The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for April 13th, 2012

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Queensboro beckons as always, when business in the Shining City calls. It is best not to muse about Friday the 13th of April, which is one of those special dates which have been remarked upon in the past at this- your Newtown Pentacle, rather than engage in simple triskaidekaphobia. Simply put, there are certain dates on the calendar during which momentous events just seem to cluster. Births, deaths, the fall of empires. For instance, in 1204 AD, Crusaders conquered Constantinople, eradicating the joy which the date had brought to the citizenry of the Eastern Roman Empire (the Romoloi, as they would have called themselves) as the anniversary of the death of a legendary King of the Bulgars and implacable enemy of the second Rome- Krum the Horrible- who died in 814 AD.

from wikipedia

While Nikephoros I and his army pillaged and plundered the Bulgarian capital, Krum mobilized as many soldiers as possible, giving weapons even to peasants and women. This army was assembled in the mountain passes to intercept the Byzantines as they return to Constantinople. At dawn on July 26 the Bulgarians managed to trap the retreating Nikephorus in the Vărbica pass. The Byzantine army was wiped out in the ensuing battle and Nikephorus was killed, while his son Staurakios was carried to safety by the imperial bodyguard after receiving a paralyzing wound to the neck. It is said that Krum had the Emperor’s skull lined with silver and used it as a drinking cup.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is the birthday of Thomas Jefferson and Butch Cassidy, and the traditional New Years day in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand- referred to as Chaul Chnam Thmey in Khmer, Songkan in Laotian, and Songran in Thai. Additionally, this is the anniversary of an oxygen tank exploding on the Apollo 13 spacecraft in 1970, while enroute to the moon.

from wikipedia

Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the service module upon which the Command Module depended. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, and the critical need to jury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Handel’s Messiah was performed for the first time in 1742, Fort Sumter surrendered to Confederate forces in 1861, starting the American Civil War. All of this, and lots more, happened on April 13th, which in 2012 falls on a Friday. None of these events though, explain the crude cruciform graffiti recently observed on the Queensboro Bridge pedestrian walkway.

from wikipedia

The Queensboro Bridge is a double cantilever bridge, as it has two cantilever spans, one over the channel on each side of Roosevelt Island. The bridge does not have suspended spans, so the cantilever arm from each side reaches to the mid-point of the span. The lengths of its five spans and approaches are as follows:

    • Manhattan to Roosevelt Island span length (cantilever): 1,182 ft (360 m)
    • Roosevelt Island span length: 630 ft (190 m)
    • Roosevelt Island to Queens span length (cantilever): 984 ft (300 m)
    • Side span lengths: 469 and 459 ft (143 and 140 m)
    • Total length between anchorages: 3,724 ft (1,135 m)
    • Total length including approaches: 7,449 ft (2,270 m)

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Perhaps the folks in the Shining City know something about what might be lurking in Western Queens, scuttling about in the night, and have opted to install wards and sigils on the crossing to keep it out of Manhattan.

from wikipedia

The term sigil derives from the Latin sigillum, meaning “seal”, though it may also be related to the Hebrew סגולה (segula meaning “word, action, or item of spiritual effect, talisman”). The current use of the term is derived from Renaissance magic, which was in turn inspired by the magical traditions of antiquity.

In medieval ceremonial magic, the term sigil was commonly used to refer to occult signs which represented various angels and demons which the magician might summon. The magical training books called grimoires often listed pages of such sigils. A particularly well-known list is in The Lesser Key of Solomon, in which the sigils of the 72 princes of the hierarchy of hell are given for the magician’s use. Such sigils were considered to be the equivalent of the true name of the spirit and thus granted the magician a measure of control over the beings.

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