Peeling the Onion: Week 6

Brace yourself this week for more vivid imagery –

Does it foster misogyny and militarism?

It may have been used by misogynists and militarists,

But if you read it in your voice, in our context,

I doubt that naming evil this way fosters it


Meet ‘the whore of Babylon’,

‘the scarlet woman’,

riding the red beast with 7 heads and 10 horns

She’s like a parody of the earlier birthing mother,

Who was fleeing the beast –

And sure enough, those polarities,

of woman as mother/whore,

victim to be saved or diabolical temptress,

have been tools of misogyny.

The Babylon labels are about imperial tyranny –

Babylon itself, our Iraq in geography,

Where the elite of Judah and Jerusalem were exiled,

600 years before Jesus

500 years before Jesus,

Cyrus of Persia (Iran) beat Babylon,

And permitted return and rebuilding,

The ‘Second Temple’ and its era

When John writes Revelation,

Nearly 100 years after Jesus,

‘Babylon’ means a generic oppressive unjust tyranny

Roman rule through provincial clients

I see more imagery of wealth than of sex –

Even ‘fornication’ has more to do with commodification of humans

Than with erotic perversions –

It’s the readers who fetishize this sexually,

Or draw derogatory gendered conclusions -

Not the text alone or the writer’s intention


Keep making links,

today more for the beast –

What ‘transpersonal entities,

bigger than us, smaller than God’

Imperial, a ‘military-industrial complex’,

Syndicates of big money with big guns,

The woman just the metropolis that steers it

A parody of God,

who is,

and who was,

and who is to come

This is the 8th such empire,

With many kings, nations and rulers

subordinate to it

Including our own,

till conflict resolves –

War against the Lamb,

but also civil war against the whore


An angel announces the plot –

Babylon is fallen –

Starting with the whore city

The image of Imelda Marcos

or Marie Antoinette –

But of any oblivious rich figure will do


Trace the line of dominoes –

The chain of consequences –

Everyone who prospered

by association with Babylon,

Will suffer

by its collapse:

Kings, merchants, even sailors


Reframe the cinematic ‘reaction shot’ –

If there is weeping and wailing

Among the hangers-on of empire

There is joy in heaven –

At the just desserts,

Pain for the unjust,

Vindication for the righteous


Move from anticipation,

And civil war against the city,

To the wider war

As a white horse is released,

To lead armies against the imperial tyranny,

Retributive justice realized

Who gets thrown into the lake of sulphur fire?

Not individuals, for petty rule-breaking acts –

1. The beast itself,

A transpersonal entity,

Imperial tyranny

With the heads and horns

The parody of divinity

2. the angel

Another transpersonal entity,

Which had announced the empire –

The propagandist of evil,

The ‘media’, agent and messenger

Which marked so many

With the ‘mark of the beast’

That’s my 500 word quota for today

Enjoy the show!