The Spear of Life

In its most archaic sacred symbolism, in the context of an inititory ritual of rebirth, the spear is a representation of the umbilical cord: in this journey into the past I will try to unveil this image, through a brief examination of three episodes from the Arthurian cycle, the Irish mythology and the Norse mythology.

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In the Arthurian literature the Bleeding Lance is a sacred object, often bloodied but it can also give rise to a bloody stream: it is the nourishment in the form of blood that from the placenta arrives to the fetus, passing through the umbilical cord. The King feeds on the blood of the Bleeding Lance, in order to heal from his mysterious infirmity (i.e. to be reborn).

The Bleeding Lance:
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The Gáe Bulg (often known as Gáe Bulga) is the spear of Cúchulainn, a hero of the Irish mythology. The name of this particular weapon may mean “belly spear” (the umbilical cord is a “spear” inside the belly/womb) or “notched spear” (the umbilical cord is the intermediary thanks to which the nourishment of the placenta reaches the fetus, allowing him to grow, so in a sense it is the “mouth” and the “teeth” of the fetus). The word “bulga” seems to derive from the Proto-Celtic compound *balu-gaisos meaning “spear of mortal pain/death spear”, maybe in reference to the potential death of the mother after the childbirth. Note that the use of the Gáe Bulg requires a preparation that can be made exclusively along a water current, holding it between the toes: the water current is the amniotic fluid while the strange position is a reference to the position of the child in the womb before birth, upside down with the feet near the umbilical cord.

optimal-foetal-position

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In the Hávamál there is a section where Odin describes his initiatory sacrifice:

“I trow I hung
on that windy tree
nine whole days and nights,
stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin,
myself given to myself,
high on that tree of which none hath heard
from what roots it rises to heaven”.

-Hávamál

In this case I will try to unveil also the other symbols: Odin (one of his epithets is “lord of the spear”) is symbolically a fetus and is hanged on Yggdrasill (the tree of life [i.e. the placenta] whose branches are said to be wet by the Norns with water [i.e. the amniotic fluid]), and at the same time is stabbed by Gungnir, his own spear (the umbilical cord). The nine days and nights are the nine months of the pregnancy, and the same is the case for the “nine worlds” sustained by Yggdrasill (the function of the placenta sustains the development of the child during the nine months inside the womb), every “month” being a “world”, in the sense of a definite and complete cycle. Moreover, as you may know, our ancestors used to let grow a tree (i.e. the placenta) above the burial mounds (i.e. the womb of the earth). The time will come when Yggdrasill will fall, in other words the time of the birth, the event that decrees the end of the life-giving function of the placenta, its “death” and “fall”. Odin sacrifices himself to himself, because his symbolical death is a prelude to his own rebirth, after which, will emerge in his consciousness the memories of his previous lives.

Odin and Yggdrasill:
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Words of Wisdom #57

“Who (then), my friend,
Can climb up to the sky?
Only the gods live there,
In company of Shamash, forever!
Men, for their part,
(Have) their days numbered:
Everything they do
Is (nothing more than) wind!”.

-Gilgamesh to Enkidu in the Epic of Gilgamesh

Everything we do is nothing more than wind, but when a strong wind hits us it remains imprinted in our minds and we remember it, because it has challenged and fascinated us at the same time. Then someone among us will try to improve himself, with the aim to be able to oppose to that wind, and ultimately to prevail on it. When this happens, an even stronger wind is born!

louvre-gilgamesh-epic

Related posts: Sumerian Mists (Part 1 of 3)Sumerian Mists (Part 2 of 3)Sumerian Mists (Part 3 of 3)

Words of Wisdom #44, #45 & #46

“The good fortune, is Zeus who distributes it to men, to the good and the evil, as he wants, to each one. To you he gave this fate, thou must endure it”.

-Nausicaa to Odysseus in the Odissey

“It is easy for the gods, that the vast sky possess, to do splendid or miserable a mortal man”.

-Odysseus to Telemachus in the Odissey

“Not even you despise them, the gifts of the glorious gods, those that they offer us: we can’t choose them by ourselves”.

-Paris to Hector in the Iliad

In this consists Stoicism: in understanding what is beyond our control, accepting it as well as it’s destined to us, in any way it will affect our lives, and then act accordingly!

Bhagavadgita (Part 1 of 2)

The Bhagavadgītā is a Hindu sacred text, part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. It consists of a dialogue between the Pandava prince Arjuna, a hero son of the god Indra, and his charioteer and guide Krishna, an incarnation of the divine principle.

War between Pandavas and Kauravas is imminent and the dialogue takes place in the centre of the battlefield, right before the beginning of the Kuruksetra’s battle: Arjuna is confused and torn by moral dilemmas after noticing that among the enemy’s army there are his relatives, teachers and friends. Arjuna seeks advice from Krishna, which reminds him his duties as a kshatriya (i.e. a warrior) through the exposition of philosophical and religious concepts.

Krishna assists Arjuna:
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In this first part I quote verses that expose mainly the doctrine concerning the immortality of the spirit, but also concepts in relation with Stoicism and the thught of Parmenides.

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 First Chant:

12.”In truth, there has never been a time when I was not, nor you, nor these leaders of peoples; and, in the future, it will not come that in which we will not be”.

13.”The soul incarnated in the body experiments childhood, youth and the old age; then it takes another body. The man that knows this doesn’t suffer [any] bewilderment”.

Verses 12./13. begin to expose the doctrine concerning the immortality of the individual spirit and its eternal rebirth through the piṭryāna (“way of the fathers”).

14.”Son of Kunti, the impressions of the senses [born] from contact with material things produces hot and cold, pain and pleasure, they come and go and are impermanent. Endure them, Bhārata”.

Krishna calls Arjuna with many epithets in the Bhagavadgītā: Bhārata, Mahabahu, Pārtha, Kaunteya and Paramtāpa in the verses that I quoted here.

15.”Best of men, one who from them [impressions] is not disturbed, [that remains] equanimous and firm in pleasure and pain is worthy of immortality”.

Verses 14./15. express a concept that we find in Stoicism: men must understand that the things that doesn’t depend on us (like the sensations of hot and cold, pain and pleasure) must be endured firmly/indifferently, without being disturbed or fascinated by them.

16.”What doesn’t exist can’t come into being, from the being there is no cessation of existence. This ultimate truth has been unveiled by those who have seen the essence of things”.

This verse expresses a knowledge identical to that of Parmenides: nothing is created from nothing and nothing can be destroyed into nothing.

18.”These bodies of the eternal ātman, indestructible, immeasurable, are called perishable. Fight, then, Bhārata”.

The ātman is the intimate essence of every being, the principle of life (i.e. the individual spirit).

19.”The one who believes to be killed and the one who thinks of killing are both in error. That one [the ātman] can’t kill nor be killed”.

20.”It is never born and never dies. Having always been, it can’t cease to be. Unborn, permanent, imperishable, ancient, it is not even killed when the body is killed”.

22.”Like a man deposing the old clothes takes new ones, so the embodied soul (dehi) deposes the worn-out bodies and enters in other new”.

23.”The weapons doesn’t pierce [the ātman], nor fire burns it, nor is bathed by waters, nor wind withers it”.

26.”If you believe that it is born and dies continuously, likewise, Mahabahu, you must not grieve,”

27.”because, in truth, sure is death for he that is born and certain is rebirth for he that is dead. Therefore, for an inescapable fact, you should not feel pity”.

Verses 19./20./22./23./26./27. continue to expose the doctrine concerning the immortality of the individual spirit and its eternal rebirth, in very explicit terms.

38.”Equally fair-minded in pleasure and pain, in gain and loss, in victory and defeat, therefore get ready to fight; in this way you will not be able to commit error”.

55.”When, Pārtha, a man eradicates from his mind all desires and finds his satisfaction in the ātman and for the ātman, he is said to have a stable intelligence”.

57.”The one who has given up all attachment, that is not flattered by praise nor offended by reprimand: that person owns a stable intelligence”.

Verses 38./55./57. continue to praise the man who treats the things that doesn’t depend on him as they must be treated: in a detached way and without subjective reactions.

Second chant:

34.”Attraction and repulsion for the objects are inherent to the corresponding sense: nobody should submit to these two for they represent the two enemies”.

39.”Knowledge is [so] wrapped by this constant enemy, Kaunteya, insatiable fire that takes the form of desire”.

Verses 34./39. express an explicit critique of materialism, seen as opposed to the pursuit of knowledge.

Fourth chant:

5.”Numerous are my past lives and yours too, Arjuna. Just that I know them all, while you don’t know them, Paramtāpa”.

Also this verse refer to the eternal rebirth of the individual spirit.

Sixth chant:

40.”Pārtha, nor in this nor in the other world such a man is lost, because there is no author of beautiful and good deeds that incurs in a bad destiny”.

The content of this verse can be compared to that expressed by this maxim: “there is no death for the honourable, only an eternal rebirth”.

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Part 2: Bhagavadgita (Part 2 of 2)

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 celery. Ancient artists positioned lions on graves, and celery was used to adorn them. Heracles is the child that goes inside the cave/burial mound to face the initiation ritual, his awakening is to mean his rebirth and he adorned himself with celery because he “overcame” 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 island located west, where the Sun sets (i.e. dies). It’s hard to reach it if not invited by one of the elves that resides there (that is to say, if not invited to be reborn by the spirit of one of your ancestors). Oisín remains there one year but on the way back finds out that in reality a hundred years are passed in Ireland. It’s a reference to the fact that the mind/spirit of the ancestor is reborn in his descendant: much time has passed from when the ancestor died but little time from when Oisín entered the burial mound to accomplish the initiation ritual.

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Romulus and Remus, mythical 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 foothills 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 she feeds to develop them. 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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Part 2: Some cases of Burial Mounds (Part 2 of 3)

The Roman Genius

The Genius of the Roman Religion is a numen/guardian spirit that guides, plasm and govern the life of an individual from his birth until death. The etimology of the Latin word “genius” means “divinity or guardian/tutelary spirit that watches a person from his birth; spirit, incarnation, generative power, inborn nature”. It shares with the word “nature” and the Latin word “gens” (“tribe, people”) the PIE root *gene- (“to generate, give life”), encouraging “inborn nature” as the original meaning of the word.

Ancient depiction of a Genius:
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Analyzing these elements in the light of the European initiation ritual of reincarnation/rebirth in the long dead ancestors, or generally speaking in the European belief on the reincarnation/rebirth of the individual spirit in the ancestry, we can see that the figure of the Genius takes shape directly from that ritual and from that belief, because it symbolizes the dead ancestor. The festivity dedicated to the Genius coincides with the birthday of the person under its tutelage, the latter being no more than its reincarnation. In Rome the thalamus, the marital bed, was called “lectus genialis” (“bed of the genius”) because it’s thanks to the act of love that the Genius (the dead ancestor) is reborn, through the conception of a new member of the ancestry. The part of the body related with the Genius is the forehead, meaning the head/skull, since prehistory the part of the body symbolizing the mind/spirit of the individual. The Genius is consecrated to the forehead to symbolize how the descendant has inherited the mind/spirit of his ancestor, which is reborn in him. The Genius was abitually depicted in the form of a snake, as the various snakes/dragons that the heroes of the myths must fight during their initiation rituals: the snake/dragon represents the umbilical cord/placenta.

The Genius depicted as a snake:
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The Genius is equivalent to the Demon/Daimon of the Greeks (the one that Socrates says to have) and the Guardian Angel of the Christians (…). The Latin word “daemon” means “spirit” while the Greek word “daimon” means “divinity, divine power, guiding spirit, tutelary divinity, spirit of the dead, fortune”, and their common PIE root means “divider, supplier” (of fortune/destiny). Other equivalent figures are the Fylgja (literally “someone that accompanies”, sometimes designated as “aettarfylgja”, “fylgja of the ancestry”) and the Hamingja of the Nordics, both being a supernatural form of life connected with the fortune/destiny of a person. The word “fylgja” has the same root of the English word “follow” (from Ancient English “fylgian, fylgan”, with the meaning of “accompany” [referred to a disciple], “moving in the same direction”). The word “hamingja” is composed by “hamr” (“shape”) and the verb “gangr” (“go/walk”) in the sense of “he who walks in the shape/form” (the physical shape/form, i.e. the body), in reference to the memory of what there was of good, noble and honourable in our long gone ancestors, the noble and honourable part that lives on in the ancestry, handed down from body to body, through memory. In addition to the examples described above there are the Fravashi of the Persians and the Ka of the Egyptians. The Fravashi consists in the double of an individual and in his transcendental guardian (identified with the spirit of a dead ancestor). The word “fravashi” is commonly reconstructed as *fravarti, from the root -var (“to choose”), with the meaning of “one who has been selected”: only the child who has been chosen/selected to be reborn will obtain the Fravashi of one of his honourable ancestors. The Ka is also the double of an individual (it was often represented in Egyptian iconography as a second image of the king), it is transmitted from father to son and indicates the life force/spirit of an individual.

Another element to consider is the one related to the concepts of “fate” (in the sense of “predetermined course of life/the individual existence”) and “fame”, words that have the same PIE root *bha- (“to speak, talk, tell”) in reference to the good fame and reputation attributed to someone, fame/reputation that spreads by means of tales, stories and speeches. The concepts of “fate” and “fame” are strongly connected to the mental and spiritual heritage obtained by a descendant after his rebirth in one of his ancestors (in this context, the personal objects with which the deceased was buried are of fundamental importance, because their primary function is to awaken, in the descendant, the memories of his previous lives; the Norse mythology provides us with some excellent examples in this regard: the sword Aettartangi [“hilt of the lineage” or “sword of generations”], endowed with “heill” [the “luck of the lineage”], the armor Finnzleiff and the sword Dáinsleif [“inheritance of Dáinn”, a dwarf whose name means “dead”], whose suffix “-leif” means “inheritance”), the dead person chosen after hearing the honourable tales concerning him, tales handed down from his family and from the members of his tribe. The word “fairy” also have the same PIE root *bha-, and the Italian name of the fairies (“fata/fate”) makes clear the connection that these entities/figures have with destiny. The Parcae (the Roman equivalent of the Moirai of the Greeks, of the Norns of the Nordics and of the Egyptian goddess Neith) were also called Fatae by the Romans, from Latin “fatum” (“destiny”), since the Parcae/Fatae are the entities who preside to destiny: in Rome they were represented inside the Forum by three statues commonly called “Tria Fata” (“The three Fates/Destinies”).

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Even the concept of “fortune” falls in the same category of entities, having originally the same meaning of “destiny” as “project, purpose that predetermines the essential course of the individual existence”. Fortunate is the one who owns a destiny, in the sense of he who owns a Spirit, Genius, Daimon, Fylgja, Hamingja, Fravashi or Ka. Unfortunate is the one who doesn’t possess a destiny and is excluded from the eternal cycle of death and rebirth inside the ancestry. Indeed the PIE root of the word “fortune” is *bher- (“to carry”), in the sense of “what is carried/brought on”: what we carry inside us, the honour of the long dead ancestor that we are and that we have inside, that guides us, the ancestor that we have brought back to life in ourselves. Fortune, Destiny, Genius, Daimon, Fylgja, Hamingja, Fravashi, Ka and many other similar entities are all equivalent, their meaning and origin lies in the vision of life of our forebears!

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We Set Sail!

An interesting and quite always ignored episode of the Greek mythology is the one where the ship Argo, built to carry the Argonauts to the conquest of the Golden Fleece, passes through the Symplegades, the clashing rocks. The characteristic of these rocks was to clash each other when someone or something tried to pass between them, killing or destroying everything in their grip.

They freed a dove to let her pass through the rocks and, while these retreated after having clashed among themselves to kill the bird, the Argonauts made readily and quickly pass their ship through them. They came out unscathed, except for the aplustre – an ornamental appendage made of wood, placed at the stern of a Greek or Roman ship, where was believed to reside its spirit/life essence – destroyed by the following clash of the rocks.

An aplustre:
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Mostly in fairy tales, but also in the myths, the difficulty in passing through a door or other type of passages (as well as being swallowed by a monster) are images for the entry in the realm of the dead (the grave/burial mound). The same is the case with the Symplegades, which symbolize the border with Hades (i.e. the burial mound). They are simply another version of the various animal jaws that hinder the passage, of the doors with sharp teeth, of the slamming doors, of the doors that bite and of the propelled mountains that threaten and impede the entry to a certain place: all are typical motifs found in traditional fairy tales around the world. The opening and the closing, the crushing and the bite all fall in the same custody function.

In any case, remember that only the dead could have free access to the realm of the dead: you had to be one of them to gain access to that place. This is the reason why the ship Argo loses the aplustre, the part corresponding to the spirit/life essence: in this way the ship “died” and gained the right to enter the grave/realm of death.

The realm of the dead:
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Finally the Argonauts arrived in Colchis (the grave/burial mound), where Jason has to accomplish the initiation ritual: there are the challenges to overcome, the sorceress/priestess that helps him (Medea), the snake/dragon and the Golden Fleece hanging from an oak.

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Gold is often present in fairy tales and in myths, always connected with events that take place in the realm of the dead/burial mound. Examples are the Golden Bough of Aeneas, the Golden Apples of the Hesperides, the Golden Horns of the Hind (in the European mythologies and in foklore the deer [deer’s antlers were used in the Stone Age to dig the entrance of the graves/burial mounds], the reindeer [like the reindeer that pull the sleigh of Father Christmas], the horse, the swan and the goose [both are migratory birds associated with waters, i.e. the amniotic fluid: the migration is a periodic and regular movement linked to the alternation of the seasons and associated with the cycles of death and rebirth] are psychopomps animals in the context of initiation rituals: they reveal the path to the realm of death) during the labors of Heracles and obviously the Golden Fleece.

In all these cases it is not the object itself that matters but the golden element, connected to the dead and to the grave because it is an element that never oxidizes (or with the passage of long periods of time), therefore being a symbol of immortality/eternal life, a solar and regal symbol, in the context of the rebirth of the memory and knowledge of the ancestor in the grave, reincarnated into one of his descendants. The hero must obtain the golden object in order to conclude his task and return from the place where he found it, just like the child who had to face the initiation was tasked to obtain (in more recent times, compared to the primordial structure of this ritual) the treasures made of gold inside the grave of the ancestor, to accomplish his rebirth and successfully return from the burial mound!

The Syllable “Delph”

The syllable delph/delphy/delphys means “womb”. That’s why the dolphin (Greek “delphi”), sea creature (the waters were associated with the amniotic fluid) provided with a womb, was seen by the Greeks as a symbol of the female principle and of the womb from which life is generated. Poseidon, if seen as the god of the “watery abyss of the sky” (the Universe), has the dolphin as one of his symbols, because the Universe is the eternal and infinite womb that contains all the forms of life that have been, that are and that will be, the womb from which new life is unceasingly and eternally generated.

Art from the Minoan civilization:
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Tile from Ancient Greece:
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Delphi (originally “Delphoi”), the Greek city in antiquity known as “navel of the world”, was mostly famous for the presence of the oracle of the god Apollo (that, by the way, had among his epithets the one of “Delphinius”, since in certain occasions he took the form of a dolphin, animal that was sacred to him), the Oracle of Delphi (the most important of the archaic Greek religion).

Ruins of the Oracle of Delphi:
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Under the flooring of the oracular temple was located the Omphalos (“navel”), the sacred stone that indicates the center of  the world.

The Omphalos resembles a beehive with a web of bee symbols (the child who went inside the burial mound/beehive – bringing honey to face the initiation – and the sorceress/priestess who was inside it, were seen as bees):

We find here the same symbolism: delphi, the name of the city, means “womb”, and the city was defined “navel of the world” because the navel was archaically symbol of the labyrinth, i.e. the burial mound that represented also the “womb of the earth”. There is then a symbolical connection between the name of the city and its epithet.

Representation of an archaic labyrinth:
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The Oracle of Delphi was originally a cave (the cave of the she-bear, later replaced by the burial mound), guarded by the serpent/dragon Python, or by the dragoness Delphyne (again a name connected with the ancient syllable meaning “womb”), as it seems from the most archaic version of the myth. The serpent/dragon symbolizes the umbilical cord, therefore, in the case of Delphyne, we would have a symbolism that includes both the womb and the umbilical cord. Python/Delphyne gets killed by Apollo (the divine child that accomplishes the rebirth ritual), who later creates in place of the cave the Oracle of Delphi, presided by the Pythia (the Priestess called “Delphic Bee”).

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The serpent/dragon is the obstacle that the heroes of the mythologies encounter during their search of the source of immortality (i.e. rebirth/reincarnation), and is often the guardian of the Tree of Life (i.e. the placenta).

The Cup of Hygieia and the Caduceus of Hermes/Mercury: both represent the Tree of Life, entwined with one or more serpents (that is, a placenta with the umbilical cord):
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Immortality (i.e. rebirth/reincarnation) is hard to obtain, and a necessary condition is always the reaching of an almost inaccessible place (that always symbolizes the realm of death, i.e. the grave/burial mound), where a serpent/dragon guards a tree whose fruits, or an object hanging to it, will grant immortality if obtained. The heroes of the mythologies must fight with the serpent/dragon, and prevail, to get access to the tree. This fight must be seen as a test, as an initiation ritual. We can find a scheme of this type in numerous myths, like the one of Jason and the Golden Fleece, the one of Heracles and the Golden Apples of the Hesperides, and the one about Adam and Eve in Paradise.

Heracles fights against Ladon, the serpent/dragon that protects the Golden Apples of the Hesperides:
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The fight of the hero with the serpent/dragon isn’t always of the physical type, and sometimes the hero is defeated: the myth of Adam and Eve and the myth of Gilgamesh prove it.

Gilgamesh, after the death of Enkidu, decided he wanted to obtain immortality: he headed toward the dwelling of Utnapishtim, a man to which the gods conferred the gift of immortality. Gilgamesh overcomes every obstacle and meets the wise old man, but fails the tests that the latter imposes on him. Gilgamesh definitely wasn’t worthy of the immortality of the gods. At that point appeared the wife of Utnapishtim, who convinced her husband to reveal the existence, in the bottom of the ocean (the amniotic fluid, the waters of death), of a plant full of thorns, difficult to access. That plant would have extended indefinitely the youth and the life of those who would have eaten it. Gilgamesh manages to obtain it, but during the return to his own land he stops near a water source and meanwhile a serpent approaches and grabs the plant, renewing its skin after eating it. Gilgamesh, as Adam and Eve, has lost his immortality as a result of his naivety and of the astuteness of a serpent.

The snake steals the plant of immortality from the hand of Gilgamesh:
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Note: we should not forget the other symbolism related to the serpent/dragon, that is the figure of a serpent/dragon that eats its own tail, also known as Ouroboros. This figure expresses the concept of cyclical eternity, infinite time, circularity without beginning or end and eternal rebirth.

Egyptian art depicting an ouroboros, maybe to symbolize a womb:
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The Omphalos (“navel”) could therefore be a womb during pregnancy: it has a central opening which widens towards the base (vagina-womb during pregnancy) and has engraved on the surface a knotted net, the net that “imprisons” the child to the mother until birth, or better the umbilical cord that “binds” the placenta to the fetus, through the navel (“omphalos”).

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Symbols of Fire

Hephaestus is the Greek god related to fire and to all the uses we can do of it, including arts and crafts where the burning flame has an essential role. Hephaestus is described as an excellent blacksmith, who realized even the armour, the weapons and the shield of Achilles! It is evident that he is connected with the terrestrial fire, rather than the heavenly fire (the Sun).

The episode when Hephaestus was thrown from the top of Olympus by Zeus (his father, since it is from the Sky that the lightning [an attribute of Zeus] comes, causing, through its contact with trees, the birth of fire) represents the potential inherent of the lightning to bring in itself fire.

The Greeks represented Hephaestus with a blue headgear, to symbolize the Sky from where the fire god comes (via the lightning) and the place where resides the most pure and primordial form of fire, the Sun.

Ptah and Hephaestus:
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Anyway the terrestrial fire – came down on the Earth via the lightning or kindled by man – is less intense than that of the Sun and needs to be rekindled and sustained or it will fade. That’s why one of the epithets of Hephaestus is “the lame” (after the fall of which we talked before he broke one of his leg), since he can’t walk by himself and needs a wooden support, just like the fire on Earth can’t continue to live without the wood that feeds it.

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Prometheus on the other hand is a more complex figure, but still related to fire. He stole some fire from Olympus to donate it to men, meaning that the latter aren’t anymore dependant on Zeus (via the lightning) for their need of fire, they can now obtain it whenever they want. That’s what happens when men learn to kindle a fire.

However, I want to focus on the enchainment and torture of Prometheus: in this case he represents the Sun itself and the myth explains the process of self-combustion through which the Sun feeds of itself and destroying itself stays alive and continues to shine eternally, a sort of unceasing death and rebirth. That’s what happens and our ancestors maybe didn’t knew this process of self-combustion of the Sun, but they noticed that the terrestrial fire needed to be rekindled and sustained while the one on the Sky not, it was self-sustaining and continuous.

Note: a symbolism linked to the same process can be found in the figure of the Phoenix (known as Bennu among the Egyptians), the eternal bird able to be reborn from its own ashes.

Prometheus is tortured by an eagle, a heavenly symbol as well as a solar symbol, so we have more solutions in relation to how we can interpret the torture: if we look at the eagle as a solar symbol we have the Sun that devours and sacrifices itself continuously, coming back to life every day and therefore continuing to shine; if we look at the eagle as a heavenly symbol then we have the Sky nourished by the liver of Prometheus, because the Sky to keep on shining must be fed by the vigor (that was believed to reside in the liver – the part of the body devoured everyday by the eagle – where vitamin D, the “vitamin of the sun”, resides and accumulates) of the Sun, by the power of its rays.

Prometheus’s torture:
il-prometeo-incatenato

Only at night Prometheus is exempt from his punishment, as indeed the Sun from its eternal self-sacrifice: at sunset it sinks to the west, in the depths of the underground – the subterranean regions, the realm of death – only to reappear again in the east the next morning, resurrected. The same journey was accomplished by the spirits of the dead, to then come back again among the living…

una-notte-guardammo-al-cielo-pieve-di-cadore

Sumerian Mists (Part 3 of 3)

Firstly, an image showing the Cosmos according to the Sumerian mythology:

cosmologia_sumera

There is written, from top to bottom:

Primordial Sea (Nammu)
Sky (An)
Terrestrial Ocean (Abzu)
Earth (Ki)
Hell (Kur)
Primordial Sea (Nammu)

The Primordial Sea/Ocean (Nammu) is the Universe: uncreated, eternal and infinite, enclosing the creatress matter for all that will come into being, primeval amniotic fluid that has given form to all that has been, that is and that will be. The Earth (Ki) is the plane/circle passing through the Ecliptic, and the Zodiac surrounding it. The Terrestrial Ocean (Abzu) is the “whirlpool” produced by the orbits of the other planets of the Solar System. The Sky (An) is the starry sky above/north of the Solar System. Hell (Kur: another proof that the Kur of which I spoke in my previous article is indeed the burial mound/realm of death) is the Starry Sky under/south of the Solar System.

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Finally, the known myth about Baldr’s death: the dreams premonitory of his death, the oath imposed to all living creatures to not harm him, the deities that jokingly try to harm him knowing his invulnerability, his eventual death by the hands of Höðr, the search in Hel to bring him back and the cry of all the living and dead creatures to allow his return to the world of the living.

Baldr’s death:
baldr_lies_dead

The Sumerian mythology contains a poem, called “The Dream of Dumuzi”, strikingly similar in many ways to Baldr’s myth summarized above. In this poem the god Dumuzi has premonitions of his destiny, by dreams showing his upcoming death. He knows he will be killed by a band of brigands but hopes nevertheless to avoid the inevitable and asks all the creatures of nature to cry for him. On several occasions the god is captured by the brigands, but manages to escape. At the end however he seeks refuge in a pen in the desert but the brigands capture him and destiny is fulfilled. After the death of Dumuzi follow the lamentation and Geshtinanna – his sister – starts looking for him in the realm of death, at the end succeeding to bring him back to life.

The similarities with the myth of Baldr’s death are many: already the title of the poem reminds of the “Baldrs Draumar” (“Dreams of Baldr”), then we have the premonitions of death while sleeping, the attempt to avoid death, the participation of all living creatures, the fulfillment of destiny despite the caring to avoid it, and the final search in the realm of death to bring the god back to life. We can quite easily make a parallel between the deities trying more times to harm Baldr until when he eventually dies and the brigands that capture more times Dumuzi without being able to kill him until when they finally succeed in their purpose.

Other equivalent myths are those about the resurrections of Osiris and Lemminkäinen. In the Egyptian mythology, Seth kills Osiris and dismembers his body into fourteen pieces, to then scatter them throughout Egypt. Isis then collects all the body parts and reassembles them, in this way bringing back to life Osiris. In the Kalevala, Lemminkäinen goes to Tuonela – the realm of death – to pass a test and win his wife, but is killed and his body torn to pieces and thrown into the river. Then the mother of Lemminkäinen descends into the underworld and recovers all the parts of his son’s body, reassembles the corpse and brings it back to life.

Lemminkäinen is brought back to life by his mother:
lemminkaisenaiti

Baldr, Dumuzi, Osiris and Lemminkäinen represent both the dead Sun that returns to life after the Winter Solstice (to then increase its radiance up to the Summer Solstice)
and the child that, after completing the initiation ritual, comes out from the burial mound, he too reborn at dawn on Yule/Winter Solstice.

Höðr, Seth and the other entities that kill the Sun God are manifestations of Autumn and Winter, the seasons when – respectively – the Sun grows old and dies.

These comparisons prove even more that the European Religion is born from our blood! The only way our enemies have to destroy it is to exterminate us till the last! Jews, Christians and all their lackeys will fail miserably, as always! Eternity is written in our destiny!

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Part 1: Sumerian Mists (Part 1 of 3)
Part 2: Sumerian Mists (Part 2 of 3)