02 The Moon
04 The Feast
05 The Prophet in his Cell
07 her Mother's Advice
08 Salome's Wish
Disc 2 09 Realization
12 Seven Veils
13 Final Hours
14 The Kiss
It may be enlightening to consider whether the image of Herod lusting after his stepdaughter, is implied by he biblical text, (something not explicitly written), or if it is inferred by the reader. The only image more popular in the culture than Salome holding John the Baptist's head is her performing the erotically charged and iconic Dance of the Seven Veils.This dance originated in Oscar Wilde’s play and later in Strauss’ opera, and the first performances of the play was seen as outrageous at the time. In the popular imagination the players in this tale are demons in human form, but in the visions of artists, they are akin to the wrangling and sceming of gods. To see Wilde's play or Strauss' opera performed is like witnessing the machinations taking place on Olympus. They occupy a dreamscape that is truly poetic in its decadence. And in what might be seen as the bizarro world equivalent, John the Baptist's severed head itself has been linked symbolically with the head of Baphomet that templars were said to worship in their blasphemous rites.
"The representation of the egregore as bust recalls the ancient literary tradition of animated statues or Salome, who wanted the head of John the Baptist, probably to master his visionary powers.....The classic prototype of such an egregore is Baphomet, the alleged egregore of the Templars, who was (as the Roman Emperor of the Gods) likewise worshipped in the form of a bust. In the secret statutes of the Templars, Baphomet was besought with the introduction to the Qu'ran and dismissed with the 24th chapter of the Book of Sirach."
- P. R. Koenig, from "Too Hot to Handle"
As for Salome holding and kissing the severed head, causing a shocked and disgusted Herod to order his soldiers to kill her, all historical accounts contradict this. In the writings of Josephus we find Salome marrying twice, giving birth several times and dying of old age. The image of Salome as a femme fatale can largely be traced back to Wilde’s play and to the decadent artists if fin de siecle Vienna, at least in the poopular mind, these creative minds didn't pull this out of their own minds fully formed.The historical facts about Salome (as far as we know them) differ from the legend in almost every detail and how the legend is what's known.
What is more interesting to me is how receptive the collective mind of Western culture was to the myth, and how it became a cultural touchstone at the time Bram Stoker tapped into the Victorian male's fear of female sexuality with Dracula. I would posit that Salome's tale as it evolved through the nineteenth century is a parable designed to convey that such a headstrong nature and unchecked sexuality in a woman of any age is a threat to the entire structure of society. The thread of stubborn, rebellious and non-conforming women in mythology and literature could have a link to how any behaviour and sign of assertiveness on the part of every one of can be linked to mental disorder and therefore "clinicized" and needing to be drugged into submission.
It is quite fitting that the tragic dream of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard is to write and star in a film based on the story of Salome. The archetypal hero of film noir is on a runaway train to hell and disaster from the moment the femme fatale shows up.
We're pretty apocalyptically minded around these parts lately. Maybe that's because the personal, financial, national and international narrative right now looks like a bare-fisted steel cage death match between 1984 and A Handmaid's Tale over the battered corpse of Brave New World. We've found out the deceased didn't have enough insurance coverage to be kept alive for the sake of subduing independant thought and action among the populace of the developed world.
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