"Jeremy" Swims to the Siren

I'm still alive...

A year ago today, Trevor Wilson- best known to the world as "Jeremy" in the award-winning music video directed by Mark Pellington (Arlington Road, Mothman Prophecies) for grunge superstars Pearl Jam - drowned while swimming at a Puerto Rican beach notorious for its dangerous riptide.

As it stands four of the five main Grunge gods are no longer with us. Kurt Cobain was murdered in 1994, Layne Staley of Alice in Chains died of complications from a longtime heroin addiction in 2002, Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots died of a heart attack in 2015 and Chris Cornell died earlier this year.

Eddie Vedder is the last remaining "Voice of a Generation." But Trevor Wilson was also an avatar for the formless rage of Generation X, an anger that would outwear its welcome as the grim early 90s gave way to the go-go Clinton Years. But at the time he, Vedder and "Jeremy" were everywhere. I mean, everywhere.

Mark Pellington- a late Boomer who was an early punk rock adapter- conjured up a serving of provocative iconography for the "Jeremy" video, drawing on Biblical references of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6) and a bludgeoning array of crosscuts and captions to immerse the viewer in a nightmare world of trauma.

Billboard tells the story of Wilson's life and death in its latest issue. It's a window into a short but privileged life, attending school at the elite Rudolf Steiner Waldorf School in Manhattan and taking acting lessons at Lee Strasberg. His mother was a chef for a number of celebrities including Sir Ridley Scott, whose Jack Parsons hagiography will be joining Eastern Star Trek on CBS All-Access this fall.

After a moment in the spotlight, Wilson took another path. To Egypt, as it so happens:
And so, along with his girlfriend, he applied to the University of Rome and got accepted into a program that led to an internship in Egypt with the United Nations. Trevor stayed for three years doing field work for the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) on development, women's education and -- according to his mom's recollection -- helping to write speeches for then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's wife, Suzanne. 
“His time in Egypt was among the best times he had in his life, and he would refer back to those days often,” Graneri says. He recalls late-night discourses from Wilson on history, music and philosophy, and one particular story from those days that makes him smile: “Driving through the desert at 120 miles an hour and getting pulled over by the cops, then flashing his UN credentials, and getting an escort from those same cops.”
Suzanne means "lily," an item of some importance in the Siren unveiling.

Wilson's death is eerily reminiscent of Jeff Buckley's. He had also a close call previously and survived, which perhaps gave him the same false sense of confidence Buckley had in the Wolf River Lagoon:
Diane says her son seemed clear-headed that last time they spoke. A week before, however, he'd been swimming with friends when he got swept nearly a mile down the beach. "I think he had a confidence because he rode that wave, and I think it made him feel like he could swim there," she says of the well-known dangers of the riptides in the area. "There were tons of drownings around there, and my mother told him, 'Trevor, be careful, I can't tell you how many times I got knocked down.'"

Pearl Jam released a single called "Sirens" in 2014, off their most recent album Lightning Bolt. Make note of the embedded OA, similar to the one on the last Chris Cornell solo album.

I've talked about Mark Pellington in the past, having mutual friends and having done work for the studio which he does his commercial work through, Crossroads Films. My first encounter with Crossroads came when they expressed interest in a screenplay I'd written. They decided to go with Jawbreaker instead, that deathless classic that thrilled the hearts of dozens across this great land of ours.

Mark Pellington is also known in High Weirdness circles for directing a movie about a man who loses his wife after a brief illness (The Mothman Prophecies) only to lose his own wife to a brief illness shortly thereafter. Loren Coleman has the story here.

Today would have been the 99th birthday of Sidney Gottlieb, the man Russel Targ called "America's Josef Mengele." I've been giving an awful lot of thought as the involvement of MKULTRA in the lives of some of these ill-starred musicians, given that they were all the same age and profile of one person who I not only went to high school with but have zero doubt was in fact an MKULTRA subject, University of Alabama shooter Amy Bishop. 

Seattle is a major hub for the military and other important sectors of the Establishment and it's well-known that MKULTRA experiments were being done in Vancouver (at the Hollywood Hospital, of all places) just a couple hours drive over the border. Not conclusive in any way, but maybe a signal that there was more behind the collapse and countless deaths involved in 90s alternative music than just drugs and money.

Certainly, the "Jeremy" video gives off a very strong MKULTRA vibe, playing more like a chronicle of personal dissolution and dissociation than a simple suicide. I don't know how much of this is just style and how much may in fact be intent.  The rock video format is usually inert and harmless except when it's not. The form certainly has an unusual pedigree, not wholly unrelated to MKULTRA at all.

It could be that Pellington (or someone else involved) was trying to tell us tales out of school here, no pun intended. Maybe something about school shootings and teen suicides, something that can't be spoken aloud, certainly not on MTV. Or it could be that he was simply aping the techniques popular at the time, particularly in videos by underground and industrial artists. 

Either way, it's still a pretty bracing view, even after a quarter-century.

Or maybe we need to take another look at MKOFTEN here.

The techniques of rock video as they came to be by the early Nineties were pioneered in the Sixties by Kenneth Anger, particularly with his groundbreaking films Scorpio Rising and Invocation of My Demon Brother. These films were made using grants from the Ford Foundation (a well-known CIA front) and Sir John Paul Getty Jr., the Jesuit-trained oil baron, and just happened to begin production at the same time Dr. Stephen Aldrich was firing up the infernal machines in the OFTEN offices.

Do note that these same techniques can now be seen all over television and the internet, not only in music videos but on TV shows and commercials. And on and on it goes.

It makes me wonder how much David Lynch and Mark Frost know, given that they were (and are) mining themes of black magic in the Pacific Northwest. There sure seemed to be quite a few serial killers based in Washington in the bad, old MKOFTEN days.

Speaking of the Siren, the inexplicable appearance of Elizabeth Fraser at Royal Albert Hall last week got me looking back into Blue Bell Knoll. Apparently, Fraser is now claiming that she got the name from some obscure little hill in Utah. Don't ask me how, I never heard that story before. But directly past the rugged hills on which Bluebell Knoll sits is- wait for it- Osiris, Utah. 

The world is far, far stranger than you can imagine.

You Are Being Initiated Addendum: So, this "OA" thing...

The London Eye, part of the Millennium festivities 

So this "OA" thing seems to have some kind of significance apart from the Netflix series. The key here is the dominance of the O form, indicating it's the primary element. The anarchy symbol, the Avengers logo and the Alpha-Omega symbol all center on the A element. There's a possibility OA is a reversal of Alpha-Omega, which may have some ritual significance.

 My eagle-eyed readers contributed some examples here and on the FB group and I find a few as well. Special thanks to Reader Deb and Reader Randolf.

Logo for the popular Ancient Origins website

Logo for the Aerospace corporation

Seal of the former German Democratic Republic

The British Communist Party logo

You Are Being Initiated: The OA Revisited

That's not actually an A, is it?

I wrote about the extraordinary Netflix series The OA over the winter but something about it kept nagging at me. I was so focused on the externals of the storyline that it didn't occur to me that what we're actually seeing here is a classic Mystery religion narrative, complete with a journey to the Underworld. 

The OA has all the usual secret society tropes like death and rebirth, piercing the veil between dimensions, revelation within a cavern,  an elite vanguard separated from society, super powers, transcendence through ordeal and a lord of the Underworld kidnapping a virtuous maiden. 

All the bullet points are there. And this "OA" seems to be a symbol unto itself- it seems to be popping up in other contexts.

OA in Westworld logo

But there's a lot more to it as well.  Oh so much, much more.

Brit Marling isn't your typical Hollywood airhead of the week. She was class valedictorian at the elite's elite Georgetown University and an intern at Goldman Sachs (who later offered her a full-time position). This is an extremely intelligent woman plugged into the very upper reaches of imperial power. 

It shouldn't surprise us then that she is involved with Sir Ridley Scott, who produced her feature film The East (co-written with collobarator Zal Batmangilj) in which she plays an intelligence agent sent to infiltrate a ecoterrorist group. She also played an American enlisted to head Scotland Yard's PR department in the British miniseries Babylon (created by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle).

OA in detail from Georgetown crest

Add in her supermodel looks and you start to wonder if Brit Marling wasn't in fact grown in some CIA lab somewhere. Especially when you factor in the ever-present themes of secret societies, cutting edge science and espionage in her work. 

OA yet again. Twice actually.

And particularly when you consider that her work seems to be initiating its viewers into the esoteric world of Co-Masonry. We looked briefly at this movement in the context of Co-Mason Dion Fortune and her influence on Twin Peaks. Co-Masonry is essentially a system that allows women to become Masons but has historically followed a more mystical path than regular Freemasonry. It was particularly popular in the Victorian Era and had a lot of crossover with the Theosophical movement.

The OA is in fact an irreducibly (Co-)Masonic show, just as the new Star Trek series seems to be. I know; that sounds absolutely ridiculous. Or at least it does until you begin to break down the symbolism and place the series in the greater context of the writing team's catalog. 

And then you realize- oh wait, this really is what I'm seeing here.


The OA tells the story of Prairie Johnson, a girl born to a Russian oligarch who dies when her school bus falls into a river and is sent back to the physical world by a mysterious spirit, who is for intents and purposes a goddess. However the goddess also takes Prairie's sight away. 

Prairie is then sent to America and adopted by an elderly ouple, played by Scott Wilson (The Walking Dead) and Alice Krige (who played the Borg Queen in the ultra-Masonic Star Trek: First Contact).

OA in Star Trek: Discovery promo

After going missing for several years, Prairie reappears, traumatized but now able to see. She then assembles a small group of troubled high school kids- and an even more troubled high school teacher- promising a life-changing revelation. 

Then we see classic secret society symbolism emerge, such as when she tells the boys that they should leave their front doors open as a signal they will be joining her new lodge.

That (Royal) Arch again

The rest of the series is essentially a series of flashbacks (meaning the "reverse time" motif we've often looked at) recounting Prairie's ordeal as prisoner of a mad scientist (Jason Issacs) who is obsessed with defeating death. He has kidnapped three other NDE survivors and keeps them prisoner in his basement (ie., the Underworld), which is in fact built into a cavern.

The misfits Prairie collects are progressively transformed by her stories. In their long years of imprisonment the NDE survivors learn how to cross into other dimensions, cure terminal disease and even raise the dead through a ritual dance (called the Five Movements) which has been compared to Carlos Castaneda's Tensegrity exercises.

OA symbolism- the A here is a pyramid

The symbolism is very subtle in The OA but persistent. 

Prairie travels to New York believing that she will reunite with her father there. She travels to Liberty Island, sight of the (Masonic) Statue of Liberty (who, like one of Prairie's brethren is actually transgendered). She then proceeds to Grand Central Station (essentially a Hermetic temple with a zodiac ceiling) where she meets Hap, the mad scientist. The two then dine under an illuminated arch in the stations famous Oyster Bar.

There's also the fact that "The OA" was heretofore best known as the nickname of the ultra-Masonic Order of the Arrow, who are coincidentally the same age range as Prairie's little secret society. Think hard on that fact while you digest all of this symbolism here.

The OA's lodge also meet on the second floor, or the Upper Chambers, the traditional meeting place for Freemasons. 

The Five Movements Prairie's secret society enact more than faintly resembles a recital of Masonic Degree signals, performed in sequence. More on that particular connection shortly.

We also see the recurring use of purple in The OA, which many reviewers have commented on. By some inexplicable fluke in the time-space continuum purple is also the identifying color of The Local Council of  Royal and Select Masters, also known as Cryptic Masonry, whose logo also incorporates and O and an A. 

I mean, what are the odds, right? Kooky.

There's also this scene, where the four young followers of the OA are framed in front of an Applebee's Grill and Bar. Why is this important?
Officially, the Grand Lodge of England was founded in London on St. John the Baptist's day, 24 June 1717, when four existing Lodges gathered at the Goose and Gridiron Ale-house in St. Paul's Church-yard in London and constituted themselves a Grand Lodge. The four lodges had previously met together in 1716 at the Apple-Tree Tavern, "and having put into the Chair the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge), they constituted themselves a Grand Lodge pro Tempore in due form."
That's a lot of coincidences there. Note also the framing of bees, another significant Masonic symbol, as well as the plot point centering on Saturn.

The OA is in many ways an expansion on Marlin and Batmangilj's previous explicit secret society narrative, The Sound of My Voice, whose movie poster depicts Marlin as Isis Unveiled.  

This film is similarly rife with Masonic symbolism.  The Anchor, an important Masonic symbol, is called "the sign of a Traveler." As we've seen, "traveler" is a common Masonic codeword. 

There's also the initiation ritual in which petitioners are blindfolded (or "hoodwinked") and dressed in white pajamas, exactly as Masonic applicants are. Remember that Prairie herself was blind before she was initiated into the mysteries of death and rebirth in the cavern.

What's more the entire plotline of The Sound of My Voice hinges on an elaborate secret handshake that this particular secret society uses as a form of recognition. Sound familiar?

As you see here the secret handshake is remarkably similar to the OA's Five Movements.

Note also that Marlin and Batmanglij's previous feature film is not without OA symbolism either.

That in and of itself isn't really surprising. But why are we seeing this OA symbol pop up in other places? Aside from Stargate and Westworld, the new promo poster for Freemasons in Space Star Trek: Discovery (which also co-stars Jason Issacs) has two, both in the design of the new ship and in the background elements.

Of course all three franchises are classic examples of predictive programming as well.

Then we have Chris Cornell's final solo album, Higher Truth. Maybe this will give us a clue what this symbolism actually means. Note the O and the A formed by the sun (note it has 13 rays) and the mountain. The minute I saw that artwork I flashed back to a familiar image...

Remember that compasses are designed solely to draw circles and that the "A" type shape can be created by the traditional square. Now let's conjoin the images and see what we get. 

Well, how about that?

I didn't really want to but I'd be remiss if I didn't point mention that Masonic applicants are not only blindfolded, a noose is hung around their necks, as in this Co-Masonic ritual here.

Given Marlin and Batmanglij's elite pedigree and the pervasive secret society themes in their screenplays I'd say that this "OA" symbolism is something we need to keep our eyes out for. If any of you have a definitive answer what it represents, please let me know in the comments.

As well as for the Siren, of course. This series is being produced by Disney for their basic cable channel Freeform. Note also that Starbucks just announced they are expanding further into the Chinese market.