Children of the Sun, by Matt Jones

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Children of the Sun, by Matt Jones

Postby admin » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:39 am

Children of the Sun
by Matt Jones
Summer, 2018



When was the first time you saw the sun?

Not its winding tendrils, or its luminous glow, or even its radiant essence shining down upon your skin. Not its glare, or its intensity, or its resplendent effulgence—but it. Its hopes, and dreams, and fears, and greatest regrets. Its spots. Its flares. Its magnetic loops and coronal mass ejections. Both its countenance and penetralia, its shape and depth.

When, exactly, was the first time?

The first photograph of the sun was captured on April 2, 1845 by Leon Foucault and Louis Fizeau. It wasn’t really a photograph, but a daguerreotype, which meant that the image was produced by first treating a sheet of silver-plated copper with silver iodide and bromine, then exposing it inside a camera, and finally fuming the sheet with mercury vapor.

This particular image of the sun does not look like the sun, but rather like a relative of the moon. Maybe a first cousin you only see once a year during the holidays—pale, round, and vaguely featureless in a familiar kind of way. A celestial body that you might practice kissing on until you get good enough to plant your lips on Auriga, Centaurus, Ophiuchus, or that most beautiful of chained maidens, the constellation Andromeda.

But what could you really expect from a photograph of the sun taken in 1845? It was in that same year that Rufus M. Porter published the first-ever issue of Scientific American, which mentions Signor Muzio Muzzi’s Traveling Balloon, the first airship of its kind designed to navigate wind without oars, wheels, or sails. On page two, there is mention of a slave from Charleston, South Carolina who saved a white boy from drowning in a river, and a rattlesnake that swallowed a mole only to have the rodent gnaw its way back out of the reptile’s stomach. The magazine features a list of recent inventions: an improved cotton gin, a new type of Indian rubber, and the daguerreotype camera.

This first issue of the Scientific American includes an article explaining how the daguerreotype works, as well as numerous ads for private sellers. Optician John Roach of New York was selling kits of chemicals and plates of good quality, “cheaper than from any other establishment.” Frederick Langenheim of Philadelphia and Erastus W. Pratt also claimed to offer quality equipment at the lowest prices.1

Beneath the article on Signor Muzzi’s contribution to aerial locomotion, there’s a blurb about Dr. Peter Parker’s most recent trip to China. Dr. Parker was both a missionary and an ophthalmologist who founded Canton Hospital in the most populous city in the province of Guangdong. His greatest concern as a medical missionary was helping the people of Canton see better. He operated on thousands of cases of cataracts, leucoma, staphyloma, night blindness, and pterygium, a condition thought to stem from too much direct exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. As a missionary, he considered the Chinese to be only partially civilized, a society of idol worshippers. The ophthalmologist wanted nothing more than to fix their sight and show them the light—not the kind of light that wounds eyes, but the kind that cleanses souls. It has long been said that Dr. Peter Parker “opened China to the gospel at the point of a lancet.”2

During his time in the Far East, Dr. Parker commissioned a Western-trained Chinese painter named Lam Qua to create portraits of patients who exhibited major deformities. Before the dawn of photography, painting and drawing were the primary means of illustrating medical conditions and concepts. When Lam Qua began documenting patient deformities in 1836, the daguerreotype had not yet been invented. Oil painting was a laborious and time-intensive practice that often required multiple sittings by the subject.

Now, when you gaze upon a Lam Qua portrait of someone like forty-nine-year-old Woo Kinshing, a fisherman with a ten-year-old tumor the size and shape of a cello protruding from his chest, or the postoperative Po Ashing, a laborer with his right arm missing from the shoulder down, what you experience is an old kind of painstaking. Painstaking not only on behalf of the artist, who might have spent hours or even days painting a single subject, but also on behalf of the patient—a person whose likeness was captured not instantaneously, in the brightness of their eyes or the tilt of their mouths, but in their ability to inhabit their own discomfort for the length of time it took to hold the pose.

Scientists welcomed the invention of the daguerreotype, particularly because the camera was thought to provide a more objective image than a painting ever could. Photography, though, was completely dependent on sunlight. Physician and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes regularly referred to photography as “sun-painting” and “sun-sculpture.” According to Holmes, photographers were just counterfeiters of the sunbeam. In his 1864 book Soundings of the Atlantic, the physician compared photography to a kind of redemptive violence. He referred to Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, the inventor of the daguerreotype, as Prometheus Daguerre.3

In hindsight, Holmes’ casting of Daguerre as a modern Prometheus stealing light from the gods may not have been so far-fetched. In an 1839 letter to his friend Charles Chevalier, Daguerre exclaimed, “I have seized the light—I have arrested its flight!”4

In the Czech Republic, there is an infamous work of art known as The Flaying of Marsyas, housed at the Kroměříž National Museum. It was painted by Italian Renaissance artist Titian in the late sixteenth century. The painting depicts the killing of Marsyas, an ithyphallic companion of Dionysus, who is also featured in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. As the Roman poet tells it, Marsyas challenged the great god Apollo to a music contest, and when he lost, Apollo flayed him alive. This much is depicted in the painting. Marsyas hangs upside down while his skin is cut away, his blood collecting in buckets and soaking into the soil below.

Though scholars have suggested that The Flaying of Marsyas is representative of everything from the brutality of human existence to the liberation of the spirit from the body, Oliver Wendell Holmes thought differently. The physician had an interesting theory about the intersection between Greek mythology, eternal suffering, and the modest yet burgeoning field of photography. He wrote that a “moment’s reflection reveals the true significance of this seemingly barbarous story,” which is that “Apollo was pleased with his young rival, fixed him in position against an iron rest . . . and took a photograph, a sun-picture, of him.” Amid the context of the rise of photography as an art form and increased access to the necessary equipment (through ads in magazines and newspapers, for example), Holmes said, “We are now flaying our friends and submitting to be flayed ourselves, every few years or months or days, by the aid of the trenchant sunbeam which performed the process for Marsyas. All the world has to submit to it, —kings and queens with the rest. The monuments of Art and the face of Nature herself are treated in the same way.”5

It is strange to try to equate the two: photography and excoriation. Novelist Iris Murdoch thought that the Flaying of Marsyas had something to do with “the entry of the spiritual into the human situation and the closeness of the gods.” She said it proved that Apollo was not only terrible and cruel, “but also a great artist.”6 His medium? The human body.

Dr. Peter Parker thought that many of the ailments he encountered at Canton Hospital had been made worse by Chinese medicine, what he called “pitiable superstitions.” I wonder how he thought of himself as he sliced away cancerous protuberances and cataracts from the bodies of his patients. As a great artist, a kind of god?

There is a moment in Ovid’s Metamorphoses when Marsyas asks Apollo, “Why do you peel me out of myself?”

Can you imagine saying something similar whenever someone takes your picture?

“Why do you tear me from my skin?”

Which brings us back to the original question: when was the first time you saw the sun? Not its flash, or its glare, or even its intensity. When was the first time you saw under its skin? Its surface peeled back, its fibers, viscera, and red-hot veins exposed?

Not with your eyes.

Never with your eyes.

The sun is over 4.5 billion years old, and even by April 2, 1845—the date the first photograph of the star at the center of our solar system was taken—no one had truly seen it. The daguerreotype produced by Foucault and Fizeau on that spring day hardly captured the sun’s likeness. That photograph, if you really look at it, is like a symptom of something far greater, of the disease Iris Murdoch called “human life and all its ambiguities and all its horrors and terrors and misery.”

That first photograph of the sun is like looking through a cataract—through disease itself. We are sometimes aggressively blind. The longer we stare, the less we see.

In his book Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties, Paul Johnson writes, “The modern world began on May 29, 1919, when photographs of a solar eclipse confirmed the truth of a new theory of the universe.”7 The photographs Johnson references were taken by Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, an English astronomer and physicist who, along with astronomer Royal Sir Frank Watson Dyson, journeyed to the African Island of Príncipe to prove the validity of Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Einstein’s general theory of relativity had been proposed three years earlier in 1916. The physical theory posited that the sun’s gravitational field bent and deflected the paths of light from surrounding stars. While Eddington and Dyson observed the 1919 solar eclipse off the west coast of Africa, French Astronomer Andrew Claude de la Cherois Crommelin looked on from Sobral, Brazil. Both locations were in the path of totality, and the sun was completely eclipsed for a total of 411 seconds.

Almost a year prior, the US Naval Observatory had obtained a grant from congress so they too could observe a solar eclipse that was set to travel a radically different trajectory. The path of totality would begin just south of Japan, then move across the Pacific Ocean, and finally into the American Pacific Northwest. The observatory’s team was composed of astronomer Samuel Alfred Mitchell and Howard Russell Butler, an artist tasked with painting the eclipse in hopes of validating Einstein’s theory of relativity. This eclipse was set to take place on June 18, 1918, and would be observed from Baker City, Oregon.

Howard Russell Butler was an accomplished painter. He had founded the American Fine Arts Society and was also the official portraitist of Andrew Carnegie, but he had never before seen an eclipse. On the day of the astronomical event, a naval officer counted down the seconds until totality:

Three . . .

Totality refers to the period during which the moon completely blocks out the sun, creating what is known as the diamond ring effect.

Two . . .

The diamond ring effect, also known as Baily’s beads, refers to the way in which solar prominences, the chromosphere, and the sun’s faint corona can be seen peeking out of the edges of the lunar silhouette.

One . . .

The only time it is safe to view a solar eclipse without protective eyewear is during the period of totality.

When the naval officer finished counting down, Butler turned his head upward. Typically, painting a portrait required a subject to sit still for hours at a time, but the duration of totality would only last 143 seconds, just shy of two and a half minutes. Butler stared for a total of 112.1 seconds, quickly making shorthand notes based on what he had seen, documenting the shapes, colors, and striations of the light. Then, while the image was still at the forefront of his mind, he completed his first eclipse painting.

Unfortunately, cloud cover obscured much of the eclipse, and the team was unable to verify Einstein’s general theory of relativity. That much-sought-after validation, however, would be achieved almost a year later under the watchful eye and camera lens of Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington. The two eclipses were part of a “semester series,” which meant they repeated every 177 days and 4 hours. The May 19, 1919 eclipse was also part of a larger series known as Solar Saros 136, which repeated every 18 years and 11 days, and had been doing so since June 14, 1360.

Who was around to gaze up at that particular event so long ago in 1360, twenty-three years into the Hundred Years’ War and near the tail end of Europe’s Black Death epidemic? What did they think when the sun momentarily disappeared behind the moon?

The Arapaho Plains Indians thought that the convergence of the sun and moon signified that the two celestial bodies were having sex. The Lacandón believed a solar eclipse was a sign that the earth would split, unleashing a great jaguar that would consume most of humanity. Suriname’s Kalina tribe assumed that the sun and moon were brother and sister. Therefore, a solar eclipse was little more than a violent confrontation between siblings. Ancient Egyptians thought that Apep, the serpentine God of Chaos, was in constant pursuit of the Sun God Ra. A solar eclipse meant that Apep had finally caught and attempted to swallow Ra whole, much as the rattlesnake did to the mole in that 1865 issue of Scientific American. The moon-worshipping Chimú culture of Peru viewed a solar eclipse as a temporary lunar victory over the sun. The Navajo believed that the 1918 eclipse—the very one that Howard Russell Butler painted—was a bad omen that foreshadowed the Spanish Influenza pandemic that would travel across Europe, then through the American Midwest, and all the way to Japan, killing up to one hundred million previously healthy adults.

In the realm of recorded history, everything from natural disasters, wars, disease outbreaks, and the death of important figures have been attributed to solar eclipses. The expeditions that set out in 1918 and 1919 to prove Einstein’s general theory of relativity were not only aimed at contributing to the framework of modern physics. They also were representative of a period in history known as the “solar revolution,” in which astronomers, artists, writers, and physicians alike all turned their gazes upward to reconsider that great shining orb in the sky.8

Annie Dillard once wrote in her essay “Total Eclipse” that “A partial eclipse is very interesting. It bears almost no relation to a total eclipse. Seeing a partial eclipse bears the same relation to seeing a total eclipse as kissing a man does to marrying him.”9

I would go so far as to say that seeing an eclipse bears almost no relation to seeing the sun itself. Seeing an eclipse, even a total one, bears the same relation to seeing the actual sun as taking a photograph does to peeling someone out of their skin.

In July of 1908, four-year-old R.R. arrived at the Leysin Sanatorium. The sanatorium was located in the Swiss Alps, high up at the eastern end of Lake Geneva overlooking the Rhône Valley. Though history does not remember his real name, little R.R. was one of Dr. Auguste Rollier’s most photographed patients. As such, his initial appearance and subsequent transformation are well documented.

While Dr. Rollier remains one of the most widely recognized heliotherapists of the era, Doctor Niels Finsen from the Faroe Islands is believed to be the true father of modern heliotherapy. In 1903, Dr. Finsen won the Nobel Prize in Medicine “in recognition of his contribution to the treatment of diseases, especially lupus vulgaris, with concentrated light radiation, whereby he has opened a new avenue for medical science.”10 This was the same year that Marie Curie, Pierre Curie, and Henri Becquerel were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of “spontaneous radioactivity,” a product of an unintentional experiment in which Becquerel had placed a piece of uranium salt atop a photographic plate, stowed it away in a dark drawer, and saw that the plate had been blackened by “invisible radiation.” 1903 was also the year that Dr. Rollier, once known as the “High Priest of Modern Sun-Worshippers,” opened the Leysin Sanatorium where little R. R. would be continually photographed.11

Leysin’s high elevation and sunny alpine environment made the city an ideal location for a doctor like Rollier, a man leaving behind traditional surgical treatments of tuberculosis in favor of heliotherapy. In the late nineteenth century, a growing body of scientific evidence suggested that light therapeutics held true medical potential for curing a variety of afflictions.

Confirmation came first from European physicians like Finsen and Curie, who discovered the therapeutic potential of x-rays and ultraviolet light. In America, John Harvey Kellogg, a doctor with his own sanatorium in Battle Creek, Michigan, threw additional weight behind the movement. Kellogg’s 1897 Hygiène populaire et moniteur de la santé claimed that the sun is “the most powerful of all natural antiseptics; no morbid germ can resist the direct rays of the sun, cholera, consumption [tuberculosis], diphtheria, scarlet fever and typhoid fever, and other diseases.”12

Interestingly, the field of heliotherapy was legitimized just as much by scientific evidence as it was by the medical photographs that documented its unconventional treatment methods. Like many heliotherapists, Dr. Rollier employed the use of “before-and-after” portraits to demonstrate a patient’s journey from sickness to wellness. Most of Rollier’s patients were young children, with little R.R. the most iconic. The four-year-old’s first photograph at the sanatorium depicts him unabashedly nude, his legs and arms crossed and his blonde hair ruffled. His lesions have been outlined in blue pencil to demonstrate that he is suffering from “34 foci of osteitis (inflammation of the bone), periostitis (inflammation of the periosteum) and adenitis (inflammation of the glands or lymph nodes); from numerous fistulae and advanced tuberculosis of both feet, his right hand and left lung; as well as peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum) and cachexia (dramatic weight loss and general ‘wasting’).”13

In the early 1900s, the field of heliotherapy was still in its infancy, and as such was completely unregulated. Suggested sun exposure times and the degree of concentration on a specific bodily location varied widely. Some photographic documentation of heliotherapy, like those pictures found in S.H. Monell’s 1902 manual A system of instruction in X-ray methods and medical uses of light, hot-air, vibration and high-frequency currents, feature a man blindfolded and bound by leather straps to a chair, the seat situated in front of a sophisticated light lamp that looks more like a large gun. Other pictorial evidence, such as those photographs featured in J.H. Kellogg’s Light Therapeutics: A Practical Manual of Phototherapy for the Student and the Practitioner, show a woman with her hair coiffed, hands held behind her head, her breasts exposed to a focused arc of light while a smile creeps across her face.

Following a year of treatment, R.R.’s after-photo presents him as a tan, clear-skinned boy, his eyes bright and his face newly plump. Of R.R.’s progress, Dr. Rollier wrote, “The disease has not merely been arrested, but the frail, puny body has become sturdy and resistant to disease.” In a way, R.R. had been peeled from his once afflicted skin and regenerated by the light of the sun, the entire process documented by the redemptive violence of photography. For R.R., perhaps, it would have been a burning both pleasurable and painful.

Dr. Rollier’s approach to heliotherapy was holistic in the sense that he believed in whole body treatment. The heliotherapist did not advocate for his child patients to be strapped down and blasted with sunbeams. Instead, he encouraged them to play outdoors, to engage in “respiratory gymnastics” and sports in the sunshine of the countryside. Emblematic of the ideology that drove Rollier’s heliotherapy practice is a set of photographs taken at his Leysin Sanatorium. The pictures feature deeply tanned children—boys and girls clad only in white loincloths, or sometimes completely nude, skiing down alpine slopes or dancing across mountain ridges. Rollier relied less on written data than on visual aids to convey the success of his heliotherapy. While his methods were influenced by the burgeoning scientific fields of germ theory and radiotherapy, Rollier also worshipped at the altar of the sun, a mythological deity “to whom the suffering come to demand a cure for their ills.”

Dr. Albert Monteuuis, another physician turned heliotherapist based in the French Riviera, said, “The regenerating action of the sun is so profound that it produces (the word is not exaggerated) actual resurrections.” Bodies reborn. Old husks shed for new skins. Years later, during the height of the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic, the British government would hang posters in railway stations that read “Sunshine is Life—Come to the Riviera.”14

Of his patients, Dr. Rollier said, “Those bronzed bodies of our children, those temples with esthetical lines, only will realise beauty and harmony when they are brightened by the qualities of heart and intelligence.” These children were documented cherubically, like residents of “Never Never Land” in J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, first staged in 1904. The very images themselves were framed as an act of magic in which “modern medical practice and ancient sun worship are constructed as one and the same.”15

Still, in the early twentieth century, no one had truly seen the sun, though artists and physicians alike had attempted to chronicle glimpses of its countenance. To convey its glow. Its ultraviolet, radioactive rays. The way its light, as described in André Gide’s 1902 novel The Immoralist, created a “delicious burning” sensation capable of allowing the central essence of the self to surge up through the skin and be born anew.

During the time of the solar revolution, writers too tried to stare into the sun—if not to see it with their eyes, then to at least glance at it with some deeper part of themselves. If photography was tasked with representing the world through the lens of objective truth, then writing was something different altogether.

How is that the story of Icarus goes again? How does the myth of the young titan Phaethon, son of the sun god Helios, turn out? We have told ourselves so many stories about the sun over the last 200,000 years. Scientific ones. Fairy tales. My personal favorite is that of Eos, Greek goddess of the dawn, bringer of the morning light, who after being cursed by Aphrodite developed an insatiable appetite for young mortals.

The rise of heliotherapy and the use of sunlight to treat illnesses like rickets and lupus also led to the rise of sunbathing. The new common wisdom of the early twentieth century was that sunbathing should be used not only as preventative medicine, but also as a leisure activity. Throughout the 1920s, Europeans flocked to the French Riviera to relish in the restorative powers of the sun. In 1926, D.H. Lawrence wrote what is considered to be the first piece of fiction about sunbathing, appropriately titled “Sun.” The short story appeared in his collection The Woman Who Rode Away, and centers around Juliet, an unhappily married woman whose New York doctors send her to Sicily in the hopes of curing her depression. The first line of the story is the doctor’s dialogue: “‘Take her away, into the sun.’”16 The rest of the tale follows Juliet’s time in Italy as her exposure to the sunshine awakens a powerful, dormant sexuality. This story, as Merlin Coverley notes in his book South, “summarizes precisely the sort of sun mania that was to become, momentarily at least, so widespread in the Southern Europe of the 1920s.”17 [b]An uncensored version of the short story was published three years later, for which D.H. Lawrence was paid $100 in the form of “twenty-dollar gold pieces emblazoned with the sun.”18 The man who paid him was widely considered to be more than a little mad, “the most sun-obsessed of the whole sun-obsessed inter-war generation.” His name was Harry Crosby.

In 1927, Harry Crosby and his wife Caresse, who had earlier received the first patent for the modern bra, founded Black Sun Press. The publishing venture was headquartered just outside of Paris in a medieval mill dubbed Le Moulin du Soleil—the Mill of the Sun. The Crosbys kept friends like Salvador Dali, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Ernest Hemingway. Through Black Sun Press, they published works by Archibald MacLeish, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, and T.S. Eliot. At their medieval mill—a mix of old stone buildings sans modern telephones or electricity—the couple hosted wild parties that featured rounds of drunken polo played atop donkeys. Harry could frequently be found sunbathing in the nude. He called himself a “sun-worshipper in love with death.”19 He signed his name with an arrow jutting into a doodle of a black sun affixed to the “y” in Crosby, claiming the signature was symbolic of “a phallic thrust received by a welcoming erogenous zone.”20 He and Caresse enjoyed an open marriage.

Lawrence, also obsessed with the sun, believed that the solar plexus was the “first and greatest and deepest center of consciousness.” He maintained that this special nerve center behind the stomach contained the same energy as the sun—that despite our umbilical cords being clipped at birth, the solar plexus was the sight of the “invisible string of dynamic consciousness.”21

Literary critic Martin Green called the writers of the Lost Generation “Sonnenkinder,” or “children of the sun.”22 Perfect, impossibly alive. Nudists. Free spirits. Essayist Stephen Spender wrote of men like Crosby and Lawrence, “their minds were filled with an abstraction of the sun, a huge circle of fire, an intense whiteness blotting out the sharp outlines of all other forms of consciousness.”23

To be a child of the sun in the 1920s was to burn brightly and quickly. In 1928, Harry Crosby began an open affair with Josephine Noyes Rotch, a woman he referred to as the “Youngest Princess of the Sun.”24 Their relationship was both hostile and romantically intense. Together they barricaded themselves in hotel rooms for days at a time, smoking opium and eating opulently. On December 9, 1929, Josephine sent Harry a poem, thirty-six lines long, with the last line, “Death is our marriage.”25 A day later, their bodies were discovered in a studio apartment, each with a bullet hole in their temples. The media couldn’t decide whether the act was a murder-suicide or a suicide pact. The coroner noted two tattoos on the soles of Harry’s feet: one of a Christian cross and the other of the pagan symbol for the sun.

D.H. Lawrence had suffered from tuberculosis most of his life, and like many writers of the era, had chased the sun for reasons both medicinal and spiritual. The last book he ever wrote was called Apocalypse, a manuscript of criticism he completed while traveling around the south of France. Toward the beginning, he surmises, “There is an eternal vital correspondence between our blood and the sun . . . The same with the moon, the planets, the great stars. They are either our makers or our unmakers. There is no escape.”26 Lawrence was finally “unmade” on March 2, 1930, just a few short months after the death of his publisher. However, unlike with Crosby, there were living witnesses to Lawrence’s death. Close companion and fellow writer Aldous Huxley and his wife Maria stood, steadfast, at the forty-four-year-old’s bedside. Huxley was no stranger to the French Riviera. He had written Brave New World during the seven years that he had lived in the nearby, sunny village of Sanary-sur-Mer.27

Throughout his short life, Lawrence viewed both writing and human existence as a sort of “thought-adventure.”28 The man was nomadic, constantly in motion. He believed that to find purpose in life one must “turn to the old dark gods” of the soul. Huxley referred to his fellow writer as a “kind of mystical materialist,” off on a fruitless search for meaning that would ultimately remain a mystery.29 Whereas Lawrence was obsessed with the sun in an almost magical way, Huxley was far more practical in his quest to use light to his benefit.

Following Lawrence’s death, Huxley relocated, first to Hollywood and then, in 1940, to the high desert of Llano, California in northern Los Angeles County. The writer reported that the constant sunlit saturation of the desert improved his eyesight. Huxley had struggled for years with his vision, ever since he had contracted a case of keratitis punctata at the age of sixteen that left him almost completely blind for a period of two years. While living in Llano, he documented his experience of using the Bates Method to improve his eyesight. The Bates Method, named after New York ophthalmologist Dr. William Horatio Bates, advocated staring directly into the sun to cure abnormal eye conditions. Inspired by Dr. Bates’ teachings, Huxley wrote in his 1942 book The Art of Seeing, “Sunlight is a powerful germicide and, used in moderation, it acts as a valuable therapeutic agent when directed on the human body . . . . The truth of the matter is that, like everything else in the world, sunlight is good for us in reasonable quantities, bad when taken to excess or in the wrong way.”30

The Art of Seeing was about much more than just the physical act of focusing one’s eyes on a target. In fact, Huxley divided the process of seeing into three different subsidiary processes: “a process of sensing, a process of selecting and a process of perceiving.”31 Sensing referred to the physical field of vision, while selecting described the portion of the “process in which a part of the visual field is discriminated, singled out from the rest.” Perhaps most important to Huxley’s description of sight was the final process of perceiving, in which the mind interprets whatever has been seen and selected. The Bates Method lacked any scientific evidence of success. But Huxley’s practice of staring into the sun, Lawrence’s dedication to chasing the orb both on the page and across the French Riviera, and Crosby’s devotion to its mythological symbolism are representative of humanity’s longstanding desire to see the sun as a giver of life. A bringer of light. An ancient deity that could fill you with a sense of passion or consume you alive.

It is safe to assume that, had Dr. Peter Parker visited with Harry Crosby, D.H. Lawrence, and Aldous Huxley, the way he did with patients like Woo Kinshing and Po Ashing, he also would have labeled the children of the sun as “idol worshippers” driven by “pitiable superstitions.”[/b]

Though staring directly into the sun might seem like the surest way to lose your sight entirely, most people that do it only end up suffering from scotoma: blind spots. A blind spot can either partially diminish or completely obscure a portion of our field of vision, though interestingly, the human mind does not perceive the defect. Instead, the brain fills in these blind spots based on all of the information that surrounds the absence—a reminder that we don’t really see as much of the world as we think we do.

Despite common misconceptions, staring directly into the sun also doesn’t burn the retina. Much like early daguerreotypes or Becquerel’s incidental discovery of “invisible radiation,” the eye suffers a photochemical reaction. When exposed to direct sunlight for a long duration of time, the eye is left with a visual scotoma, an afterimage etched into the retinal tissue. A young Isaac Newton documented this effect in the late 1600s while he was conducting the experiments that would eventually lead to Opticks: or, A Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light, a publication that would later pave the way for the world’s first photograph or sun painting. Newton was once thought to be “the last of the magicians,” a man whose enlightenment thinking and careful eye would replace the kind of mythology that shaped a past in which people believed that solar eclipses were deific siblings clashing violently above the earth.32 Still, in his last-ever book, Lawrence wrote, “I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. There is nothing of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surface of the waters.”33

Which is all to say that in the long span of history, we have only been here but a few minutes, glittering—only just begun to pose for our sun portrait. Time is both astonishingly slow and impossibly fast, and though existing can be incredibly uncomfortable if not outright painful, it is important to remember that we will not have to hold our smiles for very long.



1 “Aerial Navigation: Signor Muzio Muzzi’s Travelling Balloon.” Scientific American. August 28, 1845, 3.
2 See Rachman, Stephen. “Memento Morbi: Lam Qua’s Paintings, Peter Parker’s Patients.” Literature and Medicine 23, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 134–59; and Chan, Chi-Chao, Melissa M. Liu, and James C. Tsai. “The First Western-Style Hospital in China.” Archives of Ophthalmology 129, no. 6 (June 2011): 791–97.
3 Holmes, Oliver Wendell. “Sun-Painting and Sun-Sculpture; With a Stereoscopic Trip Across The Atlantic.” In Soundings from the Atlantic. (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1864), 166–227.
4 O’Hagan, Sean. “Capturing the Light by Roger Watson and Helen Rappaport – Review.” The Guardian. April 21, 2013.
5 Holmes, “Sun-Painting.”
6 Piepenbring, Dan. “Iris Murdoch’s Favorite Painting.” The Paris Review. July 15, 2015.
7 Johnson, Paul. “A Relativistic World.” In Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties (Revised Edition). (New York: Harper Collins, 1991), 1–48.
8 Fussell, Paul. “The New Heliophily.” In Abroad: British Literary Traveling Between the Wars, 137–40. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.
9 Dillard, Annie. “Total Eclipse.” In Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters. (New York: Harper & Row, 1982), 9–28.
10 Gøtzsche, P C. “Niels Finsen’s treatment for lupus vulgaris.” Journal Of The Royal Society Of Medicine 104, no. 1 (2011): 41–42.
11 Woloshyn, Tania Anne. “Patients rebuilt: Dr Auguste Rollier’s heliotherapeutic portraits, c.1903–1944.” Medical Humanities 39, no. 1 (2013): 38–46.
12 Woloshyn, Tania Anne. Our Friend, The Sun: Images of Light Therapeutics from the Osler Library Collection, c.1901–1944. (Montreal: Osler Library of the History of Medicine with McGill University, 2011).
13 Woloshyn, “Patients rebuilt.”
14 Löfgren, Orvar. “The Mediterranean in the Age of the Package Tour.” In On Holiday: A History of Vacationing (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002), 155–212.
9 6 | MQR SUMMER 2 0 1 8
15 Woloshyn, Tania. “Le Pays du Soleil: The Art of Heliotherapy on the Cote d’Azur.” Social History Of Medicine 26, no. 1 (2013): 74–93.
16 Lawrence, D.H. “Sun.” In The Woman Who Rode Away and Other Stories. (London: Martin Secker, 1928), 19–38.
17 Coverley, Merlin. “Goethe’s Law.” In South, 49. Oldcastle Books, 2016.
18 Littlewood, Ian. “The Cult of the Sun.” In Sultry Climates: Travel and Sex. (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2002), 201–02.
19 Fitch, Noel Riley. “Walt Whitman in Paris.” In Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties. (New York: Norton, 1983), 235.
20 Brunner, Edward. “Harry Crosby’s ‘Brief Transit’.” Modern American Poetry Site. 2001.
21 Lawrence, D.H. “The Holy Family.” In Fantasia of the Unconscious, 21. Salt Lake City: Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, 2007.
22 V.S. Pritchett, “Suntan,” review of Children of the Sun: a Narrative of Decadence in England After 1918, by Martin B. Green, The New York Review of Books (April 15, 1976): 3–5.
23 Spender, Stephen. World within World: The Autobiography of Stephen Spender. (Berkeley: University of California Press), 108.
24 Wolff, Geoffrey. Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby. (New York: New York Review of Books), 208.
25 Cockburn, Alexander. “Angelina Jolie and the French Revolution.” In Serpents In The Garden: Liaisons With Culture & Sex. (AK Press/Counterpunch, 2004), 297.
26 Lawrence, D. H., and Mara Kalnins. Apocalypse and the writings on Revelation. n.p.: (New York: Penguin Books, 1995), 77.
27 Jones, Ted. The French Riviera: A Literary Guide for Travellers. (New York. I.B. Tauris), 22.
28 Lawrence, D.H. “Bits.” In Kangaroo. Martin Secker, 1923.
29 Fussell, Paul. Abroad: British Literary Traveling Between the Wars. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), 146.
30 Huxley, Aldous. “Chapter VIII.” In The Art of Seeing, 31. (London: Chatto & Windus), 1974.
31 Huxley, Aldous. “Chapter III.” In The Art of Seeing, 11. (London: Chatto & Windus), 1974.
32 Kean, Sam. “Newton, The Last Magician.” Humanities 32, no. 6. (2011).
33 Lawrence and Kalnins, Apocalypse, 149.
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Re: Children of the Sun, by Matt Jones

Postby admin » Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:08 am

Chasing the Sun: Writers on the Riviera
by France Today Editors
March 28, 2015








“Take her away, into the sun, the doctor said.” The opening line of Sun, a short tale by British novelist and poet DH Lawrence, which was published in 1925’s The Princess and Other Stories, sums up one of that eminent author’s most cherished themes. You could call it the Mediterranean myth of renewal – the promise of simple restorative pleasures: a gentle climate, a dazzling blue sea and villa life surrounded by a lemon-scented garden.

Although Lawrence and his wife, Frieda, travelled extensively throughout Italy, the writer spent his final years on the tranquil, palm-fringed Côte d’Azur, in search of a new Eden. Like many of the celebrated expatriate writers who took refuge on the Riviera between 1915 and the 1930s, to Lawrence the area must have provided an idyllic escape from chilly northern skies, urban rhythms and wartime strife.

Yet, it was not entirely by coincidence that one group of Anglo-Saxon writers – Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Aldous Huxley and Cyril Connolly – ended up as near neighbours in a string of small coastal towns, including Menton, Hyères, Sanary-sur-mer, Bandol, La Ciotat and Cassis. They’d all started as a group of friends in England, and already shared an interwoven history of love, quarrels and estrangement, which continued to develop as the years went by.

However, for ailing writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Katherine Mansfield and Lawrence, the Riviera promised more than sheer inspiration and a change of lifestyle. As early as the 1860s, the area’s mild winters attracted a steady stream of wealthy consumptives from northern Europe. The word was out: British doctor, James Henry Bennet published Winter and Spring on the Shores of the Mediterranean in 1861, claiming that Menton – snugly protected by wind and several degrees warmer – was indeed the perfect sanatorium city. Following Dr Bennet’s suggestion, in 1863 Robert Louis Stevenson first travelled to Nice and Menton with his family, as a frail 12-year-old with a recurrent cough.

Stevenson’s biographers have speculated that those happy memories may have prompted the Scottish writer – who was responsible for the likes of Treasure Island, Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – to return to the Côte d’Azur 20 years later, with his Californian wife, Fanny Osbourne. Hoping to improve his deteriorating pulmonary consumptive condition, Stevenson initially rented a château in Marseille, which turned out to be a sordid disaster. When Fanny found a dead body dumped on their doorstep, the couple packed up and decamped to Hyères, 85 kilometres down the coast. At the time, like Menton, this sleepy, palm-lined city was slowly becoming a hotspot for British aristos seeking ‘winter cures’, and later it was frequented by the likes of Queen Victoria.

The couple soon found their dream house and rented a tiny pseudo-Swiss chalet, La Solitude, perched on a cliff with a sweeping vista of the shimmering sea and the Îles d’Or. The house, which still stands today, on the present Rue Victor-Basch, was a kind of architectural folly, inspired by Chinese pagodas and Turkish mosques, which was first exhibited at the Paris Exhibition of 1878, then shipped to Hyères and rebuilt. Stevenson spent 16 blissful and productive months at La Solitude, mostly in the large, sun-dappled jardin, where he wrote A Child’s Garden of Verses.

“This spot, our garden, and our view, are sub-celestial,” wrote Stevenson. “I live in a most sweet corner of the universe, sea and fine hills before me, and a rich variegated plain: and at my back, a craggy hill, loaded with vast feudal ruins.”

The couple’s idyll ended when Fanny learned of an outbreak of cholera near Toulon and Stevenson fell gravely ill while visiting friends in Nice. They were forced to go back to England for medical treatment and later moved to Samoa, where Stevenson died, aged just 44.


When New Zealand-born writer Katherine Mansfield fled London and first journeyed to the south of France in 1915, it was partly to escape her grief. She’d just lost her dearly loved brother, Leslie Beauchamp, who was killed fighting on the Western Front in France. Her fragile health – a thwarted pregnancy, gonorrhoea and rheumatic fever – only added to Mansfield’s intense desire to settle in a warm climate, one with a landscape that reminded her of childhood years in Wellington.

Mansfield passed through Cassis – where Virginia Woolf often stayed a decade later, to visit her sister Vanessa and husband, Clive Belle – but decided to head to Bandol, a tiny port village, where she installed herself at the seafront Hôtel Beau Rivage, in a room on the top floor, second from the right, overlooking the sea. Mansfield’s haven still stands and currently operates as the Résidence Hôtelière Beau Rivage, offering weekly rental of three-star studio apartments.

By January 2, 1916, Mansfield had rented the tiny romantic Villa Pauline, boasting clifftop views and “an almond tree that tapped at the window of the salle à manger”. She stayed until April 1916, taking long walks by the port and writing what’s considered to be some of her best work, including Prelude. During this period, her lover, the literary magazine editor John Middleton Murray, often came down to visit. Mansfield’s chaotic love life would be too complex to summarise here, but she eventually wedded Middletown Murray in 1918, once the divorce with George Bowden, her estranged husband from a loveless marriage, had been finalised. Later on, Mansfield noted in her journals that those carefree months in Bandol had been the happiest moments of her life.

Once back in England, in 1917, Mansfield became ill with pleurisy and dreamed about returning to sunny Bandol. When she recovered, her doctor advised a trip south, but the writer was unprepared for the hardships of the journey and the grim wartime changes that had altered the mood of her beloved Mediterranean town. Alone and in poor health, Mansfield immediately attempted to return to England but was held up in Paris, which was under heavy bombardment.

Disillusioned, Mansfield eventually made her way back to London, and in 1920, when her pleurisy had deteriorated into tuberculosis, decided to return to France with her care-taking companion, Ida Baker – this time to Menton. She moved into a small two-storey villa, the Isola Bella, which is set atop a hill in the neighbourhood of Garavan, just next to the Italian border, and is known for its exceptional gardens.

It was “the first real home of my own I’ve ever loved”, she enthused, in a letter to Middleton Murray, who visited sporadically. The sea and garden, filled with mimosa and tangerine trees, was the inspiration for her best novellas (Miss Brill, The Daughters of the Late Colonel), but this feverishly productive time ended abruptly when her health took a turn for the worse. She left for Switzerland and then went to Avon, to the Gurdjieff Institute for the Harmonious Development of the Mind, a monastery near Fontainebleau, where she died on January 9, 1923 at the age of 34. Just before her death, she had written in her journal: “I simply pine for the S. of France.”

Today, Isola Bella, visible from the platform of the Gare de Menton-Garavan, is owned by the city of Menton. In collaboration with the Katherine Mansfield Society, the villa is used as a New Zealand writer’s guest residence.


The story of DH Lawrence’s wanderings in the south of France began five years after the death of Katherine Mansfield, a close friend – in a way, he was retracing her steps. In October 1928, the writer and his friend, Richard Aldington, rented an old stone fortress on the nearly deserted island of Port Cros, across from Hyères. At the time, Lawrence’s wife, Frieda, was having an affair with an Italian officer, Angelo Ravagli, which would have important consequences in the tragicomic saga that took place after the author’s death.

Finding that the Riviera’s climate suited him, Lawrence returned to Bandol the following winter, checking into the Hôtel Beau Rivage, where Mansfield had stayed earlier. Still in search of a publisher for his controversial novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover, he and Frieda decided to rent the villa Beau Soleil. Emaciated and exhausted, Lawrence, who was in denial about his long-neglected tuberculosis, soon realised that the damp sea breezes had only made his condition worse. He longed to return to Taos, New Mexico but was too weak – instead his doctor dispatched him to a higher altitude, to the wooded hills of Vence, in the Alpes-Maritimes département.

After a brief stay in a local sanatorium named Ad Astra, Lawrence demanded to be released but, sadly, died several days later at their newly-leased home, the Villa Rochermond near Vence, on March 2, 1930. Frieda and Lawrence’s close friends, Maria and Aldous Huxley, were present at his deathbed.

Lawrence was first buried in carré 7 of the old Vence cemetery, but his remains were exhumed and cremated five years later, a ceremony which was witnessed by a small group of friends. When Frieda – who was consoled by a series of lovers, including Middleton Murray – decided to transport Lawrence’s ashes with the intention of building a shrine in Taos, what happened next still isn’t exactly clear.

Various versions of the story of Lawrence’s ashes exist: one was that Frieda’s lover, Angelo Ravagli, who was in charge of transporting the urn, distractedly left it on a train and, instead, filled another receptacle with chips of burnt wood. Another version claims that Ravagli feared immigration hassles and, one night, drunkenly confessed that he’d dumped the original contents of the urn into the sea between Marseille and Villefranche, while sailing on a ship en route to New York.

Meanwhile, the Huxleys, appalled at the idea that Frieda might charge tourists money to visit the shrine, planned to steal the ashes and cast them to the desert winds. Frieda, who learned of their intentions, made it known that she would put the ashes in the concrete mixer immediately upon their arrival in Taos. It is still a mystery where the ashes may have actually been scattered, but the Taos shrine – since renamed a ‘memorial’ – still stands on the Lawrence Ranch, a site that’s only recently been reopened to the public.

After Lawrence’s funeral, the Huxleys went to Bandol and stayed, as their friends had done, at the Hôtel Beau Rivage. However, it wasn’t long before they bought a house in Sanary-sur-Mer, a tiny fishing port down the coast near Toulon, named the Villa Huley.

“Here, all is exquisitely lovely. Sun, roses, fruit, warmth. We bathe and bask,” Huxley wrote to his sister-in-law. The couple settled there for the next seven years. Living simply but well – Maria zipped around in a red Bugatti – Huxley wrote the visionary Brave New World and Eyeless in Gaza at the Villa Huley.

The ascent of fascism and anti-Semitism during the 1930s gave rise to a new era of expatriate writers and, strangely enough, the tiny, tranquil enclave of Sanary-sur-Mer suddenly became a refuge for a host of intellectuals, who ranged from Cyril Connolly, the British critic and novelist, to German author Thomas Mann and his son.

As Aldous Huxley’s friend and biographer, the novelist Sybille Bedford, recounted during a 1993 interview with the Paris Review, there were “so many people of wildly different ways of life there at the same time”, all with varied languages, incomes and tastes, that “Sooner or later everybody met, this was the point: Sanary was no city – one newspaper kiosk, one post office, one paint-shop, two chemists, three cafés.”


Needless to say, the Riviera’s expatriate literary scene of the 1920s and 1930s didn’t begin and end in the Var département. Further east, down the coast, in the then-poky fishing village of Antibes, a group of American writers were forming a tight clique and inviting their New York friends to come and experience their own hedonistic version of ‘the good life’ – stay tuned for part two…

From France Today magazine
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Re: Children of the Sun, by Matt Jones

Postby admin » Sat May 11, 2019 9:14 pm

Order of the Solar Temple
Accessed: 5/11/19



Order of the Solar Temple
Templar Cross used by the group.
Formation 1984
Type Neo-Templarism
New Age movement
France, Switzerland and Canada
Luc Jouret
Joseph Di Mambro
Parent organization
Renewed Order of the Temple
Golden Way Foundation

The Order of the Solar Temple, also known as Ordre du Temple Solaire (OTS) in French and the International Chivalric Organization of the Solar Tradition, or simply as The Solar Temple, is a secret society and sect that claims to be based upon the ideals of the Knights Templar. OTS was started by Joseph Di Mambro and Luc Jouret in 1984 in Geneva as l'Ordre International Chevaleresque de Tradition Solaire (OICTS) and later renamed Ordre du Temple Solaire.

Some historians allege that the Solar Temple originates with French author Jacques Breyer, who established a Sovereign Order of the Solar Temple in 1952. In 1968, a schismatic order was renamed the Renewed Order of the Solar Temple (ROTS) under the leadership of French right-wing political activist Julien Origas.

The OTS is perhaps most notorious for being associated with a series of murders and mass suicides in 1994 and 1995 that claimed several dozen lives in France, Switzerland and Canada. [1]


According to "Peronnik" (a pseudonym of temple member Robert Chabrier) in his book, "Pourquoi la Résurgence de l'Ordre du Temple? Tome Premier: Le Corps" ("Why a Revival of the Order of the Solar Temple? Vol. One: The Body") 1975, pp. 147–149,[2] the aims of the Order of the Solar Temple included: establishing "correct notions of authority and power in the world"; an affirmation of the primacy of the spiritual over the temporal; assisting humanity through a great "transition"; preparing for the Second Coming of Christ as a solar god-king; and furthering a unification of all Christian churches and Islam. The group reportedly drew some inspiration for its teachings from British occultist Aleister Crowley, who headed the Order of Eastern Temple from 1923 until his death in 1947, and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a 19th-century Rosicrucian Order Crowley belonged to briefly.[3] Both occult groups had a grade system somewhat similar to the Solar Temple. Another Rosicrucian group, the Rosicrucian Fellowship headed by Max Heindel, also mentioned that Rosicrucians worship Christ as "The Solar Logos" (Rays from the Cross Magazine, June, 1933), although this is not orthodox Christian doctrine.

There were Solar Temple lodges in Morin Heights and Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Quebec, Canada, as well as in Australia, Switzerland, Martinique and other countries. The Temple's activities were a mix of early Christian Identity, UFO religion and New Age philosophy using variously adapted Freemason rituals. Jouret was interested in attractive, wealthy and influential members, and it was reputed that several affluent Europeans were secret members of the group.


According to the literature of the OTS, the central authority was the Synarchy of the Temple, whose membership was secret. Its top 33 members were known as the Elder Brothers of the Rosy Cross (an alternative name for the Rosicrucians), and were headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland. The Council of the Order formed Lodges that were run by a Regional Commander and three Elders. Progression in the Order was by levels and grades, with three grades per level — the levels being The Brothers of Parvis, The Knights of the Alliance and the Brothers of the Ancient Times, in ascending order. There were many organizations associated with the OTS, including the International Archedia Sciences and Tradition, Archedia Clubs, Menta Clubs, Agata Clubs and Atlanta Clubs, all of which offered the teachings of Luc Jouret both to the general public and privately to OTS members. The Lodges had altars, rituals and costumes. Members were initiated at each stage of advancement in ceremonies which included expensive purchases, jewellery, costumes, regalia, and the payment of initiation fees. During ceremonies, members wore Crusader-type robes and were to hold in awe a sword, which Di Mambro said was an authentic Templar artifact, given to him a thousand years ago in a previous life.

Mass murders and suicides

In October 1994, Tony Dutoit's infant son (Emmanuel Dutoit), aged three months, was killed at the group's centre in Morin-Heights, Quebec. The baby had been stabbed repeatedly with a wooden stake. It is believed that Di Mambro ordered the murder, because he identified the baby as the Antichrist described in the Bible. He believed that the Antichrist was born into the order to prevent Di Mambro from succeeding in his spiritual aim.

A few days later, Di Mambro and twelve followers performed a ritual Last Supper. A few days after that, apparent mass suicides and murders were conducted at Cheiry and Salvan, two villages in Western Switzerland, and at Morin Heights—15 inner circle members committed suicide with poison, 30 were killed by bullets or smothering, and 8 others were killed by other causes. In Switzerland, many of the victims were found in a secret underground chapel lined with mirrors and other items of Templar symbolism. The bodies were dressed in the order's ceremonial robes and were in a circle, feet together, heads outward, most with plastic bags tied over their heads; they had each been shot in the head. It is believed that the plastic bags were a symbol of the ecological disaster that would befall the human race after the OTS members moved on to Sirius. It is also believed that these bags were used as part of the OTS rituals, and that members would have voluntarily worn them without being placed under duress. There was also evidence that many of the victims in Switzerland were drugged before they were shot. Other victims were found in three ski chalets; several dead children were lying together. The tragedy was discovered when officers rushed to the sites to fight the fires that had been ignited by remote-control devices. Farewell letters left by the believers stated that they believed they were leaving to escape the "hypocrisies and oppression of this world."

A mayor, a journalist, a civil servant, and a sales manager were found among the dead in Switzerland. Records seized by the Quebec police showed that some members had personally donated over C$1 million to Di Mambro. Another attempted mass suicide of the remaining members was thwarted in the late 1990s. All the suicide/murders and attempts occurred around the dates of the equinoxes and solstices in some relation to the beliefs of the group.

Another mass-death incident related to the OTS took place during the night between the 15 and 16 December 1995. On 23 December 1995, 16 bodies were discovered in a star-formation in the Vercors mountains of France. It was found later that two of them shot the others and then committed suicide by firearm and immolation. One of the dead included Olympian Edith Bonlieu, who had competed in the women's downhill at the 1956 Winter Olympics.[4]

On the morning of 23 March 1997, five members of the OTS took their own lives in Saint-Casimir, Quebec. A small house erupted in flames, leaving behind five charred bodies for the police to pull from the rubble. Three teenagers, aged 13, 14 and 16, the children of one of the couples that died in the fire, were discovered in a shed behind the house, alive but heavily drugged.

Michel Tabachnik, an internationally renowned Swiss musician and conductor, was arrested as a leader of the Solar Temple in the late 1990s. He was indicted for "participation in a criminal organization" and murder.
He came to trial in Grenoble, France during the spring of 2001 and was acquitted. French prosecutors appealed against the verdict and an appellate court ordered a second trial[5] beginning October 24, 2006. He was again cleared less than two months later on December 2006.[6]

Spanish sect

The Order of the Solar Temple was also based in Spain, especially in the Canary Islands. In 1984, the founder of the OTS, Luc Jouret, lectured on the island of Tenerife.[7] The leader of the order's branch in Spain lived on the south of the island.[8] The only Spaniard who died in the suicide of the Order of the Solar Temple was a barber from Tenerife.[9] In 1998, a sect was suspected of plotting ritual suicide in the Teide National Park. Both Spanish and German police initially linked the group to the Order of the Solar Temple.[10]

See also

• Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis – Di Mambro was a member


1. L'enquête sur le Temple solaire révèle le monde des sociétés secrètes
2. "Peronnik", Pourquoi la Résurgence de l'Ordre du Temple? Tome Premier: Le Corps (Monte-Carlo: Éditions de la Pensée solaire, 1975).
3. The Eye in the Triangle, Israel Regardie, June, 1993
4. Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Edith Bonlieu Olympic Results". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
5. "Conductor on trial over cult killings in France, Switzerland and Canada". 25 October 2006. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
6. "Conductor cleared of cult deaths". BBC News. December 20, 2006. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
7. "«Spanish police state they prevented mass suicide by Atma (Isis Holistic) Center cult»". Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
8. Historia oculta de Canarias.
9. Tenerife, La Opinión de. "Tres sectas destructivas campan en Tenerife - La Opinión de Tenerife". Retrieved 23 August 2017.
10. "La líder de la secta de Tenerife recaudó 300 millones entre sus fieles". 1998-01-18. Retrieved 2015-06-17.


• Daraul, Arkon. A History of Secret Societies. (NY: Citadel, 1995)
• Galanter, Marc. Cults: Faith, Healing, and Coercion. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989)
• Moran, Sarah. The Secret World of Cults. (Surrey, England: CLB International, 1999)
• Davis, Eric. Solar Temple Pilots, The Village Voice (October 25, 1994)
• "French Magistrate rejects idea that outsiders killed cultists," AFP, (April 24, 2001)
• Haight, James A. And Now, the Solar Temple. Free Inquiry, Winter 1994-95.
• Hassan-Gordon, Tariq. Solar Temple Cult Influenced by Ancient Egypt, (Middle East Times, Issue 18, 2001)
• Mayer, Jean-François. Apocalyptic Millennialism in the West: The Case of the Solar Temple, Critical Incident Analysis Group,, retrieved, January 4, 2003.
• Musician Denies Solar Temple Murders, The Scotsman, Edinburgh (April 18, 2001)
• Palmer, Susan. Purity and Danger in the Solar Temple, Journal of Contemporary Religion 3 (October 1996) pages 303–318
• Probert, Robert. Solar Temple: Tabachnik Acquitted, Center for New Religious Studies, (June 25, 2001)
• Serrill, Michael S. Remains of the day, Time, (October 24, 1994)
• Spanish cops arrest cult leader, Associated Press, (January 8, 1998)
• Gordon, Sean (25 October 2006). "Trial highlights Canadian cult link". Toronto Star. p. A3. Retrieved 2006-10-25.

Further reading

• James R. Lewis (editor), The Order of the Solar Temple: The Temple of Death (Ashgate Publishing Company, Ashgate Controversial New Religions Series, 2006). ISBN 0-7546-5285-8

External links

• Religious Tolerance: Solar Temple
• CBC Digital Archives - Solar Temple: A cult gone wrong
• Order of the Solar Temple - Britannica
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Re: Children of the Sun, by Matt Jones

Postby admin » Sat May 11, 2019 9:39 pm

Cultists killed 3-month-old Quebec boy
by New York Times News Service
The Baltimore Sun
November 20, 1994



TORONTO -- A 3-month-old boy was stabbed to death in a Quebec village because he was considered the Antichrist in the rituals of a cult linked to the murder-suicide of 53 people in Switzerland and Quebec last month, the Quebec provincial police say.

The police reconstructed the bizarre developments in a burned-out chalet in the ski resort village of Morin Heights, north of Montreal, where five people were found dead early last month.

The incident was followed a few days later by the fiery deaths of 48 cult members in two Swiss villages.

All the victims had some association with the Order of the Solar Temple, a cult that used symbols from Roman Catholicism, astrology, Gnosticism and the medieval Christian fraternities of the Knights Templar and Rosicrucians to attract believers in Europe and Canada.

The cult's two leaders, Luc Jouret, 46, a Belgian-born physician, and Joseph di Mambro, 70, a French Canadian who lived in Switzerland and Quebec and who controlled the finances, died in Switzerland.

At a news conference in Montreal on Friday and in later telephone interviews, the Quebec police said the infant was killed along with his parents by Joel Egger and Dominique Belaton, Swiss followers of di Mambro. The police said they were acting under the orders of di Mambro, an authoritarian figure in the cult, and used a wooden stake in the ritual slaying.

The baby's parents, Antonio Dutoit and his wife, Nicky Robinson Dutoit, did odd jobs for di Mambro.

According to police, di Mambro, who usually decided when women in the cult had babies and what names would be selected, was outraged when Mrs. Dutoit had a baby last July 5 and named the boy Christopher Emmanuel.

Police learned from interviews with some of the sect's former members that di Mambro regarded the baby as the Antichrist because the name matched that of his daughter Emmanuelle and because he had not been consulted. He then ordered two of his followers to Quebec to kill the family. Colette and Gerry Genoud, members of the order who set up the killings, committed suicide three days later.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication
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Re: Children of the Sun, by Matt Jones

Postby admin » Sat May 11, 2019 9:44 pm

The Order of the Solar Temple: A Suicide Cult
Accessed: 5/11/19




The Order of the Solar Temple (Ordre du Temple Solaire or OTS in French) was, and still is, a secret society based upon the ideals of the Knights Templar. The little known esoteric sect was founded by Joseph Di Mambro (pictured above with his daughter) and Luc Jouret. Similarly to UFO religious Millenarian group Heaven’s Gate, the followers of Joseph Di Mambro were brainwashed to believe he was a member of the 14th Century Christian Order of the Knights Templar in a previous life and that his daughter, Emanuelle, was The Cosmic Child, and they would be led a planet which orbits the star Sirius after their deaths.

In October 1994, the sect shocked Switzerland and gained worldwide notoriety when 23 bodies were discovered in the Swiss canton of Fribourg. Another 25 bodies were found in Valais. Only 5 days earlier, 3 people had been killed in Canada – a Swiss couple and their infant son Emmanuel Dutoit, who had been repeatedly stabbed with a wooden stake, because he was believed to be the Antichrist.

Three-month-old Emmanuel Dutoit and his parents were killed.

Joseph Di Mambro and Luc Jouret

The cult was started by the two men in 1984 in Geneva, Switzerland. Di Mambro was born in 1924, the eldest of three children, the son of a construction worker from northern Italy. He was raised as a Catholic and received his education in a private Catholic school where he was described as an average student. He took violin courses and went to mass every Sunday until the age of 20. In the 1950s, Joseph Di Mambro began practicing occultism. He became a member of The Ancient and Mystical Order Rosæ Crucis. A little later he established Golden Way Foundation, the purpose of which, in addition to making money, was also to forge links between people keen on occultism. Within the foundation, he met Luc Jouret.

Joseph Di Mambro.

Luc Jouret studied to become a doctor but disappointed quickly in modern medicine and left the industry. He travelled the world, studying his spirituality and practising alternative medicine such as homoeopathy. Eventually, his journey led him to Golden Way Foundation, where he met Di Mambro and Michel Tabachnik — a famous Swiss conductor and composer who later testified against the members of the cult for killing children.

A Swiss weekly magazine L’Illustré showing photos of Michel Tabachnik taking part of OTS’ ceremonies.

Apparently, Michel Tabachni used Google’s New “Right To Be Forgotten” (who is complying with the European Union’s new) to remove his relationships with the cult. By using Google and searching for Tabachnik, this page won’t show up. You decide what to make of it.

[[“european-takedown-notice.jpg” “Michel Tabachnik’s Google European Takedown Notice”]]

The Order of the Solar Temple

Just like in any other cult, money, sex and power played a key role. The central authority was the Synarchy of the Temple. The members were secret, headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland. There were lodges in Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Martinique and other countries. The activities were a mixture of early Christianity and various Freemason rituals. Several affluent Europeans were secret members of the group. The lodges had altars, rituals and costumes.

Cult leader Joseph Di Mambro.


Jouret saw himself as Jesus Christ himself. He became obsessed with sex and was having intercourse with one of the female members before each ritual to give him strength for the upcoming ceremony. The members handed over their money and adhered to strict rules.

Upon realizing the hypocrisy, cult member Tony Dutoit spoke out and left. Soon, he and his wife were stabbed to death in Canada. Their little son Emmanuel, who was named by Di Mambro as the Anti-Christ, was wrapped in a black plastic bag with a wooden stake placed through his chest.

Mass Suicide/Murder

The leadership felt that they were being persecuted by governments. They claimed to anticipate the coming end of the world due to an environmental disaster and decided that some of the members should leave the earth prematurely.

In Fribourg and Valais, the cult members either took their own lives or were ritualistically murdered. Some were shot in the head or asphyxiated, some had been drugged. Many wore black ceremonial robes, had plastic bags placed over their heads, bodies positioned in a star formation with feet pointing to the center. Many of the bodies were set on fire.

The two founders Luc Jouret and Jo Di Mambro, were among the dead.

In March 1997 in Quebec, Canada, five more people took their lives. Three children managed to escape at the last moment and were the only survivors of the tragedy. The total number of deaths attributed to the cult was 74, including several children.

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