Eternal Flame Falls, Orchard Park NY

See here for a brief introduction to the Gateau Method.

Let me make this clear from the outset: this post is not about the Bangles’ song, which is fortunate because I can’t get it out of my head at the moment.

Legend has it that people began using eternal flames as memorials when Moses built the Tabernacle during the Exodus from Egypt; the Tabernacle found a permanent home in Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. Other religious traditions had similar practices: the Vestal Virgins tended a flame in Rome, the Delphic Oracle maintained another, and eternal flame still features prominently in Zoroastrian and some Hindu worship.

These days, however, most artificial eternal flames stand to honour the dead, particularly those killed in times of war. Natural eternal flames are usually due to the ignition of large subterranean sources of fossil fuels, such as the Eternal Flame Falls (above), Turkmenistan’s Door to Hell or Australia’s Burning Mountain, which has been alight for some 6000 years.

Whilst the K’n-yanis may depend on fossil fuels, they’re less reliant than the United States; in a doomsday scenario, they might be tempted to literally enact a scorched-earth strategy by igniting the petrochemical deposits over their heads. Perhaps they use this threat to deter the US’ planned inundation of their subterranean realm?

On the other hand, the Silver Shirts‘ nationalism may well have an environmental bent—as many early Fascist groups’ did—so they might come to regard sites such as Eternal Flame Falls as sacred. Such a site would see a number of ceremonial uses, from initiations, to memorial services, to devotional rites celebrating both the grandeur of God’s creation and the symbols of his Paradise-on-Earth: New America.

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