The Secret of Shakespeare---A Hermetic reading to do with solar energy and coal

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This explains what I went through when I started trying to understand why "Romeo and Juliet" starts with 2 lines about coal. The article I wrote on this research was rejected all over the place. Yet …

This explains what I went through when I started trying to understand why "Romeo and Juliet" starts with 2 lines about coal. The article I wrote on this research was rejected all over the place. Yet this idea does explain the disparate parts of "Romeo and Juliet" and sees them in relation to each other.

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  • A contest is announced! The first person who can find the secret (hidden) reference to the star Sirius in my novel Juliet is the Sun will win a prize of five 30cm sq. squares of vintage indigo cotton cloth! The star Sirius is not mentioned by name, so this is a puzzle to test your cosmic knowledge.
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  • My background is academia. However, I have always gone my own way.....and my interpretation of 'Romeo and Juliet' can hardly be considered mainstream. Yet, I am fairly sure that one day, indeed, it will be......
    The secret play is so 'Renaissance', I feel. The perfect microcosm/macrocosm idea, a unity of art and science, a focus on man's position in the world and the universe.


    I've gotten so many rejections from publishers and journals when I tried to submit this idea that 'Juliet is the sun' is really about energy. Only in one country was this idea published. I thought it was interesting, so this slideshow is partly about my experience.
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  • 1. The Secret of Shakespeare“..the secret of Shakespeare has been missed” --page 353, The Art of Memory by Frances Yates
  • 2. • Romeo and Juliet was the start of ascientific investigation conducted and performed through drama!
  • 3. There is a secret play in Romeo and Juliet! It concerns the historicalrelationship between Man and the Sun
  • 4. The secret play is an allegory• The secret play is revealed primarily through the way that Romeo and Juliet interact with each other. If you will review the play, you will notice that when they are together they do not interact functionally and fully with other characters.
  • 5. Thus we are left with 4 scenes they share, and these are the most famous scenes in the play 1) The Party scene 2) The Balcony scene 3) The Farewell scene 4) The Tomb scene
  • 6. Act I, scene vAt the House of the Capulets, Romeo meets Juliet Romeo: If I profane with my unworthiest hand This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this, My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss
  • 7. The first scene is a rough schematicallegory for Pre-Historical or Antique Man, who worshipped the Sun.– When Romeo first sees Juliet, there is a sense of her as a source of light---”O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!”– They use the language of worship when they meet, and their speech is crowded with words of worship “profane”, “sin”, “pilgrims”, “saints”, “holy palmers”, “pray’r”, “faith”
  • 8. Romeo meets Juliet• It‟s human‟s pagan past. We worshipped the sun and felt close to the sun.• Probably, nature rituals were outside, not in churches, so we were close to nature for religious practice.
  • 9. Act II, scene ii: The Balcony scene Romeo: But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Shakespeare has given away the secret identity of Juliet here! Shortly thereafter, in the same speech, Romeo uses words like “lamp” “daylight”, “stars”, “heaven”, “airy region” and “bright” to further describe Juliet and subtly imprint upon the minds of listeners her identity in the parallel play. Romeo is Man embracing an agricultural era. In such an economy, everything is from the sun in one way or another; fish, grain, baskets, cotton, meat, leather, feathers, linen, wood, and more.
  • 10. Act II, scene ii, continued– Juliet: My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee The more I have, for both are infinite.In a sun economy, everything comes from the sun. Allthe flows of matter and energy that we need to stayalive and keep warm, our food, our water, shoes,clothes and the tools to make them…..all comes fromthe sun. People did have this sort of lifestyle 1000 yearsago.
  • 11. On the balcony, Juliet is now a bit removed from Romeo• Juliet is removed. Christianity moved worship into churches and direct sun worship was also, obviously, not part of the plan.• So Juliet, on the balcony, is away from Romeo now. He can see her. But there is a separation.
  • 12. Between the Balcony scene and the Farewell Scene, there is one very brief scene where Romeo and Juliet interact with the only character fully permitted into their “magic circle”. This character is Friar Lawrence, the stand-in (allegorical figure) for Shakespeare himself.Friar Lawrence performs the wedding. (This is not shown) Friar Lawrence says he will “incorporate two in one”.
  • 13. Friar Lawrence gives away Romeo’s identity as“Man”, just as Romeo gives away Juliet’s identity as the sun.• In Act III, scene iii, Friar Lawrence says, “Romeo, come forth, thou fearful man; affliction is enamor’d of thy parts, And thou art wedded to calamity.”
  • 14. (side note here)• When Friar Lawrence says that Romeo (man) is subject to affliction and calamity, I think that Shakespeare doesn’t mean there is no hope for us. He simply means that Mankind is oriented around solving problems, but our solutions are not always without further problems…..(look at Fukushima for one example!)
  • 15. Friar Lawrence is called “ghostly confessor” and “ghostly father” by Romeo and Juliet. Why is heghostly? Because he can pass through the boundaries of the secret play and speak to them when they are together. No other character can do this, but one other one comes close! • Juliet’s nurse comes near to penetrating the walls separating Romeo and Juliet from the others. She is often calling “Juliet! Juliet!” from a little way away while Juliet is together with Romeo.
  • 16. Why does the Nurse have this specialpower to almost break into the “magiccircle” where Romeo and Juliet conduct their secret play??• She is a Clown/Fool figure. The Clown or Fool character is one with a very old dramatic ancestry. The Clown/Fool figure used to lead the processions/parades in seasonal rituals and festivals which were conducted and celebrated in honor of the sun. Therefore the Nurse is “close to the sun” in her dramatic lineage. Indeed, she is close to Juliet, the sun figure, too, as her caretaker.
  • 17. The Nurse calls Juliet onto the stage in Act I, scene iii, after Juliet’s mother says “call her forth to me”(Olderplays often used calling onto the stage as a way to reveal characters). • Nurse: Now by my maidenhead at twelve year old, I bade her come. What lamb! What ladybird! God forbid! Where’s this girl? What, Juliet! • Lambs and ladybirds are some creatures you might see in the countryside of England at this time----around 1596----but you would not see them in London, which was smoky and crowded. The countryside of England was still sun-powered. Not London. • “God forbid”---the Nurse accidentally reveals something about Juliet’s real identity, that is to say, there is a spiritual component in the Sun. This is not to say that Shakespeare advocates sun-worship, by the way! (More on this later!)
  • 18. Clowns and Fool figures are always telling the truth but because they speak in nonsensical ways, no one ever believes them.• The Nurse tells a story about her late husband talking to baby Juliet : “dost thou fall upon thy face? Thou wilt fall backward when thy hast more wit, wilt not thou, Jule?”• The sun goes to its zenith then „falls backward‟ (back down) and the sun is often said to have a “face”.
  • 19. Act III, scene v Romeo bids farewell to Juliet Juliet: Wilt thou be gone?...... Romeo: I must be gone and live---or stay and die. ,Ahh, yes....The problem in a nutshell!
  • 20. Romeo and Juliet Act 1, scene 1, lines 1-2Sampson: Gregory, on my word, we’ll not carry coals. Gregory: No, for then we should be colliers.
  • 21. Coal vs. the Sun• Coal can be mined and sold.• Coal can produce heat when burned; it is denser in energy than wood.• Using coal can give people a chance to use a wood forest for something else, like food.• Coal depletes, the sun doesn’t• England had a lot of coal, but not always a lot of sun!
  • 22. Coal started to be burned in England around 1100, but that was in a very limited way. • Coal production and consumption grew until around 1600, when coal overtook wood as the main source of fuel in England. • In effect, during Shakespeare’s lifetime, England had said “Good-bye” to the sun, just as Romeo had to say “good-bye” to Juliet. • England was the first country to “leave the sun” as its main source of fuel. • I guess Shakespeare noticed it and got a bit concerned.
  • 23. Once you start using fossil fuels, it is hard to stop, of course.• People and economies become very dependent on them.• Fossil fuels are very powerful and offer many advantages.• Of course, they have some disadvantages too.
  • 24. The tomb scene, Act 5, scene iii• Romeo keeps saying that Juliet looks like she is alive. “Ah, dear Juliet, Why art thou yet so fair?”• The sun shines just as brightly, but we have gotten away from the economic connection with the sun, so it doesn’t function for us.
  • 25. The tomb means some sort of economic change, probably.I am not quite sure exactly what it means.An end of one economic paradigm for mankindand the start of another?It looks a bit scary but this kind of change wouldhappen over centuries or millennia, so it’s not asbad as it seems at first.
  • 26. The opening quote, in full:• “I would also suggest that the two native Hermetic philosophers, John Dee and Robert Fludd, ought not to be excluded from the attentions of those interested in the English Renaissance. It may be because they have been excluded that the secret of Shakespeare has been missed.”-----page 353, The Art of Memory by Frances Yates
  • 27. Thank you for viewing this presentationMy ideas are all original. I am an academic researcher,but my work is not in the standard vein.Basically, although I think the secret play delineated byscenes with Romeo and Juliet not interacting withothers is very logical and elegant as an interpretivesolution for this play…………..the reactions of some professionals in the field tomy work is quite negative. To say they quite hate itwould be an understatement!
  • 28. (enter, wailing!!!)“I can’t really figure out whyprofessionals in the field of literaturedon’t like my elegant and simplesolution to the puzzle of Romeo andJuliet.” ------moi
  • 29. “Juliet is the sun!”• What could be more elegant and mysterious and dramatic than to have the real identity of Juliet revealed over centuries to a Mankind basically still in love with her?• I am happy to report that in one country, at least, my work has gotten some favorable attention. And my paper, on Romeo and Juliet, was even published there in an academic journal.
  • 30. How did I come up with this idea?I got this idea about Juliet really being the realsun when I made a decision to investigate theimagery of fossil fuels in literature a few yearsago. I noticed the first 2 lines of “Romeo andJuliet” and I spent about 8 months wonderingwhy he opened the play with 2 people talkingabout coal. It looked so strange!
  • 31. RosalineNot being able to find anymore direct references to “coal” in “Romeo andJuliet”, I spent about 8 or 9 months WONDERING about the first two lines.Finally I read Barbara Freese’s Coal: A Human History and I found out theQUEEN ELIZABETH had complained about coal smoke in London in the late1500s! Coal smoke is intensely thick, sooty, and black. We don’t get to see itas the Elizabethans saw it because our modern power plants have scrubbersand filters.Then I checked the play for words like “fume” “smoke” “black” etc. BINGO!They were there! All clustered around Rosaline, the cold dark woman whocan never satisfy Romeo!!Shakespeare was a master at allegory; I knew that from the sonnets.If Rosaline is coal, I wondered aloud, then WHO is Juliet??
  • 32. The answer hit me! “JULIET IS THE SUN”I am an obscure but working professional in the field of literature. I have a B.A.from Harvard University and an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and bothof my degrees are in English Literature.I have published a handful of papers. I have always enjoyed my work.BUT IN ALL MY YEARS OF INTERPRETIVE WORK, I HAD NEVER EVEREXPERIENCED ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE! IT WAS A JOLT OR A SHOCK, AFLASH. I ALMOST FELL ONTO THE FLOOR!
  • 33. A brief note:• My husband suggested that “we’ll not carry coals” means a Hermetic (secret, veiled) statement to the effect that someday we won’t use them economically anymore. Also, maybe Shakespeare didn’t totally approve of coal.• I confess that I had not thought of that, and had just assumed the topic of coal was introduced by these 2 lines.
  • 34. Thank you to my dear husband!• You had the brilliant idea to interpret “we’ll not carry coals” as a Hermetic statement.• You ordered Barbara Freese’s Coal: A Human History for me!• You listened to me when I couldn’t figure the puzzle out.• You read my paper and offered suggestions• You even asked me to turn my idea into a novel! (Gasp!)
  • 35. The End• And “Thank you” to Mr. William Shakespeare, a fascinating, ghostly, mysterious, scientifically-aware, dramatically-minded inventive genius.• I have been able to spend many happy hours wandering through the hallways of his mind, as I think his works can be called that.• Juliet is the sun