Chanel – Part 1

By Christopher Zoukis  Image courtesy

In numerology, which is an occult system based on numbers, numbers are not merely quantitative, but also depict symbolic qualities.  The number 5 symbolizes the whole, for example, as in marriage, where the hieros gamos (the number of marriage, 5) is the combination of the feminine number 2, and the masculine number 3. 

The lion is another traditional symbol, which carries many varied meanings.  Macrobius said that lions were representative of the earth, “Mother of the Gods.”  Pairs of lions are the “master of double strength,” the guardians of doors, gates and treasure. Lions even guard the Tree of Life. 

According to one tradition lions were supposed to sleep with their eyes open, demonstrating vigilance, spiritual watchfulness and endurance.

Lions watch over graves, too.

Five lions of stone are carved into a tombstone in Bois-de-Vaux Cemetery.  Guardians of the grave.  The tombstone itself is white stone. I’m not sure what kind.  It is flat and smooth, with a lintel around the top – very Classical, very Greek.  The initial impression is one of Napoleonic splendor.  The five golden

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Support My Work on the Huffington Post

Image courtesy By Christopher Zoukis Today I have a quick update for the Chronicles of the Armchair Literati readership.  As many of you know, I’ve recently become a Huffington Post contributing writer.  In my work there I have attempted to shine a light onto America’s broken criminal justice system.  With this goal in mind, […]

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E. M. Cioran

By Christopher Zoukis  Image courtesy

It sits in the elongated, latticed shade of the Eiffel Tower.  Stippled with Gothic architecture:  ribbed vaults sit like blackened bones of whales, flying buttresses which paralyze viewers with indecision, pointed arches which could summon convenient elemental spirits if need be, and steep roofs down which certain arcane energies slide.  No longer au courant in today’s hypercivilized world, all this Gothicism pushes back the odor of progress.  But you must agree it has a certain charm.

Here is the palpable reality of the doctrine of worth through magnitude.  The prevailing virtues here are bigger, better and more flamboyant.  All this Gothic architecture shouts of sophisticated hylotheism, which states that matter is God and that there is no God except matter. 

All that matters here and now is the fancy hem of matter – the ornate tombstones – under which the residents reside.

The tourists come, tiptoe around, and look.  They don’t say much, and when they do they whisper.  For here words are stale, emotion spends its force against nothing.  For here are the dead, and the famous.  The dead famous, the famously dead.

Gothic cemeteries have a smell, the scent of smooth bourbon and vanilla flavored Cavendish tobacco.  The odor of an elusive familiarity.  It mixes with sounds half-muffled by massive Gothic monuments – low arias for the dead.  All together, the sights, the sounds, the scents, they form a necessary overcompensation.  For the dead are not interesting, only their lives are interesting.  Embarrassed, they make up for their present humdrum condition by not-so-subtle sensory hallucinizers.  

It is Montparnasse Cemetery.  The place of petrified history.  The French know it as Cimetiere du Montparnasse, located in the 14th arrondissement of Paris.

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Hell’s Heretic

By Christopher Zoukis  Image courtesy

His name was Origenes Admantios.  Origen.  And it was he who, pushing the envelope of the idea of human free will as far as it would go, found the idea of an unending Hell unbelievable. 

For a while, he even entertained the notion of reincarnation, although in the end he could not bind himself to it philosophically.  It just didn’t line up with Scripture, this method of ascending or descending the hierarchy of being called reincarnation by most, and metempsychosis by the philosophers. 

Instead, Origen anticipated, all human beings would in due course choose to repent.  Aristotle came up with something similar.  In Aristotle’s eschatology, which means ‘how things will turn out in the end, finally, when all is said and done,’ everyone receives salvation at the end because the Prime Mover’s grace is “wide.”  Of course, this negates the concept of a perpetual Hell where sinners suffer forever.

And this kind of thing was expected from Aristotle because he was a pagan philosopher, not a Christian.  But Origen, well, he should know better than to buy into this junk.

This kind of thinking, this idea of universal redemption is called apocastastasis, which is a fancy word for ‘restoration,’ and is used in astronomy to mean the return of a planet to the same position after an orbital revolution.  Fancy theological words are nothing more than an attempt at job security by the clergy. 

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Big Rock Candy Mountain

By Christopher Zoukis Big Rock Candy Mountain is a song first recorded in 1928.  More than a mere song, its hillbilly evocation of Cocagne, which is an imaginary country of idleness and leisure, a Utopia, has percolated through many imaginations resulting in many spin-offs: The title of the song attached itself to the multi-hued hills […]

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New Article on Huffington Post

By Christopher Zoukis I just published a new article on the Huffington Post entitled “5 Best Items To Send Your Loved One In Prison.”  It was published on their Crime Blog.  If you are interested, please click on the following link to read the article: 5 Best Items To Send Your Loved One In Prison […]

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Huffington Post Article Round-Up

Image courtesy By Christopher Zoukis It is with great delight that I announce my acceptance as a Huffington Post contributing writer.  If you have a chance, I would greatly appreciate you reading, liking, sharing, and tweeting my following articles at HuffPo: Growing Up in Prison: What I’ve Learned During My Eight Years of Incarceration […]

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Mark Rothko

By Christopher Zoukis

East Marion Cemetery, Suffolk County, New York:  the odor of pine trees, grass and inactivity loiters in the air.  Tall pine trees responsible for the pitch smell stand in the distance like a living, green wall around the cemetery.  In symbology, evergreen signifies immortality.  Which is ironic, since all illusions of immortality have come and gone for the permanent residents of East Marion Cemetery. 

The dead know only disappointment.

In olden times pine trees were thought to preserve bodies from corruption, which explains why they used it in coffins and in cemeteries.  And the fruit of the pine tree, the cone, was considered both flame-shaped and phallic, representing masculine creative energy and fecundity and good luck.  To the Jews, the pine cone is a symbol of life.

There are lots of Jews buried here.

Grass in cemeteries signifies submission.  In this case, submission to death.  And grass abounds here, stretching far and wide.  Plus it adds a peaceful note to the proceedings. 

The tang of inactivity is the polite acknowledgement of the discomfiture that death has caused.  No one who resides here has anything to do.

Near one of the corners, not too far from the pine trees, sits a small gray boulder, weighing more than an American luxury car.  Its shape is that intended by God and nature, which is in a word, natural.  On one side, though, the front side, a machine has cut out a rectangle, leaving a smooth, flat surface.  This flat surface, and the letters and dates on it inform us that it is a gravestone.

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