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 (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.

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Thirst for Immortality

Previously we have clarified that the concept of “Tree of Life” (as well as any other type of axis mundi) is a metaphoric image that refers to the placenta. Starting from this premise is easy to understand how the “beverage of immortality” that, in various mythologies, is obtained from the aforementioned tree is nothing but the liquid nourishment (a real “liquid of life”) that from the placenta reaches the fetus by means of the umbilical cord: let’s see some examples.

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In the Vedas and in the Upanishads the Soma/Amrita is a juice that drips from the Tree of Life (remaining in the Indian context I can remember the episode according to which the Buddha achieved the metaphysical awakening [of the memories of his previous lives] under the Tree of Life) that is believed to grow in the mountains or in the “navel of the earth” (the concepts of “sacred/cosmic moutain” and “navel of the earth/world” are metaphors that refer to the burial mound, i.e. the realm of the dead), juice capable of conferring immortality to those who drink it: the etymology of the name is similar to that of the Ambrosia and means “immortality”. In the Persian mythology we find the Haoma, another beverage that bestows immortality, obtained in this case too by a Tree of Life that grows in the mountains.

Note: when we talk about immortality, we are not referring to the indefinite extension in time of an individual biological existence, without the occurrence of changes in the state of being. We refer instead to the possibility that, through a strong emotional shock in the context of an initiatory ritual of rebirth and through an induced awakening of the memory of the blood, the achievement of a transcendent state could bring out into the consciousness of a child the memory and awareness of his previous existences.

In the Greek mythology the Ambrosia and the Nectar are both foods that enable the gods to be immortals and perennially young: many have suggested that these mythical foods may be identified with honey or mead (i.e. fermented honey), since the ancient sources define honey as the first and primordial nourishment of the gods, while mead was known in antiquity as the beverage of the gods. In my opinion this connection makes sense, even more so when we know that the child who went inside the burial mound (thus becoming a fetus inside the womb of the earth), in order to accomplish the rebirth/reincarnation ritual, carried with him some honey to appease the sorceress/priestess (primordially the she-bear) inside the grave, and he himself had to eat some of that honey: the (symbolical) nourishment of the fetus inside the womb…

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To reinforce what I have just affirmed we can refer to the Norse mythology, where the dew that covers the leaves of the yew Yggdrasill (yes, some ancient sources use the term barr [“needle-shaped leaf”] in relation to its leaves, furthermore the yew is the tree that more than any other can symbolize the placenta, because in it grow red berries that recall the placenta’s red bubbles full of nutritious blood), in poetic language called “mead tree”, has the taste of honey and is compared to mead. Bees feed themselves with Yggdrasill’s leaves and, as suggested in a previous article, the child who faced the initiatory ritual was symbolically seen as a bee.

The leaves and berries of the yew:
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In the Völsunga Saga is told that in the hall of Völsung’s house there was a big apple tree (the apples hide the same symbolism described above in relation to the red berries of the yew, they are the source of the “beverage of immortality”), whose branches protruded from the roof: this tree was called Barnstokkr (“children’s trunk”, i.e. the placenta).

Barnstokkr and an apple tree:
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The Indo-Iranian god Mitra is born from a rock (“petra genitrix“, originally the burial mound and during classical antiquity the underground temple/cave called “mithraeum”: both symbols of the womb) surrounded by a serpent (i.e. the umbilical cord), near a sacred spring (i.e. the amniotic fluid and/or the liquid nourishment of the placenta) and under a sacred tree (i.e. the placenta).

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Now, why not throw into the fray the symbolism of the horn, that in certain cases represents the umbilical cord? First, the cornucopia (“horn of plenty”), a very explicit symbol in relation to the nourishment (of the fetus in the womb).

The cornucopia:
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Then the Sigrdrífumál (a section of the Poetc Edda), where Sigrdrífa after being awakened offers to Sigurðr the minnisveig, the “beverage of memory” (i.e. the memory of previous lives), a horn (i.e. the umbilical cord) full of mead (whose symbolism, in this context, we have already examined earlier). Lastly, the figure of Mímir (“memory” [of the previous lives]), the possessor of Mímisbrunnr (“well of memory”, located beneath one of the three roots of Yggdrasill): every morning, using the horn Gjallarhorn, he drinks the precious and sacred liquid (mead, according to the Völuspá) contained in the well of wisdom (wisdom is equivalent to memory); also Odin managed to get the chance to drink a sip of that liquid.

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I conclude my dissertation with the Grail (or Holy Grail if you prefer), traditionally known as a cup/chalice whose content has vivifying and healing virtues: are you thinking what I am thinking? The cup/chalice and the tree have a very similar shape and, taking into consideration the virtues of the Grail, we can assume that this important object of the Arthurian cycle symbolizes the placenta and its life-giving liquid nourishment.

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It should also be noted that in certain late medieval sources the Grail is called Sangréal: in Old French, san graal and san gréal mean “holy grail” and sang réal means “royal blood”; indeed the blood full of nutrients contained in the placenta is “royal” and “divine” blood, not an ordinary one. In this context will be good to remember that for our ancestors wine was a symbol of blood, specifically in reference to what I have just explained about the function of the blood contained in the placenta: that’s the reason why Odin, the symbolic fetus, only needs wine to feed himself.

Now you will be able to see with different eyes the Christian rite of the Eucharist, during which a mass of crazy fanatics drinks Christ’s blood from a chalice full of wine…

<<What the fuck I’m doing?!>>:
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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

The Book of Coming Forth by Day

The Book of the Dead is an Egyptian funerary text, consisting in a numerous series of chapters intended to reveal the initiatory process through which a deceased person could come back to life.

The Weighing of the Heart:
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In this context, I will try to interpret some brief quotes that have caught my attention.

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“I am the Today.
I am the Yesterday.
I am the Tomorrow.
Through my numerous Births
I subsist young and vigorous”.

-Chapter LXIV

Through his numerous rebirths the honourable dead has lived in the past, is living in the present and will live in the future, returning periodically to be young and strong.

“He aspires to eternal life
As is the Sky, without end and without limits.
Because, in truth, to the Sky belongs your Soul,
But the Earth owns its corporal form”.

-Chapter CLXIII

The honourable dead aspires to live for all eternity, through endless rebirths. The soul (i.e. the spirit) is associated with the Sky, since they are both eternal and immutable entities, while the body is associated with the Earth, since they are both temporary and mutable entities.

“May my Soul dwell in my Body,
My Body unite with my Soul!”.

-Chapter CLXIII

The deceased aspires to rebirth (i.e. to reincarnation), that takes place necessarily through the reconciliation of the soul (i.e. the spirit) with the body.

“Know this, your head will be saved!
It will not be kidnapped from you, for all eternity!”.

-Chapter CLXVI

For our ancestors the head was the emblem of the mind and memory, and therefore of the identity of a person. The skull of the deceased had an essential role during the initiatory ritual of rebirth (i.e. of reincarnation) and the text assures to the deceased that his head will be preserved and that his identity will belong to him by means of future incarnations.

“In truth, you are the same Horus
shining in the middle of your Cosmic Egg”.

-Chapter CLXX

Horus is the child that attempts to fulfill the rebirth/reincarnation ritual, the descendant of the noble ancestor inside the grave: they are the same person. The deceased inside the burial mound is like a fetus inside the womb: both are waiting to be born from their cosmic egg.

The cosmic egg wrapped by a snake symbolizes the womb during pregnancy and the umbilical cord:
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“Horus himself puts you erect
Like many times has already done, with the sanctified”.

-Chapter CLXX

The child puts in the upright position (a prerogative of those who are alive) the skeleton/mummy of the deceased, like many times his previous incarnations have done in the past. The vertical position is synonymous with life and return to life.

“Behold, I rise up from the Bowels of the Universe,
And for the second time I come to the world…
I return little child, without father, a new-born…
Nobody will be able to prevent me, when the time will come,
From answering to the questions that I will be asked…”.

-Chapter CLXX

The deceased in the grave is reborn in the body of his young descendant who has completed the initiatory ritual of reincarnation. The noble ancestor is back in the world of the living and he will be able to answer to all the questions concerning his previous existence.

“Your navel is the Realm of the Dead.
Where Light and Darkness are balanced”.

-Chapter CLXXII

The concept of “navel” (as well as those of “navel of the earth/world”, “center of the earth/world”, “center of the cosmos” and “cosmic mountain”) symbolized the realm of the dead, namely the burial mound. Life and death are in equilibrium inside the grave, the deceased is not alive but not even definitively dead: he is in an intermediate state between these two, awaiting for his rebirth.

“In truth, at the moment when I was born in the world of the Beyond,
A new deity was born: and it was me!
Now, with my own eyes, I can see…
I look around me; I exist.
My vision is clear and piercing.
Erect, I resume the interrupted thread of my existence…”.

-Chapter CLXXIV

The deceased is reborn as a deity, inside the burial mound. He returns to see with his own eyes and becomes aware of his renewed existence. Alive again, he resumes the thread of his existence, interrupted only by a temporary death.

“The Yesterday has generated me.
Behold, Today
I create the Tomorrow”.

-Chapter CLXXIX

He who becomes aware of his own cycle of rebirths owns the past, the present and the future!

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Some Cases of Burial Mounds (Part 2 of 3)

After being imprisoned in the cave of Polyphemus, Odysseus states that his name is “Nobody”: this or because the children that faced the initiation/rebirth ritual didn’t had a real and defined identity, didn’t had a real name and was not yet seen as a true human being, or because his previous self, his previous identity, died after the entry in the burial mound (Polyphemus’s cave); or for both reasons. The wine offering to the Cyclops – with the intention to calm him down – can be compared both with the mistletoe given to the priestess inside the mound and the honey brought to the she-bear in its cave, all having a similar function.

Some of the companions of Odysseus are killed by Polyphemus while others manages to escape from the cave: the survivors are the embryos that the she-bear has decided to develop and give birth to, i.e. the children who have passed the initiation. After the escape from the cave Odysseus feels the need to affirm and make known to the Cyclops his true identity and name, i.e. the new identity that he has obtained after the initiation ritual, reborn in one of his honourable ancestors: he is no longer “Nobody” but Odysseus son of Laertes.

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One of the various tales about the birth of Zeus tells that he was brought up inside a cave by Melissa (“bee”) and Amalthea. With the passage of time the sorceress/priestess took the place of the she-bear inside the cave/burial mound, however the child continued to have the task of bringing honey as a gift and this is the reason why the child who faced the initiation was seen as a bee: that’s why the sorceress/priestess inside the mound was also considered a bee, and it makes sense when we know that, according to another tale, the suckler of Zeus were sacred bees. The Homeric Hymn to Apollo describes the three prophetess that teached the art of divination to Apollo as if they were bees, and the Pythia – the priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi – was called “Delphic Bee”.

Maybe (I make a guess) our ancestors associated the sorceress/priestess with a bee because they no longer understood or remembered the symbolism/role of the she-bear (the child brought honey to the she-bear to feed her and be chosen, being symbolically one of her embryos: as such he also had to eat some of that honey, similarly to the embryos that are nourished by what the she-bear eats; he is like a fetus inside the womb/cave/burial mound and must be reborn): at that point, who else could have been the recipient of that sweet gift if not adult bees? And if this was the case, maybe they saw the burial mound as a sort of symbolic beehive where the child/bee had to go with his honey? Melissa (“bee”) nourished Zeus with honey, i.e. the same honey that the child who faced the initiation had brought to her as a gift.

Cave of Zeus, Mount Ida (Crete):
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Part 1: Some Cases of Burial Mounds (Part 1 of 3)

Some Cases of Burial Mounds (Part 1 of 3)

During his first labor Heracles descended in the cave where resided the Nemean Lion. After killing it Heracles fell into a sleep from which he awoke at the thirtieth day from the beginning of the labor, and then he crowned himself with some celery. The ancient artists positioned lions on graves, and celery was used to adorn those places. Heracles is the child that goes inside the cave/burial mound to face the initiation ritual, his awakening symbolizes his rebirth and he adorns himself with celery because he “won” death.

London, British Museum

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Tír na nÓg (“land of the eternal young”) is the realm of death in the Irish mythology: a place at the edge of the world, an isle located west, where the Sun sets (i.e. dies). It’s difficult to reach it if not invited by one of the elves that reside there (that is to say, if not invited to be reborn by the spirit of one of your own ancestors). Oisín stays there for a year but on the way back finds out that a hundred years have actually passed in Ireland. It’s a reference to the fact that the mind/spirit of the ancestor is reborn in his descendant: it’s been a long time since the ancestor died but little time since Oisín entered the burial mound to accomplish the initiation ritual.

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Romulus and Remus, mythic founders of Rome, were the sons of Mars – the god of war – and of the vestal virgin Rea Silvia. After birth they were placed in a basket and entrusted to the waters of the Tiber river. The basket ran aground in a puddle at the foot of a fig tree, the “Ficus Ruminalis” (from Latin “ruma”, “breast”), near a cave, the Lupercal. According to the different versions of the tale a she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus in both these places. The she-wolf was originally a she-bear and the cave her lair, symbolically the womb of the earth (i.e. the realm of the dead), while the waters to which the twins are entrusted represent the amniotic fluid. Romulus and Remus must be seen as the embryos of the she-bear, that the latter nourishes so that they can develop. The fig tree is the placenta, “ruminalis” (“breast”) because the placenta is in fact the “breast” of the fetus, as it contains the nourishment useful to the development of the child.

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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)