A New Saint John the Baptist? Or is she doomed to the fate of Cassandra? Thoughts for June 23-24, Johannisnacht und Johannistag


I am sure that some readers are already weary of my Hunger Games obsession with this latest experiment in Science Fiction as Mythic Reality/Historical and Prophetic Allegory.  Rather like Saul of Tarsus blinded on the road to Damascus, I am a late convert, and have that same “recent convert’s fanaticism” that Paul had, which my grandmother always used to make fun of in people of our time. Having only discovered the series on March 23, 2012, when the movie came out, today, June 23, is my 90 day “anniversary” as a Hunger Games Fanatic—and to think I went to see it at midnight on that day merely out of a long-standing habit of trying to see movies on the early morning premier.  At that time I knew absolutely nothing about the series.  

But since then, I have not only seen the movie countless times and read all three books, but become convinced that Suzanne Collins is a voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way for—the future of North America.  My question today is whether she is the new Saint John, making straight in the desert a highway for our savior, or doomed to the fate of Cassandra of Troy—granted by Apollo the gift of prophecy but cursed never to be believed (until it’s quite too late).  

A close friend is facing an appeal of a major constitutional case in Florida that has already dragged on for seven years.  She is trying to decide whether to quit or go on forward.  I have told her there’s no purpose in proceeding unless she runs the race as if to win.  So I wrote her:

You have faced an unjust judge for a very long time, maybe even several.  (See Luke 18: 1-8, below).  Are you ready to faint?  If you want peace at last, I don’t want to sell you on anything.  I for my part do not fear fighting nearly so much as I fear the day when I might stop fighting.  The constant striving and the eternal journey, the quest, those are the most important parts of being alive, to me at least.  And I always quote what Victor Laszlo said to Rick in the movie Casablanca“You ask why do we keep on fighting?  You might as well ask why do we keep on breathing.  If we stop breathing, we die.  If we stop fighting, the world will die.”  I personally have lost more than most people in the world ever came near to having; I confess I was born into something like the top of the top 1%, certainly more than about 99% of the people in the world, outside of America and Western Europe, anyhow, could ever even have dreamt of having. While was growing up and, really, for a large part of my adult life, I had everything without working for it.  I don’t anymore, pure and simple.  That was a loss, but none of that deters me.  And none of that makes me feel anything but admiration for those who had had the strength and courage to work hard and achieve great things through dull hard work throughout their lives.
If it scares you to think of losing everything because you fight, then you really need to stop fighting.  Jesus died so that we might have a chance to be saved, that we might have a chance to live free—but He never once told us that freedom or salvation were easy—Look at Matthew 10:34-39, below my signature at the bottom of all of my letters…. do you want to take your cross and follow after him to Calvary (the “hill of the skull”?).  I do, but I don’t want to drag you if you don’t want to go.
From a different historical angle, but way similarly, from my new favorite books, the Hunger Games Trilogy, there is a song called “The Hanging Tree” (you know, the Cross is sometimes called a “Tree” and we know that crucified victims are always “hung” on the cross–albeit by nails in their arms rather than ropes….)
Here is the “Hanging Tree” that Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen learned from her father.  One of the beautiful parts of Suzanne Collins’ art, in my mind, is how she uses words to create and describe a heroine who is not at all skilled in verbal communication but whose emotional power and commitment always lead her to do the right thing. The intuitive truth in music and singing is a recurring motif in the books.  Katniss Everdeen, like C&W’s Loretta Lynn, was born a coal miner’s daughter, in a cabin on a hill in very poor corner Appalachia.  At one point, by a mountain lake cabin, Katniss spontaneously sings this song, which her father had taught her, primarily for the benefit of a mute and voiceless person whose voice box and tongue were cut out by the cruel NDAA-worthy “Capitol” government of Katniss’ highly centralized future North American Home called “Panem” (Panem is, I think a rather elaborate Classical Greek-Latin pun, I think, on the word “Bread” on the one hand and a previously decentralized confederation E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one) subjected to a an all powerful “Pantocracy”—oppressive supreme government):
Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where they strung up a man they say murdered three.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where the dead man called out for his love to flee.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where I told you to run so we’d both be free.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.
Aside from being an eerily old-fashioned, even ancient-sounding piece created by Collins in the first decade of the 3rd Millennium, this song is a metaphoric foundation of a rebel dirge—a cross between Irish & Scots that is, in fact, somewhat characteristic of Appalachia.   The “man who murdered three” who was hanged on the tree, the man on the tree singing for his love to join him, was no ordinary criminal but a rebel, a revolutionary against the strong centralized government of Panem.
In the Germanic/Celtic tradition, hanging was the form of human sacrifice preferred. Even to commit suicide by rope was to identify with the God Odin/Wotan, who once, for nine nights hanged himself on a windy tree, “a sacrifice of myself to myself” as the Skaldic texts recited—the tree in question, the Linden Baum, was for a long time associated with hanging, suicide, and sacrifice, even into the 19th century where it figures in Franz Schubert’s song cycle “The Winter’s Journey” (Die Winterreise), never more ably performed than by the just recently departed Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.  The identity of the Hanged Man, even in Tarot card readings, with Christian sacrifice and prophecy seems inescapable.
In Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games (Vol. 3) the Hanged Man’s murders were not homicides committed in passion, then, nor for mere material/commercial gain, but were almost certainly acts of revolutionary defiance: SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS, probably the shooting of Capitol officials, Capitol Peacemakers, Coal Mining Company, or possibly even organizers of the sacrificial Hunger Games themselves.
I think Suzanne Collins is clearly commenting on the present for thousand different reasons, not the least of which is that, in the world of the Hunger Games, private ownership of guns and even bows and arrows is strictly forbidden, punishable by death…..GUN CONTROL by the Experts like Mao Tse Tung, Stalin, and Pol Pot, but being implemented today by the Senate, by the Department of State under Hillary Clinton, and by your favorite President and mine, Barack Hussein Obama, aka Barry Soetoro, the child of a Kenyan Communist who grew up in Indonesia to become the first truly African (by his origin more than his race) President of the United States, and the first completely and overly anti-Constitutional, and anti-Capitalist, Dictator of the Proletariat.
In any event, in the song above, the Hanged Man’s public execution was punishment, but, as more importantly, the song itself, above, that Katniss sang to the mute victim of oppression, was banned an effective way to deter anyone thinking of joining the freedom fighter/terrorist’s cause.  Capital punishment, the death penalty, here became employed as Capitol punishment, a means to ingrain and inculcate fear in the districts of Panem, fear of the consequences of resistance and rebellion even stronger than the common people’s hatred of their masters.
In essence, then the song, ‘The Hanging Tree’ calls on the living who love freedom to join the martyred freedom fighter in putting their holy cause above concerns for their individual lives.  Every bit as much as “La Marseillaise,” the Hanging Tree is an invitation to revolution, i.e., to risk death in the hope of a greater life—even recognizing that it will not JUST be impure blood that stains the ploughed furrows of the fields.  I hope that someone will put the Hanging Tree to a tune where it can become a national hit, so that Suzanne Collins’ brilliant insights, first published in 2008, the year of Barak Hussein Obama’s ominous election as the American Mao, will not simply recede into popular culture history, but will actually motivate the creation of….dare I say it, a NEW BIRTH OF FREEDOM in this country—and that her warnings against the evils of absolute centralization, totalitarian dictatorship (an all Powerful President limited by neither the power of Congress nor a viable Supreme Court), will be heard by many and will herald the arrival of one who will live (or live and die, as may be necessary) to overthrow this menace and restore the American Republic to the real and authentic American people.
As summer begins, I would wish everyone a Happy Johannisnacht, Johannistag, Saint John’s Day this June 23-24, and to remember the Voice of Him that Cryeth in the Wilderness, Prepare ye the Way of the Lord—Make straight in the Desert a Highway, for our God.  It might not be a bad time to read the opening chapter of the Gospel of Mark…. even though it is always good to remember also what the prince of peace once said in Matthew 10: 34-39
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth:
I came not to send peace, but a sword.
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father,
and the daughter against her mother,
and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 
And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me:
and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
or else what I consider a closely parallel text in John 12: 23-27:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.  If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

And above all,  never stop praying for justice—even when the Judges won’t listen, or even when they try to shut you up, as they do, with increasing frequency, in the early stages of the establishment of PANEM in North America….:

Luke 18:1-8

18 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

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