Paperware to Vaporware, The Nativity of Tyrone Slothrop

– 6 –

If Thomas Pynchon actually was scanning through the Ephemeris looking for dates with unusual constellations in the month of Virgo, or even discussed this idea with an astrologer, did he so choose a specific or a random date? It is a question that perhaps never will be answered. Either way, in 1918 in the month of early Virgo there were many unusual stellar combinations allowing unlimited literary fantasies; such as those projected on the biography, character and destiny of Tyrone Slothrop as the reader experiences his Odyssey in Gravity’s Rainbow. James Joyce created a Bloomsday. Did Thomas Pynchon secretly have in mind a “Slothropday!?”

We know of Slothrops I Ching, “Youthful Folly” [378] as well as a part of his Tarot, The Fool covered by the 3 of Pentacles upside down and, most unhappily of all, the Hanged Man reversed at the position of his secret hopes and fears [738]. While reading Youthful Folly in the classic Richard Wilhelm translation, I instinctively felt the only line capable of changing is the Six in the fourth place:

Entangled folly brings humiliation

“For youthful folly it is the most hopeless thing to entangle itself in empty imaginings. The more obstinately it clings to such unreal fantasies, the more certainly will humiliation overtake it.

Often a teacher, when confronted with such entangled folly, has no other course but to leave the fool to himself for a time, not sparing him the humiliation that results. This is frequently the only means of rescue.”

This changing line transforms hexagram #4, Mêng – Youthful Folly (MOUNTAIN over WATER), into hexagram #64, Wei Chi – Before Completion (FIRE over WATER). Strangely enough, or not so strangely enough, this is the last hexagram of the I Ching – BEFORE COMPLETION!
“This hexagram indicates a time when the transition from disorder to order is not yet completed. The change is indeed prepared for, since all the lines in the upper triagram are in relation to those in the lower. However, they are not yet in their places.

Before completion, at the dawning of the new time, friends foregather in an atmosphere of mutual trust, and the time of waiting is passed in conviviality. Since the new era is hard on the threshold, there is no blame in this. But one must be careful in all to keep within proper bounds. If in his exuberance a man gets drunk, he forfeits the favorableness of the situation through his intemperance.”

Note: “[…] The hexagram BEFORE COMPLETION represents a transition from chaos to order. This hexagram comes at the end of the Book of Changes. It points to the fact that every end has a new beginning. Thus it gives hope to men. The Book of Changes is a book of the future.”

It sure looks like Pynchon did his homework on the I Ching. I mean Youthful Folly is both an obvious link to the Fool (card 0, "Zero") in the Tarot and to a twelfth-house double Virgo with a retrograde Mercury, the ruling planet, also in the Twelfth House in its own sign of Virgo. This triple inter-related esoteric combination climaxes in Bodine’s statement (the last one to hold on) “Most of the others gave up long ago trying to hold him together, even as a concept – It’s just got too remote‘” [740]. On the highest level, Youthful Folly, The Fool and a Virgo twelfth-house retrograde Mercury are one and the same entity: a poor Fucker scattered between salvation/perdition of which fragments of him have grown, and are still growing, into consistent personae of their own. Yes, even the ultimate level is contained in this combination – resurrection and reincarnation!! “Before Completion” – as the changing line in the I Ching designates – every end has a new beginning.

Remember, in his Tarot, despite being covered by mediocrity and a long and scuffling future, it is at the point of secret hopes & fears where the Hanged Man is reversed. In the Celtic Cross spread, hopes & fears is the second-to-last point, step, or indicator. The “World” is the final position. We are not told what card appeared here but may well assume, with a Pynchonesque smile, the card to be the 23rd card of the Major Arcanum, the Gross Suckling !! He fears preterition, commerce and false prophecy; yet hopes for true sacrifice, the proper cause. That the Gross Suckling should be awaiting Slothrop at the point of the world (this World or the Other World?!), and what this actually might signify (genetical mutation?) is a matter for future conferees seeking evidence and having insight to determine. [706-7, 738]

Without considering it beforehand (honestly), the combined number of his birth date, 31/8/1918, just happens to be a “4” – the number of the Earth; and coincidently enough also the number of Youthful Folly, Slothrop’s I Ching! Once again, this World or the Other World? For many numerologists, # 4 is the most boring, mediocre number – trapped in the physical material frame of existence. We do have the four elements, the four Archangels, the four points of the compass, and the four arms of the cross. Slothrop did travel North, became his own cross, a living intersection actually, was stripped and ultimately it was doubtful if he could ever be “positively identified and detained” [712]. The # 4 inverted, upside down – look at it, sort of resembles the Hanged Man with one arm [of the cross] missing, doesn’t it?! ... and I will leave it at that. . . .

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© all rights reserved, alle Rechte beim Autor, Douglas Kløvedal Lannark, Kopenhagen und Berlin, 2000-2005.

Links zu Douglas Kløvedal Lannark:

Douglas Kløvedal Lannark: MASON & DIXON: An Astrological Review — on this server.

Douglas Kløvedal Lannark: Hand–drawn Chart of Tyrone Slothrop — on this server.

Douglas Kløvedal Lannark: Venus Rules — Love — on this server.

The Fifth Gate – A documentary by Bente Milton: “Douglas Lannark is an acclaimed astrologer and expert in the various calendar systems used around the world.”

Douglas Kløvedal Lannark: Wann beginnt das neue Jahrtausend ? Kalender und Zeitrechnung – Meridian, 21.Jhg. 1999 / Heft 6.

Index Hauptseite Vorwort Die Parabel Dekonstruktion Michael D. Bell Summary Biographie Richard Fariña Robert Frost Galerie Literatur Luddism Mason & Dixon Monographien u. Aufsätze Patterns–Muster Proverbs for Paranoids Schweine Slow Learner Soccer Sterblichkeit und Erbarmen in Wien Vineland Weblinks Weiterführende Literatur The Wizard of Oz Fay Wray The Zero Homepage Seitenanfang/page up

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Last update Sunday, March 26, 2006


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