Master Video Series (Part 4, Miracle)

Video 4. Miracle I

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For thousands of years, the masters have been connected to the realm of miracle. Some were saints or prophets, others monks or magicians or even just wanderers. At times these miracles were the province of myths and legends: Some said that Cain’s mark on his forehead rendered him immortal, or that Oedipus’s blinded eyes gave him the power to bless or curse cities, and the sirens of Greek literature appear as half-women, half-bird like creatures whose singing alone could entice sailors to hurl themselves upon the rocks and drown among the waves. At other times though, miracles were the province of observed phenomena: many claimed they witnessed Sufi martyrs dance while burning, or stand and walk after their deaths, just as others have watched in amazement as certain Christian believers manifest the open marks of the stigmata on their bodies. The tales are seemingly endless, and the masters are always spoken of amid whispers of their miraculous histories.

These miracles each have very complicated origins, and can thus be broken into several categories. The first concerns miracles that revolve around Time. These include the ability of Time-Travel, the ability of Premonition (or seeing the future), and the abilities of Necromancy or Resurrection (which is to raise the dead or to bring oneself back from death). These time-based miracles always emanate from a radically altered relation to past, present, and future (one that is based more in paradigms of circularity or eternity than the linear clock-time that rules our everyday world).

The next category of miracle resides in the area of Manipulation, as masters are often said to exercise extreme control over those they encounter, including: the ability to read the thoughts of others, the ability to enter others’ dreams or whisper into their minds, the ability to drain special powers from souls or objects, the ability to bring good fortune or harm to others’ lives, and the ability of possession (whether meaning to seize hold of someone else or to allow themselves to be overtaken by another entity). In each of these instances, what separates the figure of the master is a certain outlook on existence as highly vulnerable, an interplay of forces of domination, or a system of thin puppet-strings wherein one is always either the architect or the slave.

Example 1. Grigori Rasputin, the Dark Mystic

The Russian holy man Grigori Rasputin still casts a cryptic shadow over modern history: to some a saintly priest, to others a demonic vessel, and to still others a charlatan who made his way into high political circles through cunning lies and tricks.

It was said that Rasputin displayed paranormal talents from a young age in his village: he was sometimes found removing deformities from the sick; he could allegedly tell when another person had stolen something; and he spoke with horses in an invented child’s language. Later he would have visions and reside in a basement for months wailing and shrieking lamentations to God, which soon gained him the title “The Cellar Preacher.” Still later, he was invited to the royal court and was said to cure the Tsar’s son of both lethal fever and hemophilia. He lived thereafter at the palace, gaining the close trust of the Tsar’s wife, but also began engaging in suspicious rituals of drunkenness, ecstatic dancing, and eroticism.

For the next few years, Rasputin became more sinister and intimidating to those around him. He was said to have a mesmerizing stare, and could hypnotize through his fierce gaze. He would also select political officials for the Tsar simply by looking into their eyes. Furthermore, Rasputin was a mithridatist: that is, one who took small doses of poison in order to immunize himself against its effects.

On December 30 1916, at the age of 47, Rasputin was assassinated by four high members of the Russian political world. They invited him to dinner and proceeded to slip enough cyanide into his wine to kill 4 ordinary men. When they noticed that he remained totally unfazed, they then shot Rasputin through the chest, beat him severely, and threw him into a freezing river assuming him dead.

Nevertheless, these conspirators would later recount the image of their own unthinkable horror when they saw Rasputin still alive, attempting to swim across the ice-cold water to the shore, though he would in fact drown. Soon after some local people would recover the body and, still fearing the dark mystic, took the corpse to a nearby forest to be burned for safe measure. As the flames enveloped Rasputin, the bystanders witnessed in terror as the body visibly began to move and writhe and appear even to sit up. Perhaps just the side-effect of a badly-performed cremation and the constriction of rigidified tendons that were suddenly heated, or perhaps the final miracle of someone deemed inhuman in his time, and not quite clear whether empowered by good or evil or something altogether beyond.

Author: Jason Mohaghegh; Video Editor: Ghazal Zamani

Video Credits [Materials Included]: [Video 1] FLUIDIC. “Sculpture in Motion” (kinetic sculpture). 2014.; [Video 2] DAYDREAM V.02 Audiovisual installation by NONOTAK STUDIO (Noemi Schipfer and Takami Nakamoto). Documentation video video from INSANITUS FESTIVAL 2013 in KAUNAS, LITHUANIA.; Score: Nick Cave. “Soundtrack to The Proposition” (Film, 2005).