Sunday, December 10, 2023

A Vampire's Weekend

Vampire Weekend songs have come up a couple times over on William Tychonievich's blog.  "Ya Hey" was the first song, in this post, followed sometime later by "Step".

They are both interesting to me now in light of the Saruman and Ungoliant-Spider story themes.

"Ya Hey" I find to be a completely unlistenable song - I just can't stand it, like nails on a chalkboard.  So, I won't go into it too much here, because I can't really even listen to it to get a feel for why I dislike it so much.  However, in just look at the lyrics and isolating myself from the sounds, I will just say that I believe our Spider shows up in one of the later verses.  "Spinning" is something that the singer suggests whoever the Being that is being sung to does with "Israelites"  and "19th Nervous Breakdown".  These are two songs, and suggest the spinning is like a DJ mixing records and blending the beats of both songs into one, either for a complete mix or to transition from one song to another.

However, we might leave "Israelites" as people here, or a House, and include both those claiming to be such as well as those who are (but might not realize it) into the group of people being 'spun'.  Spinning records is both something a DJ might do, but also something someone might do with stories if we think of records as not just the kind that spin around on a turntable, right?  The stories come from the records and someone 'spins' them.  Spinning a story means to lie or only tell part of the truth in order to mislead or ensure someone comes to the conclusion that you want them to.

Spinning is also something that spiders do with webs, and I propose that these latter definitions - the lies, deceipts, and webs - give us insight into a number of things in that son.  And, of course, this spinning all happens after "the sun went down".  It happens in darkness.

I'll leave that song as is for now, but again, just suggest that I spy our spider in those lyrics.

"Step" is an interesting one.  I actually don't care for this band at all, and that includes the sound of this song, but interestingly enough, a couple days ago I found myself listening to it over and over again.  This was in the car, and it was on the same trip where Eric Hutchinson's song came up with that symbol.  I had actually been playing "Step" on repeat, and after frankly too much of that, I let Spotify go on and do its thing, and Hutchinson's song, and the symbol, came up a few songs later.

"Step", in my opinion, is actually another Saruman-Satan anthem, as far as I can tell.  I won't go into all of the details here because I actually want to focus on Ungoliant here, but WJT has done a good job on his blog of identifying both Snake-attributes to the voice coming through this song (the "wisdom" teeth being associated with snakes, and probably the age of the Being in question - its fangs being now bared), as well as the Rat (such as modest mouse!).  The Rat is ready for the House, and we might read House here similar to what I implied above with the "Israelites".

Mormons who have been through the temple, in particular, would have an edge in understanding some of they lyrics in a different light.  The opening lines, to me, bring to mind Satan's line in the temple drama, spoken to the True Messengers that "Aah!  You have looked over my kingdom, and my greatness and glory.  Now you want to take the possession of the whole of it.".  In this drama, Satan correctly identifies the Messengers, assumes they are after what is his, and jealously guards it.  These Messengers are stepping to his 'girl', in other words.

Also, his 'girl' is compared by ancestors to another, better 'girl', similar to how this Earth is compared, unfavorably in its fallen and marred state, to an earlier world, where Beings used to live (this place being Eru-Place, which I need to at least briefly cover in a post still).  This all entailed a 'past life', which the Being thought was stale and not worth listening to.

Interestingly enough, if you listen and read closely enough (perhaps too closely or imaginatively), you can even hear Saruman bragging about events of the Fellowship at Caradhras in the lyrics that follow his point on everyone laughing at him with his girl-world.  Here is the stanza:

And punks who would laugh when they saw us together
Well they didn't know how to dress for the weather
I can still see them there, huddled on Astor
Snow falling slow to the sound of the master

It is left unclear in LOTR, the books, whether Saruman had anything to do with the events at Caradhras, which ultimately led to the Fellowship taking the Mines of Moria and to Gandalf's death.  The movies, however, make a definitive statement that it is the Voice of Saruman that is controlling the weather, causing the storm.  In a very real way, in Saruman's view here, the snow fell upon these people to the sound of the master - his voice.   He is a liar, so it doesn't even matter if he had a hand in that or not - he is claiming he did, and that is how he wants it known.

As one should also expect from me by now, I also looked up Astor to see if we had any Elvish meanings.  It turns out they do.  The word is a direct word "Astor", meaning "Loyalty, Faith".  Perhaps a nod to the Fellowship, loyalty being one of the things a Fellowship is built on.  Who knows.

But, as I said, this post isn't about Saruman.  It is about Ungoliant.  For this, I will turn to the chorus lyrics, where after the Being says that they are 'ready for the house', they admit that "I can't do it alone.".  This Being will need help.  In my first few times listening through, I assumed this meant recruiting others or bringing his gang of followers back together.  I think this is probably true, but that the meaning is not just limited to that.  He will need real help to take on this House, and that help will be in the form of Ungoliant herself, one of the primary enemies of not only the House of Israel, but of the Powers themselves.  Ungoliant is the very reason that we lost so much light, and why Secret Combinations can exist in the first place... the records have either been lost, or "spun".

Vampire Weekend

This all brings me, strangely enough, to the name of the band itself.  Vampire Weekend.  To understand this, I will include a link to a primer on Ungoliant below, that you should probably read if you aren't familiar with this character:

Ungoliant has come up in my writings before, both in giving context for why the Sawtooth Stone was even necessary, as well as calling out her influence as symbolized in the "Iron" music video.

In any case, her defining act, for our purposes, was the slaying of the Two Trees, and the drinking up of the light of those trees.  Here is an excerpt from the link I posted above, which gives a good summary (you can look in the Silmarillion for some additional details and context):

Upon shrouding both herself and Melkor in a cloak of Unlight, she spun her webs as she slowly climbed upwards until they reached the summit of Hyarmentir, overlooking Valinor. She then created a ladder of woven ropes, which Melkor used to climb up the mountain to enter Valinor.

It was during a high feast when Ungoliant and Melkor came upon the Ezellohar. Ungoliant cast her Unlight against the roots of the Two Trees as while Melkor came onto the mound, slaying the Two Trees with his black spear. The sap of the Two Trees poured like blood upon Ezellohar where Ungoliant sucked it up. After which, she drained each tree from their wounds, withering them. Yet the thirst of Ungoliant was not satisfied and she drained the Wells of Varda as well, belching black vapours as she drank, growing to a vast and hideous shape which terrified Melkor.

Here is artwork showing Ungoliant acting very much the vampire in sucking the last light from the Trees:


As noted in the excerpt, Melkor and Ungoliant sneaking into Valinor using Ungoliant's shroud of Unlight happened during a 'high feast'.  This is where I tie into the "Weekend" portion of that band's name.  Weekends were, originally, (I think) set apart for a rest from work, which were designed to coincide with the holy days of Christianity and Judaism, for the most part.  Basically, a time that people rested from their work, particularly back in the day when industrial workers were granted time off from their factories during the Industrial Revolution.

There may be multiple meanings here, as one can see traces of Saruman's presence in the whole as 'Industrial' part of that history, but also resting from their work and labors was exactly what the Beings living on Valinor were doing when they were caught unawares and Ungoliant slipped in to do her dreadful deed.  Thus, in a very real sense, this was a 'weekend' endeavor, and it would also serve to end one age and bring into being another, just as weekend serves to transition from one week to another.  Time would be considered differently going forward, the Years of the Trees were over with their death.

So, am I really equating the name of the band "Vampire Weekend" to Ungoliant, the Vampire, draining the light from Valinor itself during their high feast?  Yes, I am.  And I think these other symbols and signs that have been noted also lead back to her, and her unholy partner, Saruman.

In essence, what happens in this version of the story, I suppose, is that Saruman, who knows quite a lot, steps into the role of Melkor, and enlists Melkor's old evil ally Ungoliant in his own designs against the Family of Light.  Added to them, and forming an axis of Evil, is Wormtongue-Brigham.  Likely others will join, or be made apparent in this story.

Lastly, as noted in connection with Secret Combinations, there is no Being, to my mind, that more fully is attached to these than Ungoliant.  Her weapons are darkness, secrecy - works done under a cloak.  And it will be those belong to, or desiring, this darkness that will ultimately be those that join with her and Saruman in fighting against the Family of Light.

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