Satanic Panic – Or, How To Totally Freak Out the Culturally Challenged

Tunneling Miners Imagery During the Gotthard Base Tunnel Openning Ceremony
Tunneling Miners Imagery During the Gotthard Base Tunnel Opening Ceremony

This is part two on the discussion of Christian activist writer Iben Thranholm’s sensationalist post at RT entitled, What the Hell, Satan worship on the rise in America. Part one discussed Thranholm’s alarmist commentary regarding The Satanic Temple’s After School Satan Club. In this post here at we’re going to take a look at the second bit of tawdry tabloid ‘journalism’ in the article – it’s in regard to the June 1 opening ceremony for the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland.

The incredible undertaking to build the tunnel is referred to as ‘the project of the century’ – the north/south Alpine massif passage measures over 35 miles (57 km) and cost over 12 billion dollars (11 billion Euros) to build. It took over 17 years to complete the Gotthard Base Tunnel and it now holds the record for being the world’s longest and most expensive tunneling project in History.

Those familiar with the history of the Gotthard understand its cultural and political significance in the region which extends as far back as ancient Roman times. For those who are not, SWI hosts a great post featuring an interview with author Peter von Matt in which he discusses the Saint-Gotthard Massif’s geo-political history and significance. He refers to the Gotthard as, ‘…a symbol of openness to the world.’ You can read more by clicking here. Another nice place to go for a history of the Gotthard is Inventing Europe where Alexander Badenoch offers a nice presentation in the post, Mountains, Myths and Maps here.

The Gotthard massif is often referred to as the mythical heart of Switzerland. Peter von Matt is not too keen on that reference – in his words:

I hate the word myth in a political context. It has become a junk word for everything. The Gotthard as a pass and the Gotthard as a tunnel system are two national symbols of quite different types. Politicians with a tendency to pathos still evoke the pass as Switzerland’s heart. The tunnel system, on the other hand, is the showpiece of Swiss technological history. In that sense, it embodies Switzerland’s drive for progress but also the drive for European cooperation from an early age.

In the inaugural ceremony for the new Gotthard Base Tunnel, the creator and director, Voker Hesse, combined both the elements of ‘Gotthard as a pass’ and the Gotthard tunnel as a piece of Swiss tech history. Again, for the viewer of the opening spectacle to have any sort of understanding of the imagery involved a familiarity of the mythos surrounding the area would be most helpful.

the Ibex

For the culturally challenged, and a certain set of religiously indoctrinated members of the public, the image above just had to be a reference to Baphomet – the goat-headed representation of Satan – according to their understanding of things. For others who are more astute this character has obvious references to the ibex – a wild goat very prevalent in the Alps and often used as a symbol of the region. It also references the myth associated with the ‘Devil’s Bridge’…

The narrow rock formation above Göschenen has always blocked access to the Gotthard and hence prevented access to the south. For this reason, it was extremely difficult to build a bridge there.

The difficulty of the problem is highlighted by the legend about the futile efforts of the locals to make a mule trail through the narrow Schöllenen Gorge and build a stone bridge at the spot where the young Reuss surges between sheer cliffs. In desperation the mayor called out: “Then let the devil build a bridge!” The devil appeared and said: “I will build you a bridge, but the first to cross it will belong to me.”

They agreed to the trade, and after three days there really was an arched bridge over the Reuss. On the other side sat the devil, waiting for his reward. But instead of sending a person across the bridge, they sent over a goat. “You can have him”, they cried, “so now you have the first soul to cross the bridge!”

Enraged, the devil tore the goat up and took a great stone with which he wanted to destroy the bridge. Then came a little old lady; she recognized him and carved a cross into the stone. When the devil saw this, he missed his target and the stone landed in the valley, not far from Göschenen, where it has been ever since. And then when the highway was constructed, the “Devil’s Stone”, as it was called, was simply moved to a new location. – Andermatt

This is not a legend of ‘Satan worship’ – it is a legend of human triumph over ‘the devil.’ The devil being used as a motif. Much is made about this is segment of the program – the segment which portrays the primordial and the primitive with numerous other motifs. Not much is discussed about the rest of it.

The Ibex character falls prostrate. What follows is a march of progress. Hesse’s interpretation of progress is not presented as a spectacle of purity – the animal nature in humanity is carried along as well. There is a lot of confusion with viewers when they try to make sense of the decadence reflected in the segment post that of the ibex. If the presentation is understood in its entirety, things do make sense.

The climax of the spectacle should have given every viewer the clue as to the meaning once and for all. All fall in reverence before the giant clock – even the now de-horned ibex. The clock representing progress. The image of the clock gives way to a view of a speeding train breaking out of the tunnel. All celebrate jubilantly…the Alps have been tamed!

No one seems to mention the scene on the screen where the train appears to float into the sky – perhaps an allusion to space as the next step forward in human progress.

A lot has also been made by the conspiracy minded that Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President Francois Hollande of France and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi attended the event. As if their presence was proof positive about this being a ‘Satanic New World Order ritual’. Never mind that this is a tremendous achievement that will benefit all European countries involved. The leaders from these three countries were present at the opening of the first Gotthard tunnel opening in 1872 as well. As Peter von Matt put it:

As soon as we set aside the urge to think only in the present and stop seeing everything from the Swiss perspective, we see clearly that ever since it first opened, the Gotthard pass has provided a major means of communication within Europe. It was a trade route to Italy, an exit route for thousands and thousands of Swiss mercenaries and a gateway to let in Italian culture and the humanist spirit.

Farmers in central Switzerland have traded with Lombardy and Piedmont since time immemorial, just as the French-speaking Swiss traded with Burgundy and France, and the people of Zurich traded with Alsace and southern Germany. The Gotthard was and is a significant link between Switzerland and the rest of the world. It is a symbol of our openness to the world.

The program was indeed weird, perhaps even ‘bizarre’ – especially to the culturally challenged. It was a major piece of abstract avant-garde theater. People with healthier minds who didn’t understand where it was coming from recognized it as ‘off-the-wall’ and bizarre – but at least they didn’t call forth the ‘dark lord Satan’ where he wasn’t. If anyone is guilty of making this spectacle something evil, it’s the crazies whose limited experience of culture comes from a book of myths written by superstitious primitives thousands of years ago.

The full inaugural presentation can be viewed below – video via Dark Horse News.

One more thing…

In other Christian related news: Oklahoma mother charged with using crucifix to kill ‘possessed’ daughter

A 49-year-old Oklahoma woman has been charged with first-degree murder on suspicion of killing her daughter whom she thought was possessed by the devil by jamming a crucifix down her throat and beating her, court records released on Tuesday showed.

Juanita Gomez was booked last week in the death of Geneva Gomez, whose body was found in an Oklahoma City home with a large cross on her chest, a probable cause affidavit said.

Police said Gomez confessed to the crime, telling officers she forced a crucifix and religious medallion down her daughter’s throat until blood came out.

Sheesh, those Christians sure do believe the strangest things.

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