(so get festive, as the pagans intended it to be.)

"... When you are up in 10=1 or thereabouts, and see that dog-faced demons are only illusions (with the rest of Maya), there is no sense in keeping them out. Once you realize the Universe as Infinite L.V.X., why, to Hell with the Circle-let it rush in!.."


...That said, still, try to stay out of Marie Callenders on any given Sunday. If you canít, youíll need to memorize this protective (banishing) formula: "Apo pantos kakodaimonos." (Depart from me all evil spirits).

...Not a creature is stirring, save for my mouse. Thatís because everyone has gone away for the holidays: Maynard to his sanctuary in the desert, Danny to the plains of Kansas to look for that elusive gateway in Stull, Justin to Merry Ole in anticipation of Boxing Day with it mummers, and Adam to that dark place he resides in when heís working on a new Tool video. Even Aloke is heading back to his native India for a month (great timing, master, with war imminent). If it werenít for the worldís nine most frightening spiders, I might join Sash as he leaves for Australia. Crazy as it sounds, the Aussies do the holidays in the summer, with lots of trips to the bottle-O to fill up the esky, I reckon. But, before the guys left, I gave them my X-mas wish list:

1) A 1918 Templar sports car. Thatís right, the two-passenger touring roadster built by the Templar Motors Corp. (Lakewood Ohio), which was named after the Knights Templar. The company even used the Orderís distinctive red cross pattee as the autoís emblem, with the symbol having been placed on the top of the radiator, painted on the front body panels, and emblazoned in gold on the leather hand-pads of the doors. Please find me one in either "Valentine Red" or "Allegheny Blue" with black leather upholstery. Okay, I wonít hold my breath for the Templar, but how about an old book?

2) The C*** F** T** U** (****EDITION). This is the holy grail for the ufo book collector. If not the real thing, the S******** facsimile reprint will do.

3) A bag of Maynardís holiday cookies.

Q & A
Not exactly gifts, but here are the answers to some of your e-mail questions.

Q: What is that droning sound on the song "Mantra" on the Lateralus CD?
A: Lots of people have asked me about this. It is one of the following: A) Tibetan monks chanting in a building in Amsterdam thatís famous for its acoustics. B) The pet Siamese cat of an illustrious band member. C) A silverburst guitar played through a Moog synthesizer (which in turn is processed by an Eventide Harmonizer. D) The sounds (demons?) one hears on a Creed LP played backwards. *

Q: Is Lateralus ever going to be released on vinyl?
A: Yes. As I understand it, itís in the bandís contract that all recordings are to be released on vinyl. The only drag is that they had to split up the last three songs to maintain the sound quality. Thus, you have turn over the disc to hear "Triad."

Q: Did Danny use the same drum kit on every song on Lateralus?
A: No. He used his old stainless steel Octoplus set on two songs: "The Grudge" and "Ticks and Leeches."

Q: Iíve heard that there are several Tool CDs that were released in Europe, but not in America. Is this true, and if so, how can I order them?
A: It is true. In the insert in the European version of Aenima there is a catalogue which lists these CDs. They include: "Three Fat Brown Fingers", "Nurse Ketimellaís Kit* Chen", "Just Up That Dirt Road (Tool Live at the Acropolis)", "The Bethlehem Abortion Clinic", "Crapsteaks smothered in Dictators" and "The Christmas Album by Tool." Someday I will tell you what makes ONE of these cds so special - something the band members donít want anyone to know - though itís there for discerning listeners. Perhaps Iíve said too much already.

* No Creed records were purchased by band members in order to experiment with playing them backwards.

I have at least one of these every holiday season. Trust me, they taste great if made correctly. The key is to add the various liquors in the proper order (given below) and NOT to stir the drink. Over ice in a large glass, pour

    1 shot of gin
    1 shot of vodka
    1 shot of apricot brandy
    3 ounces of champagne (cheap stuff works fine)
    3 ounces of ginger ale

At this time last year I gave you an esoteric interpretation of the "Star of Bethlehem." In that mini-essay, I suggested that the mysterious celestial event had its reality in a little known astronomical fact: that every eight years, regular as clockwork, the planet Venus traces an immense pentacle (five-pointed star) in the heavens, with the five points defined when the planet is occulted by the sun. Thus, the "star" was anticipated and observed only by those initiates versed in the science of astronomy (i.e.: the Magi).

Since then, I have been reading about another theory which attempts to explain the anomalous, though impressive celestial event that occurred during the time of Christ. After dismissing the usual suspects, including the conjunction of planets, a comet, supernovae, or even UFOs, Andy Lloyd (DARKSTAR 8) asks us to consider that the spectacle seen in the skies might have been the appearance of a new star. In his working hypothesis based on historical evidence deemed credible, though over 2000 years ago, he suggests that this star was a brown dwarf type which he identifies as Nibiru - the winged planet of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt familiar to those who have read Zecharia Sitchinís "12th Planet Chronicles."

Lloyd begins by asking us to take a look at the curious mystery surrounding another star that has perplexed astronomers for hundreds of years. The star is Sirius, and the mystery is its color. As most people already know, Sirius is the brightest star in the sky (as viewed from earth). To the unaided eye, it is a brilliant white-blue star which scintillates through the entire color spectrum as it sits low on the horizon. This is due to atmospheric turbulence (and pollution). So why, then, did ancient writers including Cicero, Horace, Ptolemy, and Seneca describe Sirius as being ruddy or of a reddish color? Writing in 25 AD, the Roman philosopher Seneca (considered to be the most reliable witness) states in his treatise on fiery celestial phenomena that the redness of Sirius was "deeper than that of Mars" and that "the red of the Dog Star is piercing, while that of Mars is mild." Testimony like this from Babylonian, Greco-Roman, Chinese, and European sources has led to much speculation among astronomers for the solution to what a professor Whittlet calls "The Red Sirius Anomaly."

With our current understanding of astrophysics, most scientists agree that Sirius could not of changed color in such a relatively short period of time as two-thousand years. Nor is it likely that the Dog Star Siriusí unseen dark companion (the pup or Sirius B) was passing through its red giant stage during classical times. Therefore, according to Lloyd, the answer to the mystery lies in the Dark Star Theory - in particular, the brown dwarf Nibiru which enters our solar system every 3,600 years or thereabouts with an elliptical, retrograde orbit - that is, with an orbital motion counter to that of the other planets. During Nibiruís perihelion, as it temporarily eclipsed Sirius (thus outshining the white-blue gem with its piercing redness), it was erroneously identified AS Sirius by Seneca and others. So, in this model, it was the perihelion of the "winged planetís" last passage through our solar system (25 AD) that explains the Messianic Star.

The dramatic event also "triggered a resurgence of the Cult of Mithras", the divine child born on December 25.

Lloyd further contends that the myth of Mithras, the god who slew the heavenly bull (Taurus) and dragged it by its horns into a cavern where it was sacrificed can be explained as Nibiru "moving through the last stage of its visible perihelion" before finally disappearing from the constellation of Taurus the Bull back into the interstellar abyss.

If Lloyd is correct, then does an appearance of the dark star Nibiru PRIOR to the time of Christ explain the Egyptian myth of the Virgin Birth of Horus (Nibiru) from the goddess Isis (Sirius)?
Also, what about the legendary Phoenix rising from its fiery ashes?

And now, since it is the holiday season, and since some Xtians believe itís all about Christ, I shall post one of their "music" reviews I found on the Net (with a brief commentary by Frater Ijynx).

    (A Christian Music review of Lateralus)

    GENRE: Alternative metal
    CHART ACTION: Album debuted at number 1, selling more than 550,000 copies in its first week.

    As if inspired by Matthew 18:21-22, "The Grudge" urges listeners to forgive others. A loveís embrace brings joy on Parabol." "Schism" seeks to bolster a relationship through improved communication. Hunting for purpose in life, lead singer Maynard James Keenan acknowledges a bigger picture ("Lateralus") and wants to crucify his ego ("Reflection"). Patience, perseverance and hope for a better day buoy "The Patient." Three tracks are entirely instrumental.

    Curious theology finds the band longing to "swing on the spiral of our divinity and still be human" ("Lateralus"). A mild profanity disrupts the paranoid ramblings of "Faaip de Oiad." Angry at human parasites, a man berates them on "Ticks and Leeches" (once using the f-word) and hopes they suffer for the pain theyíve caused.

    The music remains foreboding, but Toolís lyrics have brightened considerably since 1996ís Aenima. Of course, "Ticks and Leeches" leaves a nasty scar (so much for not holding a grudge) and while itís not reflected in the bandís lyrics, their oft-reported fascination with the occult may color otherwise innocuous searches for meaning in life. Nevertheless, Lateralus marks a dramatic improvement for the act that has Ticketmaster using a stopwatch to see how long it takes them to sell out concerts (three minutes in Atlanta; sixty seconds in New York). Pray that, in the musiciansí search for truth, God sharpens Tool.

A Brief commentary by Frater Ijynx (with eyes averted):
"Apo pantos kakodaimonos."

Be sure to take your evergreen decorations down by Jan. 5th! ĎTill next year,


and chrisgraves

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