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.

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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”, 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.

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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.

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, 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: 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.

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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.

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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:
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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

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About Zeus and Typhon

For our ancestors the femur was a symbol of movement and thus of the life force, especially in relation to the prehistoric burial mounds (inside which have been found cases of missing femurs) and the initiatory ritual of rebirth that took place inside them. In this article I will try to unveil the symbolic relation between these archaeological finds and the myth of the battle between Zeus and Typhon.

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Typhon is a monstrous creature described in different ways by the various ancient sources, but generally speaking he was a gigantic winged monster with an at least partially serpentine shape.

Typhon:
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I can simplify by saying that for me Typhon is a symbolic incarnation of Death. In the mythical tale Zeus figths with Typhon and tries to kill him, but the monster manages to sever the tendons of Zeus’ hands and feet, therefore immobilizing the god. The key in this context is to understand that the tendons fulfill the same symbolic function of the femur in relation to the ability to move and to the life force of an individual: the tendons perform in the myth the same role that the femur performs in the ritual. Zeus is immobilized, alive but at the same time symbolically dead, awaiting his rebirth (i.e. awaiting to regain the ability to move), exactly like the divine ancestor inside the burial mound.

It will not surprise the fact that at that point Typhon will bring Zeus inside a cave (i.e. the burial mound), where he will hide the tendons of the god inside a bear’s skin (an extremely archaic symbolism, that originates directly from the primordial Bear Cult practiced by the Neanderthals long before the end of the last Ice Age). The cave (i.e. the womb of the earth) is the Korykion Antron (“cave of the leather sack”, from korykos, “leather sack”) and is protected by the dragoness Delphyne (from the syllable delph, “womb”).

The Korykion Antron:
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The korykos (“leather sack”):
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But finally Hermes (name that etymologically means “stone”, while the Greek word hermaion described both a fortunate man and a pile of stones [perhaps originally in reference to the dolmens, i.e. the burial mounds?]) manages to enter the cave (he is a psychopomp god with the privilege of being able to access and return freely from the realm of death) and to recover the precious tendons: immediately Zeus regains the ability to move (i.e. he returns to life after an apparent and symbolic death) and defeats Typhon (i.e. Death) once and for all; the divine child (i.e. Hermes/Odin) has found the femur of his ancestor inside the mound, and by means of an initiatory ritual has achieved a superior and transcendent spiritual state: he remembers and is aware of his previous existences and consciences, which now are, at the same time, distinct and unified realities in the shape of this reborn divine being.

Evola: about Initiation, Immortality, Death and Rebirth

“To be clear, is necessary to refer to a fundamental traditional teaching, after all already mentioned: to the one concerning the two natures. There is the nature of the immortals and there is the nature of the mortals; there is the superior region of <<those-who-are>> and there is the inferior region of the <<becoming>>”.

“The passage from the one to the other was considered possible, but on an exceptional basis and under the condition of an essential and effective, positive, transformation from a way of being to another way of being. Such transformation was achieved by means of the initiation in the strictest sense of the term. Through the initiation some men escaped from one nature and conquered the other, thus ceasing of being men. Their appearance in the other form of existence constituted, in the order of this last, a rigorously equivalent event to that of the generation and of the physical birth. They were therefore re-born, they were re-generated”.

“To the eternal sleep, to the larval existence in Hades, to the dissolution thinked as destiny of all those for whom the forms of this human life have constituted the beginning and the end – would escape therefore only those who already alive have been able to orient their consciousness towards the superior world. The Initiated, the Adepts are at the limit of such path. Obtained the <<remembrance>>, according to the expressions of Plutarch they become free, they go without constraints, crowned they celebrate the <<mysteries>> and see on the earth the crowd of those who are not initiated and who are not <<pure>> pressing and pushing themselves in mud and darkness”.

“To tell the truth, the traditional teaching about the postmortem has always stressed the existing difference between survival and immortality. Can be conceived various modalities, more or less contingents, of survival for this or that principle or complex of the human being. But this has nothing to do with immortality, which can only be thinked as <<olympic immortality>>, as a <<becoming gods>>. Such a conception lasted in the West until the hellenic antiquity. From the doctrine indeed of the <<two natures>> proceeded the knowledge of the destiny of a death, or of a precarious, larval survival for the ones, of a conditioned immortality (conditioned by the initiation) for the others”.

“It was the vulgarization and the abusive generalization of the truth exclusively valid for the initiates – vulgarization that began in some degenerate forms of orphism and had then broad development with christianism – to give birth to the strange idea of the <<immortality of the soul>>, extended to any soul and distanced from every condition. Since then until today, the illusion continues in the various forms of the religious and <<spiritualistic>> thought: the soul of a mortal is immortal – immortality is a certainty, not a problematic possibility. Thus established the misunderstanding, thus perverted the truth, the initiation could no longer appear necessary: its value of real and effective operation could no longer be understood. Every really transcendent possibility was little by little abolished. And by continuing to talk of <<rebirth>>, the whole thing, by and large, ran out in a matter of sentiment, in a moral and religious meaning, in a more or less indeterminated and <<mystical>> state”.

-Julius Evola

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Related posts: Evola: about Work, Economy and LifeEvola: about Christianism, Chivalry and the Nordic-Germanic vision of Life

Words of Wisdom #54, #55 & #56

“But this man was convinced of knowing while he did not knew, and instead I, as I did not knew, neither I thought of knowing. Anyway, I seemed to be wiser than this man, at least in this little thing, namely for the fact that what I don’t know, I don’t think of knowing it”.

-Socrates

“Knowing of not knowing is the supreme knowledge.
Not knowing believing of knowing is the disease”.

-Daodejing

“Nevertheless man is still too much mortal to conquer the knowledge of the immortal things”.

-Seneca

We don’t really know the mystery of the universe, of eternity and time, of death and life. We can only aspire to get closer to the truth, and at best we will be able to discern something that is merely similar to it. Ultimately, we’ll have to accept of not knowing, and give up the presumption of owning a metaphysical knowledge that gives definitive answers to the fundamental questions. The best among us are those who know of not knowing!

Sumerian Mists (Part 2 of 3)

Let’s continue with the Epic of Gilgamesh.

At a certain point of the tale Gilgamesh and Enkidu make their way into the Cedar Forest, located in Kur (“mountain that gives life”), to meet and kill Humbaba, the guardian of the forest.

The initiation ritual took place in the burial mound but in our mythologies and fairy tales mountains, waters and forests are initiation places par excellence that symbolize the realm of the dead/burial mound, or passages to reach it. Kur, “mountain that gives life”, is a clear reference to the grave of the ancestor and to the ritual that gave new life, through rebirth, to the young initiate. Thus, the Kur and the Cedar Forest are an image of the burial mound and its inner chambers.

The burial mounds, which repeat the shape of the hills, just like these symbolize the womb during pregnancy:
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One of the epithets of Humbaba is “god of the fortress of intestines”.

Humbaba:
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Troy Town/Prehistoric Labyrinth:
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The Troy Town/Prehistoric Labyrinth is a symbol that refers to the womb of the earth/burial mound/realm of the dead. You can certainly interchange “fortress of intestines” with the definition you prefer between those I have used above, since they all recall the same concept/place.

So Humbaba is the god/lord of the burial mound, and you can easily see in him the dead ancestor of the brave child, who wants to become that ancestor. Gilgamesh decapitates Humbaba, i.e. performs the rebirth ritual. Indeed, as we know, the child had to take the skull (the mind/spirit) of the dead ancestor – at that point reborn in him – and take it out of the grave, by now foreign to the place where he reigned as a king.

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On a totally different perspective you can compare Humbaba to the Jötnar of the Norse mythology. Humbaba is defined “enormity”, “ferocious giant” and under this light he represents the vices, the passions, the uncontrollability and generally speaking the negative aspects of the human being. That’s why those who get close to the forest are “overwhelmed by weakness” (note: also because to enter the grave you need to be yourself one of the dead, and the dead are much weaker than the living…) and why the giant “never sleeps” (note: sleep is our “little death”, that’s why the ancestor in the grave never sleeps, because he is already living his “great death”; Hypnos [the personification of sleep] and Thanatos [the personification of death] are twin brothers in the Greek mythology), since the negative in man is always ready to manifest itself, if we allow it. Furthermore, “his weapons are such that no one can resist them”, because are required a strong mind and a strong will to never be reached by the Jötnar’s weapons, bearers of degeneration, and “mysterious is his form”  because the negative in man has many and always different shapes, it is misleading and not easily recognizable!

Part 1: Sumerian Mists (Part 1 of 3)

Words of Wisdom #21

“Great son of Tydeus, why you ask me who I am? The generations of men are like leaves: the wind makes them fall but others will sprout on the flowering trees when spring comes. So the ancestries of men, one is born, the other vanishes”.

-Glaucus to Diomedes in the Iliad

The crown of the tree represents the future, our future lives, when we’ll be reborn in the bodies of our descendants. The trunk of the tree represents the present, our current life. The roots of the tree represent the past, our past lives, when we died in the bodies of our ancestors. This is the European vision of life!
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The Swans are our Ancestors!

As explained by Varg Vikernes in his books, the word “elf” derives from the PIE root *albho- and it means simply “white”. This coincides with the fact that the elves represented the spirits of the dead. It makes sense because the dead were buried with white clothes, their bodies without life became quickly very pale, and they were purified by death (white is the colour of purity and purification).

In my opinion the swans are a manifestation of the elves and thus of the ancestors. The word “swan” derives from the proto-germanic *swanaz (“singer”), with the meaning of “singer bird”, and from the PIE root *swen- (“to sing, to make sounds”).

The swans are white, as the elves; they live in water (which symbolizes the amniotic fluid), regenerator element…the waters in the European mythologies are at times indicated as portals or passages to reach the realm of the dead/burial mound. Finally, the swans are believed to “sing” before their death, and we know that the elves traditionally like to sing, recite poetry, poems and tell stories. They do it as often as possible. Elves and swans sing because they are the ancestors: they try to keep alive their memory in the ancestry, keep alive the remembrance of their glory, wisdom and honour, of their deeds and achievements, so as to become eternal ideals for their descendants and in this way conquer immortality. To later be chosen by a young of the ancestry and be reborn in him.

Note: Also the youngs who faced the initiation ritual were the spirits of the dead. At Yule the spirits of the dead returned amongst the living and their families welcomed them, i.e. the dead were reborn in those children that came out from the burial mound and returned to their homes the day of Yule/Winter Solstice. The honourable dead were once again alive!

Sing, swan! Death awaits you! Memory and rebirth!

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