And the story remains the same.
The tower card gets played. The poor people get evacuated and disappeared. The developers recondition the properties and resell them for a huge profit. It is socialism making bait for capitalism. T’was ever thus. I dislike Noam Chomsky but he did talk about this and he was right.
And it occurs to me, as well, that years ago, in 2004, I was riding through the Kentucky countryside on a bus with many children, my students, when a giant explosion before me on the road changed my life. Last week, I was on a bus with a classroom full of my students when we pulled into London and the smouldering, smoking burned out bulk of a high-rise for low-income families, hove into view. This time, the building was just a few blocks from my flat.
The heat grew. The building smoked and smouldered. Streets, including my own, were closed or, at best diverted. People descended on us from all over London and farther. Helicopters hovered, emergencies vehicles grew seemingly from nothing in spots everywhere, the media descended. And there was no sleep. The confused souls, in my view about 500 of them, lingered, as they would in the ether nearby and over and around and in. I can feel their breath. Their shock is heavy on me. The heat climbs. There is no sleep. ‘Dust’ settles on our car and those of the neighbours. My husband starts to lose his temper uncharacteristically at drivers who have no business being here on our road and keep us all from getting home. And, my job is to cross the city, meet my class every morning, and just get on with it. T’was ever thus. Apparently.
The worst? A poster that has been all over my neighbourhood since the beginning. 13-year-old girl last seen getting into an ambulance.
After I deposited my class at the school after a four-day class trip, I headed home, suitcase in tow. I was stopped at King’s Cross Station. No entry into the line I usually use to get home. None at all. OK. So, I jumped on the Central Line and got off on the side ‘away’ from the fire, walked the mile home from the station. There was a fellow sitting on our wall. Sad, tired face but again I had not yet woken up to what was actually happening. As I pushed the gate open beside him, he apologized to me, said he’s be gone in a minute. I was surprised. No worries, I said.
I dropped off my suitcase. My husband said to me, let’s go for a walk. A few feet outside our front door, we turned left instead of right. Just around the first corner, it was all there. Hundreds of people milling about…most of whom I now doubt were survivors of the fire. Some of them were. Men, women and children, sleeping rough on the grass and in the nooks and crannies of our neighbourhood, out in the open. No shelter. Boxes of donations were already piled high above our heads and many feet deep in front of the churches and the leisure centre and so forth. There was no respite from the noise and the acrid smell in the air. That was Thursday.
On Saturday, formations of jet fighters start to appear over our house…some flying loosely and some in clear formation. Two rather large airplanes also appear with jet fighter escorts. I’m an American. I have no idea that it is the official celebration of the Queen’s birthday. I wonder if someone is fleeing the country. I wonder if some Tory has been nailed for culpability for this fire and is heading for the hills. It is also the solstice. There would have been sacrifices. Suddenly, the potential sacrificial nature of the incident hangs heavy. Again, though, it is an old and dismal story, like stained sheets hanging from a window in a broken-down block of flats. Well, at least the Queen got her birthday jets, eh? We can all be thankful for that.
I joined the legion of the stunned. Mouth slightly ajar, eyes a bit wild, I could not believe the war zone unfolding before my eyes. People roamed the sidewalks and the middle of the streets with anguished expressions, already exhausted. Now, I have no real idea who these people were. As the hours went by, posters of the missing appeared on every vertical surfaced. Banks and banks of bouquets of flowers appeared…the building is just a few streets away. Its charred remains loom precariously over the whole neighbourhood and the tracks of the Hammersmith and City line. My husband gets stopped for a radio interview by Patrick Henningson’s crew. Our friend, the actor Shobu Kapoor comes around. She wants to walk down to the building and see if she can do anything. She knows she will be recognized as one of the most accessible minority actors in London, coming from EastEnders and Citizen Kahn. She speaks to many, weeps with a few. It was a smart move. If anyone could get the BBC on the line, if that were a good idea, it would be Shobu. She is tiny but powerful and I love her for it. The heat lingers. The acrid smell remains. Sleep eludes us. I keep crossing the city to my class where we will play our recorders and violins and draw sea turtles and write book reports. They are clean and pressed. The air is much softer. The contrast is staggering. 13-year-old girl last seen getting into an ambulance. And where are the survivors?
That was Sunday. That same Sunday, out at our allotment, a very British neighbour, wanders over and notes that she has figured out why the Queen has taken such an interest in the fire and the scene of the crime. Why, it could be none other than a heart-felt empathy as she remembered losing her home, Windsor, to fire. Yeah, that’s why.
The newspapers start to report that many, many buildings in the London area are covered with this material…this cladding, a word that cloys and sticks in my throat…and must be evacuated. Joska, my husband, asks me one evening, “Have you noticed that these posters are of the same few people? A dozen or two. That is all.” I wait for the local schools to start to report missing children, for that to be the inescapable thread that leads to the dead, but they are all shut.
My husband told me the night of the fire our upstairs neighbours, unable to sleep through the demonic noise of helicopters, had ventured out into their roof garden. From there, they saw the twinkling lights of mobile phones from the upper floors of the fire as people tried desperately to get the attention of rescue workers who, in the end, could do nothing. The Tower card, played again.
In the work, The Tarot of Cosmic Consciousness, the ever-present nagging symbolism of the tower card since 911 is kicked around.
Wham! A bolt of lightning strikes “The Tower” from out of the blue. Shock! Dismay! Are you feeling shattered and burnt out? Are you fleeing from chaos and disaster? A lot has been written lately about the “The Tower” card of Tarot, especially in the aftermath of the 9/11 collapse of the twin towers in New York City. The commentaries range from endless discussions in popular magazines, newspapers and blogs, to rants of biblical proportions (see Revelation 9:11). In Tarot, the meaning of The Tower differs from what we think about concerning the watchtowers erected on ancient city walls. However, we note that the belief of the populous was—if the watchtower fell during an attack or siege—it signified the doom of the city.
The traditional Tarot view of The Tower is considered an allegory, symbolic of collapse of the social order. In early Tarot cards, lightning strikes the tower knocking off a crown.
Did we not just see the Queen of England in the Houses of Parliament for the first time ever without her crown? This is apparently unprecedented and, in fact, illegal. Have we not been treated to stories in the last few days from Prince Harry that reveal that nobody wants to be monarch, least of all him?
An arrogant and powerful king, Nimrod, was building a tower to reach the heavens in the biblical allegory of the “Tower of Babel.” But the workers, who originally spoke a common language, couldn’t understand each other’s speech anymore so the work stopped and the tower collapsed. The implication was that Nimrod’s vanity brought about its downfall. This was his punishment for his arrogance and pride. Only the “Book of the Jubilees” from the Dead Sea Scrolls mentions the actual destruction of the tower.
Two people are seen falling from the top—usually interpreted metaphorically as the plunge from a build-up of self-aggrandizement. This refers to someone who has succumbed to “the love of money.” It typifies greed and corruption as seen in promoting rampant selfish capitalism and the tyranny of the “will to power.” In a reading, it can mean it’s time for a necessary break-up of “towering defenses,” and a willingness to give up old habits. It’s an impulsion to restructure oneself. It’s about liberation from delusions, ignorance, and materialistic thinking. In some interpretations, the thunderbolt that topples the crown is seen as a symbol of celestial power. A lightning flash reveals sudden spiritual insight and awareness. “The tower of pride is here destroyed by the lightning bolt of God’s judgment,” says Joseph Campbell in “Tarot Revelations,” (with Richard Roberts, Vernal Equinox Press, 1982). In mythology, Jupiter throws thunderbolts, which are an emblem of his sovereignty and power.
In Tarot of Cosmic Consciousness, the background of The Tower card appears red, indicating violence as bands of lightning streak through a shower of sparks. The crown is falling off a broken brick structure, much like we see it in older decks. What is the significance of the “crown”? It’s a mighty emblem of sovereignty that takes a fall when a false will to power and puffed up egos are exposed.
(Johannes Dorflinger portrays “The Devil” and “The Tower” together in his sculptures at Constance, Germany, as mentioned in the previous blog. There, a sign describes the juxtaposition of the two as: “A tenuous balance between aggressive and defensive impulses…” The significance of the falling people represents those who are experiencing a sudden flash of insight about the Higher Self as disaster strikes. Something has to change in a hurry.)
The supposedly predictive programming card game, Illuminati Tarot, is a bone-chilling match for so many disasters including tower collapse and fire and the subsequent mass blood sacrifice in retaliation. To bring much more here would be to state the painfully obvious.
I live in the area. I have seen not one survivor. There has, to my knowledge, been not a single interview by any form of media of any survivor. There is some word that each will be rehomed in a luxury flat somewhere in the city. The genesis of the story has been that the residents roaming the streets were given £10. Then they were told they would have to select temporary housing outside London or be declared as opting for homelessness. Now, we have a series of luxury flats for the survivors and the current residents of these flats are hopping mad. I don’t think the real story is in any of those details or plans.
The Evening Standard reported that a woman listed as missing has turned up at a local hospital. What’s missing? Any photos of the woman both before or after. Some of the posters we see everywhere, over and over:
The girl on the left is the one supposedly loaded into the ambulance. The couple on the right is an Italian couple living in the building. There are about 12 different faces one sees over and over throughout the neighbourhood.
And, finally, what about the dead? Gone behind the cocoon of what the media will not stop braying about: the cladding. The last time I remember a tower going down (or 3), the blood c ost that came afterward, the wars of terror and retribution, was and is beyond count. This one comes with at least 500 sacrifices just prior to the summer solstice and the Queen’s birthday. This Queen removed her crown for the first time and wore a hat in the configuration of the EU flag on her head to Parliament. The crown itself was given a vehicle all its own.
Here Ends Part One.