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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday October 30, 2008

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:01 AM
From the Mountaintop

Katherine Neville, author of perhaps the greatest bad novel of the twentieth century, The Eight, has now graced a new century with her sequel, titled The Fire. An excerpt:

“Our family lodge had been built at about this same period in the prior century, by neighboring tribes, for my great-great-grandmother, a pioneering mountain lass. Constructed of hand-hewn rock and massive tree trunks chinked together, it was a huge log cabin that was shaped like an octagon– patterned after a hogan or sweat lodge– with many-paned windows facing in each cardinal direction, like a vast, architectural compass rose.
……..
From here on the mountaintop, fourteen thousand feet atop the Colorado Plateau, I could see the vast, billowing sea of three-mile-high mountain peaks, licked by the rosy morning light. On a clear day like this, I could see all the way to Mount Hesperus– which the Diné call Dibé Nitsaa: Black Mountain. One of the four sacred mountains created by First Man and First Woman.

Together with Sisnaajinii, white mountain (Mt. Blanca) in the east; Tsoodzil, blue mountain (Mt. Taylor) in the south, and Dook’o’osliid, yellow mountain (San Francisco Peaks) in the west, these four marked out the four corners of Dinétah– ‘Home of the Diné,’ as the Navajo call themselves.

And they pointed as well to the high plateau I was standing on: Four Corners, the only place in the U.S. where four states– Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona– come together at right angles to form a cross.”


Related material
(Oct. 14, 2004):

The Eight

Lest the reader of the previous entry mistakenly take Katherine Neville’s book The Eight more seriously than Fritz Leiber’s greatly superior writings on eightness, here are two classic interpretations of Leiber’s “spider” or “double cross” symbol:

Greek: The Four Elements

Aristotle:
The 4 elements and
the 4 qualities
(On Generation and
Corruption, II, 3
)

Chinese: The Eight Trigrams

Richard Wilhelm:
The 8 trigrams
(Understanding
the I Ching
,
154-175)

The eight-rayed star may be taken
as representing what is known
in philosophy as a “universal.”

See also

The Divine Universals,

Plato, Pegasus, and the Evening Star,

A Little Extra Reading, and

Quine in Purgatory.

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