“In the present day, immortal 1,000-year-old Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) leads a traveling theater troupe that offers audience members a chance to go beyond reality through a magical mirror in his possession. Members of the troupe include a sleight of hand expert, Anton (Andrew Garfield), and a dwarf, Percy (Verne Troyer), Parnassus had been able to guide the imagination of others through a deal with the Devil (Waits), who now comes to collect on the arrangement, targeting the doctor’s daughter (Lily Cole). The troupe, which is joined by a mysterious outsider named Tony (portrayed by Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell), embark through parallel worlds to rescue the girl.”
Terry Gilliam’s latest film was a reflection of everything I love about the human condition. The journey of the Soul in search of dreams, through the illusions and the eternal struggle with the Devil was woven beautifully into this epic film. I am so greatful to have seen this come to life as it was nearly scrapped after the untimely death of the talented late Heath Ledger a third of the way into the films production.
A few of my friends were curious about my blog name, so I am going to use this post to clarify.
1. One of a number of women regarded as oracles or prophets by the ancient Greeks and Romans.
2. A woman prophet.
[Middle English sibile, from Old French, from Latin Sibylla, from Greek Sibulla.]
The name of my blog is ‘Sibyl Eyes’. This has several meanings, as well as being a play on words.
First it is an ode to my favorite writer, Philip K Dick, who wrote an autobiographical short story called “The Eye of the Sibyl”, one the first pieces written after his infamous VALIS experience. The short story pinpoints the moment Phil decided his fate as a sci-fi writer.
Now for some historical background, there were many sibyls, the most famous of which was the Cumaean Sibyl who assisted Aeneas in his descent to the underworld. In the Aeneid, written at the close of the first century BC, Virgil names Cumae as a place where Daedalus, flying from Crete, built a temple to Apollo, and where he later dedicated his wings. Virgil also describes the sibyls sanctuary as a labyrinthine network of caves.
Although she was a mortal, the Cumaean Sibyl lived about a thousand years. The story goes that Apollo offered to grant her a wish in exchange for her virginity, so she took a handful of sand and asked to live for as many years as the grains of sand she held. Later, after she refused his love, she withered away because she forgot to ask for eternal youth. Her body grew smaller with age, eventually being kept in a jar until only her voice was left.
A verse about the Sibyl by the great poet Virgil:
“At last the Final Time announced by the Sibyl will arrive:
The procession of ages turns to its origin.
The Virgin returns and Saturn reigns as before;
A new race from heaven on high descends.
Goddess of Birth, smile on the newborn baby,
In whose time the Iron Prison will fall to ruin
And a golden race arises everywhere.
Apollo, the rightful king, is restored!”
The sibyl is a wild haired woman possessed by ecstatic visions of the future. She is a vessel for the oracular god Apollo, who whispers softly in her ear, the echo of a thousand voices vibrating through her cave.
Time is cyclical and history repeats. The Sibyl knows this. I hear her in my dreams and now she’s breaking into waking life. When once I used to resist for fear of madness, I now allow, becoming a channel for her voice, the artist of her visions.
The eyes of the Sibyl see the future and the past superimposed on one plane. This is the “time outside of time”, the shamanic Dreamtime.
Oh my friends, what a joy! For it is that TIME again. We’re at the bridge between the old world and the new, the chrysalis, the Great Transition.
And with this I shall coin the word “sibylize” to give a name to this act of invoking the Sibyl, which has been misunderstood as madness before we learned to decipher and understand.
Today the Sibyl is a voice that flows through all of us, echoing through the labyrinthine caverns of the internet, using the world wide web as her medium of choice…