Words of Wisdom #64, #65 & #66

“Nothing’s worth as accepting one’s own fate, hard as it may be!”.

-Zhuangzi

“Your nature and your destiny are not of your property: they are the course traced for you by sky and earth”.

-Zhuangzi

“The succession of life and death is decree of fate, as the alternation of night and day is decree of the sky. There are things that the human being can’t change: such is the condition of all beings”.

-Zhuangzi

“Master Yang answered: <<There is a saying of the ancients, that I try to remember and repeat to you: all that is as it is, and we don’t understand why, is destiny>>”.

-Liezi

Immagine correlata

Advertisements

Rex Quondam Rexque Futurus

Only by setting the Sun can rise, only by becoming dry, as if they were dead, the majority of seeds can germinate: death is a mill that grinds life; similarly, in archaic times, the children had to undergo a temporary initiatic death before being able to be reborn to a renewed and more mature form of existence.

***

In this article I will focus on some themes and symbols that can be found within the so-called Arthurian cycle.

King Arthur (from Welsh arth, Celtic *arto-, Proto-Celtic arthos*, from the PIE root *rtko, always with the meaning of “bear”) is the “Bear King” (the constellation of Ursa Major in Gaelic was called Cerbyd Arthur, “Arthur’s Wagon”), son of Uther Pendragon (from Celtic -penn, “mount” [a symbolic image always referring to the burial mound] and “dragon”, maybe with the meaning of “mount of the dragon”): both the bear and the serpent (in Greek “dràkon” means both “dragon” and “serpent”) are archaic symbols of initiation and eternal rebirth, the first in relation to its cyclical apparent death and rebirth during the period of hibernation inside the den, the second in relation to the cyclical renewal of its existence during the molt; in myths and folklore the gaze of the dragon has the power to petrify, immobilize or paralyse its victim, characteristic attributable to the etymology itself of the word “dragon” (stemming from Greek “dérkomai”, “to gaze intensely”) and comparable to the petrifying power of Medusa’s head: it’s the calcification process to which may incur both the placenta and the child inside the maternal womb.

yearling_in_denMuta2-8105-copia

Arthur and Uther are therefore two initiates that have accomplished in their youth a ritual process of reincarnation within the ancestry, but their kinship suggests that they may actually be the same identical figure; the medieval sources at our disposal indicate the 26th of November as date of Uther’s death, fifteen days after the anniversary of Saint Martin: Uther dies in the period of the year when the bear begins its hibernation, and simbolically reincarnates in his son Arthur (“bear”), who, as his father, will come into possession of the sword Excalibur (forged in Avalon, the burial mound, and obtained by the legitimate descendant or by extracting it from a stone [i.e. the burial mound] or by taking it from the arm of the Lady of the Lake that comes out from the water wielding it [the symbolism of the water is substantially equivalent to that of the burial mound, it fulfills at the same time a function of grave and matrix and is, especially in reference to the amniotc liquid, a generator and life-giving element), the object with which was buried the divine ancestor and in which his identity is poured and materialized, solemn guarantee of a regal destiny: only the predestined descendant can take possession of it and make sure that his own immature and fragmented identity reintegrates with that of the deceased reborn in him.

For what concerns Melin, master of initiation and prophet, it will suffice to remember that according to the tradition he was conceived by a daimon and a mortal woman, his second name was Ambrosius (“he who possesses ambrosia”) and used to prophesy while sitting under an apple tree.

It can be said that, by means of the initiatory process of reincarnation, our ancestors took the responsibility of altering the regular flow of time as well as the intrinsic nature and self-awareness of children; the reincarnation of the spirit, identity, memory and knowledge of a divine ancestor was accomplished in the short period of time in which the initiate resided in the telluric depths of the burial mound. The intuition, realisation and inner possession of the metaphysical truth that allows us to integrate our individual identity within the totality of time is the fundamental purpose of the initiatory process: the eternal flow of time consists in the eternal restoration and reintegration of the same identical living matter, for which reason we have always been and always we’ll be, we are made of the substance itself of eternity and immortality, yet yoked to a temporal and mortal perspective, being no longer able to attain and innerly possess this metaphysical truth.

In relation to sacred kingship is relevant the theme of the “painful blow”, which wounds and weakens the Sacred King – called Fisher King – whose indecipherable infirmity is described in terms of a disability in the legs, more specifically in the thigh, with consequent lameness and difficulty of movement (in the Mabinogion, analogously, Brân the Blessed is wounded in the thigh by a spear, wound that results incurable and an inscrutable obstacle to the fulfillment of the regal function; also the hero Celtchar undergoes a very similar destiny): this refers to the recurring symbolism of the femur as a synonymous of movement and life; therefore this enigmatic weakness and infirmity, from which the Sacred King awaits to heal (on the symbolic level “healing” always equals to “rebirth”) while residing in his castle (i.e. the burial mound, the place where the deceased reigns supreme) in a state of symbolic “sleep” (state of being that I will examine further down), consists precisely in a symbolic and temporary apparent death, which has as immediate consequence the sterility of both kingdom and nature, manifesting itself in the symbolism of the “Terre Gaste” (“Wasteland”) and the “Arbre Sec” (“Dry Tree”); the Sacred King is therefore arrived at the conclusion of his annual function, in correspondence of the temporary death of the Sun in winter, and exclusively the Graal will be able to heal him, the search of which, in this interpretative context, can be understood in terms of a selective competition aimed at restoring and pass down the sacred kingship.

TRAMONTO-X-LOC.-LORETTA

Note: archaically the states of sleep and death were placed in reciprocal equivalence (Hypnos [the personification of sleep] and Thanatos [the personification of death] are twin brothers in the Greek mythology), indeed a sleeping man and a dead man are outwardly very similar, and both the bed and the grave have always served as a place of rest; these associations led to believe that as well as sleep and night are inevitably followed by awakening and day, death would have been fatally followed by rebirth, that’s why our ancestors often placed the dead in fetal position (position that, curiously, we tend to assume, intentionally or not, during sleep) inside the burial mounds, so that they would become, simbolically, embryos waiting to be reborn from the womb of the earth, source of life.

9610-17

At the end of the Battle of Camlann (during which Arthur is mortally wounded by Mordred) occurs an ambiguous episode, when Arthur embraces Lucan, one of his last knights still alive, and by doing so suffocates him causing his death; it has been hypothesized that Lucan may be a figure equivalent to the god Lugh, which was christianized by the Church in Luke the Evangelist: their names would share the same etymological meaning, “bright, shining”, from the PIE root *leuk-, “light, brightness, shininess”, from which also come the Latin lux and the Greek leukos, both with the same meaning; one of the epithets of Lugh is indeed “lámfada”, “of the long arm”, in reference to the solar rays, which arrive everywhere despite coming from the immeasurable celestial heights. The legendary Battle of Camlann took place in coincidence with the festivity of Samhain – celebrated between October 31st and November 1st and today known as Halloween – which from the initiatory side marked the beginning of the ritual of rebirth, whereas from the merely seasonal side marked the beginning of winter: therefore Lucan, the Sun, must necessarily die, and Arthur, the bear that hibernates, renounces possession of Excalibur and allows himself to be taken to Avalon.

ARTHDEAT

Avalon (etymologically “isle of apples”, from Welsh afal [pronounced “aval”], Breton aval, Celtic *abal-, Proto-Celtic *aballo-, always with the meaning of “apple”; in the Vita Merlini of Geoffrey of Monmouth, Arhtur is taken in the Insula Pomorum), is a legendary isle simbolically located in the west, where the Sun sets: it is the land of the dead, i.e. the burial mound.

Beetween Gavrinis (a small isle – situated in the Gulf of Morbihan in Brittany – where there is a prehistoric burial mound) and Avalon there is no difference:
full_Gavrinis-ADV-Oct2015-28-1-

Avalon is therefore related to the apples of immortality, as in the case of the red apple picked by Eve from the Tree of Life and given to Adam, promise of future rebirth, symbolism that refers to the placenta, which looks like a tree and nourishes the fetus with the nutrients present in the blood that flows in it. In certain versions of the legend Arthur goes to Avalon accompanied by three ladies (tripartite manifestation [past, present and future] of a single figure symbolizing the circularity of existence), and there nine fairy sisters (personifications of the nine months that make up the symbolic pregnancy) take care of him, so that he can “rest” and “heal”, waiting for the propitious time to return (i.e. to be reborn) and assume kingship.

“Some say, in many places of England, that king Arthur is not dead, but by will of Our Lord carried elsewhere. They also say that he will return…I don’t affirm this, but rather that somewhere in this world his life has undergone a transformation. But many say that in his grave is written this verse: HIC IACET ARTHURUS, REX QUONDAM REXQUE FUTURUS”.

-Thomas Malory

Spengler: about Nobility and Priesthood

“The men who belong inwardly to these two castes and not only in name are really different from the others; unlike that of the peasant and of the bourgeois, their life rests entirely on a symbolic dignity. They don’t live to live, but so that life acquires a meaning”.

“The nobility lives in a world of facts, the priest in a world of truths; to the first corresponds the lived experience, to the other the knowledge; to the first corresponds the man of action, to the other the thinker”.

“The nobility is indeed caste in the proper sense, it is a synthesis of blood and race, it is a current of existence in the most perfect form imaginable. This is why the nobility can be conceived as a peasant element of higher order”.

“On the other hand priesthood represents the anti-caste in the proper sense, the caste of those who deny, the non-race, the independence from the soil, the free, atemporal, ahistorical awake being”.

“The caste of the pure awake being and of the eternal truths turns against time, against race, against sex in every sense. Man as a peasant or as a knight is attracted by the woman, in which he feels destiny; man as a priest departs from her”.

“For the man of race dying without heirs is the true, terrible death; who continues to live in the children and grandchildren doesen’t die entirely. But for the true priest is valid the proverb: media vita in morte sumus; he recognizes only spiritual heirs and disregards the meaning of the woman”.

“As a rule, at the beginnings of every culture also arises an original nobility, in whose hands will by now be the destiny of the culture. In a silent but determined way the shaping energy puts <<in shape>> the being, it imprints and fixes a rhythm to the blood, for the whole future. Indeed in every early period this creative ascent towards the living form corresponds to what in every late period will be the power of tradition, that is to say the old and solid discipline, the rhythm become definite and so vigorous that even in the extinction of the ancient lineages knows how to attract continuously in its orbit, from the deep, always new men, always new currents of being. One can not doubt that the history of the later ages in its form and rhythm is already included, potentially but irrevocably, in the first generations. The heights that it can reach depend on the power of the tradition existing in the blood”.

“Similarly, all that happens in the history of the spirit, – and the fact that a history also exists in this domain, is shown by the power that has the blood on perceiving and understanding – all the religions, all the arts, all the ideas in their active and in form awake being, with all their developments, all their symbolisms, all their passion are expression of the blood that flows through such forms in the awake being of entire series of generations. A hero doesn’t need to know of this second world, he is all life, but a saint must bend life in himself through the most severe ascesis in order to be only spirit, and the strength necessary to do that is again life itself”.

“Precisely for this the nobility itself in historical sense is infinitely more than what is thought in the late periods of a comfortable life: it is not a sum of titles, rights and ceremonies, but an internal possession difficult to achieve and difficult to maintain that, once understood, already appears worthy of the sacrifice of a whole life. An ancient ancestry doesn’t mean only a series of ancestors, because everyone has ancestors, but rather of progenitors that lived up to history during generations and generations and that not only had a destiny, but were also destiny”.

“The priest has around the world considered as nature; of this he deepens the image through reflection. Instead the nobility lives in the world as history and deepens it transforming its image. If starting from either one or the other attitude can be formed a great tradition, in the first case it is the result of an intellectual formation, in the other of a discipline”.

“The discipline extends to the blood and continues itself from father to son. Instead the formation in the other sense presupposes a talent, therefore an authentic and strong priestly organization is always based on a complex of spiritual gifts, it is an association of awake beings having no regard for origin or sentiment of race, so much to represent also a negation of time and history. Spiritual affinity and blood affinity – we must reflect on the difference indicated by such expressions”.

“The aristocratic custom is the result absolutely unconscious of a long, continuous formative discipline. You learn it in relationships with others and not through books. It is a felt rhythm and not a concept. Instead the other moral is a set of precepts absolutely based on principles and consequences (therefore you can learn it) and is an expression of a conviction. The first is all historical and recognizes differences in rank and privileges as a fact. The honour is always honour of caste; it doesn’t exist a honour of all humanity”.

“The fundamental principle of every living custom is honour. All the rest, loyalty, humility, courage, chivalric spirit, self-control, decision, is included in it. And honour is a thing of the blood, not of the intellect; having honour as an innate sense is synonymous with having race”.

“To tolerate an offense, forget a defeat, whine before the enemy – all this is sign of a life that has become useless and worthless, yet also something completely different from the priestly morality, which doesn’t grasp a life that has become so despicable but disregards life in general, and only for this also honour”.

“The nobility, that is all <<plant>>, originates from the countryside, from the land understood as the property to which it is organically connected. It has everywhere the fundamental form of the family – of the caste or ancestry – form in which it expresses itself also the <<other>> history, that of the woman, and through her will of duration, through her sentiment of the blood she almost appears to us as the great symbol of time and history”.

“An indomitable joy of life pervades the centuries of the flowering of this caste in eminent sense, that is all direction, destiny, race. The woman, because she is history, and the struggle, because it makes history, are absolutely at the center of the thought and action of it”.

-Oswald Spengler

oswald-spengler

Related posts: Spengler: about Cosmic Anguish and the Religious Sentiment of the World, Spengler: about Time, History and Destiny, Spengler: about Modern Man, Traditional Man and the Historical Destiny of Woman and ManSpengler: about Science, Evolution, Modern Religions, Truth and the Press

Sacred Ambulation

What represent the innumerable mythological figures marked by monosandalism, lameness and other types of afflictions and vulnerabilities to the lower limbs? Several clues indicate an indeterminate state of existence, in the balance between life and death, in the context of an initiatory ritual of rebirth.

Some examples taken from the greek mythology:

Jason (monosandalism).
Perseus (monosandalism, according to a version of the myth in which Hermes gives him only one sandal).
Theseus (he retrieves the sandals and the sword of his father Aegeus by lifting the boulder [i.e. the burial mound] under which they had been hidden [that is to say buried]).
Hephaestus (lameness: soon after being born, his mother throws him into the sea from the top of Olympus, and he remains for nine years [time frame that indicates the symbolic gestation which will be followed by the initiatory rebirth] inside a cave [i.e. the burial mound] surrounded by water [i.e. the amniotic fluid]).
Zeus (in a myth his tendons of the feet are severed by Typhon).
Achilles (vulnerable only to the heel).

Theseus lifts the boulder:
8303

Achilles hit at the heel by the deadly arrow:
800px-detail_of_achilles_thniskon

They are all figures symbolically devoid of the femur (strictly associated with movement and thus with life) of the divine ancestor that will reincarnate in them, the bone that every child, during an ancestral initiatory ritual, had to retrieve from the hall deeper into the burial mound, the throne hall where was located the skeleton of the predecessor.

The Trinacria – symbol equivalent to the swastica – includes the head of Medusa and three bent legs to indicate the concept of movement, synonymous of life:
Risultati immagini per trinacria vespri

To note the fact that in Crete and Delos was held, at night in archaic times, a “dance of cranes” to which participated young boys and girls (the name given to the dance referred to the habit of cranes to stand on one leg): the dance had to imitate the path of the labyrinth from which Theseus came out after killing the Minotaur.

gru_una_zampadinoscampana1

Lastly, why not remember the famous lameness of the Devil, the result of the intentional distortion applied by the Christians to the divine figures of the child and of the reborn ancestor…

Spengler: about Science, Evolution, Modern Religions, Truth and the Press

“The unconscious nostalgia of every true science, which, let’s repeat it, exists only in the spirit of the men of a culture, is to understand, fathom and encompass the cosmic image of nature, it is not the measurement for itself. The numbers should always and exclusively be the keys of the mystery”.

“Nothing, better than the results of paleontology, serves to confute Darwin. On the basis of a simple probability calculation the fossils found should be valid as a series of evidences. Each of them should attest us a distinct evolutionary stage. There would be only <<transitional forms>>, there wouldn’t be limits and therefore not even true species. Well, we instead find completely fixed and unchanged forms in very long periods, forms that have not developed by adaptation but that have appeared suddenly in their definitive structure, that do not turn into others more suited to the environment but instead become increasingly rare and finally disappear, while other species, completely different, manifest themselves”.

“In all the special sciences, academic medicine and philosophy included, has existed a complete hierarchy with its popes, its ranks and dignities, with the university degree as an equivalent of the priestly ordination, with its sacraments and councils. The concept of <<secular>> is rigidly maintained and the priesthood extended to all believers is affirmed with zeal in the form of popular science, like in darwinism. The language of the learned was originally latin; in recent times special languages have been formed everywhere, which in some cases – for example in the domain of radioactivity or of the law of obligations – are intelligible only for those who received the superior orders of such new religions. There are creators of sects, like certain disciples of Kant and Hegel, there is an apostolate among the infidels like that of the monists, there are heretics like Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, there is the solemn excommunication and the Index librorum prohibitorum in the form of conspiracy of silence. There are some eternal truths, like the division of the subject of law in law of people and law of things; there are dogmas, like that of energy, of hereditariness; there is a rite of the quotation of the orthodox texts and there is a kind of scientific beatification”.

“We live in an age of unlimited trust in the omnipotence of reason. The great universal ideas of freedom, right, humanity, progress are sacred. The great theories are Gospels. Their persuasiveness is not based on principles, but on the sacramental chrism of the corresponding passwords. However their fascination is exerted among the population of the great cities and in the era of rationalism, of this <<religion of the educated people>>. On the peasant element those ideas don’t exert the slightest influence. On the city masses they exert it only for some time, but during this time almost in terms of a new revelation”.

“What is the truth? For the masses it is what one reads and hears continuously. Some poor naive can even sit at the table and gather principles in order to establish <<<the truth>>> – but this will remain his truth. The other truth, the public one of the moment, the one that only matters in the real world of action and success, today is a product of the press. What the press wants is true, who controls the press creates, transforms, changes the truth”.

“To the political press is also connected the diffusion of the general school education, that, completely absent in antiquity, hides the purpose of transforming the masses in objects of the party politics dominated by the power of the press”.

“Once we didn’t had the right to think freely; now we have it, but we can’t use it anymore. We think only what others want us to think and precisely this is felt as freedom”.

-Oswald Spengler

oswald-spengler1

Related posts: Spengler: about Cosmic Anguish and the Religious Sentiment of the World, Spengler: about Time, History and DestinySpengler: about Modern Man, Traditional Man and the Historical Destiny of Woman and Man

Spengler: about Modern Man, Traditional Man and the Historical Destiny of Woman and Man

“Instead of a world a city, a single point, in which is gathered the whole life of vast regions, while the rest becomes sterile; instead of a formed people, tied to its land, a new nomad, a parasite, the inhabitant of the big cities, the pure practical man without tradition, taken up in a formless and fluctuant mass, the irreligious, intelligent, sterile man, deeply adverse to the peasant and the landed gentry, that of the peasant is the highest form – this represents a giant step towards the inorganic, towards the end”.

“The metropolis means the cosmopolitanism in place of the <<homeland>>, the cold practical sense in place of the respect for what has been handed down and is matured, the scientistic irreligiosity as dissolution of the previous religious fervour, the <<society>> in place of the State, the natural rights in place of those acquired”.

“The last man of the metropolises doesn’t want to live anymore: as a type, as a mass, not as an individual; in this collective being the fear of death fades. What fills with a deep and inexplicable anguish the true peasant, that is the idea of the extinction of the family and the loss of the name, ceases now to have a meaning. The continuation of one’s own blood in the visible world is no longer felt as a duty for this blood, the destiny of being the last of a lineage is no longer felt as a tragedy. Not that today the possibility to beget children has vanished; if the offspring is missing is above all because the intelligence, come to an extreme strenghtening, no longer finds a reason for it. Transpose yourselves in the soul of the peasant that from primordial times lives in the same piece of land, namely that he bought it to unite himself to it with his blood. In such a land, he has roots as the grandson of his ancestors, and as the ancestor of the future grandsons. His home, his property: this here doesn’t mean a fleeting relation between the body and the goods for a brief period of time, but rather a lasting and inner relation between the eternal land and the eternal blood: only with this, only with the sedentarity in a spiritual sense the great seasons of the cycle of existence, the generation, the birth and death, obtain that metaphysical aura which symbolically fixes itself in the customs and in the religion of all the non-nomadic populations of the countryside”.

“The eternal policy of the woman is the conquest of the man, thanks to which she can become the mother of his children and thus be history, destiny and future. Instead the man, belonging essentially to the other history, wants to have a son as heir, as bearer of his blood and of his historical tradition”.

“However the eternal and secret policy of the woman, that brings us back at the beginnings of the animal kingdom, aspires to distract the man from his mission to bind him completely to the chain of generations, that is like saying to herself. Yet all that happens in the other history, in the male history, has the purpose of protecting and preserving this eternal history of generating and dying, call it what you want: fighting for the house and the hearth, for the woman and the son, for the ancestry, for the nation, for the future”.

spengler

Related posts: Spengler: about Cosmic Anguish and the Religious Sentiment of the WorldSpengler: about Time, History and Destiny

Spengler: about Time, History and Destiny

“Of every organism we know that its rhythm, its figure and duration and every expression of its life are determined by the qualities of the species to which it belongs. Of a thousand-year old oak none will think that its development is starting right now. From a caterpillar, that can be seen growing before our eyes, none will expect that it will continue to grow like this for years. In this regard everyone has the certain sensation of a limit, identical to the sensation of the inner form. But towards the history of the superior humanity, for what concerns the course of the future dominates an unbridled optimism, heedless of any data of both historical and organic experience, therefore everyone believes to be able to individuate in the contingency of today the <<beginnings>> of a linear and marvellous <<further evolution>>, not because it is scientifically proven, but only because corresponds to what is desired”.

“There is a youth and a senility in cultures, peoples, languages, truths, gods, landscapes – as there are young and old oaks and pines, flowers, branches and leaves”.

“Who doesn’t understand that this end is inevitable, who doesn’t understand that one must want either this or nothing, that one must love this destiny or despair of the future, of life, who doesn’t feel the greatness that also resides in this activity of mighty minds, in this energy and discipline of metallic natures, in this fight carried out with the most cold and abstract means, who indulges in the provincial idealism, in nostalgia for the lifestyle of past times – this person must renounce to understand history, to live history, to create history”.

“It’s all about realizing this situation, this destiny, and understanding it, because despite the illusions that we can create it is not possible to avoid it. Who can’t acknowledge this, can’t be counted among the men of his generation”.

-Oswald Spengler

22f56d07a8b5b6f64e4f765779b1a21e-oswald-spengler-knowledge

Related post: Spengler: about Cosmic Anguish and the Religious Sentiment of the World

Spengler: about Cosmic Anguish and the Religious Sentiment of the World

“Among the primordial sentiments, the cosmic anguish is certainly the most creative. To it man owes the most profound forms and figures, matured not only from its conscious inner life, but also from the repercussions of it in the innumerable works of the external culture. Like a secret melody not perceptible by everyone, the anguish becomes known through the language of the forms of every true work of art, of every deep philosophy, of every significant action”.

“In every work that expresses the whole man, the whole sense of existence, anguish and desire, despite being intertwined, remain distinct”.

“All the living forms in which the soul expresses itself, all the arts, the theories, the customs, all the mathematical and metaphysical worlds of the forms, every ornamentation, every column, every verse, every idea is, deep inside, religious and can only be religious. But now it can no longer be such. The essence of every culture is religion, therefore the essence of every civilization is irreligion”.

“At the beginning of history there is a deep religious sense of the world, there are sudden illuminations, shivers of anguish in front of the awake being toward which we proceeded, there are dreams and metaphysical desires: at the end of it there is an intellectual clarity so exasperated to be painful”.

“That the birth of the Self and that of the cosmic anguish are one, is one of the fundamental mysteries of humanity and, in general, of the life capable of free movement”.

-Oswald Spengler

7e603f0be32dc13a8b50bfc32a9b114c

Sacred Kingship

“In my ancestry there is the majesty of kings, who excel in power among men, and the sacredness of the gods, who have the power of kings in their hands”.

-Julius Caesar

After the conclusion of the last glaciation (about 12.000 years ago) our ancestors gradually became sedentary and formed throughout Europe tribal societies based on the concept of blood and soil.

“It was customary of our ancestors that the king should also be pontiff and priest”.

-Servius

All these archaic societies were ruled by a Sacred King – a living symbol of the Sky, of the Sun and of the metaphysical principle defined with the term Being – and a Sacred Queen – a living symbol of the Earth, of the Moon and of the metaphysical principle defined with the term Becoming.

“I am that, you are this, this is you, that is me – I am the sky, you the earth”.

-Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad

Related examples can be found, at the level of folklore, in the traditional European fairy tales and celebrations where a sleeping virgin is awakened by the kiss of a prince, an act that symbolizes the awakening of Nature in Spring, when the rays of the Sun kisses and fecundate the Earth.

Sleeping Beauty:
blascosbkissx

Sacred King and Sacred Queen, together, represented a complementary duality, and during their hierogamy (“sacred marriage”) occurred the symbolic conjunction between the Sky God/Sun God and the Earth Goddess/Moon Goddess, i.e. the metaphysical coincidence of the opposites.

5969205e5e774-imagesole_e_luna

The Sacred King (in relation to the sacredness we can remember that in archaic Rome the function of pontifex maximus was a prerogative of kings) was especially associated with the Sun (the monarchical title “Highness”, referred to the sovereign until recent times, was a precise reference to the height of the Sun in the celestial vault) and consequently he embodied the power of the celestial body that illuminates the world and gives life: an example of such archetypal figure can be found in the Arthurian cycle, where the strenght of the knight Gawain continues to increase from dawn to noon, to then gradually decrease until sunset: just like the strenght of the Sun during its various phases.

sir20gawaine20200

That’s the reason why in the archaic societies was customary the prohibition to look the Sacred King in the face – in the same way as it isn’t possible to stare at the Sun without risking of becoming blind – and in his presence all had to kneel and stare at the ground.

“Like the sun, (the king) burns the eyes and hearts and nobody on the earth can stare his face”.

-Mānavadharmaśāstra

The fact that the very existence of the Sacred King was identified with the annual path of the Sun in the Sky explains the reason why he was subject to a ritual killing at the end of his annual function, on the day of the Winter Solstice, when the Sun dies and is reborn at the same time: only then his successor, previously selected, was crowned, raised to royal dignity and celebrated.

The golden crown symbolized the power of the solar rays:
Risultati immagini per king arthur charles ernest butler

Examples of ritual death of the Sacred King can be found in the myths concerning Achilles and Krishna: they both die after having been hit at the heel by an arrow, in their only vulnerable point, the tendon of the foot, part of the body that had the same symbolic function of the femur, because the tendons allow the muscular movement of the body, i.e. they allow life; the death of Achilles and Krishna is concretely and symbolically associated with a part of the human body that was synonymous of life.

7204026468_1b0cbf0e89_b

Over the course of time every archaic society altered, for various reasons, the conclusion of the Sacred King’s annual function, and the ancestral tradition manifested itself in new forms. In some cases the Sacred King staged an apparent death, by isolating himself in a symbolic grave, whereas a substitute obtained his divine role during that last day of reign, to then be ritually killed: at that point the real Sacred King returned to life from his symbolic grave; in other cases a totemic animal took the place of the Sacred King on the sacrificial altar; in other cases was torn down a wood effigy that represented the Sacred King; in these three scenarios the Sacred King in charge could confirm his role or hand it down at the end of a selective competition. In the long run the Sacred King refused to be killed or replaced, and thanks to his authority, his power and the support of his faithful, managed to extend his divine mandate indefinitely, until his death, natural or not, and this particular deviation from the original procedure influenced and moulded considerably the institution of kingship during Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

pendragon

In the most archaic societies both the Sacred King and the Sacred Queen were annually selected (a tradition whose vestiges could still be found at the times of the Roman Republic, when two Consuls were elected together each year): these divine roles were assigned to those who proved their superiority in various annual competitions held to determine the strenght, beauty, health, wisdom, skills and, generally speaking, the male and female qualities and peculiarities of the candidates. In this context we can remember the ancient Olympic Games, that consisted originally in religious ceremonies (over time degenerated into simple sport events without any higher meaning and purpose) having the purpose to annually select – through a footrace between young women – the one who would have symbolically incarnated Hera (the Earth Goddess, i.e. the Sacred Queen) and – through a footrace between young men – the one who would have symbolically incarnated Zeus (the Sky God, i.e. the Sacred King, whose name preserves the Sanskrit root div- [“day, brightness”]): every year the Sacred Queen and the Sacred King had to confirm their role or bestow kingship to those who proved to be more worthy of it.

a_torch_race

In historical times, the matrilineal descent meant that the first daughter of the queen was a princess who inherited the title at birth, whereas her future husband (and future king, after spending some time as a prince) was chosen/selected among men from other tribes or lands; in these societies the most ambitious sons of the king and queen will go to other lands in order to marry a princess or a queen and thus become themselves kings; the patrilineal descent meant that the first son of the king was a prince who inherited the title at birth, whereas his future wife (and future queen, after spending some time as a princess) was chosen/selected among young girls from other tribes or lands.

In both types of societies the king and queen will seek to marry their daughters and sons with princes and princesses or kings and queens of other tribes or lands, in order to unify two royal bloodlines but often also to stipulate alliances and obtain advantages of other sort.

“The King is dead, long live the King!”