Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The mail brings a greeting, and a mystery

From what I've been given to understand, if you're ever walking down the street and a passerby says to you, "Magic magic ninja what?", the proper response is, "Magic magic ninja what!" That's how you'll both know that you're fellow members of the Juggalo Nation. (If, that is, you are and want to be taken for a member of the Juggalo Nation, which, um, you may not be.)

I thought of that yesterday when I received the postcard pictured below:

The image on the front is of the Transit Synagogue in Toledo, Spain. But that's not the important part. What's important is what's on the back:

"The Essence of the All is the Godhead of the True." Anthony Powell fans will know that there's a proper response to that statement, which is "The Vision of Visions heals the Blindness of Sight." It's the ritual greeting that Dr. Trelawney, a guru and mystic in A Dance to the Music of Time exchanges with adherents and fellow travelers in the occult sciences. Nick Jenkins first learns it at his initial meeting with Trelawney, just days before the outbreak of World War I, when Trelawney, wandering through the country with a band of followers, delivers it "in a low clear voice, almost in accents of one whose very perfect enunciation indicates the English is not his native tongue." To Nick's surprise, his family's old friend General Conyers, with "an almost imperceptible nod," offers the response. It's not the last indication Jenkins will get of Conyers's unexpectedly broad outlook on life, nor is it the last time that Trelawney's appearance will signal the onset of a worldwide conflagration: on the eve of World War II, Nick himself will unexpectedly find occasion to make use of his knowledge of the phrase, to almost magical effect.

This is definitely one of the best postcards I've ever received. The problem I face now is this: I know how to reply, but to whom? Should I send a postcard to General Delivery, Dallas? Or can this post suffice to, in itself, begin healing the blindness of sight?


  1. Anonymous8:58 AM

    Just to let you know: In a bookstore in Cologne, Germany, the complete 'Dance' will be read out in chunks of 90 minutes once a month. This might take some time, but the bookstore has already proved its endurance by a complete reading of 'In Search of Lost Time'. The reading begins next Tuesday.

    Keep on blogging

  2. That sounds amazing. Oh, to be in Cologne!