Names and Changes
“My Mama Always Called Me Son”
Herman “Sonny” Blount
Herman >< namreH >< nam(e)reH > Reh = Egyptian Sun God
H. Sonne Bhlount
Mr. Ra<>Mr. Re
The Ra > eaRTh
The Chicago EL
Philosophy is a conjecture. I’m dealing with equations. ~Sun Ra
According to Wikipedia Ēl is a Northwest Semitic word meaning “deity”1 the root and variations thereof can be traced to many languages and nations who also understood the word to indicate the barer/ birther/(berther) of all other gods and to be translated as “Sun.” Scholar John Szwed, in his foundational book, Space is the Place, the Life and Times of Sun Ra, draws attention to the fact that Sun Ra’s research for the origins of mankind, and world cultures and religions led him to a wide range of documents and fields of study*2 such as Grafton Elliot Smith’s The Ancient Egyptians and Their Influence on Upon the Civilization and Godfrey Higgins’s The Anacalypsis, an Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil of the Saitic Isis, or an Inquiry into the Origin of Languages, Nations, and Religions. The connections he began to make between historical text such as these and his research into numerology, and the occult led Sun Ra to believe, that the letter “R” and the letter “L” were transposable and interchangeable. On October 20, 1952, Herman “Sonny” Blount changed his name to Le Sony’r Ra. 3
And then there’s Chicago’s ELE-vated Train. Which lore tells was greatly enjoyed by Sun Ra. Riding around in the loop, you can spot a sprinkling of buildings decorated in the Egyptian Revival Style. The discovery of King Tut’s tomb in the early twenties, inspired this architectural trend and also, surely ignited a young Herman Poole Blount’s imagination.
So I’m riding through Washington Park, coasting by the grounds of the DuSable Museum when I roll across this.