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J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst have said that the book “S” is their love letter to the written word. That’s a nice play on words, with “letter” having the double meaning of “S” and of a written form of communication between people. Given that the written word evolved from the development of alphabets, perhaps there is something to be found in the origin of letters themselves.

“S” is the 19th letter of the Latin/Roman alphabet. No surprise there. But there are other alphabets – and with them other surprises.

𐤒 (qoph) is the 19th letter of the Phoenician/Hebrew/Aramaic/Arabic alphabets. Qoph means monkey. Perhaps follow the monkey has something to do with following the evolution of a letter or letters of the alphabet along the history of writing. Qoph can also mean needle or eye of the needle. This is reminiscent of the needle used to stitch S‘s lips with thread, along with the other sailors. The sound of qoph is that of a strong KS spends experiences a very significant life event in the cave of the people of the K__ – a story also written about in The Archer’s Tales – where an early form of writing begins on the cave walls.

The 19th letter of the Egyptian heiroglyphic alphabet, also pronounced as a strong K, is the symbol of a basket. Consider this as you reread pp103-105 of “S” and the repeated emphasis to the reader to watch the basket. There is also an association of the symbol for basket with the idea of a riddle, probably because a woven basket is riddled with holes.

The 19th Tarot Card is The Sun, which is represented by Apollo in the mythic deck. Maelstrom often refers to S as Sunshine or Sunnydags. The choice of the sun for the 19th card may be associated with the amazing fact that that the sun, moon, and Mercury realign themselves every 19 years.

Perhaps all of this is coincidental or irrelevant. Perhaps it’s a set of signposts along the journey through “S” to help direct us. What do you think?