and McKenna” below it, which I carefully updated each day with all of Rollie’s directions: tasks at hand, current status updates, and reminders for the next day and week.  On my first day, I noted:  “Searched for the folder on Elizabeth Bishop to no avail, which contains the missing third page of a letter from 10 May 1956.  Need for the completion of Bishop in book, need other comments on life, other than the “lonely poet” symbol most publicly known.”  I had no reference for this bullet point listing, yet I wrote it, and it would come in handy during my days doing research at the local libraries. Another note from 20 September 1995:  “Pull negative of Alastair Reid from Master File (1960) and tell L and V (her photo lab in NYC) to lighten up contrast of his suit and into the background. AR8.60B  #25 need two sets 5” x7” with white borders”. I quickly realized her archival system was masterful. AR8.60B was “Alastair Reid August 1960 Second Roll”.

Rollie left for Key West that October 1995 through April 1996, and we talked on the phone daily and faxed furiously.  Also, letters were sent, and sometimes copies of faxes and letters that she received in Key West, like when she mailed me a copy of the letter she received from Tom Wolfe, expressing dismay at his tardiness in response to Rollie’s request for a gleaning. Every day I was working on the research for the biographies for the book. I collected magazine articles: The Sewanee Review Autumn 1972 to garner literary reviews on Rollie’s subjects, John Malcolm Brinnin, Lucille Clifton, Philip Caputo, and James Dickey. The Saturday Review 17 November 1955 for an article on a review of Dylan Thomas in America: An Intimate Journal, by John Malcolm Brinnin , by Louis Untermeyer. Mind you, this was all before the Internet. I could not Google ”Philip Caputo”. I also dove into Rollie’s sizeable and extremely well organized photo archives. To this day, 23 years later, I have enacted many of Rollie’s organizational techniques. It was of utmost importance to be able to manually retrieve any photo at a moment’s notice. Judith Bachmann handled the affairs at Rollie’s house, each day fielding phone calls from literary agents looking to gain clearance for publishing one of Rollie’s photographs.

At first, requests for a new print would go to Rollie’s photography darkroom of choice, L and V Photo Lab in NYC. We would carefully pack up rolls of film, and negatives and overnight them to the urban studio. But then I suggested that I could get Rollie’s darkroom at the  Water Street Studio back up and running, and that I could handle all of the darkroom printing. By early summer of 1996,  Rollie  got a call from the Muskegon Museum of Art, in Michigan. We had sent them a copy of her autobiography on my second day of work back in September of 1995, and the Museum had finished selecting the 61 images from the book that they wanted for a Rollie McKenna solo exhibition. I inventoried all of Rollie’s framed photographs boxed up in the studio, and made a list on 31 May 1996, that we had 37 framed photos, ready to go, and 7 to be framed, and 17 to be printed and framed. I got busy right away printing up those 17 photographs, as Rollie was due back from Key West on 10 June 1996, and the moving company was booked to transport the exhibit to Muskegon on 26 July 1996. I finished printing the photographs, then sent the photos to Studio 33 in the Boro, to be matted. In the interim, I ordered all of the framing hardware, and a small party of us assembled and framed the remaining photographs at Rollie’s studio. Then everything had to be carefully labelled and packed up.

Rollie announced to me that the Museum wanted her to give a speech along with a slide show. She said that she wasn’t up to organizing the slide show, and writing a speech;  remember that in 1996, she was already 78 years old: an extremely hardworking and passionate artist, but still, she had to contend with some heart issues from time to time and a milder case of forgetfulness.  So I jumped on it. I culled the 36 images for the slide show, and found that over half of them needed to be produced into slide form, my first experience shooting slide film with a light set-up. My notes from Rollie said that “a blue tint suggests the wrong filter, and that I should use TMAX 100 film with a ASA of 50, and to make sure that the image on the copystand was equidistant to the lights”. These tips would come into play for me when I later worked for the Stonington Historical Society after Rollie moved to Northampton in 1998.

After the slide production, I settled into writing the speech from Rollie’s perspective, so that she could read my text, transposed onto index cards for easy reference. On the Denise Levertov slide from 1969, I wrote, “I approached Denise for this photograph again to join the legions contained within the Modern Poets, Second Edition (McGraw Hill 1963). She made the peculiar demand in her response,  ‘She wanted the right to have destroyed the negatives of any photographs I wouldn’t like to have in circulation….’ I said I would have to ask Elizabeth Bishop first……”   Rollie said the speech and slide show was a huge success and that she was very thankful for all of my hard work.

That Winter of 1996 saw more research for the book, and completing any studio and darkroom requests.  When Rollie returned from Key West in the Spring of 1997, she had a new companion who favored seclusion and privacy , and her work crew would soon find Rollie cut off from the familiar foundations. Soon everything was for sale, and we had to pack up the house and studio, as Rollie was moving to Northampton, Massachusetts. I remember her telling me that she wanted her life’s work to go to the New York Public Library, because that’s where her friend, James Merrill’s work was archived.  One day when I was packing up at the studio, Mary Thacher, the then Director of the Stonington Historical Society came by, as a friend of Rollie’s to inquire what was going on, and she hired me for the Stonington Historical Society to be a photo archivist.

We wouldn’t hear anything more about Rollie until we saw the obituary in the New York Times in June 2003. Alas, her third book, to be called Poets and Writers of an Age would never get published.

—Michelle Gemma
Mystic, Connecticut
2 August 2018

Inscription by Rollie McKenna inside her autobiography “A Life In Photography” (Knopf 1991), given to me on my birthday 10 October 1995.

—-This memoir was written 2 August 2018 for inclusion in a book about Rollie McKenna, published by the Stonington Historical Society on 1 November 2018.

Rollie McKenna

Book cover design by Chip Kidd.

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Destroy The Negatives

“Hi Michelle,
Although I have not run into you around Mystic in a very long time, I am sure you remember me since in the past you took photographs of Maria.

 

I have been meaning to call you, but usually do not remember until it is too late at night to do it.

 

As you know, Maria’s father was not at all pleased with the pictures of Maria.

Since the art festival is quickly approaching, I am emailing to ask that you absolutely do not use any photos of her in your booth this year or in any future years

– or show them at any other local events.

We have a friend who seems to go out of his way to check your booth each year and report back to her father, which always sends him into a tirade about how it was never the right thing to do.

 

I truly think it would be best if you destroyed all negatives of her pictures.  I know some were exhibited at the Wayne Richard Barbershop when it first opened, because someone else mentioned that at the time also.

 

Sorry this did not work out well.

Thank you for your consideration.”

—-Maria’s Mother

note: the photographer’s father was protective, also.

 

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“This Night Has Opened My Eyes”

“The dream has gone
But the baby is real
Oh you did a good thing
She could have been a poet
Or, she could have been a fool
Oh you did a bad thing
And I’m not happy
And I’m not sad”

—-the Smiths, “This Night has Opened my Eyes”, from Hatful of Hollow, a compilation album released 12 November 1984, Rough Trade.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatful_of_Hollow

featuring Model: Liz Walz wearing a handmade dress by Susan Hickman for Crocker House FashionShow
Photograph by Michelle Gemma

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33: THE MAGIC NUMBER

“Since the most ancient of times numbers and numerology have been believed to conceal secrets and messages. For some, numbers have very special significance, with the ability to conceal true meaning from all but the initiated. To some, certain numbers can convey that something of particular importance lies within the text under their study. Such numbers needn’t even be written to convey the presence of a hidden code within a sentence or paragraph, only that the sum of letters included adds up to a particular number.
No number holds more esoteric significance than “33.” The number three is significant in all major religions. There is a Trinity for Christians, and a Triple Goddess for the ancients.”

“In the written words attributed to Shakespeare, to Francis Bacon, to Spenser, Dante, and others we can find hidden code words and paragraphs that use this number to alert the initiated reader that something important is connected.
In the works attributed to Shakespeare there are many phrases and passages referencing the number 33. Julius Caesar is stabbed 33 times. The body of work shows a mastery of numerology. The number 33 reflects the interface of the familiar world with the higher spiritual realm. In Hamlet, the Ghost is represented in the first scene with an entrance described in a sentence with 33 characters. And Horatio addresses the ghost in 33 characters as he leaves. “Stay: Speake, speake, I charge thee, speake.” In Julius Caesar, the ghost of Caesar visits Brutus in a passage that starts with a 33-character sentence, “That shapes this monstrous apparition.” Brutus recovers from the shock and addresses the ghost in a 33-word sentence.”

“From Iraq through Phoenicia to Phoenix Arizona, whether by design or coincidence, the 33rd parallel passes through some very significant places.
The ancient city of Babylon was very near the 33rd-degree latitude line while modern Baghdad is on the 33rd parallel. This area was once thought to be the Garden of Eden. Heading west, the line passes through Damascus, Beirut, and onto two Templar castles one exactly on the 33rd latitude the other at 32.71. The light of the sky is embodied by the Sun with the solar year divided by the sun’s cycle of 11.06 years, equaling 33. The Sun, defined as a circumference of 360 degrees divided by 11, equals 32.72.”

Crossing the ocean, the 33rd parallel brings us to Charleston, South Carolina. This city is the original site of Scottish Rite masonry in U.S. Charleston’s Fort Sumter is the location of the first shot fired in the Civil War as that state succeeded from the Union.
Coincidence or not, Dallas, Texas, was of course where President Kennedy was assassinated. Not only is it on the 33rd parallel, but also the date of 11/22 adds up to 33. During Kennedy’s administration Papa Doc Duvalier of Haiti was upset because aid from the U.S. was cut off. He claimed to put a curse on JFK, which caused his death on the date of those powerful numbers.
While writers on this subject often include Roswell, New Mexico, we’ll go on to Phoenix, Arizona. This was once the center of the Hohokam culture. The largest site, known as Snaketown, was only five miles from the 33rd parallel and the observatory called Casa Grande is five miles from the line as well. Here this advanced ancient culture built 500 miles of canals irrigating 25,000 acres.”

“Despite the reputation given to such beliefs by organized religion, science in modern times has come to understand the concept of a body clock, the effect of the lunar cycle on animals, and most likely people, and the reality of circadian cycles. Ancients might have known this as well. There are 33 vertebrae in the spine. In India, it is believed a vital energy is needed to awaken the spiritual energy located at the base of the spine. This coiled-up energy is known as Kundalini, and through Yoga energy it ascends to the brain and beyond. Both Hindu and Tantric arts seek this awakening.”

“The spinal column is often referred to as Jacob’s ladder, or the Serpent. It is also compared to the caduceus symbol of Mercury, Thoth, and medicine. Did the ancients also know there were 33 turns in a complete sequence of DNA? Could the Caduceus symbolize the two intertwining snakes apparently reflected in the 33-sequence, double helix DNA ascending a vertical pole, which could be the 33-vertebrae spine?”

“When the two threes are put together facing each other they offer a design that is said to represent the ancient Hermetic maxim  ‘as above, so below.’ ”

 “The heavens mirror the earth; the spirit reflects humankind.”

Photo Narrative featuring Writer Royal Young on location in Great Neck, New York

Excerpts from the article, “33: The Magic Number, Why Is This Number So Important To So Many?” by Steven Sora, Atlantis Rising magazine, March/April 2015 Issue #110

https://atlantisrisingmagazine.com/article/33-the-magic-number/

Photographs by Michelle Gemma

 

 

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